Winter 2003 Issue 4
  APEC SME Ministers Call for Greater Networking Between Business, Government, Trade Promotion Authorities and Banks
ASEAN Unveils Action Plan to Protect Against Cyber Attacks
Establishment of An ASEAN+3 (Japan, China & Korea) Telecommunications Ministers Meeting
E-Government Experience Shared
Benefits of e-Government Services to Be Shared Across All Sectors of the Community - Topic for APEC Internet Forum
Shanghai to Host Key E-Forum
APEC E-commerce Expo Rescheduled for Next June
IT Sector to Create 300,000 Jobs by 2007
Asia-Pac Virus Early Warning System Planned
World Cyber Games 2003 Finals at Olympic Park
Expert Group Meeting on Regional Roadmap Towards Information Society for Asia and the Pacific and Fifth Regional Interagency Working Group Meeting on ICTUNCC
APEC E-commerce Expo Rescheduled for Next June
NATO Seminar on Network Strategies Opened in Baku
60 Companies from 15 World Countries to Take Part at Bakutel-2003 Exhibition
Global IT Outsourcing Summit 2003 to Hold in Shanghai
China to Host Second International E-government Conference
 
  CHINA: HK Government Committed to Enhancing E-Security
Hong Kong Gov't Promoting Open Source Software
Hong Kong: Gov't Promotes IT Use to Boost Productivity
JAPAN: Partial Amendment of Regulations on Licensing Procedures for Radio Stations
46 Projects Selected for the Fiscal 2003 R&D Support Scheme for Funding Selected IT Proposals
Amendment in Softbank BB's Business Restructuring Plan Based on Industrial Revitalization Law
SOUTH KOREA: Ministry to Expand IT Education Program for Disadvantaged
Ministry to Raise SK Telecom Service Fees
Ministry to Launch Cable-Based Broadband
TAJIKSTAN: President Affirms Support for Independent Media, But Doubts Remain
Slow Pace of Computerization Criticized
UZBEKISTAN: Draft Bill "On Electronic Digital Signature" Published
 
  MALAYSIA: Minister Issues Malaysia's ICT Report Card
EDS, Opsware Propose Open Standard for Utility Computing
National Broadband Plan
THAILAND: Bangkok, Seoul Team Up on ICT
VIETNAM: Strategy Ushers in IT Competition
Experts Plot Future of IT in Viet Nam
HCM City Chiefs Urge Hi-Tech Shift
President Promises IT Hub Will Receive Support
Govt Wants IT Savvy Population
HCM City Sets Sights on 7-Year Hi-Tech Plan
 
  BANGLADESH: Dhaka Plans to Monitor E-Mail and Phone
Mobile Telephone Sets Seized
Call to Support Locally Produced Software
Internet Service to Be Extended to Villages
Lack of Support Puts Local ICT Professionals on Back-Foot
SRI LANKA: Phone Codes Change Today
PAKISTAN: Rajanpur Better Micro Credit Scheme Urged
 
  AUSTRALIA: E-Crime Guidelines Released
State in $300m IP Tender
First Identity Theft Laws Proposed in South Australia
NSW Maps State Broadband Plans
NEW ZEALAND: Police Not Equipped to Enforce New Computer Laws, Says National
Capital Picks Numbers
Law a Blast from the Past for Cyber Cafes
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Finance Ministry Opens New Web-Site
CHINA: Haidian District Pioneers in E-government Development
Capital Court Computerized
Entrepreneur Promoted to Senior Local Government Post
Academic Website on "Three Represents" Thought Opens
Hong Kong: Adopt E-Commerce to Enhance Competitiveness
Hong Kong Government Creates Secure E-Business Environment
Hong Kong Government to Consult Community on Future IT Strategy
E-Governance Gets More Investment in China
Shanghai Progresses with an Efficient E-Government
IRAN: Commerce Ministry to Launch E-Data Website
JAPAN: Japan Sets Up Terrestrial Digital Broadcasting Promotion Headquarters
MPHPT Grants Approval for Establishment of the Association for Promotion of Digital
MPHPT Supports Regional Public Network Construction with Fiscal Year 2003 Budget
SOUTH KOREA: Government's Online Daily Launched
Tophead Promotes 2-Screen Monitors for E-Government
Online Civil-document Service Now Offers Home Print-outs
 
  MALAYSIA: Minister Issues Malaysia's ICT Report Card
EDS, Opsware Propose Open Standard for Utility Computing
National Broadband Plan
THAILAND: Bangkok, Seoul Team Up on ICT
VIETNAM: Strategy Ushers in IT Competition
Experts Plot Future of IT in Viet Nam
HCM City Chiefs Urge Hi-Tech Shift
President Promises IT Hub Will Receive Support
Govt Wants IT Savvy Population
HCM City Sets Sights on 7-Year Hi-Tech Plan
 
  BANGLADESH: Dhaka Plans to Monitor E-Mail and Phone
Mobile Telephone Sets Seized
Call to Support Locally Produced Software
Internet Service to Be Extended to Villages
Lack of Support Puts Local ICT Professionals on Back-Foot
SRI LANKA: Phone Codes Change Today
PAKISTAN: Rajanpur Better Micro Credit Scheme Urged
 
  AUSTRALIA: E-Crime Guidelines Released
State in $300m IP Tender
First Identity Theft Laws Proposed in South Australia
NSW Maps State Broadband Plans
NEW ZEALAND: Police Not Equipped to Enforce New Computer Laws, Says National
Capital Picks Numbers
Law a Blast from the Past for Cyber Cafes
 
  AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan Revives Telecommunications and Postal Services
KAZAKHSTAN: First Issue of "IT Magazine" Out
CHINA: Shanghai to Erect Credit Database
Shanghai Reports Robust Growth in IT Industry
Suzhou Becomes World's Leading Notebook PC Production Base
Management Software Giant Sets Up R&D Center in Shanghai
Zhongguancun Companies Exceed 10,000
Shanghai Bank Launched Rate Monitoring System
Nearly 50 Pct of Taiwanese Use Broad-Band Internet Connection
Big Cities Joint to Crack Down on Pirated Software
Small-Business Software Launched
Shanghai Customs Computer System Restored
New School of Microelectronics Opens in Shanghai
Hong Kong: e-Banking Security Stepped Up
E-commerce Websites Set to Boom
Shanghai Rises as Hub for Software
IRAQ: Lucent to Rebuild Baghdad Network
IRAN: Greatest Digital Library Becomes Operational
Electronic Libraries for the Blind to Be Established
JAPAN: Loan-Shark Consultation Phone Line Set Up in Kyoto
JAPAN: Broadband Users Reach 10.9 M
Japan Plans Biometric Passports
3-D Digital Map of Japan Planned to Boost Accuracy
KYRGYZSTAN: Local Newspaper Develops Online News Resource in Bishkek
Women's Rights Organization Creates Online Presence in Kant
SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Internet to Open Up
Agency Provides Advanced e-Customs Services
Sovereign to Offer Web Site in Korean
Incheon Areas Designated as Free Economic Zones
Online Mall Opens for Ethnic Koreans
Korea Eager to Host Foreign R&D Centers
South Korea World's Most Wired Nation
Plans Unveiled to Create 300,000 IT Jobs
Korea to Create 10 Mil. Automated Homes by 2007
Internet Resources for Young Mothers in Taraz
UZBEKISTAN: OSCE Opens Information Resource Centre in Tashkent
KOICA to Open Its Information Technology Centre
 
  INDONESIA: PT Integrasi Win IT Tender
MALAYSIA: E-passport for Thais Planned
Time Dotcom Secures Its Connections
Enhancing Business With Mapping Info
Boosting IT Infrastructure With Enterprise Apps
Scanning Through 3D Medical images_4
SINGAPORE: Online University Group Spends S$50m to Set Up Asian HQ in Singapore
Singapore Car Owners Can Now Renew Road Tax Online
IE Singapore's Hub Development Schemes Draw 18 More Global Firms
IDA Sets Up E-Supply Chain System to Cut Business Costs
Starhub to Charge "Surf for Free" Internet Service
Collaboration to Build an e-Supply Chain Ecosystem for the FMCG Industry
Singapore Urges ASEAN to Speed Up Growth of Infocomms, IT
Track Net Attacks? Have Cyberguards at 24/7 Centre
 
  BANGLADESH: NIIT Planetworkz Launched
Trailer of 3D Animation Screened at DRU
BANGLADESH: Big Fire at N'ganj Telephone Exchange - 7800 Phones Out of Order
Daffodil Computers Wears a New Corporate Look
INDIA: ITES Set to Grow Rapidly in State
Tata Tele Launches Limited Mobility Service in Mumbai
Renaissance to Fine-Tune Techie Skills
Tulip to Wire Malappuram with Wireless Tech
Corio Inc Sets Up R&D Outfit in Bangalore
India's First Mobile Bank Starts Rolling in Madhya Pradesh
BSNL to Invest Rs 170 Cr to Double Subscriber Base in Karnataka
New Intellicon Tool
MALDIVES: Laying of Cables Underway in Kulhudhuffushi to Provide Cable TV Service
PAKISTAN: New Digital Telephone Exchanges to Be Established
PAKISTAN: Peshawar Number Plates not Available
 
  AUSTRALIA: Women Doing Better in Hi-Tech
Local Supercomputer Cracks Teraflop
State Bonanza More Than $1bn
Victoria Reins in Telemarketers
ASX Links to Global Network
GUAM: GUAM: Telemedicine Connects Honolulu and Guam
NEW ZEALAND: International IT Group Prepares to Profile NZ Industry
Fund Puts Safety Net Under Tech Investors
Kiwibank Turns to VoIP
Canterbury Tops in High-Tech
Big-Money Hopes for Broadband on the Farm
 
  CHINA: Net Ready E-Business Seminar Series to Be Introduced
IRAN: 18th Int`l Electricity Confab Opens in Tehran
JAPAN: Conference on Evaluating the State of Competition in the Telecommunications Field
Strategic Seminars on Intellectual Property for IT Ventures to Be Held
Symposium on Strengthening the Wireless IT Industry
SOUTH KOREA: Continuing Education Cyber School to Open Next Year
First Cyber Electronics Exhibition Opens on Wednesday
Busan Finalized as Host City of 2004 ITU Telecom Asia
KAZAKHSTAN: Workshop on IT Security in Astana
Cebit Informatics Eurasia Fair to Begin in Istanbul
 
  PHILIPPINES: DTI Agency Standardizes on Jitse-Phil IT Exam:
SINGAPORE: A S$5.4m Boost to Singapore's Web Services Manpower Capabilities:
Singapore to Offer 40 Business Licences Online by Mid 2004 :
Expanding Infocomm Industry With Increasing Demand for Infocomm Manpower :
VIET NAM: Seminar on" Human Resource Development in Vietnam Quality Management" :
Opening Techmart Vietnam 2003 :
 
  BANGLADESH: Bhuiyan Computers Holds Workshop :
UITS to Launch Academic Activities Soon:
IT Edn Centre of BATB: 7th Batch of Dishari-Chechua Completes Course:
A Dozen Students Complete IT Course at Dishari:
Dhaka to Join IT Summit in Geneva:
INDIA: Seminar on Career Opportunities in Call Centres:
Maples Opens Centre in Bangalore:
SRI LANKA: Children Acquire Basic Computer Skills Without Much Effort :
 
  AUSTRALIA: States Say Canberra Fails on Rural IT
$10m for Research on 'Digital Junkyard'
Sun to Sponsor Delegates for National Linux Conference
Young IT Millionaire Taps into Students
NEW ZEALAND: $14m Computer Block Open at Auckland University
Degree Course a First for Online Global University
Schools Do Well in ICT Study
     
 
 
 

APEC SME Ministers Call for Greater Networking Between Business, Government, Trade Promotion Authorities and Banks

The 10th Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Ministerial Meeting has concluded in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with Ministers calling for Member Economies to strengthen networks between business owners, trade promotion agencies and SME focused financial institutions. In the Joint Ministerial Statement, "Strengthening an APEC Entrepreneurial Society," Ministers highlighted the courageous and critical role played by SMEs and Micro-enterprises. "The definition of an entrepreneur goes beyond the conventional meaning of business owner and operator and that risk-taking individuals are the driving force behind entrepreneurship," the statement noted. "The development of a dynamic entrepreneurial society requires individuals who are innovative, visionary, and ready to take the risk of starting-up a new business. "A vibrant entrepreneurial society is central to the growth of the APEC economies. Substantial entrepreneurial activity generates demand for new services, products, and jobs." Ministers also highlighted the challenges brought about by globalization and the role APEC member economies have to play in dealing with these pressures. "To cope with the challenges of globalization, APEC economies should focus on developing networks among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and promotional agencies, MSME banks and MSME associations. "The entrepreneurial environment is directly affected by: regulatory and tax burdens; labor market legislation; competition policy and legal conditions. Each economy is encouraged to speed-up efforts towards the removal of barriers to entrepreneurial behavior and not to introduce regulations that overly penalize business failure." In the Joint Ministerial Statement Ministers also highlighted the role of education in promoting business development and stressed the importance of Members identifying and developing entrepreneurial potential in their economies. Ministers made particular note of the difficulties that are often faced by MSMEs in accessing finance and encouraged APEC Members to seek ways and means to expand financing facilities. Ministers also encouraged APEC Members to be proactive in developing capacity within their economies to build the capacity of SMEs to trade beyond their borders and explore export markets. The Ministers adopted the Micro-enterprise Action Plan that is designed to help the smallest businesses in the APEC region through expanding access to new technologies, improving access to finance and undertaking greater research into the challenges facing Micro-enterprises. Ministers also expressed their ongoing support for the ongoing cooperation between the APEC SME Working Group and other APEC fora such as the APEC Sub-committee on Standards and Conformance, the APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting, SME Financing Institutions, the OECD and business sector groups including the APEC Business Advisory Council and the APEC Women Leaders Network. The next APEC SME Ministerial Meeting will take place on October 6 to 7 in Santiago, Chile. This will be preceded by an APEC SME Working Group meeting in Vancouver, Canada, on March 8 to 10 next year and the second SME Working Group meeting for 2004 in Santiago, on October 3 to 5. (by Chiang Mai)

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 08/08/2003

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ASEAN Unveils Action Plan to Protect Against Cyber Attacks

Southeast Asia's telecom and IT ministers have unveiled an action plan to help shield their countries' communication networks from attacks. This follows the recent spate of computer virus attacks that caused millions of dollars in damage. Each member of ASEAN will have a national Computer Emergency Response team in place by 2005 to handle cyber-attacks and share expertise with their neighbours. The ministers, who wrapped up a two-day meeting in Singapore on Friday, are also trying to make it easier for companies to exchange telecoms goods and services, and to invest in the region. So they will ease product testing requirements by 2005.As a start, Singapore will soon launch separate talks with Indonesia and Brunei on such testing arrangements. Dr Lee Boon Yang, Singapore's Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, chaired this week's talks. On ASEAN's response to the specific cyber threat, he told Channel NewsAsia, "I look at it as a pre-emptive measure in the sense that the more we utilise ICT, the more the Internet gets involved in our daily life and work, the more vulnerable we are to any threats against our cyber-security. "The ministers also discussed market integration. Asked if progress was made on freeing up services, Dr Lee said, "Increasingly there's recognition, especially when WTO commitments come into operation, that services cannot be excluded and there's a consensus within ASEAN that we should also try to minimise -- in our context the services, like telecom services, looking at how we can further integrate our telecom sectors," Dr Lee said. "Having a common framework for telecom equipment could be the start, precursor of more liberalisation and more relaxation for telecom services within ASEAN countries. "The ministers also met with leaders from the private sector. "They highlighted for instance there should be relaxation as far as regulations are concerned, governments should be more pro-active in helping ICT industry leaders to reach out to their customers, to proliferate usage of technology," Dr Lee said. "One area I thought was particularly interesting, one industry leader point out that within ASEAN itself, there's a dearth of ASEAN content and if you want to proliferate, want greater usage of ICT, there should be efforts made to build up ICT content." (By Dawn Teo)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 09/19/2003

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Establishment of An ASEAN+3 (Japan, China & Korea) Telecommunications Ministers Meeting

On September 16 (Tues) a meeting of senior officials in telecommunications was held in Singapore for ASEAN+3 (Japan, China &Korea), with attendance from the MPHPT by Mr. ISHIDA, Director-General of the International Affairs Department, Telecommunications Bureau, and officials from the telecommunications ministries in ASEAN, China and Korea. Discussions were held on cooperation between ASEAN and Japan, China and Korea, in the field of info-communications. As a result of this meeting, agreement was reached to organize an ASEAN+3 Telecommunications Ministers Meeting starting next year, further strengthen cooperation between ASEAN countries and Japan, China and Korea in the field of info-communications, and promote an approach for the development of the Asian region. In addition, agreement was reached at this meeting to work in conjunction with ASEAN countries to promote anew the Asia Broadband Program that was formulated by the MPHPT and relevant offices and ministries and announced on March 28,2003.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 09/17/2003

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E-Government Experience Shared

The Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, shared Hong Kong's experience of the development of e-government in a business round table today. Staged in Hong Kong, the Asia Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Confederation Business Round Table has gathered industry practitioners and policy makers in Asia to exchange views on e-government development objectives and strategies, policies and incentives as well as ICT business opportunities. "The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is committed to making Hong Kong a leading e-business community and digital city in the globally connected world," Mr Wong said. Noting that the Digital 21 Information Technology (IT) Strategy had achieved encouraging progress in promoting the use of IT in the community, he introduced to the participants some recent initiatives launched by the Government. A Working Group on the Promotion of Wireless Services and Technology was established under the Information Infrastructure Advisory Committee. The Working Group will look at ways to enhance the adoption of wireless technology at the enterprise level. The Government is also setting up a Wireless Solutions Development Centre at the Cyberport to promote the development of mobile and wireless applications in Hong Kong. Another important IT initiative in Hong Kong is the Smart Identity (ID) Card replacement exercise recently rolled out. "We believe that the Multi-Application Smart ID Card has great potential to help business sectors, public organisations and government departments to deliver electronic services in a more secure, efficient and cost-effective manner on a common and convenient platform," Mr Wong said. The round table is being held concurrently with the Hong Kong International Computer Conference 2003. Organised by the Hong Kong Computer Society, the conference closed today and was attended by more than 500 IT experts and practitioners. The theme of the conference this year was "IT - Impetus to Economic Prosperity". Mr Wong, who was also the chairperson of the conference, said IT was a powerful engine for revitalising enterprises and empowering individuals to achieve higher productivity and greater efficiency. Various topics were covered in the conference, including IT in education and the integration of IT in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 09/25/2003

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Benefits of e-Government Services to Be Shared Across All Sectors of the Community - Topic for APEC Internet Forum

Building awareness and developing standards to protect the rights of all sectors of the community to access online resources will be the focus of the APEC Telecommunications and Information Working Group (APEC TEL) "Web Site Accessibility Seminar" in Chinese Taipei on October 4. The dramatic growth of government services provided online has made life easier for millions of people around the APEC Region but at the same time there is concern that e-government expansion could reduce access to government services for some members of the community. Director of the Asia Oceania Electronic Marketplace Association, Michael Baker, said the "APEC Web Accessibility Seminar" will bring together experts from the private sector and government to identify minimum recommended standards for ensuring universal access to online resources. "In the physical world we assist handicapped citizens by providing ramps, elevators and Braille signs in public facilities," Baker said. "In the online world we must strive to provide universal access, regardless of age, disability, culture, language, literacy, and computer skills. "Putting up a website is only a first step in building an online presence. Making it usable and accessible to everyone is the critical next step, and in many APEC economies, it is now the law." Mr. Baker said that as the Internet has penetrated all facets of life, "website accessibility is increasingly considered a civil right and laws are being passed in many economies to ensure compliance." In Australia, a person won a complaint of web inaccessibility against the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). In the United States the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to web sites has been addressed in documents and case law. America Online (AOL) has settled a lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). Major US banks have signed agreements to provide accessible online banking. This APEC TEL seminar will feature speakers who have experience in dealing with website access issues in the APEC Region including senior personnel from private sector firms including IBM and Microsoft, and from the Chinese Taipei, Australian and Mexican Governments. The "Website Accessibility Seminar" will take place as part of the 28th APEC TEL Meeting on October 4 - 10 in Taipei, Chinese Taipei.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 10/03/2003

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Shanghai to Host Key E-Forum

China's second international conference on e-government technology will be held in Shanghai on December 17-20, with an expected 100,000 people visiting, the Chinese Academy of Sciences said yesterday. The meeting, initiated by the CAS, will be co-sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Shanghai municipal government, the China Association for Science and Technology, and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The organizers said the meeting would include two exhibitions, and six forums and special programs. The forums will cover planning for China's e-government development, international exchange of e-government technology, e-government safety, infrastructure construction, sharing of government information, and construction of digitized cities. It is estimated that China will invest more than 25 million yuan (US$3 million) annually in e-government construction in the coming years. The first e-government conference was held in Beijing last year. The Website is www.egovchina.org.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 10/18/2003

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APEC E-commerce Expo Rescheduled for Next June

The APEC e-commerce exposition, first scheduled for April but postponed because of SARS, has been rescheduled in the seaside city of Yantai, east China's Shandong Province, for June 15 to 19, next year, as approved by the APEC trade ministers' meeting and the Chinese government. Officials of the organizing committee said the exposition was the first major event in e-commerce sponsored by the Asian and Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). The expo would feature the theme, "Digital APEC embracing tomorrow", and would show the latest developments of IT industries of APEC members and e-commerce modes. The event would also help promote investment and cooperation in e-commerce and raise e- commerce development among small and medium-sized enterprises, said officials. The expo will be jointly sponsored by APEC, China's Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Information Industry, and the People's Government of Shandong Province.

From China Daily 09/01/2003

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IT Sector to Create 300,000 Jobs by 2007

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) is taking steps to create 300,000 technology jobs by 2007, as the current employment outlook remains bleak in general, said the ministry yesterday. Under the plan, the ministry will spend a total of 46 billion won ($39.2 million) in implementing a government-funded database project, saying it could boost short-term technology job hiring. In addition, the ministry will encourage technology companies to hire more job seekers by offering tax incentives and other compensation. South Koreans in their 20s, who are the children of those born during the first baby boom that followed the 1950-53 Korean War, are facing some of the most alarming unemployment statistics. As of the end of July, the jobless rate for those in their 20s stood at 7.5 percent, twice the national unemployment rate.

From The Korea Times 09/18/2003

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Asia-Pac Virus Early Warning System Planned

SINGAPORE: South-East Asian information and communications ministers announced plans to establish a computer virus early-warning system and to form specialist emergency response teams to deal with cyber-attacks.Members of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) hope by next year to have a framework for sharing real-time information on computer threats and vulnerability assessments, the ministers said after a two-day meeting here. By 2005, all of ASEAN's 10 members are expected to have set up Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to deal with hacker or virus attacks. Each CERT will be linked to the regional framework to form an ASEAN-wide network, the ministers said. "The national CERTs of each ASEAN country will create a specialist group trained and equipped to deal with cyber-security threats," Singapore Information, Communications and Arts Minister Lee Boon Yang said. "The intention is that, having been alerted or having experienced such computer virus attacks, the CERTs will immediately be able to use this common framework to share experiences and alert ASEAN partners to the nature of the threats. "Everybody gets an early warning and begins to take action to prevent the spread of the virus." Philippines Transportation and Communications Under-Secretary Virgilio Pena said six of ASEAN's 10 members had already set up computer specialist teams. ASEAN members were at "various stages" of co-ordination with the private sector to develop CERTs, he said. The ultimate plan was to link an ASEAN-wide CERT network with similar frameworks in the Asia-Pacific region and globally, Mr Pena said. In his keynote address to the meeting on Thursday, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said South-East Asia must develop a "common and sustained" approach to protection of telecommunications and computer networks from virus and hacker attacks. Mr Goh said attacks by three computer viruses last month had cost an estimated $US800 million ($1.17 billion) in damages globally, underscoring the challenges facing modern technological societies. National CERTs swung into action during these virus attacks, but there had been no co-operation among ASEAN members, Mr Pena said. "We are trying to connect the CERTs of ASEAN countries so there will be international early-warning signals," he said. Mr Lee said lack of regional co-operation would make ASEAN "much weaker" in dealing with the problem". "The resilience of ASEAN depends very much on our ability to share information on a timely basis," he said. The ministers also agreed to expedite bilateral arrangements for regional recognition of tests on telecommunications products in the various countries, to save costs and spur trade flows. Mr Lee said Singapore would launch talks for mutual recognition arrangements with Brunei and Indonesia by next year, hoping to encourage other ASEAN members to begin their own initiatives leading to a regional network of MRAs Australia has been pushing for CERTs in Asia-Pacific countries, along the lines of AUSCERT, in an effort to combat hacking and virus attacks, and has provided AusAID funds for CERT training in Papua-New Guinea, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. That funding followed a call by Communications Minister Richard Alston at an APEC meeting in Shanghai last year for co-operation on IT security issues. The APEC meeting identified security as a top priority for members. (by Martin Abbugao)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 09/23/2003

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World Cyber Games 2003 Finals at Olympic Park

With the catchphrase "Beyond the Game," the third World Cyber Games grand finals are to take place from Oct. 12 to 18 at Olympic Park in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul. About 600 gamers coming from 55 countries will compete for the grand prize in this international games competition. Participating nations include the last WCG championship countries like the United States, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom and China. Other countries include first-time participants such as Iran, Ecuador, Latvia and Guatemala. The prize money totals US$350,000. During the seven-day event, conferences and exhibitions, as well as various cultural events including "Love Seoul Culture Parade," will be held in addition to the competition. Admission fee is free. Those with prize tickets will have the opportunity to win a trip to Paris, or a laptop, digital cameras or cellular phone, among others. The WCG was initiated in 2000 for the first time in Korea. The Seoul Metropolitan Government and the WCG organizing committee on Feb. 10 signed an agreement to jointly hold the final games in Seoul. The WCG 2004 will be held in San Francisco, the United States. In the closing ceremony to be held Oct. 18, Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak is scheduled to play "StarCraft," one of the most popular online games in the world.

From http://english.metro.seoul.kr/ 10/10/2003

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Expert Group Meeting on Regional Roadmap Towards Information Society for Asia and the Pacific and Fifth Regional Interagency Working Group Meeting on ICTUNCC

Despite its limitless potential, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is still not being fully utilized to benefit humanity, according to ICT experts at a regional United Nations meeting in Bangkok this week. Delegates at the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Regional Roadmap towards Information Society for Asia and the Pacific (13-15 August) expressed deep concern over the lack of access that many developing countries have to new technology and the increasing gap between the digital 'haves' and 'have-nots'. Mr. Kim Hak-Su, Executive-Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), said the quality of life for many people in the Asia-Pacific region was suffering due to the unequal distribution of technology. "ICT has a great potential to facilitate the achievement of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, particularly, to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environment degradation and gender inequality. "Yet, despite significant efforts at the national and regional levels, we are still very far from ensuring that the benefits of ICT are available to all in Asia and the Pacific. This is partly because the Digital Divide is a reflection of the economic and social divides of poverty, illiteracy, and access to health care," he said. Over 60 senior government representatives, ICT experts, members of telecommunications groups and representatives of regional and global organizations attended the meeting, jointly organized by UNESCAP, Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The group was optimistic about the prospect of ICT development, and said progress could be made through concrete cross-country strategies despite the lack of regional infrastructure, education, investment, technology and connectivity. "How we can bridge or narrow the digital divide, and create digital opportunities by providing equitable, affordable and universal access to ICT to all in the region is a real challenge for us," said Mr. Kim. "Towards that end, concerted efforts must be made at the national, regional and global levels, to enhance cooperation, and share relevant and timely information and knowledge towards the creation of the information and knowledge-based society in the region." The delegates met to take stock of the current regional ICT initiatives, such as the Tokyo Declaration (2003) and the Bishkek Declaration, and to translate them into a regional "roadmap" with achievable benchmarks that will ultimately bridge the digital divide. Key recommendations include; promoting private sector investment in ICT development, establishing technology training for the workforce, and using ICT in delivering public services like health and education. The delegates were also concerned with boosting public confidence in ICT by creating comprehensive data and information security, and encouraging ICT competition in developing countries. The Expert Group Meeting on Regional Roadmap towards Information Society for Asia and the Pacific and Fifth Regional Interagency Working Group Meeting on ICT was part of the preparatory process ahead of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in December 2003, and Tunis in November 2005.

From http://www.unescap.org/ 08/14/2003

APEC E-commerce Expo Rescheduled for Next June

The APEC e-commerce exposition, first scheduled for April but postponed because of SARS, has been rescheduled in the seaside city of Yantai, east China's Shandong Province, for June 15 to 19, next year, as approved by the APEC trade ministers' meeting and the Chinese government. Officials of the organizing committee said the exposition was the first major event in e-commerce sponsored by the Asian and Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). The expo would feature the theme, "Digital APEC embracing tomorrow", and would 2003-10-29show the latest developments of IT industries of APEC members and e-commerce modes. The event would also help promote investment and cooperation in e-commerce and raise e-commerce development among small and medium-sized enterprises, said officials. The expo will be jointly sponsored by APEC, China's Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Information Industry, and the People's Government of Shandong Province.

From Xinhua News Agency 09/01/2003

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NATO Seminar on Network Strategies Opened in Baku

The third seminar on network strategies of Association of Networks of Central and Western Europe (CEENet) within the framework of NATO modern networks seminar has started today in Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences. The seminar is organized by NATO scientific program, UNDP, Association of Networks of Central and Western Europe (CEENet), Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, Association of Scientific and Educational Networks (AZRENA) and Open Society Institute - Fund of Assistance (OSI). The goal of the seminar is to expand integration of various network strategies both at national and international levels. Makhmud Kerimov, President of Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, said while opening the seminar that integration of Azerbaijani information and communication technologies into the world network will be assessed at the forum. Effective operation of State Network of Science, Technique and Regional Cooperation, internet formation in Azerbaijan and other issues will be discussed at the seminar as well. Walter Kaffenberg, representative of NATO scientific program, said about 70 participants from almost 30 world countries take part at the seminar. NATO supports IT development in Azerbaijan and the seminar is very important for NATO's scientific program in the region. Ziyafat Askerov, Milli Mejlis deputy chairman, Fatma Abdullazade, chief of presidential administration's department, Walter Kaffenberg, representative of NATO's scientific program, Jean Gruntorad, representative of CEENet, Ambassadors of Italy, Turkey and Poland as well as representatives of UNDP, Open Society Institute and other international organizations, local NGOs, private and state sector take part at the seminar. The seminar will continue in international tourism centre Ganjlik, Baku, Zagulba district, and conclude on September 30.

From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 09/27/2003

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60 Companies from 15 World Countries to Take Part at Bakutel-2003 Exhibition

Azerbaijan international exhibition BakuTel-2003 organized by international exhibition company ITU Group PLS and its exclusive partner in Azerbaijan Iteca Caspian will take place in Baku from October 1 to 3. About 60 companies from 15 world countries, including Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, Finland, Israel, U.S., Lithuania and others, have applied to-date for participation at the exhibition. Among them there are AdaNet, AgilentTechnologies, Applied Techs Ltd, AzEuroTel, AzTelecom, Advantek, =esfibel, Elettronica, Siemens, Smart Systems Technology, IskraTel, Samara Cable, Nokia, Intersputnik, Elcon Systemtechnik, ECI Telecom, CEN Group, Rohde&Schwarz, Comarcom, Elektronika, Satis, Telesis, Telpas, Eutelsat, Istinad, Goodwin, Inform Elektronik, Delta Telekom, CATEL and others. The exhibition will be held with support of Ministry of Communication and Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Experts of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will take part at the exhibition.

From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 10/08/2003

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Global IT Outsourcing Summit 2003 to Hold in Shanghai

The first Global IT Outsourcing Summit 2003 will kick off in Shanghai on October 14 and 15, and nearly 100 software companies from home and abroad signed up for the summit to date. The summit, organized by Shanghai Municipal Foreign Economic Relations & Trade Commission and Informatization Office of Shanghai Municipal Government, aims to encourage more domestic software firms to tap the global market through international cooperation. Shanghai's focus on informatizing development has boosted the local software industry, with export volumes of software reaching US$175 million last year, topping the list nationwide. There were 1,207 software firms in the city by the end of last year, with annual business volumes of 11.7 billion yuan. Shanghai has currently boasted Pudong Software Park, Southwest Software Park, and seven district-level software bases, and is preparing to build a new domestic software export base. Most software exports of the city last year were contracted projects from overseas. Japan-based NEC and Fujitsu have established software contract centers in Shanghai to subcontract software export projects to Chinese companies. Microsoft, HP and Ericsson have established global software research and development centers in Shanghai, and renowned Indian software firms such as NIIT, TATA and Infosys also launched operations in the city. The Langchao Group, one of the earliest domestic enterprises engaged in information industry, announced recently to put Shanghai as its new business center to expand its operations. "China only exported US$1.5 billion in software last year, far lagging behind India and Ireland," said Wang Xingshan, president with Langchao Group. Indian software industry, keen on exports, largely depends on the global market, while Chinese software firms are supported by local market, Wang said. "More multinational companies have entered the city to seek cooperation with local software firms, which provide domestic software firms a good opportunity to tap the overseas market," he added.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 10/13/2003

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China to Host Second International E-government Conference

China's second international conference on e-government technology will open in Shanghai from Dec. 17 to 20, with an expected 100,000 people visiting, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced here Tuesday. The meeting, initiated by the CAS, will be co-sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Shanghai municipal government, the China Association for Science and Technology, and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The organizers said the meeting would include two exhibitions, and six forums and special programs. The forums will cover planning for China's e-government development, international exchange of e-government technology, e-government safety, infrastructure construction, sharing of government information, and construction of digitized cities. Hundreds of government organizations from over 20 Chinese provinces and regions have applied to attend. More than 80,000 people have applied for tickets by accessing the conference website. Leading IT suppliers, such as IBM, Microsoft and Founder, will attend. The organizers said e-government technology in China had seen great progress with planning policies and projects launched in recent years. It is estimated that China will invest more than 25 million yuan (3 million US dollars) annually in e-government construction in coming years. The 1st e-government conference was held in Beijing last year. The official website is www.egovchina.org.

From CRI 10/14/2003

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CHINA: HK Government Committed to Enhancing E-Security

The Government has been actively promoting e-business in the community. Through the implementation of the e-government programme and enhancements to the information and communication technologies infrastructure, it has progressively established a reliable and secure environment that inspires public confidence in electronic transactions. At the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Forum, the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong, said today (September 15) that Government had launched a number of initiatives to enhance Hong Kong's e-security infrastructure and facilities. These included the enactment of the Electronic Transactions Ordinance in January 2000 that provides a legal framework for the conduct of e-business. Under the ordinance, electronic records and digital signatures are given the same legal status as of paper-based documents. It also provides the basis for PKI to develop in Hong Kong. Mr Wong said that Government had been playing a leading role in the adoption of the PKI for nearly a decade. He cited a number of examples of government projects to make his point. The Community Electronic Trading System was launched in 1997 for processing online trade-related documents including import and export declarations, certificates of origin and cargo manifests over an electronic data interchange platform. To secure the data exchange and payment transactions, the system uses PKI technology. Today, there are some 53,800 companies participating in the system, generating more than 51,000 transactions per day and 17 million documents annually. Mr Wong said plans were in hand for a second service provider to offer front-end electronic trading services from next year. The new service will be Internet-based and PKI will be employed to secure the electronic transactions. Another well-known example of PKI adoption is the Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) scheme under the e-government programme. Digital certificates are employed to ensure confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation for transactions requiring a higher level of security. Since its launch in December 2000, over 3.9 million transactions have been performed through the ESD scheme. The public can access about 170 services offered by 50 government departments or public agencies. Under the Electronic Tendering System, another e-government initiative, PKI technology is used for signing and encrypting documents for companies to submit tender proposals to the government electronically. Mr Wong said the Government played an active role in promoting standardisation on the adoption of technologies, including PKI. Hong Kong has participated in international forums, such as the e-Security Task Group of the APEC. The e-security infrastructure that the Government has built has helped create opportunities for the local IT industry. It has also provided the stimulus for tertiary research and development projects on security-related items. On one occasion, this has led to the establishment of a local company providing commercial security solutions to the community. The Smart ID Card employs sophisticated cryptographic techniques to protect user data, ensuring that it cannot be fraudulently altered or accessed by unauthorised parties. Its successful launch has provided a technology platform for future applications. Mr Wong said that the Smart ID Card would inspire the industry to develop applications, products and solutions based on the chip embedded in the card that employed PKI technologies. The Smart ID Card provides a secure platform to facilitate the development of e-government and e-business. It has great potential and will create business opportunities for service providers, software vendors and developers involved in the adoption of PKI and PKI-enabled solutions.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 09/15/2003

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Hong Kong Gov't Promoting Open Source Software

Wider product choices brought by open source software has been welcomed by the Government. Speaking at the launch of the Linux Business Adoption Campaign, which aims to encourage the use of open source software in Hong Kong, Director of Information Technology Services Alan Wong said the administration will adopt the software as much as possible. Jointly organised by the Information Technology Services Department, the HK Productivity Council and the HK Linux Industry Association, the campaign will deliver a range of activities from September to December, including seminars and a Linux Business Adoption Award. Mr. Wong said the campaign aimed to provide information and tips on best practices in deploying applications on open source platforms. "The Government has no preference for particular brands or technologies," Mr Wong said. "In selecting software, criteria such as function, security, system compatibility, technical support and cost-effectiveness will be taken into consideration. "We actively promote the adoption of open source technology among Government departments and the private sector. In compliance with the procurement regulations, vendors are encouraged to introduce their products to the departments." To provide support to small and medium enterprises in adopting open source software, $890,000 was provided by the SME Development Fund to establish a Linux Resource Centre in July. Concurrently, the IT Easy Link has extended its service to provide a free hotline and face-to-face consultations for SMEs that encounter problems in adopting information technology applications, including the use of open source software. The Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau, the Information Technology Services Department and the HK Computer Society first launched the service in June last year. "I hope this Linux Business Adoption Campaign will encourage the adoption of innovative information technology and provide a wider choice of software for the Government, enterprises and in particular SMEs," Mr. Wong said.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 09/16/2003

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Hong Kong: Gov't Promotes IT Use to Boost Productivity

Adopting information technology can enhance business productivity, the Director of Information Technology Services says. That's why the Government is establishing secure IT infrastructure and developing more electronic applications. Speaking to business executives at the CEOs' Congress this afternoon, Alan Wong said the Government was committed to using IT to support the development of industry and commerce. Following the launch of the Digital 21 Strategy in 1998 and Hong Kong's progress in building IT infrastructure, business and public confidence in conducting online transactions has increased.

More appplication systems come onstream

To inspire local businesses to adopt IT, the Government has invested significantly in making more application systems available. "Among them, the Electronic Tendering System launched in April 2000 has brought efficiency and convenience to both the Government and our suppliers," Mr Wong said, adding that the aim is to conduct 83% of government tenders electronically by the end of this year. He also described the Digital Trade & Transportation Network that will provide an open and neutral electronic platform for exchanges among logistics players in the supply chain.

Small businesses have IT funding options

Turning to financial support for the industry, he said the Government had launched the SME Funding Schemes to help local firms rise to new challenges and seize the opportunities created by the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. Companies can apply for funds to finance their IT-related projects. The Hong Kong Article Numbering Association has received a subsidy to launch the SME Ambassador Program, which aims to help local enterprises build fundamental e-business facilities. Other examples include granting funds to optical and jewellery manufacturers to use the Internet and advanced graphics processing technology to promote their products overseas, Mr Wong said.

Services aid in adopting IT

Through several departments and support organisations, the Government also provides services to enable local enterprises to take advantage of innovation and technology. In 2002 about 40% of manufacturers used personal computers and 31% of them had Internet connections, Mr Wong said, noting that there was still room for the industry to employ IT to boost competitiveness. The use of IT not only improves product development and design, production technology and market promotion, but also shortens the product development cycle and reduces "time to market".

Solutions aim to make business more effective

Today companies can choose from a computer solutions such as enterprise resources planning and supply chain management, to best suit their business needs. Such solutions enable them to conduct more effectively the bill of materials, job scheduling, cost and inventory control, capacity planning and delivery tracking. Companies can use computer systems to source business partners in the supply chain. Advances in communication technologies help to strengthen internal and external communication, as well as streamline the production cycle. "To survive in the competitive market, companies must draw on IT to improve their productivity, management and service quality," Mr Wong concluded.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 10/16/2003

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JAPAN: Partial Amendment of Regulations on Licensing Procedures for Radio Stations

The MPHPT today submitted an inquiry to the Radio Regulatory Council (chaired by Professor YASUDA Yasuhiko, Waseda University) concerning a draft partial amendment of the regulations on licensing procedures for radio stations (Radio Regulatory Council regulations No. 15, 1950), and received a response that this was appropriate as per the original draft. The MPHPT will take the report on this matter into consideration, and plans to enact this ministerial announcement on October 1, 2003.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 09/03/2003

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46 Projects Selected for the Fiscal 2003 R&D Support Scheme for Funding Selected IT Proposals

The MPHPT, in looking at the projects submitted for the fiscal 2003 Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Scheme has taken into account the results of evaluation by committees set up for each program (operating from August 26 to September 5). Decisions have been taken as follows. Three programs (Top priority Research and Development to be focused, Research and Development for Fostering Researchers, and Research and Development Aimed at Acquiring for International Technical Standardization) for a total of 46 research and development projects were selected.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 09/12/2003

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Amendment in Softbank BB's Business Restructuring Plan Based on Industrial Revitalization Law

The MPHPT today authorized the amendment to Softbank BB's Business Restructuring Plan that was requested by the company, based on article 4-1 of the Law on Special Measures for Industrial Revitalization (Industrial Revitalization Law).

Outline of Amendment:

Planning for an improvement, through the use of debt-equity swaps*, in financial constitution, with a reduction in interest-bearing debt and debt-equity ratio, and an increase in equity ratio along with a reduction in interest payments, and an additional capital increase of 70 billion yen (of which 35 billion yen will be recapitalized), in order to plan for an expansion in broadband infrastructure business which is the company's core business.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 10/17/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Ministry to Expand IT Education Program for Disadvantaged

The Ministry of Planning and Budget (MOPB) is seeking to expand IT education programs for disadvantaged citizens. The move comes after a review of the status of national projects revealed there has not been sufficient IT training programs for the disadvantaged group of citizens, including the elderly and the disabled. The programs for the disadvantaged will likely be provided through paid-visits and online Internet courses. For eligible individuals who complete the courses, the ministry will further assist in their efforts to obtain IT licenses and attain jobs. While expanding programs for the underprivileged, the ministry added, it plans to gradually reduce the overall volume of government IT education projects by integrating the training programs that are currently being conducted by individual ministries.

From http://www.korea.net/ 09/05/2003

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Ministry to Raise SK Telecom Service Fees

Information and Communi-cation Minister Chin Dae-je said yesterday that he would introduce a new policy charging SK Telecom, the country`s largest mobile carrier, more for network usage as part of efforts to help smaller carriers stay competitive. In a regular monthly briefing Minister Chin said the policy, to be implemented within this year, is aimed at spurring competition in the mobile market, referring to the lopsided structure in which SK Telecom continues to dominate over KTF and LG Telecom. Chin also said the ministry would map out a specific plan to license the 2.3 GHz mobile Internet spectrum for wireless Internet services. In addition, the ministry is reviewing the possibility of utilizing the IMT-2000 Time Division Duplex spectrum, which is not actively being used by carriers, for 2.3 GHz services. By allocating the IMT-2000 TDD spectrum to 2.3 GHz services, the ministry expects to increase the number of potential licensees to four, up from the current two. The so-called next-generation mobile Internet based on 2.3 GHz technology will be commercialized in 2005. But Chin`s policy to help out smaller carriers is likely to spark protest from SK Telecom. The Information Ministry already approved measures, such as number portability, that would benefit KTF and LG Telecom. The heavier network usage fee is expected to deal another blow to SK Telecom, particularly at a time when analysts are issuing negative ratings on the company in connection with its move to enter the fixed-line telecom business. Tuesday, SK Telecom bought commercial paper issued by Hanaro Telecom Inc., a move that it hopes will lead to a foreign capital injection for the beleaguered firm. But speculation is that SK Telecom is interested in entering the broadband and fixed-line fields in order to better compete with KT Corp., which controls the country`s fixed-line network and the No. 2 wireless carrier KTF. Minister Chin said he is reviewing IMT-2000 1x EV-DV technology, which is regarded as three-and-a-half generation technology compared with the third generation mobile service, EV-DO, that is widely available in Korea already. He said the ministry might adopt EV-DV and HSDPA, an upgrade of W-CDMA 3G technology, as local standards. SK Telecom and KTF are scheduled to roll out W-CDMA 3G services later this year, though critics and analysts say investment in the network infrastructure overlaps with the existing EV-DO network. As for the fledgling satellite IMT-2000 technology, Chin revealed a plan to forge strategic partnership with European countries. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 09/05/2003

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Ministry to Launch Cable-Based Broadband

The Korean government said yesterday it will help build a new digital broadband network utilizing the country`s cable network by 2007, a move that is expected to solidify the positions of local cable TV network operators. The Ministry of Information and Communication said the new measure will help transform the existing analog cable TV infrastructure into a digital one, paving the way for a new services that could offer 100 Mbps-class data transmission, or about 100 times faster than today`s digital subscriber line. Korea is the world`s most wired nation, with more than 11 million households hooked up to high-speed Internet networks. The domestic cable industry expects the Information Ministry`s initiative to infuse fresh momentum into local operators, many of which are struggling to bolster profitability. The industry has long suffered a slump due partly to over-competition among local cable TV network operators.

From The Korea Herald 09/15/2003

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TAJIKSTAN: President Affirms Support for Independent Media, But Doubts Remain

PRAGUE.Important steps were taken last week to broaden access to information in Tajikistan. A private broadcasting company is now offering 12 television channels in Dushanbe. The independent news agency Asia Plus has also announced it has received rights to broadcast in the capital -- permission it had sought for four years. RFE/RL reports, however, that despite such positive developments, the power of the state body that grants broadcasting licenses remains firmly in place. Residents of the Tajik capital Dushanbe currently have no real options for tuning into independent television and radio broadcasting. Although Tajikistan has 15 independent television stations and one independent radio station, their range is limited and their audiences small. In Dushanbe, only state-run and pro-government stations are currently operating. Tajik authorities routinely deny broadcasting licenses to independent television and radio stations -- a practice that has drawn fire from media-freedom advocates. But the system is beginning to change. Most recently, a private broadcaster last week began providing nonstate programming to the Tajik capital. The company, TV Service, holds broadcasting rights for a total of 12 channels featuring sports, feature films, cartoons, and musical programs in Russian, English, and Hindi. Vadim Engelhard, the financial officer for TV Service, told RFE/RL his company holds the license to 10 foreign channels -- eight of which are Russian -- and two local channels. "Currently our company has access to 12 channels, and our general director is trying to reach an agreement with the Fox Kids channel. We will not translate anything: We will rebroadcast programs as they are. The fees for the use of the channels for six months are $10, which means that we offer a discount of $2. The monthly fee is in fact $2," Engelhard said. The arrival of TV Service in the capital appears to signal a softening stance by the Tajik government on the independent mass media. President Imomali Rakhmonov went one step further in remarks last week, stating that without a strong, professional, and independent media there is no possibility of establishing a law-based government. Rakhmonov made his statement after a meeting with Umed Bobkhonov, the director of the independent Asia Plus news agency. Asia Plus had tried for four years with no success to obtain a broadcasting license from the State Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting. During the meeting with Rakhmonov, Bobkhonov discussed the committee's failure to grant Asia Plus the right to provide independent radio broadcasting in the capital city. "First of all, we asked the president why Asia Plus has not been able to get a license to broadcast since 1998. We told him that we have followed all proper legal procedures and that we are just waiting for the permission from the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting to broadcast. The president expressed his opinion about the situation of the Tajik press, adding that there should be independent media in the capital. The president promised that he would tell the committee to give a license to Asia Plus in the coming days," Bobkhonov said. Bobkhonov said three weeks after it was once again refused a radio license, Asia Plus received a promise from Rakhmonov that his news agency will be able to begin radio broadcasts on 9 September. Asia Plus started six years ago as a news agency, and began publishing a weekly paper about two years ago. This year, the media outlet launched a television production house, which is also encountering problems. Marat Mamadshoev, a commentator at the Asia Plus weekly, said the internal situation in Tajikistan has improvedsince the end of the 1992-1997 civil war. This in turn has allowed the government to gradually address other problems, such as the lack of free mass media. Mamadshoev added that he wants to believe the recent Asia Plus and TV Service decisions are part of a new policy of liberalization on the part of Tajik authorities, who he said are facing increasing "international pressure." Rashid Ghani, an independent political researcher in Tajikistan, agrees. He said that regardless of the government's motivation in extending the new broadcasting licenses, the change marks an important step for Tajik society. "The reasons behind [the president's] decision are not important. This is happening, and it is important for us. This is a positive step, and I think it should be supported. It means that the government is paying attention to the situation and the status of the press in the current democratic process," Ghani said. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists cautiously welcomed Rakhmonov's decision. In a statement, Executive Director Ann Cooper called the move a "positive sign," and called on the Tajik government to "follow up its words with action." According to many observers, the still relatively unchecked power of the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting still raises concerns about the real intentions of Rakhmonov's regime. The state body, they argue, fears the emergence of competitors and will fight to maintain a monopoly in the field. Junaidulloh Ibodov, a Tajik lawyer, is critical of the television and radio committee's hold on power. He told RFE/RL that Rakhmonov's recent intervention in the affairs of Asia Plus should not be the sole solution to problems in a country that claims to abide by its laws. "I do not think that this [decision to allow Asia Plus to broadcast in Dushanbe] is going to be a systematic trend and that similar problems will have a similar positive development, because the interference of the president to get permission for Asia Plus is an exception. This should not be the case. Laws should be implemented, not the decision of a high-ranking official," Ibodov said. The main problem, Ibodov argued, remains that the existing media law gives full authority to the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting to deal with the question of licensing. He proposed an alternative to this state body. "We have to create a special public and state board to deal with the issuing of licenses under the conditions of competition. This cannot be a purely government body. And this cannot be the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting because it is not interested in having competition with private nongovernment broadcasters," Ibodov said. But Muhammad Goibov, deputy director of the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting, denies the argument that his organization has put a stranglehold on media development in Tajikistan. The committee, he said, is an independent organization that is seeking to ensure "professionalism" in the Tajik media. "Here in this committee there are members of other commissions. There are people from the Communications Ministry, there are representatives from nongovernmental organizations, from associations, and from the capital-city television channel," Goibov said. Nevertheless, observers point out that the issuing of a radio license to Asia Plus is partly due to international pressure. The final rejection by the Committee on Television and Radio Broadcasting to issue a license last month raised considerable local and international concern. The committee at the time said a private alternative to state-run radio in Dushanbe was "unnecessary." In May 2001, the committee adopted a regulation permitting a license to be refused on this basis alone. The National Association for Independent Media in Tajikistan has called such reasoning an attack on freedom of speech. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) representative on freedom and media, Freimut Duve, said the committee's argument is not compelling in light of the standards and commitments Tajikistan has undertaken to follow as a participating state of the OSCE. As early as June, international and local critics won a small but significant victory, when a criminal case against Dododzhon Atovulloev, editor of the opposition "Charogi ruz" newspaper, was closed. Atovulloev fled in exile to Germany in May 2001 after being accused of attempting to overthrow the state with the critical reporting in his newspaper. This, a spokesperson for the Internews media support group said, was "the first time that the Tajik government felt intense pressure." (by Antoine Blua)

From http://www.times.kg/ 08/06/2003

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Slow Pace of Computerization Criticized

Criticism of the slow pace of computerization and Internet use in Uzbek government agencies was heard at a session of the Uzbek government's Coordination Council on Computerization and Information-Communication Technologies, centrasia.ru reported on 11 August, quoting UzA. The date of the council session was not given. According to the report, government agencies were scolded for not developing their own websites and for not making their websites attractive or interesting or informing website visitors what services the agency provides. In addition, the level of computer literacy was described as unsatisfactory in some agencies. UzA noted that as of 1 August, the estimated number of Internet users in Uzbekistan had risen to 353,100, up from 275,000 at the beginning of 2003 and 137,000 in 2001. There are reported to be 186 Internet providers in Uzbekistan, up from 130 at the beginning of the year, but most are located in Tashkent. BB (by Edward Weihman)

From http://www.eurasianet.org/ 08/11/2003

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UZBEKISTAN: Draft Bill "On Electronic Digital Signature" Published

Draft bill "On electronic digital signature" was published for national discussion. The draft bill was approved in the first reading of the last session of Oliy Majlis (Uzbek Parliament) held on 29-30 August 2003. The parliamentary committee on issues of industry, construction, transport and communication jointly with interested ministries and departments is entrusted to generalise received proposals and submit the bill for consideration of legislators. The bill establishes that digital signature on electronic documents is acknowledged upon receipt of a special close electronic key, allowing to identify its owner, integrity and invariability of the document. The approved draft consists of 21 articles, which stipulate norms providing acknowledgement of equivalence of digital and paper signature at simultaneous observance of conditions established by the law. In order to create an electronic digital signature, closed keys known only to the signing person are created, as well as open keys - for check-up of authenticity of the signature, which should be known to the information system user. In line with the bill, close and open keys of electronic digital signature can be created by legal and physical entities or on their forms of address by registration centres. At that, however, it is necessary to use only certified technical and programme means. The bill puts certain obligations on the closed key owner, such as ensuring appropriate control over the use of key and prior measures in case of breaking its access mode. Moreover, the closed key owner is responsible for losses caused by unauthorised use through non-execution of obligations established by the law. The bill emphasises the legal status and authorities of centres for registration of electronic digital signature keys. They should render assistance to closed key owners and all their clientele and should serve as a main link in creating and using the electronic digital signature.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 10/01/2003

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MALAYSIA: Minister Issues Malaysia's ICT Report Card

Malaysia ICT Week 2003 kicked off Tuesday at the Mines Resort City here with Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie delivering a "report card" on the local industry's progress and achievements so far. He also laid out plans to promote and enable the greater penetration and usage of ICT among Malaysians, with greater access to communication services under new Universal Service Provision (USP) regulations, as well as the expansion of the Internet Desa and Kedai.com programmes. Malaysia was a leading country among its Asean neighbours, he said, with an Internet penetration rate of about 33%, based on the country's 2.6 million dialup Internet subscribers and an estimated 7.8 million users as at the end of last year. "According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Sweden, Iceland and Denmark lead the world with 60% Internet penetration," Moggie said. "Connectivity is a prerequisite for any country wanting to keep up with the pace of development in the new economy," he added. Over the past three years, the local communications and multimedia industry grew 10% annually on average, while the number of cellular subscribers grew 25% year-on-year from 5.1million in 2000 to 9.9 million in June this year. The number of Internet dialup subscribers grew 61% from 1.6mil in 2000 to 2.6 million as of June. Moggie also noted that while 1.2 billion people worldwide had to survive on the equivalent of US$1 (RM3.80) per day, at the other extreme developing nations were venturing into next generation technologies like super networks with 10,000 times faster processing speeds and 30,000 times greater capacity than the existing Internet. This would have implications on the global trading environment that could place developing nations at an unfair trading advantage and further intensify unfair trading practices, he claimed. He also called upon Malaysia's policy makers and network providers to examine the actual changes brought about by new regulatory mechanisms like the 1998 Communications and Multimedia Act, which are not only technology-neutral but are also based on the principle that competition will lead to greater efficiency. "As policy makers and network providers, it is important to ask ourselves how far these changes have brought real and tangible benefits to the people," Moggie said. The minister noted that many new Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers have sprouted across the nation to offer consumers more varied and affordable choices for making trunk and international calls, and value-added services. Some of the licensed last-mile service providers are now rolling out last-mile access over wireless connections, and there has been a sudden increase of interest among local entrepreneurs to build network facilities based on wireless technologies, he said, attributing this to pent-up demand for broadband services. He however cautioned entrepreneurs to avoid the mistakes of the 1990s, like "over-investing" in network infrastructure which led to an excess of unused capacity. "Rather than flocking into network facilities development, budding technopreneurs should move aggressively into applications and content development," Moggie said. For instance, many software companies have benefited from the pervasive use of ICT in the banking and financial sectors, and there's an enormous untapped potential in the retail, healthcare, transport and hospitality sectors. Moggie said he expects strong growth in demand for network integration services to enable the interoperability of mobile, fixed, wireless LAN (local area network) and other networks. "In addition, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also been asked to introduce mandatory standards for access, to facilitate maximum use of existing copper and fibre networks," he said. Meanwhile, the number of satellite TV subscribers passed the one million mark at the end of last year, compared to 561,000 in 2000, while a new free-to-air TV station -- Channel 9 -- will be starting up soon. Channel 8 (formerly Metrovision) will resume service by the end of the year. However Moggie lamented the fact that the proportion of local broadcast content was "unacceptably low" and called upon all players in the content industry to address this issue. The minister noted that much still needs to be done to bridge the nation's digital divide, the socioeconomic gap between those with access to ICT and those without. He said that connecting households without basic communication service required faster deployment. Towards this end, regulations governing the USP will be amended to provide greater flexibility in its implementation and enable faster rollout of services. These amendments will simplify administrative processes for implementing USP programmes, be open to all licensees and not just network facility providers, and will also let them freely choose the technology to be implemented. All licensees make an annual contribution towards the USP Fund managed by the MCMC, and the fund today stands at RM400mil. Moggie urged the MCMC to deploy the fund quickly and where appropriate, to reduce or eliminate any red tape "which delays or hinders the implementation of projects under the USP programme." Moggie pledged that at the same time his ministry and the MCMC will continue to play their part through projects like setting up Internet Desa (rural Internet) centres and Kedai.com programmes designed to bring network access to people in rural and marginalised areas. About 40 more Internet Desa telecentres will be added to bring their total to 56 nationwide, while the number of Kedai.coms will be increased from the present 15 to 133 by the end of the year. Kedai.coms are "mini-cybercafes" comprising up to five PCs and two public payphones communicating wirelessly over a VSAT (very small aperture terminal). The MCMC pays for the equipment and operational costs for one year out of its own funds, while the local community provides the premises and furniture, and pays for the electricity. Various voluntary bodies train the local community in using the facilities. Malaysia ICT Week 2003 also included the two-day MSC ICT Policy Summit which had the theme A Roadmap to Global Competitiveness, Puspanita's one-day seminar on how women can work from home using ICT, and a one-day National E-Security Seminar. There were also three concurrent exhibitions -- Asean Communications and Multimedia 2003 Expo and Forum, MSC Expo 2003 and National E-Commerce Expo. ICT Week culminated with the seventh annual meeting of the Multimedia Super Corridor's International Advisory Panel (IAP) in Cyberjaya on Thursday. (By Charles F. Moreira)

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 09/05/2003

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EDS, Opsware Propose Open Standard for Utility Computing

About 25 technology companies are backing a new language to simplify computing for corporations and make it easier and cheaper for data centres to exchange information. The open standard, called Data Centre Markup Language or DCML, is designed to boost so-called utility computing and will be ready early next year, officials said. Electronic Data Systems Corp and software company Opsware Inc proposed the new industrywide standard Tuesday in Boston. Supporters include Computer Associates International Inc, BEA Systems and Akamai Technologies Inc. The standard would allow companies to automate more of the functions of running computer systems that use incompatible equipment and software from different vendors. Marc Andreessen, the chairman of Opsware and co-founder of Web browser pioneer Netscape Communications, compared the proposed standard to the advent of HTML for Web browsers, which standardised making content in different formats readily available on the Internet. "The role that a standard can play is really fundamental," he said. "Standards have always accelerated adoption" of new technology. In recent years, many companies have shifted their data centres to Internet-based systems, causing an explosion in demand for servers and software - often from several different vendors. Companies have hired huge information-technology staff to handle their increasingly complex data-centre operations and other management and technology systems that often can't talk to each other. EDS vice-chairman Jeff Heller said the standard would help meet demands from corporate and government customers to operate their call centres faster, better and cheaper. EDS also hopes the standard will give it more leverage to challenge IBM, which encourages customers to buy their equipment from one vendor. Heller said an open standard for running data centres would mean customers wouldn't have to do that, and added that the open standard "will be very helpful in our struggle with IBM." IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems are pushing their own, closed-end initiatives to automate data centre operations. Donna Scott, an analyst with research firm Gartner, said freer exchange of information between data centres is needed for utility computing to deliver on its promise of better service and reduced costs. Without something like the new markup language, information-technology operations will continue to struggle and managing them will remain very labour-intensive, she said. Opsware, formerly known as Loudcloud Inc, makes software for corporate information-technology departments. EDS, based near Dallas, bought Opsware's online services business. EDS runs computer systems and call centres for corporate and government customers.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 10/15/2003

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National Broadband Plan

The National Broadband Plan, an initiative by the Government to promote a knowledge-based society, will begin its first phase of implementation next year, initially leveraging existing community initiatives. Secretary-general of the Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry, Datuk Dr Halim Shafie, said the communities will include government departments at federal, state and district levels which will be linked through the Government Integrated Telecommunications Network (GITN) and E-government Net. The first phase will also involve a group of 10,000 schools, to be connected under the SchoolNet project, scheduled for launch next month. Another group, Halim said, will be made up of local universities and research institutions, and they will be linked via the Malaysia Research and Education Network (MyREN), a high-speed private network. The aim is to initiate growth and encourage collaborative partnership projects for research and development. It will be integrated with other regional and international research and education networks,?he told Computimes in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. Other communities identified under the National Broadband Plan include the trade and customs facilities community connected under the Dagang Net project, and hospitals and clinics, which will be linked through the Telehealth Network. According to Halim, all users under these selected community initiatives are expected to be linked to a broadband network by end of next year. Meanwhile, the general public can also expect to benefit from improved broadband services now available via the asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL), wireless local area network (WLAN) or wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), and integrated service digital network (ISDN), he said. Halim said a Government-backed push for broadband in the country will drive service providers to improve on broadband infrastructure and services to cater to a growing demand of the service. He added that the reduction of broadband Internet access charges for commercial and residential users by Telekom Malaysia has created a surge in demand for this service and thus the service provider, as a business entity, must be able to respond accordingly to market changes. Apart from leveraging existing Government-led initiatives, the National Broadband Plan will also look into improvements and upgrades in terms of broadband infrastructure and systems. It is a moving plan, and the strategy beyond 2004 will be based on demand. For example, when there is a requirement that the communities be linked to one another, then they will. Hence, it is important that private networks linking users within the selected communities share a common infrastructure,?Halim said. He added that as it is the Government's aim to empower the society, broadband access would eventually reach the whole nation, even rural areas. The local penetration of broadband, defined as communications technology such as DSL, direct broadcast satellite and third-generation cellular phones that can provide support for fast and always-on access to a range of communications services and applications, is still low compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Halim said. Yet such a network is needed to accelerate transformation into a k-based society and economy, he said, adding that last year Malaysia's broadband penetration rate was 0.08 per cent compared to Singapore at 6.13 per cent and South Korea at 19.29 per cent.

From http://www.ctimes.com.my/ 10/23/2003

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THAILAND: Bangkok, Seoul Team Up on ICT

Thailand will sign a memorandum of understanding with South Korea next week to promote collaboration in the field of information and communications technology (ICT). Under the government's plan approved by the Cabinet yesterday, ICT Minister Surapong Suebwonglee will ink the accord during the visit of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his delegation to South Korea from August 24-26. The initiative to work together in the ICT arena on e-government projects, e-education, e-procurement and software development is in line with the Thaksin government's policy to enhance the country's global competitive edge through ICT capacity-building. The parties will help develop ICT human resources and telecom standards as well as set up a joint committee to implement the agreement and review its progress. The pact will last for five years and be automatically extended every five years. Earlier Surapong said Thailand wanted to learn much more from South Korea, especially about the broadband Internet industry. South Korea has the largest broadband Internet market in the world. Broadband Net service in the Kingdom is still in the nascent stage due to high service charges, with only around 8,000 users. But rapid adoption is expected to bring the figure up to 20,000 next year. Surapong has already visited Ireland and Finland to seek closer ICT ties. A plan emerged from the discussion with Finland to establish a joint IT fund to invest in budding projects here and abroad. The premier visited Malaysia last month to improve trade and ICT coordination.

From http:///ww.nationmultimedia.com/ 08/20/2003

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VIETNAM: Strategy Ushers in IT Competition

Viet Nam will open up its market to encourage all economic sectors to take part in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry to raise the efficiency and competitiveness of the computing sector, participants in a seminar on national ICT policy said on Tuesday. The draft was made known at the two-day seminar Paving the Road towards Viet Nam's ICT Strategy, which focuses on infrastructure and industry development. It is the second of a series organised by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommications with UNDP assistance. The seminar brings policy makers, donors and the private sector together to work out Viet Nam's first comprehensive plan for developing its ICT industry. The seminars are part of the National Consultations on Information and Communication Technology for Development project, conducted with UNDP assistance. Participants said that Viet Nam will become a promising market for information technology, possibly one of the top three countries among ASEAN in terms of IT and telecommunications infrastructure. The domestic ICT industry will reach US$5.5 billion by 2010, accounting for 9 per cent of gross domestic product up from the current 1.5 per cent, participants said. The project is in line with the International Telecommunications Union's 2002 country study, which reported that Viet Nam has one of the fastest growing telecommunications infrastructures in the developing world and the fastest growing telecommunications market in Southeast Asia. The annual growth rate in telecommunications and internet use in Viet Nam between 1995 and 2002 is 32.5 per cent, according to the union. The study reported that the total number of desk telephone subscribers as of August 2003 reached 6.4 million, increasing annually by around 30 per cent. The telephone density is now 8 per 100 people. Also, mobile phone networks reached all 61 cities and provinces in 2002. The total number of mobile phone subscribers is about 1.9 million with the rate of 2.5 phones per 100 people. New services and value added services in both desk telephone and mobile phone are also increasing, the study found. The strategy's four focus areas will be upgrading Viet Nam's IT infrastructure, developing human resources, improving IT applications and strengthening the domestic IT industry. Deputy Minister of Posts and Telematics Mai Liem Truc said that ICT was one of the centrepieces in the implementation of the Government's decade-long development strategy. He continued, saying that directive 58 of the Party Politburo recognises ICT as a pillar in the country's infrastructure and one of the driving forces of economic growth. UNDP Resident Representative Jordan Ryan welcomed this move to open up the IT market, saying, "Viet Nam has several distinct advantages in developing its ICT industry. These include a young and skilled, hard working labour force and a leadership determined to develop its industry."

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 08/20/2003

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Experts Plot Future of IT in Viet Nam

More than 500 delegates, including Government officials, specialists, managers and business representatives around the country, are participating in a three-day seminar that began on Wednesday on the development of the IT and communication sector towards 2020. "The seminar will contribute to a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the Politburo's instruction on speeding up IT development in the cause of industrialisation and modernisation between 2001 and 2005," said Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem at the opening session of the seminar, the first of its kind in the country. The official noted that IT development promotes innovation, rapid growth and modernisation, and enhances the competitiveness of businesses. It also supports economic accession into the world's economy, improving citizens' life and ensuring national defence and security. To achieve IT goals, the State has issued various legal documents to provide a legal framework for accelerating IT application and development. The IT and telecommunications sectors have already recorded high growth rates of 20 to 25 per cent per annum. IT applications have been expanding with 50 per cent of the country's enterprises using IT in their management, production, trade and services. Appro-ximatety 2,500 enterprises are registered doing business in the software industry with a total staff of 8,000. "Two software parks are operating relatively successfully in HCM City, and initially have had some foreign markets, though still small in size," said Khiem. A number of hardware companies, including Fujitsu, Samsung Vina, Hanel and Vietronic Tan Binh, have begun production, he said. The computer assembling industry with around 20 assemblers and their own trademarks have had positive results. The national information network comprising the telecommunication system and the Internet has also proven effective with six million subscribers, and 93 per cent of all 8,155 communes have access to telephones. The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the rapid development in IT human resource training. At least 57 colleges now have training programmers and specialists. "However, there are problems in the IT and communication sectors, including sluggish development, shortage of investment, lack of appropriate policies and a small market share of the IT industry, even in this country," he said. Under the development strategy for the IT and communication sectors, Viet Nam is expected by 2020 to rank third in the region on the growth of these sectors in the communication and Internet infrastructure. It also is targeted to reach an advanced level of IT applications in the ASEAN region by 2020. Topics to be discussed at the seminar through Friday include development strategy, initial results, experiences and orientation of IT applications in HCM City, electronics industry: opportunities and challenges, software exports, applications in the construction, banking and aviation fields, Korean experience in IT organisation and management, and IT human resource development. A software exhibition, Softmart, opened yeaterday at the Etown building in Cong Hoa Street where the seminar is being held, with more than 100 stalls displaying software products and solutions.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 09/11/2003

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HCM City Chiefs Urge Hi-Tech Shift

The industrial sector in HCM City must focus on hi-tech areas such as telecoms, biotechnology and computer software if the city is to achieve sustainable economic growth over the next two years, city leaders said at the 13th meeting of the city's Party Committee on Thursday. The mayor, Le Thanh Hai, said the city would aim to achieve at least 11 per cent economic growth in the next two years, higher than the rate of 9.9 per cent seen in the past two years, but he said there might have to be a temporary slow-down in industrial production to allow for restructuring. Over the last three years, the city has seen industrial production rise 15 per cent, contributing significantly to the city's economy. Hai said that for the next two years the city would focus on developing key projects, including the Quang Trung Software Park, the breeding of high quality plant and animal varieties, and the reform of State-owned firms. Other projects in 2005 would include the completion of a hi-tech industrial park, improvements in garbage treatment and the resettlement of 10,000 households now living along polluted canals. The government would also provide better water and electricity supplies, and improve road traffic management to ease jams and reduce the number of road accidents. He said the city also hoped to increase export revenue by 20 per cent between 2003 and 2005. State-owned firms, foreign-invested businesses and privately owned manufacturers have all performed well, with foreign-invested companies accounting for 27.7 per cent of the city's total industrial production. The new focus on higher technology industries reflected the Government's desire to achieve greater long-term economic growth. The meeting also discussed administrative reforms and what punishments would be appropriate to deal with corruption among Party officials and public employees. Over the last two years, the city has punished 1,440 cadres and Party members for violating economic and Party regulations. City officials also urged the development of democratic attitudes among the public.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 09/12/2003

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President Promises IT Hub Will Receive Support

President Tran Duc Luong has thrown his weight behind the country's information technology firms, promising to cut telecommunication costs at Quang Trung software park, the country's leading IT park. "There is no doubt that it is only with quick and inexpensive telecoms services that businesses, including the Quang Trung software park, will be able to thrive," the President said during a visit to the IT park on Monday. He was responding to concerns raised by the software city's administration that high telecoms charges were making business difficult. The telecoms network at the IT park is considered to be among the best in Viet Nam, with the fastest internet access in the country. Luong said IT development was vital to the nation's industrialisation and modernisation process, and he urged all IT experts at the software park to work harder to attain international quality standards. He also listened to complaints from software companies about difficulties they had in obtaining bank loans, and he asked the HCM City authorities to immediately work out more ways to assist them. He advised the HCM City administration to look for more joint venture investors to help build up the IT park, and he urged commercial banks to offer more flexible loan policies. Luong said the State would do its utmost to protect copyrights on IT products, especially software patents. The director of Quang Trung software park, Chu Tien Dung, told Luong that the IT park now houses 51 software companies, including 17 foreign-invested firms, with a total investment of US$10.92 million. Dung said the IT park hoped to have at least 70 companies by the end of the year, and would expand capacity by investing a further $22 million to attract a bigger work force. The park now employs 2,400 IT experts and students, and plans to add a further 1,000. A total of 10 office projects covering an area of 14,000sq.m are now under construction in the software park, which was created as the country's first IT park in 2001 under a Government initiative. The deputy chairman of HCM City's People's Committee, Nguyen Thien Nhan, said the municipal authorities had invested about VND 60 billion ($3.9 million) in the park, with VND600 billion ($38.71 million) coming from other investors. Luong congratulated the park on its success, and expressed the hope that it would attract more investors and contribute further to Viet Nam's development. On Sunday, he visited the Viet Nam Dairy Product Company (Vinamilk) and some sports centres which will host competitions during the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in December. He said he was pleased with Vinamilk's growth, but asked the company to increase exports, and expand its markets and distribution network. At the Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Nguyen Du sports centres, officials told him that renovations at the city's 11 SEA Games competition venues will be finished next month.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 09/18/2003

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Govt Wants IT Savvy Population

Viet Nam aims to strengthen the application of information and communication technologies in Government, business and throughout the education system, the Ministry of Posts and Telematics has announced. Deputy minister Mai Liem Truc told the third information and communication technologies round-table in Ha Noi on Wednesday that the adoption of these technologies would benefit users across society. The round-table was organised by the ministry and the United Nations Development Programme, and brought together representatives of Government, business, academia and donors. Truc described the application of these technologies and the development of human resources as the two "children" of the national strategy that will form the basis of Viet Nam's much-needed technology framework. He said the national strategy would establish priorities for technological development, thereby accelerating regional integration and helping Viet Nam become one of the top five ASEAN countries in terms of technological readiness. "Success in this regard will depend on the efforts that will be made by the three target groups of the strategy: the Government, enterprises and users," Truc said. The draft national strategy, released at the round-table on Wednesday, states that information and communication technologies should be applied in all economic, cultural and political fields, and should become one of the most important factors in social and economic development by 2010. The strategy aims to provide every corner of the country with access to information on the internet, and enable residents of provincial towns to perform transactions. According to the strategy, this would be a significant improvement on the current situation, in which the technologies are too expensive for the average person, where the environment is not conducive to application development and there is no workable action plan. The strategy's human resource development section outlines what needs to be done to integrate the technologies as information tools throughout society, through improved training in the technologies and their applications. The UNDP's resident representative, Jordan Ryan, said the draft strategy showed the technologies should not be seen as an isolated industry, but as an approach to realising new possibilities and modalities of development. He said the strategy was about harnessing the full potential of the technologies for all sectors of the economy and society: public administration reform, private sector competition, capacity building and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. According to Professor Dang Huu, the chief executive of the Communist Party's Information and Communication Technologies Steering Committee, many domestic enterprises have used the Internet to develop their business. Information technology was out of the reach of most people, Huu said, particularly those living in rural areas where intellectuals and information were needed to boost economic development. "The State should reduce the cost of accessing communication and Internet technologies. We need cheap computers to help people," Huu said. He said two of the main obstacles to the adoption of information technology were human resources and training. At the end of the year, the ministry will organise a national forum to review the final draft of the national information and communication technologies strategy.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 10/03/2003

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HCM City Sets Sights on 7-Year Hi-Tech Plan

HCM City is planning to spend US$16.8 billion for industrial development over the next seven years, with much of the expenditure in high-tech industries. This amount represents nearly 39 per cent of the city's total investment for economic development toward 2010, said city officials at a recent meeting of leaders of local ministries of industry, planning and investment and the City People's Committee. The focus will be on high-tech industries such as electronics, information technology and telecom companies as well as manufacturing and mechanical engineering industries. The city is expected to earn VND167.6 trillion ($11.1 billion) in industrial turnover by 2010, accounting for 27 to 32 per cent of the country's total industrial value. Over the last nine months, the city's industrial value jumped by 15.1 per cent over 2002, ranking second after Ha Noi which had a 28.5 per cent growth rate. The highest growth came in the clothing and footwear industries. Deputy Minister of Industry Do Huu Hao said the Government has approved the building of a mechanical engineering industrial park in the suburban district of Cu Chi, northwest of HCM City. The 100ha industrial park will focus on the maintenance and manufacture of mechanical engineering components for the motor vehicle and shipbuilding industries. To kick off investment in the industrial park, the city will establish a State-operated engineering company that will initially specialise in the manufacture of passenger buses. In the future, the company will produce other kinds of vehicles and ships. City authorities also proposed that the industry ministry allow the District 5 Engineering Traffic Enterprise to complete its manufacture and assembly of seven-seater cars and minibuses bearing Vietnamese trademarks so that it can quickly replace dilapidated cars and buses. The city is now replacing 1,300 worn-out and obsolete buses with new ones in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and road accidents. Meanwhile, the development of the manufacturing, engineering, ship building and automobile industries remains crucial to meet the rapid economic growth in the key southern economic zones, they said.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 10/09/2003

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BANGLADESH: Dhaka Plans to Monitor E-Mail and Phone

The Bangladeshi cabinet is considering new laws that would enable the authorities to monitor e-mail correspondence and telephone conversations of the general public. The ruling coalition, which has a huge majority in parliament, says that the measures are necessary to stop rising lawlessness and terrorism. For the past two years the country has been in the middle of a crime wave, with as many as 400 rapes and murders each month. During the same period there have been a number of bomb attacks that have been blamed on hardline Islamic groups. Under changes to the 2001 Telecommunications Act that are due to be presented to parliament shortly, bugged telephone calls and intercepted e-mails would be permissible in legal proceedings. The proposals have provoked outrage among human rights experts and telecom specialists, who argue that businessmen in particular would be more vulnerable to blackmail and industrial espionage. "They represent a fundamental breach of our right to communicate," said telecoms expert Abu Sayed Khan. "If they are enacted it will be a devastating blow for freedom of speech and will turn the country into a police state. "Bangladesh already has some of the most restrictive laws in relation to internet and telephone access in the whole of Asia," added Mr Khan. "Such stern measures have not even been taken in Kashmir." The proposals are the latest in a long line of restrictions over the last two decades. In the 1980s, the government tried to curtail the sale of fax machines and photo-copiers arguing that they were being used by criminal syndicates. Members of the public complained at the time it was easier to get a gun licence than a fax. Likewise when the first mobile telephones were introduced in the late 1980s, it was necessary for subscribers to obtain "security clearance" from the authorities before they could be used. The government has defended the proposals by arguing that crime has soared so much in recent years that drastic action is necessary. (by Alastair Lawson-Tancred)

From http://news.ft.com/ 09/24/2003

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Mobile Telephone Sets Seized

The Customs Surveillance Team seized a total of 115 mobile telephone sets worth Taka 8.40 lakh from the possession of a passenger at 12 noon at Zia International Airport yesterday. According to the customs sources the Surveillance Team seized the mobile sets from Bangladeshi national Shakib Ahmed who arrived at Zia International Airport by a flight of Thai Airways (Flight no -TG-321). The Surveillance Team detained Shakib Ahmed for his suspicious movement and later seized the mobile sets after examining his luggage. Customs Inspectors Muhammed Wazed Ali and ABM A Kafi detained the passenger at the directives of Deputy Commissioner of Customs Muhammed Ashraf Ali Faruq. A case has been filed in this connection.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 10/11/2003

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Call to Support Locally Produced Software

Minister for Commerce Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury gave a clarion call to the business community and government establishments to support the locally produced software. He was speaking as the chief guest at a launching ceremony of the software named TeLIS, a Technohaven Leasing and Investment System, at a local hotel in the city recently. The function was also attended by Matiur Rahman, President-DCCI and A Quadir Chowdhury, Chairman, Bangladesh Leasing and Finance Companies Association (BLFCA), SM Shamsul Arefin, Managing Director, Uttara Finance and Investments Ltd and Habibullah N Karim, Managing Director, Technohaven Co Ltd. The Minister congratulated Technohaven Co Ltd for developing the TeLIS, a world-class solution for the local financial sector. He recalled Technohaven's pioneer role in the automation of Chittagong Stock Exchange, Bangladesh Railway ticketing and reservation system and other large national IT projects. He expressed his confidence that this solution would not only bring a better and cost effective business solution for local leasing and investment companies but also be recognised as a global software solution for this sector. The Minister expressed his deep interest about the development of IT sector in Bangladesh. He said that the IT Task Force was formed by the government to speed up the growth of this sector. He expected that the nation, business community as well as the government bodies would come forward to encourage the local IT companies by buying locally made software. Matiur Rahman, President of DCCI said that this software would help the local leasing companies to consolidate their businesses and improve client services dramatically. A Quadir Chowdhury, Chairman, BLFCA expressed his deep satisfaction with this software and said that locally developed software had the potential to earn substantial foreign currency. Habibullah N Karim, CEO, Technohaven Co Ltd and President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) said that TeLIS- Technohaven Leasing and Investment System (TeLIS) software was developed in the last one year solely by the local IT professionals.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 10/21/2003

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Internet Service to Be Extended to Villages

The government is working towards extending Internet service to the village level soon, as today's society is being transformed on the basis of knowledge economy the world over. Information and Comunications Technology Minister Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan disclosed the plan while inaugurating a three-day South Asia Regional Network meeting of Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) at the BRAC Centre here yesterday. "We'll have to ensure Internet connectivity in this global village, so we took various steps for providing Internet facility at the village level," he said. A number of delegates from different countries, including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, joined the conference. The meet is preparatory to the upcoming ICT summit in Geneva. During the three-day brainstorming on problems and prospects of the potential sector, the participants will discuss ways and means of maximum use of ICT for development. Its outcome will be put forward at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in December. Dr Moyeen Khan said ICT not only can reduce poverty but also can be a tool for good governance. "Using ICT, Bangladeshi people as well Asian people can change their lives," he told the inaugural function. Bangladesh Telecommuications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Syed Marghub Morshed observed that for developing countries in Asia, ICT can be the most important tool for poverty eradication. Professor Mahmudul Houqe of Bangladesh Friendship Education Society (BFES) and Reza Salim, member-secretary of Bangladesh Working Group on the World Summit on Information Society, also spoke. Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley, Chairman, Bangladesh Centre for Development Research (CDRB), presided over the opening session.

From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 10/25/2003

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Lack of Support Puts Local ICT Professionals on Back-Foot

The Science and Information and Communication Technology Minister, Abdul Moyeen Khan, said the country has a good number of competent ICT professionals and most of them are better than their neighbouring counterparts. But due to lack of proper support and assistance, the country could not utilise their full potentials, he added during a seminar on Information Paradox and Possible Solutions. The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), organised Software Fair-2003 in the city Saturday. "In many cases, our ICT professionals are doing better, but due to lack of proper and adequate support, the desired result could not be achieved", he lamented while drawing a comparison between local and overseas ICT professionals. Later, he inaugurated the two-day mini fair in which 25 local software development companies took part. The minister observed that locally grown software products were yet to achieve expected results despite the fact that the country's ICT sector had a large number of comparative advantages. He emphasised the need for capacity building in terms of quality and reliability to face the stiff competition and also to remove other barriers in the sector. Assuring allout efforts from the government, the minister said they are striving hard to remove the barriers that hold back the growth of the ICT sector. Presided over by DCCI President Matiur Rahman, the seminar was attended by BRAC University Vice- chancellor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury as the special guest. DCCI director Atique-e-Rabbani presented the keynote paper in which he pointed out that information paradox referred to the inconsistency between investment on ICT and profitability. Speakers said ICT has been seen as an alternative option for rapid economic development. Despite utmost efforts, the country could not achieve expected progress, they added. They stressed the need for launching awareness and motivation campaigns for the rapid development of our ICT sector. (The Financial Express)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 10/26/2003

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SRI LANKA: Phone Codes Change Today

The area codes for Colombo, Kandy and Galle will change today, under the 10-digit number plan proposed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka. Users will have to add '1' to the existing area code to get the new code. Accordingly, the new area code for Colombo will be 011. The new codes for Kandy and Galle will be 081 and 091. As usual, callers dialling within these areas do not have to dial the area code. Callers dialling from outstations and overseas will have to use the new codes to access subscribers in Colombo, Kandy and Galle. For example, a caller from Kandy dialling subscriber number 234 5678 will have to dial 011-234 5678. Overseas callers should dial 94-11-234 5678. All other area codes will remain unchanged. Sri Lanka Telecom has advised subscribers to reprogramme call forwarding and hotline facilities with the new area codes. Numbers stored in fax/phone machines should also be changed accordingly. Suntel and Lanka Bell numbers will also be brought into the geographical national numbering plan under the respective area codes, instead of the present '074' and '075' access codes.

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 10/18/2003

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PAKISTAN: Rajanpur Better Micro Credit Scheme Urged

RAJANPUR -- Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool has directed officials of the Zarai Tarraqiati and Khushhali banks to widen the scope of the micro credit scheme in areas like Rajanpur. The governor expressed these views while inspecting different federal government departments in the district here on Thursday. During his visit to the Zarai Tarraqiati Bank and the Khushhali Bank, he directed their high-ups to advance loans under the micro credit scheme to the educated women in rural areas for setting up sewing and embroidery training centres. He praised both the institutions for providing loans of Rs60 million to the unemployed youth in Rajanpur. Visiting the Nadra Swift Registration Centre, the governor was informed that the Nadra would also open its sub-divisional offices in Jampur and Rojhan tehsils. Maqbool directed the officials concerned that mobile teams should be constituted at union council level for the provision of computerized NICs to the people. Earlier, the governor visited the offices of the Mepco, NCHD and the PTCL Customer Service Centre. Punjab Assembly deputy speaker Sardar Shaukat Hussain Mazari, MNA Sardar Muhammad Jaffer Khan Leghari, MPA Sardar Ghazali, District Nazim Dr Hafizur Rahman Dreshak and DCO Malik Samiullah Abid were also present on the occasion. shot dead: A man and his two sons were shot dead by five people over a minor issue on Thursday at Dajal town, Rajanpur. Dadu Khan along with his sons Usman Khan and Amanullah were present in his house when Mian Riaz, Ali Gull, Pandi, Niazi and then another accomplice came there and opened fire on them. As a result, Dadu and his sons died on the spot. A case has been registered against the absconding accused.

From http://www.dawn.com/ 10/17/2003

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AUSTRALIA: E-Crime Guidelines Released

NEW national e-crime guidelines were launched today to help organizations deal with incidents following widespread concerns about the forensic status of computer-generated evidence. The guidelines, published by Standards Australia, set a benchmark for the preservation and collection of evidence in digital form, as part of the development of legal standards for handling electronic information. The aim is to provide clear rules on how electronic records that may be used in judicial or administrative proceedings - whether plaintiff, defendant, or witness - should be managed. Standards Australia says the guidelines will operate as a starting point to be tested in legal proceedings, and will be subject to review as appropriate. "Recent films such as Tom Cruise's Minority Report and The Bank have demonstrated the power of electronic evidence and these guidelines will give both technical and non-technical personnel information on what should be preserved in the event of an incident," Standards Australia chief executive Ross Wraight said. IT evidence is increasingly being called upon as proof of a wide variety of crimes where a computer has been used as a tool for fraud, identity theft or other illegal activities, Standards Australia standards development executive Peter Walsh said. "This will place businesses in a better position to take action through the courts to prosecute security breaches," Mr Walsh said. "They will also assist law enforcement agencies in their criminal investigations by improving the methods for collecting evidence and making it available in legal proceedings." The guidelines are part of the Federal Government's E-Security National Agenda aimed at persuading senior business leaders to better manage their information risks.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 08/12/2003

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State in $300m IP Tender

THE NSW Government is planning to go to market by mid-October on a $300 million per-year statewide telecommunications project. The project will pool demand for telecoms services for "all the significant agencies", including health, education and police and emergency services, a spokesman for NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said. It would be based on an internet protocol network, he said. A preferred tenderer was expected to be chosen by the end of the year. The Government is believed to have selected a short list of four potential contractors to deploy as many as 20,000 IP handsets across the state. Short-listed organisations include Telstra and the Fusion syndicate, which consists of Optus, construction giant Leighton Holdings and investment bank ABN Amro. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 09/30/2003

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First Identity Theft Laws Proposed in South Australia

The first laws in Australia to specifically target identity theft have been proposed by the South Australian government. The state government today announced its latest string of law and order initiatives, including planned laws to target identity theft, cyber crime and those who attack police. SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said yesterday that identity theft, which occurs when people use someone else's personal information with the intention of committing a crime, would be an offence under the new laws, attracting a maximum jail term of up to 12 years. He said identity theft paved the way for terrorist activities, citing fake IDs used by the World Trade Center bombers and stolen credit cards used by an al-Qaeda cell in Spain for illegal purchases. "Crooks get this lucrative information by scavenging through rubbish (dumpster-diving), stealing mail, peeking over someone's shoulder at a public phone, computer or ATM (shoulder-surfing) or using an electronic device to scan a credit card (skimming)," Mr Atkinson said in a statement. "This is the first legislation in Australia specifically targeting identity theft. "We want to nip this in the bud before the information is used to help terrorists, illegal immigrants and drug couriers, let alone assist with money laundering or frauds against people, businesses and governments." Mr Atkinson said laws were also planned by the government to target cyber crime. The proposed laws would impose penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment for those found guilty of using a computer with the intent to commit an offence, modifying or impairing electronic data without authorisation and possessing computer viruses with the intent to commit a serious computer offence.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 10/16/2003

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NSW Maps State Broadband Plans

THE NSW Government has called for proposals to build a broadband network to connect its main agencies at a cost of up to $300 million. NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said the state would use capacity on networks used for railways and electricity transmission to provide the service, giving a high-bandwidth backbone network to 24 key locations throughout the state. Surplus capacity on the network would be made available to commercial service providers, he said. The government network would let commercial providers connect to its network. "The NSW Government wants the telecommunications industry to put forward innovative and competitive propositions to operate a broadband network that reaches population centres outside Sydney," Mr Della Bosca said. The network would allow better delivery of government services, connecting to as many as 2000 schools, hospitals, libraries, court houses and police stations. "At present, there is very limited competition in broadband services for residents and businesses outside of Sydney, so there's little incentive to improve services or provide competitive pricing," Mr Della Bosca said.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 10/22/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Police Not Equipped to Enforce New Computer Laws, Says National

New laws to deal with computer crime, which came into force yesterday, will not work unless the police have the resources to enforce them, says National MP Tony Ryall. It is now an offence to access a computer for dishonest purposes, damage or interfere with a computer system, access a computer without authorisation or make, sell, distribute or possess software to commit a crime. The new crimes carry sentences of up to seven years in prison. Police Minister George Hawkins said they brought the law into line with the latest technology, but Mr Ryall said there was little point having new laws if hardly anyone was prosecuted. "Already the police are suffering from under-resourcing, and the police have now confirmed that at present they are only able to investigate between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of reported computer crime," he said. "It's time George Hawkins got real with the problems facing the force -- he can't add new penalties without giving police the tools and the resources they need." Mr Ryall, National's police spokesman, said money was being spent on highway patrols and speed cameras but not much else. "New Zealanders don't want cops ticketing people for driving six kilometres over the limit as serious computer crime goes unchecked and while burglars have only a less than one in 12 chance of getting caught in Auckland."

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz 10/02/2003

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Capital Picks Numbers

Positively Wellington reckons the capital could boast 20 information and communication technology companies with revenues of more than $100 million by 2012. The Hi Growth Project - created by the Government-backed ICT Taskforce - has enlisted the help of regional development groups throughout New Zealand in its efforts to foster 100 companies with $100 million-plus revenues by 2012. Each of the regions is setting goals for how many companies it hopes their region can cough up and is nominating possible companies. Positively Wellington has nominated 40 companies to take part and reckons half could make the grade. The organisation will mentor those involved to help them reach the goal. The Christchurch Software Cluster and Auckland's North Shore have also set goals of 20 companies. Auckland is still finalising its numbers. Hi Growth Project executive director Catherine Calarco says each of the regional development groups and clusters has promised help to grow the companies through mentoring. "They've taken it on themselves to be part of the project and now have a goal to have 20 companies in the Wellington region which will achieve that $100 million mark and they're working on identifying them and providing programmes to achieve that growth." Ms Calarco says 40 companies have signed up with the Hi Growth Project itself. The companies - whose current revenues range from $500,000 to nearly $100 million - will receive information and advice in areas such as government programmes, export marketing and funding. The companies will also be required to set growth goals and will be measured on a yearly basis. A new ICT entrant to the $100 million revenue club will be announced at the Hi Tech Awards in November.

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 10/06/2003

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Law a Blast from the Past for Cyber Cafes

A law created to deal with the space invader craze is being dusted off to help police tackle problems with youngsters spending late nights in internet cafes. A report by Waitakere police says one of the city's internet cafes in New Lynn often has "five to six persons collapsed over computers asleep". Sergeant Brian Louden told Waitakere City councillors that a bylaw could help put a stop to situations such as schoolchildren playing games at internet cafes at 3am and 12-year-olds falling asleep there. He said it was undesirable for school-age children to be on these premises until early morning when "one would hope they would be resting for the next day of school". Internet cafes had become more like high-tech gaming parlours than educational facilities. "I'm yet to see kids doing their homework in one," Mr Louden said. Instead, children played internet games such as "Battlefield 1942" for $2 an hour or $5 to $10 for an all-night session. Police saw restrictions of operating hours as a solution to problems at some premises with underage patrons, minor criminal offending, drug use, intoxication, disorderly behaviour and youth gangs. The council's compliance manager, Alan Ahmu, said internet cafes were a new phenomenon for the city. They had been seen as a way of providing ready and convenient access to the internet for gathering information, email and cyber shopping. But complaints about some cafes had prompted an inspection of premises, which found the main attraction in them was playing computer games. A 1990 bylaw for amusement galleries, designed to control billiard halls and space-invader-type games arcades, could be applied to any internet cafe. Under it, operators must seek a licence. The licence can restrict opening hours, ban children being on premises during school hours and require premises to meet council standards. Police have welcomed restrictions on opening hours as a solution to criminal offending and other problems. But cafe owners see it as a threat to their businesses. Most responded by seeking dispensations so they could open for 24 hours, seven days a week. Councillors last week turned down three bids for dispensation made by people who the police said were bad operators. Full-time operation was allowed for three cafes which received clean police reports. The Herald found later that two of the cafes on the police bad books had closed. The other rejected applicant, Bruce Wang of X-net Cafe in New Lynn, said he would appeal against the decision. He said the cafe, which had been open for a year, had been a trouble-free and safe entertainment place. "I can't understand why they apply these outdated laws to us. "The police may as well say, 'Everyone stay home - don't go out'." Mr Wang said his cafe had the most modern software and hardware in Auckland and was popular because of its fast internet connection and rates. (by Wayne Thompson)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 10/14/2003

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AZERBAIJAN: Finance Ministry Opens New Web-Site

The Finance Ministry of Azerbaijan has opened a new official web-site this week. It is located at www.maliyye.gov.az. Though the web-site has been renewed, it has no useful information now. More than 95% of the announced sections do not really exist. The Finance Ministry promises to put the renewed information to the sections of the web-site soon.

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

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CHINA: Haidian District Pioneers in E-government Development

A pilot experiment for e-government solutions based on network computer (NC) architecture passed expert appraisals on Sunday in Beijing, indicating the possible large-scale implementation of NCs in China's e-government development in the future. The Haidian District government, with the co-ordination of the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has achieved great success in the pilot project with the support of the nationally recognized 863 High-Tech Project, said Xing Zhiguo, vice-head of the district government, at a press conference. NCs promise enhanced security, easier management and lower costs, which curtail the government's expenditures in computers and boast considerable significance to the nation's e-government construction, he added. Last year, the Beijing municipal government had envisioned implementing an NC industrialization plan, and has since decided to increase the share of NCs in its procurements in the future, officials said. Different from personal computer (PC) architecture, all data storage, application storage and significant computing functions take place on centralized servers rather than hard discs under the NC architecture. The pilot program will fully enable NCs to serve as the terminal servers to deal with government e-business, including data, text and multi-media information processing, said Huai Jinpeng, vice-president and professor of the university. Having achieved success at the pilot level, Huai said he believed the NC architecture-based solutions could be applied in the field of e-commerce since there are great similarities between e-commerce and e-government in dealing with business and information. With self-owned intellectual property rights (IPRs), the domestically manufactured NCs will help break the dominance of Windows operating systems and Intel's CPU architecture, said Ni Guangnan, professor with the Institute of Computing under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

From China Daily 08/12/2003

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Capital Court Computerized

Local courts in Beijing have begun to use computers more widely when handling cases in an attempt to enhance efficiency and fairness. The new building of the Beijing Haidian District People's Court has become the city's first computerized local court to do so. It is located in northern Beijing's Haidian District, which is famous for its high-tech firms and many universities. At the new building's hall for filing cases, people first get a queue number from a machine and can see information on a screen about the situation in the reception rooms. The court's computer center automatically calculates statistics relating to the lawsuits that are placed on file for prosecution, including how many are criminal cases and how many are civil ones, said Wang Zhenfeng, the court vice-president. Wang said people may not necessarily have go to court to file a case in the future. "We are considering doing case filing via the Internet," he said. A screen outside every court room will tell people which case is being heard here. All that other courts have at the moment is a notice on a screen outside to tell people which case is in session, without any details. The Haidian court has also started opening its doors to the general public during holidays. The first open days were last Saturday and Sunday, when some 40 residents visited, including university students and armed police officers. Other local residents will be allowed to visit the court once every two months in the future, said court sources. Zhu Jiang, the court's president, said: "People involved in lawsuits only make up a very small part of the whole population in our district, so it is important to provide a way for residents to gain a good understanding of the court and of how to handle a lawsuit."

From China Daily 08/19/2003

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Entrepreneur Promoted to Senior Local Government Post

Qiao Zhigang, CEO of a leading software company based in this east China metropolis, will take over the deputy directorship of the Shanghai information technology committee of the municipal government. The appointment, announced by Vice Mayor Jiang Sixian Thursday, makes 35-year-old Qiao the first private businessman to assume such a high post in the municipal government. Qiao started his business in software in 1995, when he and seven partners launched the Shanghai Fudan Kingstar Computer Co, Ltd with a registered capital of 500,000 yuan (US$60,000). The company is now one of China's top four securities software developers and largest futures software developer. In preparation for his new role, Qiao quit as chairman and CEO of his company, and sold his shares in it, in compliance with the rules forbidding government officials to be involved in business. The committee Qiao is to serve is an all-powerful IT watchdog promoting the application of information technology in the spheres of the city's economic development and social affairs. According to officials with Shanghai's Personnel Bureau, despite a 50 percent annual growth rate, the city's software industry in 2002 reported a sales revenue of just 11.7 million yuan, or 35 percent of that of Beijing in the same year. By calling on Qiao to serve the local government, Shanghai expects to get to know more about the software industry and the related market. The private economy prospers in Shanghai and its surrounding provinces more than in any other part of China, according to Deputy Mayor Jiang Sixian. Private entrepreneurs are ambitious andopen-minded, and are now becoming politically active, he said. "It is a milestone in China's politics for private entrepreneursto enter the administration," Dr. Liu Jianjun, of Shanghai's FudanUniversity. The 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, confirmed for the first time that heads of private enterprises were among the builders of socialism in China. Already, private entrepreneurs have been admitted into local legislatures and advisory bodies. Liu said different from career officials, private entrepreneursare less hierarchy-minded and freer in thinking, allowing them to respond to challenges in a more open manner.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 08/24/2003

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Academic Website on "Three Represents" Thought Opens

BEIJING, (Xinhuanet) -- A website on the academic and ideological studies of "Three Represents" thought was launched Tuesday in Beijing Normal University. The website, www.bnuonline.cn, is set up for students and researchers to better study the "Three Represents" important thought of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Wang Zhangwei, director of the Law and Politics Institute of the university, said that the introduction of "Three Represents" thought into the Internet will enhance ideological education in Chinese universities. "Three Represents" thought has been a leading ideological theory of the CPC in the past several years. According to the theory, the CPC represents the development trend of China's advanced social productive forces, represents the orientation of China's advanced culture, and represents the fundamental interestsof the overwhelming majority of the people in China.

From http://www.chinaview.cn 09/16/2003

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Hong Kong: Adopt E-Commerce to Enhance Competitiveness

The Government is committed to promoting the adoption of information technology (IT) and e-commerce to enhance competitiveness, the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, said today. Speaking at the "Enhancing SME's Competitiveness Through e-Commerce Adoption" symposium this morning, Mr Wong said e-commerce not only brought convenience to customers, but also helped businesses expand and create opportunities. Organised by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the symposium forms part of the second phase of the "E-Commerce Adoption Campaign" launched in November last year. "To assist companies overcome obstacles in doing business electronically, such as financial, technical support and information security concerns, the Government has taken forward a full range of measures," said Mr Wong. To promote awareness of e-commerce and the benefits it brings, various promotional materials including pamphlets, websites and CD-Roms were produced. Free seminars and workshops were organised to provide information and advice. One-stop information centres have been set up by the Government and other supporting organisations to help companies access relevant resources. A website "Virtual SME Information Centre" (www.sme.gcn.gov.hk) has also been set up for businesses to obtain information online. This July, the Government injected additional funding of $4.7 million to launch the "IT Easy Link for Business", providing a telephone enquiry service and face-to-face consultations for SMEs when they encounter problems in using IT. To help companies finance their IT projects, funding schemes tailored for different industries have been set up. These include the Innovation and Technology Fund, the Applied Research Fund and the $1.9 billion SME Funding Schemes. The Government has also sponsored the "DO IT! Campaign" initiated by the IT industry to help small businesses join the IT and e-commerce revolution by offering them desktop computers at a low cost of $888. "We are conducting studies on an integrated business entry portal to reorganise and enhance our present web-based services," Mr Wong said, adding that the new measures would be introduced early next year. Information security is essential for creating a secure e-business environment. Multiple channels such as seminars, exhibitions, publications, websites and radio programmes have been utilised to get the message across. Mr Wong believed the symposium would provide an opportunity for participants to share experience in adopting e-commerce to lower operating costs and improve efficiency.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 09/23/2003

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Hong Kong Government Creates Secure E-Business Environment

The Government has built a legal framework and implemented various initiatives to establish a secure e-business environment in Hong Kong, the Deputy Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Stephen Mak Hung-sung, said today. Speaking at the "Internet Law in Hong Kong" symposium organised by the Institution of Electrical Engineers Hong Kong, Mr Mak said the rapid development in the use of the Internet for e-business had raised concerns in information security, including fraud, data privacy, viruses, worms and spamming. The Government has launched various initiatives to create a favourable environment for e-business. One of the measures is to establish a clear and conducive legal framework that facilitates electronic transactions. Under the Electronic Transactions Ordinance which was enacted in January 2000, electronic records and digital signatures enjoy the same legal status as their paper-based counterparts, thus enhancing certainty and security for e-business transactions, he said. The ordinance also provides a framework for the voluntary recognition scheme for certification authorities. On the issue of cyber crime, the Government is taking measures to take forward the recommendations of a report produced by an inter-departmental working group to enhance the legal framework concerning computer crime. To develop Hong Kong into a secure and reliable e-community, providing up-to-date information and adequate public education on information security is important. The Government has set up the Infosec (www.infosec.gov.hk) website last year to provide public access to resources and updates on information security. In addition, radio and TV programmes, posters and leaflets have been produced to raise security awareness and to promote ethics. There is also a helpdesk service for the public on information security matters. The establishment of the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Co-ordination Centre in February 2001 has greatly enhanced Hong Kong's capability to respond to information security incidents and access relevant information. The centre plays a co-ordination role in the reporting, response and handling of information security incidents. It issues security and computer virus alerts and handles security incidents reported by the local community. Mr Mak said that the Government had been closely monitoring the local situation regarding junk fax and e-mail spamming. Possible measures are being considered to combat the problem in consultation with the industry, but the Government will strike a balance in introducing any regulatory measure in order not to stifle legitimate business activities. On security measures within the Government, Mr Mak said there was already a comprehensive government-wide information technology (IT) security policy which ensured that sufficient and effective measures were put in place to protect the Government's information systems. The Information Security Management Committee and the Government Information Security Incident Response Office were set up to oversee IT security implementation and advise bureaux and departments on IT security issues. "We have taken steps to combat threats related to IT security and computer viruses by continually monitoring the development of IT security related vulnerabilities," he said. Looking ahead, Mr Mak said the Government was reviewing the Electronic Transactions Ordinance to ensure that Hong Kong had the most up-to-date legislative framework to support e-business development. The Electronic Transactions (Amendment) Bill 2003 was submitted to the Legislative Council this June. The signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong has further highlighted the need for a cross-border perspective. Co-operation among certification authorities in different jurisdictions is important for using digital certificates across the border. Local businesses and organisations have established the Hong Kong Public Key Infrastructure Forum to foster collaboration among certification authorities both within and outside Hong Kong. Hongkong Post has signed memoranda of understanding with individual certification authorities in the Mainland, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Another local certification authority has also allied with its partners in Asia to promote co-operation. Mr Mak said that the Government was actively participating in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation in its efforts to enhance interoperability of certification services among member economies. Appropriate measures to facilitate secure electronic communication and transactions would continue, he said.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 09/26/2003

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Hong Kong Government to Consult Community on Future IT Strategy

The Government will conduct a public consultation on the Digital 21 Strategy with a view to further driving the use and development of information technology (IT) in Hong Kong, the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, announced today. Speaking during a luncheon organised by the Hong Kong Information Technology Federation, Mr Tsang said the first Digital 21 IT Strategy was published in 1998, focusing on building capacity and infrastructure for both the public and private sectors to adopt IT and e-business, and to become active participants in the information economy. The strategy was reviewed and updated in 2001 to position Hong Kong as a leading digital city in the globally connected world. "Most of the initiatives set out in the 2001 Strategy have been successfully completed. The remaining items are ongoing and proceeding on schedule. We have now put in place the right environment, infrastructure, skills and culture to encourage the development, adoption and use of IT by the entire community. Our progress and achievements have received international recognition. "To sustain the momentum created in the last five years and to harness the benefits of IT for business, the community and Hong Kong's position in the world, the Government has formulated a draft 2004 Digital 21 Strategy and would like to seek the input of the IT industry, business, academia and the public on how we should work together," Mr Tsang said.

The new strategy proposes eight main areas of action:

Government leadership

The Government will continue to be an advocate and champion to promote Hong Kong's international image as a dynamic digital city. We will press on with our aggressive IT outsourcing strategy and e-government programme to generate not only business for the private sector, but also opportunities for innovation, entrepreneurship and technical development.

Sustainable e-government programme

The Government will focus on driving up utilisation, promoting customer relations management and improving customer interface, promoting horizontal integration in service delivery, enhancing government accessibility and transparency, leveraging the most appropriate technologies, and enhancing the measurement of the benefits of e-government projects.

Infrastructure and business environment

The Government will continue to promote e-business adoption, intensify the support to different sectors provided by the two flagships at Cyberport and Science Park, and strengthen our policies and regulatory framework to facilitate the development of the broadcasting industry.

Institutional review

The Government will consider the case for merging the Information Technology Services Department into the Communications and Technology Branch of the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau in order to have a co-ordinated role in promoting the development of applications and services, supporting the information industry and driving IT adoption. It will also review whether the existing regulatory structures for the telecommunications and broadcasting industries best serve Hong Kong in the era of convergence and deregulation.

Technological development

The Government will continue with its investment in research and development, and foster the development of innovative applications and services in areas including wireless technologies, digital entertainment, and open source software.

A vibrant IT industry

The Government will promote a vibrant, competitive and innovation driven IT industry in Hong Kong, through leveraging the opportunities afforded by the Mainland market, the brand-building and trade promotion efforts of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and various programmes to help the local industry enhance service quality and build capability.

Human resources in a knowledge economy

The Government will work with educational and vocational training institutions and the industry to enhance the training and skills of our workforce and the next generation. The Education and Manpower Bureau is now reviewing the progress of integrating IT in education and formulating the strategic directions for the further development of IT in education.

Bridging the digital divide

The Government will continue in its efforts to organise a wide range of programmes to bridge the digital divide in the community.
The full version of the draft 2004 Digital 21 Strategy is available from the website: www.info.gov.hk/citb/ctb. Comments and submissions should reach the Communications and Technology Branch of the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau by Wednesday, December 10, 2003.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 10/10/2003

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E-Governance Gets More Investment in China

E-governance is attracting more investment in China as it proves to be a useful tool for government organs to increase their work efficiency. International seminars will be held this December in Shanghai to discuss how to further boost the IT field to improve its serve. E-governance is the fastest way to connect people and government departments by internet technology. Ordinary people can pay tax and register companies online through E-governance platforms. It is expected that in the next few years, governments of all levels in China will invest 250 billion yuan or about 30 billion US dollars in E-governance annually.

From CRI 10/14/2003

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Shanghai Progresses with an Efficient E-Government

Shanghai government website, www.sh.gov.cn, is offering a wider variety of services and responding to people's quests faster to step up its efforts toward buidling a functional government online. Local residents have got easier access to educational, medical, civil affairs and social security services through a mouse-click via the Internet. Foreigners have cut monthlong process of visa application and export-import operational affairs to just a couple of days or scores of minutes. With a click away on the portal, more lifestyle, business and diplomatic things are facilitated faster online, ranging from civil services to exit-entry applications, and from policy consultations to faculty recruitments, for people both in and out. With a daily page view of more than 200,000, www.sh.gov.cn is selected one of the best two portals among all the 36 online government websites in China by an authoritative computer magazine this year. The other winner is of the Beijing government. In the "government efficiency" round, Shanghai scored the highest. For example, a vice president of a US-based company came all the way to express his gratitude to the portal after it helped the Chinese Embassy grant him an interim entry visa with stunning high efficiency a couple of days ago. With all the application and granting business completed within 20 minutes online, instead of several days offline, the president arrived in Shanghai right on time for an emergent meeting. The high efficiency of the portal has also benefited people in other areas. Online "annual check" shortens the times of visits local companies should pay to the industrial and commercial authorities from three to one. Online "recruitment & test" reduces the official seals people need for their job approvals from seven to one, with out-of-town candidates for local government posts needing to come to Shanghai three times only for writen test, interview and health check, rather than five or more times in the past. Timely reply to needy quests is another feature heralding the city's strive for a functional online government. The taxation and fiscal administration is responding to citizens' online questions within three working days, rather than 21 days offline previously. The information commission has integrated its 18 permit-approving procedures to 14 and later, to nine, shortening the time needed for the ratification for a report of feasibility from 20 to 15 days. Top government officials have also started to read "letters to governors/mayors/directors/chiefs" in person, in a bid to achieve the goal of offering 100 percent reply to citizens in the near future.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 10/20/2003

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IRAN: Commerce Ministry to Launch E-Data Website

TEHRAN -- Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari said here on Sunday that an e-data website, designed by his ministry for traders and businessmen, will go on tentative operation in the next one month. Shariatmadari said that electronic facilities would cut the expenditures for marketing of Iranian products abroad, IRNA reported. He asked banking officials to adopt electronic facilities in order to help solve certain problems in the field of commerce, including e-money exchanges and e-trade. The minister said a revised version of the state trade law will be in effect next year after ratification of a related bill by the Majlis and government's consent. Shariatmadari said his ministry has benefited from views of experts and academicians to compile the bill. He added that his ministry plans to cede part of its affairs to the private sector in a bid to increase Iran's share in international trade system. Meanwhile, Shariatmadari said that foreign cars would be imported to replace dilapidated cars. In addition, he said that the government is to check price hikes by offering goods and state services to the public at fixed rates and allowing the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to sell 9,000 billion rials worth of contribution bonds to freeze liquidity. He said the CBI can intervene in the foreign exchange market to prevent any rise in the rates of hard currencies in coming days. As for Iran's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Shariatmadari said Iran would benefit from preferential tariffs in export of goods and services if it joints the WTO.

From http://www.tehrantimes.com/ 09/08/2003

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JAPAN: Japan Sets Up Terrestrial Digital Broadcasting Promotion Headquarters

The MPHPT is working on the overall approach for the smooth implementation of terrestrial digital broadcasting, which is scheduled to start in December of this year in the metropolitan areas of the Kanto, Kinki and Chukyo regions. To this end, the MPHPT announced today the setting up of Terrestrial Digital Broadcasting Promotion Headquarters, with the MPHPT Minister at its head.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 08/03/2003

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MPHPT Grants Approval for Establishment of the Association for Promotion of Digital

The MPHPT today approved the establishment of the Association for Promotion of Digital Broadcasting to promote the deployment of terrestrial digital television broadcasting.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 08/08/2003

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MPHPT Supports Regional Public Network Construction with Fiscal Year 2003 Budget

The MPHPT is working to take concrete steps to develop the installation of a next generation info-communications base, as specified in the e-Japan Strategy II (adopted by IT Strategic Headquarters on July 2, 2003). In order to do this, the MPHPT is supporting the penetration of a regional public network through the work of installing a regional Intranet base that will link facilities such as regional city halls, schools, and libraries. Recently, it was decided to offer subsidies within the fiscal year 2003 budget to regional public bodies to implement regional Intranet infrastructure construction, wide-area regional info-communications network infrastructure, promoting the introduction of regional Internet, and promoting the installation of an info-communications system, as part of the building of regional public networks.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 08/29/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Government's Online Daily Launched

Cheong Wa Dae said Monday that weekly conferences with 19 top government officials will be held in order to fine-tune the government's efforts to promote its policies. Also, the government began its controversial Internet newspaper. Among those selected to meet every Thursday was Deputy Chief Jeong Soon-gyu from the Government Information Service, who recently sparked controversy by contributing an article to a foreign newspaper in which he degraded the Korean reporters. The government's Internet news service (www.news.go.kr) was launched on Monday despite continuing criticisms. The Internet news service is divided into six sections: general news, media, current issues, local government news, readers' opinions and public officials' opinions. The news service also provides the government's explanations or rebuttals regarding recent press reports, in three separate sections. The first government explanation on Monday was an authoritative interpretation of the five-day workweek law and related wage issues. The Government Information Service's promotion bureau chief, Hwang Hyun-tak, said that the agency had requested that the National Assembly allot it a W1.3 billion ($1.1 million) budget for both its Internet and hard-copy newspapers. Hwang added that this year about W700 million was used for the printed government newspaper. (by Han Jae-hyun)

From Digital Chosun 09/01/2003

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Tophead Promotes 2-Screen Monitors for E-Government

Tophead yesterday held a conference to publicize its two-screen monitor technology at the Education & Culture Hall in southern Seoul. The conference aimed to market its dual-screen LCD monitors as being suitable for e-government, a Tophead official said. The monitors consist of a main screen and an additional support screen on the top, which provides a separate PC work environment. Tophead expects the monitors to act as an efficient display for the development of e-government in Korea. Tophead chairman Lee Eun-suk proposed the government adopt the two-screen monitor for facilitating exchange of information between the government and people.

From The Korea Times 09/04/2003

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Online Civil-document Service Now Offers Home Print-outs

The government has begun to provide new online civil-document issuing services, which will allow personal printers at home and offices to print out desired documents, starting on Tuesday (September 30), the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs (MOGAH) reported. The nation's online civil documentation services have so far been restricted only to the viewing of and applying for civil documents, by ordering documents online and receiving them via mail or picking them up at the ward offices. The addition of the new services marks the beginning of a new era in which complete civil documentation services, printable applications, are available at fingertips, the ministry said. Initially, only three types of documentation will get printout services; including real estate title search, official-list land prices, and recipient certificates of social safety-net protection. Since the number of real estate title searches run up to 19 million a year, the new online services will drastically reduce the number, along with the workload burden, at district offices. The online documentation services are accessible by logging on to the e-government site (www.egov.go.kr) and clicking "online-printing" for printout services. Most commercial printers will respond to the printing requests, and there is a nominal fee for the printing service, the ministry said. Starting in January 2004, the government will further expand the services into six more areas of civil paper documentation, including family registry, building registry, and disability certification.

From http://www.korea.net/ 09/30/2003

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MALAYSIA: Minister Issues Malaysia's ICT Report Card

Malaysia ICT Week 2003 kicked off Tuesday at the Mines Resort City here with Energy, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Amar Leo Moggie delivering a "report card" on the local industry's progress and achievements so far. He also laid out plans to promote and enable the greater penetration and usage of ICT among Malaysians, with greater access to communication services under new Universal Service Provision (USP) regulations, as well as the expansion of the Internet Desa and Kedai.com programmes. Malaysia was a leading country among its Asean neighbours, he said, with an Internet penetration rate of about 33%, based on the country's 2.6 million dialup Internet subscribers and an estimated 7.8 million users as at the end of last year. "According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Sweden, Iceland and Denmark lead the world with 60% Internet penetration," Moggie said. "Connectivity is a prerequisite for any country wanting to keep up with the pace of development in the new economy," he added. Over the past three years, the local communications and multimedia industry grew 10% annually on average, while the number of cellular subscribers grew 25% year-on-year from 5.1million in 2000 to 9.9 million in June this year. The number of Internet dialup subscribers grew 61% from 1.6mil in 2000 to 2.6 million as of June. Moggie also noted that while 1.2 billion people worldwide had to survive on the equivalent of US$1 (RM3.80) per day, at the other extreme developing nations were venturing into next generation technologies like super networks with 10,000 times faster processing speeds and 30,000 times greater capacity than the existing Internet. This would have implications on the global trading environment that could place developing nations at an unfair trading advantage and further intensify unfair trading practices, he claimed. He also called upon Malaysia's policy makers and network providers to examine the actual changes brought about by new regulatory mechanisms like the 1998 Communications and Multimedia Act, which are not only technology-neutral but are also based on the principle that competition will lead to greater efficiency. "As policy makers and network providers, it is important to ask ourselves how far these changes have brought real and tangible benefits to the people," Moggie said. The minister noted that many new Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers have sprouted across the nation to offer consumers more varied and affordable choices for making trunk and international calls, and value-added services. Some of the licensed last-mile service providers are now rolling out last-mile access over wireless connections, and there has been a sudden increase of interest among local entrepreneurs to build network facilities based on wireless technologies, he said, attributing this to pent-up demand for broadband services. He however cautioned entrepreneurs to avoid the mistakes of the 1990s, like "over-investing" in network infrastructure which led to an excess of unused capacity. "Rather than flocking into network facilities development, budding technopreneurs should move aggressively into applications and content development," Moggie said. For instance, many software companies have benefited from the pervasive use of ICT in the banking and financial sectors, and there's an enormous untapped potential in the retail, healthcare, transport and hospitality sectors. Moggie said he expects strong growth in demand for network integration services to enable the interoperability of mobile, fixed, wireless LAN (local area network) and other networks. "In addition, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also been asked to introduce mandatory standards for access, to facilitate maximum use of existing copper and fibre networks," he said. Meanwhile, the number of satellite TV subscribers passed the one million mark at the end of last year, compared to 561,000 in 2000, while a new free-to-air TV station -- Channel 9 -- will be starting up soon. Channel 8 (formerly Metrovision) will resume service by the end of the year. However Moggie lamented the fact that the proportion of local broadcast content was "unacceptably low" and called upon all players in the content industry to address this issue. The minister noted that much still needs to be done to bridge the nation's digital divide, the socioeconomic gap between those with access to ICT and those without. He said that connecting households without basic communication service required faster deployment. Towards this end, regulations governing the USP will be amended to provide greater flexibility in its implementation and enable faster rollout of services. These amendments will simplify administrative processes for implementing USP programmes, be open to all licensees and not just network facility providers, and will also let them freely choose the technology to be implemented. All licensees make an annual contribution towards the USP Fund managed by the MCMC, and the fund today stands at RM400mil. Moggie urged the MCMC to deploy the fund quickly and where appropriate, to reduce or eliminate any red tape "which delays or hinders the implementation of projects under the USP programme." Moggie pledged that at the same time his ministry and the MCMC will continue to play their part through projects like setting up Internet Desa (rural Internet) centres and Kedai.com programmes designed to bring network access to people in rural and marginalised areas. About 40 more Internet Desa telecentres will be added to bring their total to 56 nationwide, while the number of Kedai.coms will be increased from the present 15 to 133 by the end of the year. Kedai.coms are "mini-cybercafes" comprising up to five PCs and two public payphones communicating wirelessly over a VSAT (very small aperture terminal). The MCMC pays for the equipment and operational costs for one year out of its own funds, while the local community provides the premises and furniture, and pays for the electricity. Various voluntary bodies train the local community in using the facilities. Malaysia ICT Week 2003 also included the two-day MSC ICT Policy Summit which had the theme A Roadmap to Global Competitiveness, Puspanita's one-day seminar on how women can work from home using ICT, and a one-day National E-Security Seminar. There were also three concurrent exhibitions -- Asean Communications and Multimedia 2003 Expo and Forum, MSC Expo 2003 and National E-Commerce Expo. ICT Week culminated with the seventh annual meeting of the Multimedia Super Corridor's International Advisory Panel (IAP) in Cyberjaya on Thursday. (By Charles F. Moreira)

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 09/05/2003

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EDS, Opsware Propose Open Standard for Utility Computing

About 25 technology companies are backing a new language to simplify computing for corporations and make it easier and cheaper for data centres to exchange information. The open standard, called Data Centre Markup Language or DCML, is designed to boost so-called utility computing and will be ready early next year, officials said. Electronic Data Systems Corp and software company Opsware Inc proposed the new industrywide standard Tuesday in Boston. Supporters include Computer Associates International Inc, BEA Systems and Akamai Technologies Inc. The standard would allow companies to automate more of the functions of running computer systems that use incompatible equipment and software from different vendors. Marc Andreessen, the chairman of Opsware and co-founder of Web browser pioneer Netscape Communications, compared the proposed standard to the advent of HTML for Web browsers, which standardised making content in different formats readily available on the Internet. "The role that a standard can play is really fundamental," he said. "Standards have always accelerated adoption" of new technology. In recent years, many companies have shifted their data centres to Internet-based systems, causing an explosion in demand for servers and software - often from several different vendors. Companies have hired huge information-technology staff to handle their increasingly complex data-centre operations and other management and technology systems that often can't talk to each other. EDS vice-chairman Jeff Heller said the standard would help meet demands from corporate and government customers to operate their call centres faster, better and cheaper. EDS also hopes the standard will give it more leverage to challenge IBM, which encourages customers to buy their equipment from one vendor. Heller said an open standard for running data centres would mean customers wouldn't have to do that, and added that the open standard "will be very helpful in our struggle with IBM." IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems are pushing their own, closed-end initiatives to automate data centre operations. Donna Scott, an analyst with research firm Gartner, said freer exchange of information between data centres is needed for utility computing to deliver on its promise of better service and reduced costs. Without something like the new markup language, information-technology operations will continue to struggle and managing them will remain very labour-intensive, she said. Opsware, formerly known as Loudcloud Inc, makes software for corporate information-technology departments. EDS, based near Dallas, bought Opsware's online services business. EDS runs computer systems and call centres for corporate and government customers.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 10/15/2003

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National Broadband Plan

The National Broadband Plan, an initiative by the Government to promote a knowledge-based society, will begin its first phase of implementation next year, initially leveraging existing community initiatives. Secretary-general of the Energy, Communications and Multimedia Ministry, Datuk Dr Halim Shafie, said the communities will include government departments at federal, state and district levels which will be linked through the Government Integrated Telecommunications Network (GITN) and E-government Net. The first phase will also involve a group of 10,000 schools, to be connected under the SchoolNet project, scheduled for launch next month. Another group, Halim said, will be made up of local universities and research institutions, and they will be linked via the Malaysia Research and Education Network (MyREN), a high-speed private network. The aim is to initiate growth and encourage collaborative partnership projects for research and development. It will be integrated with other regional and international research and education networks,?he told Computimes in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. Other communities identified under the National Broadband Plan include the trade and customs facilities community connected under the Dagang Net project, and hospitals and clinics, which will be linked through the Telehealth Network. According to Halim, all users under these selected community initiatives are expected to be linked to a broadband network by end of next year. Meanwhile, the general public can also expect to benefit from improved broadband services now available via the asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL), wireless local area network (WLAN) or wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi), and integrated service digital network (ISDN), he said. Halim said a Government-backed push for broadband in the country will drive service providers to improve on broadband infrastructure and services to cater to a growing demand of the service. He added that the reduction of broadband Internet access charges for commercial and residential users by Telekom Malaysia has created a surge in demand for this service and thus the service provider, as a business entity, must be able to respond accordingly to market changes. Apart from leveraging existing Government-led initiatives, the National Broadband Plan will also look into improvements and upgrades in terms of broadband infrastructure and systems. It is a moving plan, and the strategy beyond 2004 will be based on demand. For example, when there is a requirement that the communities be linked to one another, then they will. Hence, it is important that private networks linking users within the selected communities share a common infrastructure,?Halim said. He added that as it is the Government's aim to empower the society, broadband access would eventually reach the whole nation, even rural areas. The local penetration of broadband, defined as communications technology such as DSL, direct broadcast satellite and third-generation cellular phones that can provide support for fast and always-on access to a range of communications services and applications, is still low compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Halim said. Yet such a network is needed to accelerate transformation into a k-based society and economy, he said, adding that last year Malaysia's broadband penetration rate was 0.08 per cent compared to Singapore at 6.13 per cent and South Korea at 19.29 per cent.

From http://www.ctimes.com.my/ 10/23/2003

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THAILAND: Bangkok, Seoul Team Up on ICT

Thailand will sign a memorandum of understanding with South Korea next week to promote collaboration in the field of information and communications technology (ICT). Under the government's plan approved by the Cabinet yesterday, ICT Minister Surapong Suebwonglee will ink the accord during the visit of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his delegation to South Korea from August 24-26. The initiative to work together in the ICT arena on e-government projects, e-education, e-procurement and software development is in line with the Thaksin government's policy to enhance the country's global competitive edge through ICT capacity-building. The parties will help develop ICT human resources and telecom standards as well as set up a joint committee to implement the agreement and review its progress. The pact will last for five years and be automatically extended every five years. Earlier Surapong said Thailand wanted to learn much more from South Korea, especially about the broadband Internet industry. South Korea has the largest broadband Internet market in the world. Broadband Net service in the Kingdom is still in the nascent stage due to high service charges, with only around 8,000 users. But rapid adoption is expected to bring the figure up to 20,000 next year. Surapong has already visited Ireland and Finland to seek closer ICT ties. A plan emerged from the discussion with Finland to establish a joint IT fund to invest in budding projects here and abroad. The premier visited Malaysia last month to improve trade and ICT coordination.

From http:///ww.nationmultimedia.com/ 08/20/2003

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VIETNAM: Strategy Ushers in IT Competition

Viet Nam will open up its market to encourage all economic sectors to take part in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry to raise the efficiency and competitiveness of the computing sector, participants in a seminar on national ICT policy said on Tuesday. The draft was made known at the two-day seminar Paving the Road towards Viet Nam's ICT Strategy, which focuses on infrastructure and industry development. It is the second of a series organised by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommications with UNDP assistance. The seminar brings policy makers, donors and the private sector together to work out Viet Nam's first comprehensive plan for developing its ICT industry. The seminars are part of the National Consultations on Information and Communication Technology for Development project, conducted with UNDP assistance. Participants said that Viet Nam will become a promising market for information technology, possibly one of the top three countries among ASEAN in terms of IT and telecommunications infrastructure. The domestic ICT industry will reach US$5.5 billion by 2010, accounting for 9 per cent of gross domestic product up from the current 1.5 per cent, participants said. The project is in line with the International Telecommunications Union's 2002 country study, which reported that Viet Nam has one of the fastest growing telecommunications infrastructures in the developing world and the fastest growing telecommunications market in Southeast Asia. The annual growth rate in telecommunications and internet use in Viet Nam between 1995 and 2002 is 32.5 per cent, according to the union. The study reported that the total number of desk telephone subscribers as of August 2003 reached 6.4 million, increasing annually by around 30 per cent. The telephone density is now 8 per 100 people. Also, mobile phone networks reached all 61 cities and provinces in 2002. The total number of mobile phone subscribers is about 1.9 million with the rate of 2.5 phones per 100 people. New services and value added services in both desk telephone and mobile phone are also increasing, the study found. The strategy's four focus areas will be upgrading Viet Nam's IT infrastructure, developing human resources, improving IT applications and strengthening the domestic IT industry. Deputy Minister of Posts and Telematics Mai Liem Truc said that ICT was one of the centrepieces in the implementation of the Government's decade-long development strategy. He continued, saying that directive 58 of the Party Politburo recognises ICT as a pillar in the country's infrastructure and one of the driving forces of economic growth. UNDP Resident Representative Jordan Ryan welcomed this move to open up the IT market, saying, "Viet Nam has several distinct advantages in developing its ICT industry. These include a young and skilled, hard working labour force and a leadership determined to develop its industry."

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 08/20/2003

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Experts Plot Future of IT in Viet Nam

More than 500 delegates, including Government officials, specialists, managers and business representatives around the country, are participating in a three-day seminar that began on Wednesday on the development of the IT and communication sector towards 2020. "The seminar will contribute to a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the Politburo's instruction on speeding up IT development in the cause of industrialisation and modernisation between 2001 and 2005," said Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem at the opening session of the seminar, the first of its kind in the country. The official noted that IT development promotes innovation, rapid growth and modernisation, and enhances the competitiveness of businesses. It also supports economic accession into the world's economy, improving citizens' life and ensuring national defence and security. To achieve IT goals, the State has issued various legal documents to provide a legal framework for accelerating IT application and development. The IT and telecommunications sectors have already recorded high growth rates of 20 to 25 per cent per annum. IT applications have been expanding with 50 per cent of the country's enterprises using IT in their management, production, trade and services. Appro-ximatety 2,500 enterprises are registered doing business in the software industry with a total staff of 8,000. "Two software parks are operating relatively successfully in HCM City, and initially have had some foreign markets, though still small in size," said Khiem. A number of hardware companies, including Fujitsu, Samsung Vina, Hanel and Vietronic Tan Binh, have begun production, he said. The computer assembling industry with around 20 assemblers and their own trademarks have had positive results. The national information network comprising the telecommunication system and the Internet has also proven effective with six million subscribers, and 93 per cent of all 8,155 communes have access to telephones. The Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the rapid development in IT human resource training. At least 57 colleges now have training programmers and specialists. "However, there are problems in the IT and communication sectors, including sluggish development, shortage of investment, lack of appropriate policies and a small market share of the IT industry, even in this country," he said. Under the development strategy for the IT and communication sectors, Viet Nam is expected by 2020 to rank third in the region on the growth of these sectors in the communication and Internet infrastructure. It also is targeted to reach an advanced level of IT applications in the ASEAN region by 2020. Topics to be discussed at the seminar through Friday include development strategy, initial results, experiences and orientation of IT applications in HCM City, electronics industry: opportunities and challenges, software exports, applications in the construction, banking and aviation fields, Korean experience in IT organisation and management, and IT human resource development. A software exhibition, Softmart, opened yeaterday at the Etown building in Cong Hoa Street where the seminar is being held, with more than 100 stalls displaying software products and solutions.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 09/11/2003

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HCM City Chiefs Urge Hi-Tech Shift

The industrial sector in HCM City must focus on hi-tech areas such as telecoms, biotechnology and computer software if the city is to achieve sustainable economic growth over the next two years, city leaders said at the 13th meeting of the city's Party Committee on Thursday. The mayor, Le Thanh Hai, said the city would aim to achieve at least 11 per cent economic growth in the next two years, higher than the rate of 9.9 per cent seen in the past two years, but he said there might have to be a temporary slow-down in industrial production to allow for restructuring. Over the last three years, the city has seen industrial production rise 15 per cent, contributing significantly to the city's economy. Hai said that for the next two years the city would focus on developing key projects, including the Quang Trung Software Park, the breeding of high quality plant and animal varieties, and the reform of State-owned firms. Other projects in 2005 would include the completion of a hi-tech industrial park, improvements in garbage treatment and the resettlement of 10,000 households now living along polluted canals. The government would also provide better water and electricity supplies, and improve road traffic management to ease jams and reduce the number of road accidents. He said the city also hoped to increase export revenue by 20 per cent between 2003 and 2005. State-owned firms, foreign-invested businesses and privately owned manufacturers have all performed well, with foreign-invested companies accounting for 27.7 per cent of the city's total industrial production. The new focus on higher technology industries reflected the Government's desire to achieve greater long-term economic growth. The meeting also discussed administrative reforms and what punishments would be appropriate to deal with corruption among Party officials and public employees. Over the last two years, the city has punished 1,440 cadres and Party members for violating economic and Party regulations. City officials also urged the development of democratic attitudes among the public.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 09/12/2003

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President Promises IT Hub Will Receive Support

President Tran Duc Luong has thrown his weight behind the country's information technology firms, promising to cut telecommunication costs at Quang Trung software park, the country's leading IT park. "There is no doubt that it is only with quick and inexpensive telecoms services that businesses, including the Quang Trung software park, will be able to thrive," the President said during a visit to the IT park on Monday. He was responding to concerns raised by the software city's administration that high telecoms charges were making business difficult. The telecoms network at the IT park is considered to be among the best in Viet Nam, with the fastest internet access in the country. Luong said IT development was vital to the nation's industrialisation and modernisation process, and he urged all IT experts at the software park to work harder to attain international quality standards. He also listened to complaints from software companies about difficulties they had in obtaining bank loans, and he asked the HCM City authorities to immediately work out more ways to assist them. He advised the HCM City administration to look for more joint venture investors to help build up the IT park, and he urged commercial banks to offer more flexible loan policies. Luong said the State would do its utmost to protect copyrights on IT products, especially software patents. The director of Quang Trung software park, Chu Tien Dung, told Luong that the IT park now houses 51 software companies, including 17 foreign-invested firms, with a total investment of US$10.92 million. Dung said the IT park hoped to have at least 70 companies by the end of the year, and would expand capacity by investing a further $22 million to attract a bigger work force. The park now employs 2,400 IT experts and students, and plans to add a further 1,000. A total of 10 office projects covering an area of 14,000sq.m are now under construction in the software park, which was created as the country's first IT park in 2001 under a Government initiative. The deputy chairman of HCM City's People's Committee, Nguyen Thien Nhan, said the municipal authorities had invested about VND 60 billion ($3.9 million) in the park, with VND600 billion ($38.71 million) coming from other investors. Luong congratulated the park on its success, and expressed the hope that it would attract more investors and contribute further to Viet Nam's development. On Sunday, he visited the Viet Nam Dairy Product Company (Vinamilk) and some sports centres which will host competitions during the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in December. He said he was pleased with Vinamilk's growth, but asked the company to increase exports, and expand its markets and distribution network. At the Nguyen Dinh Chieu and Nguyen Du sports centres, officials told him that renovations at the city's 11 SEA Games competition venues will be finished next month.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 09/18/2003

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Govt Wants IT Savvy Population

Viet Nam aims to strengthen the application of information and communication technologies in Government, business and throughout the education system, the Ministry of Posts and Telematics has announced. Deputy minister Mai Liem Truc told the third information and communication technologies round-table in Ha Noi on Wednesday that the adoption of these technologies would benefit users across society. The round-table was organised by the ministry and the United Nations Development Programme, and brought together representatives of Government, business, academia and donors. Truc described the application of these technologies and the development of human resources as the two "children" of the national strategy that will form the basis of Viet Nam's much-needed technology framework. He said the national strategy would establish priorities for technological development, thereby accelerating regional integration and helping Viet Nam become one of the top five ASEAN countries in terms of technological readiness. "Success in this regard will depend on the efforts that will be made by the three target groups of the strategy: the Government, enterprises and users," Truc said. The draft national strategy, released at the round-table on Wednesday, states that information and communication technologies should be applied in all economic, cultural and political fields, and should become one of the most important factors in social and economic development by 2010. The strategy aims to provide every corner of the country with access to information on the internet, and enable residents of provincial towns to perform transactions. According to the strategy, this would be a significant improvement on the current situation, in which the technologies are too expensive for the average person, where the environment is not conducive to application development and there is no workable action plan. The strategy's human resource development section outlines what needs to be done to integrate the technologies as information tools throughout society, through improved training in the technologies and their applications. The UNDP's resident representative, Jordan Ryan, said the draft strategy showed the technologies should not be seen as an isolated industry, but as an approach to realising new possibilities and modalities of development. He said the strategy was about harnessing the full potential of the technologies for all sectors of the economy and society: public administration reform, private sector competition, capacity building and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. According to Professor Dang Huu, the chief executive of the Communist Party's Information and Communication Technologies Steering Committee, many domestic enterprises have used the Internet to develop their business. Information technology was out of the reach of most people, Huu said, particularly those living in rural areas where intellectuals and information were needed to boost economic development. "The State should reduce the cost of accessing communication and Internet technologies. We need cheap computers to help people," Huu said. He said two of the main obstacles to the adoption of information technology were human resources and training. At the end of the year, the ministry will organise a national forum to review the final draft of the national information and communication technologies strategy.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 10/03/2003

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HCM City Sets Sights on 7-Year Hi-Tech Plan

HCM City is planning to spend US$16.8 billion for industrial development over the next seven years, with much of the expenditure in high-tech industries. This amount represents nearly 39 per cent of the city's total investment for economic development toward 2010, said city officials at a recent meeting of leaders of local ministries of industry, planning and investment and the City People's Committee. The focus will be on high-tech industries such as electronics, information technology and telecom companies as well as manufacturing and mechanical engineering industries. The city is expected to earn VND167.6 trillion ($11.1 billion) in industrial turnover by 2010, accounting for 27 to 32 per cent of the country's total industrial value. Over the last nine months, the city's industrial value jumped by 15.1 per cent over 2002, ranking second after Ha Noi which had a 28.5 per cent growth rate. The highest growth came in the clothing and footwear industries. Deputy Minister of Industry Do Huu Hao said the Government has approved the building of a mechanical engineering industrial park in the suburban district of Cu Chi, northwest of HCM City. The 100ha industrial park will focus on the maintenance and manufacture of mechanical engineering components for the motor vehicle and shipbuilding industries. To kick off investment in the industrial park, the city will establish a State-operated engineering company that will initially specialise in the manufacture of passenger buses. In the future, the company will produce other kinds of vehicles and ships. City authorities also proposed that the industry ministry allow the District 5 Engineering Traffic Enterprise to complete its manufacture and assembly of seven-seater cars and minibuses bearing Vietnamese trademarks so that it can quickly replace dilapidated cars and buses. The city is now replacing 1,300 worn-out and obsolete buses with new ones in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and road accidents. Meanwhile, the development of the manufacturing, engineering, ship building and automobile industries remains crucial to meet the rapid economic growth in the key southern economic zones, they said.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 10/09/2003

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BANGLADESH: Dhaka Plans to Monitor E-Mail and Phone

The Bangladeshi cabinet is considering new laws that would enable the authorities to monitor e-mail correspondence and telephone conversations of the general public. The ruling coalition, which has a huge majority in parliament, says that the measures are necessary to stop rising lawlessness and terrorism. For the past two years the country has been in the middle of a crime wave, with as many as 400 rapes and murders each month. During the same period there have been a number of bomb attacks that have been blamed on hardline Islamic groups. Under changes to the 2001 Telecommunications Act that are due to be presented to parliament shortly, bugged telephone calls and intercepted e-mails would be permissible in legal proceedings. The proposals have provoked outrage among human rights experts and telecom specialists, who argue that businessmen in particular would be more vulnerable to blackmail and industrial espionage. "They represent a fundamental breach of our right to communicate," said telecoms expert Abu Sayed Khan. "If they are enacted it will be a devastating blow for freedom of speech and will turn the country into a police state. "Bangladesh already has some of the most restrictive laws in relation to internet and telephone access in the whole of Asia," added Mr Khan. "Such stern measures have not even been taken in Kashmir." The proposals are the latest in a long line of restrictions over the last two decades. In the 1980s, the government tried to curtail the sale of fax machines and photo-copiers arguing that they were being used by criminal syndicates. Members of the public complained at the time it was easier to get a gun licence than a fax. Likewise when the first mobile telephones were introduced in the late 1980s, it was necessary for subscribers to obtain "security clearance" from the authorities before they could be used. The government has defended the proposals by arguing that crime has soared so much in recent years that drastic action is necessary. (by Alastair Lawson-Tancred)

From http://news.ft.com/ 09/24/2003

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Mobile Telephone Sets Seized

The Customs Surveillance Team seized a total of 115 mobile telephone sets worth Taka 8.40 lakh from the possession of a passenger at 12 noon at Zia International Airport yesterday. According to the customs sources the Surveillance Team seized the mobile sets from Bangladeshi national Shakib Ahmed who arrived at Zia International Airport by a flight of Thai Airways (Flight no -TG-321). The Surveillance Team detained Shakib Ahmed for his suspicious movement and later seized the mobile sets after examining his luggage. Customs Inspectors Muhammed Wazed Ali and ABM A Kafi detained the passenger at the directives of Deputy Commissioner of Customs Muhammed Ashraf Ali Faruq. A case has been filed in this connection.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 10/11/2003

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Call to Support Locally Produced Software

Minister for Commerce Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury gave a clarion call to the business community and government establishments to support the locally produced software. He was speaking as the chief guest at a launching ceremony of the software named TeLIS, a Technohaven Leasing and Investment System, at a local hotel in the city recently. The function was also attended by Matiur Rahman, President-DCCI and A Quadir Chowdhury, Chairman, Bangladesh Leasing and Finance Companies Association (BLFCA), SM Shamsul Arefin, Managing Director, Uttara Finance and Investments Ltd and Habibullah N Karim, Managing Director, Technohaven Co Ltd. The Minister congratulated Technohaven Co Ltd for developing the TeLIS, a world-class solution for the local financial sector. He recalled Technohaven's pioneer role in the automation of Chittagong Stock Exchange, Bangladesh Railway ticketing and reservation system and other large national IT projects. He expressed his confidence that this solution would not only bring a better and cost effective business solution for local leasing and investment companies but also be recognised as a global software solution for this sector. The Minister expressed his deep interest about the development of IT sector in Bangladesh. He said that the IT Task Force was formed by the government to speed up the growth of this sector. He expected that the nation, business community as well as the government bodies would come forward to encourage the local IT companies by buying locally made software. Matiur Rahman, President of DCCI said that this software would help the local leasing companies to consolidate their businesses and improve client services dramatically. A Quadir Chowdhury, Chairman, BLFCA expressed his deep satisfaction with this software and said that locally developed software had the potential to earn substantial foreign currency. Habibullah N Karim, CEO, Technohaven Co Ltd and President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) said that TeLIS- Technohaven Leasing and Investment System (TeLIS) software was developed in the last one year solely by the local IT professionals.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 10/21/2003

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Internet Service to Be Extended to Villages

The government is working towards extending Internet service to the village level soon, as today's society is being transformed on the basis of knowledge economy the world over. Information and Comunications Technology Minister Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan disclosed the plan while inaugurating a three-day South Asia Regional Network meeting of Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) at the BRAC Centre here yesterday. "We'll have to ensure Internet connectivity in this global village, so we took various steps for providing Internet facility at the village level," he said. A number of delegates from different countries, including India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, joined the conference. The meet is preparatory to the upcoming ICT summit in Geneva. During the three-day brainstorming on problems and prospects of the potential sector, the participants will discuss ways and means of maximum use of ICT for development. Its outcome will be put forward at the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva in December. Dr Moyeen Khan said ICT not only can reduce poverty but also can be a tool for good governance. "Using ICT, Bangladeshi people as well Asian people can change their lives," he told the inaugural function. Bangladesh Telecommuications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Syed Marghub Morshed observed that for developing countries in Asia, ICT can be the most important tool for poverty eradication. Professor Mahmudul Houqe of Bangladesh Friendship Education Society (BFES) and Reza Salim, member-secretary of Bangladesh Working Group on the World Summit on Information Society, also spoke. Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley, Chairman, Bangladesh Centre for Development Research (CDRB), presided over the opening session.

From http://www.thedailystar.net/ 10/25/2003

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Lack of Support Puts Local ICT Professionals on Back-Foot

The Science and Information and Communication Technology Minister, Abdul Moyeen Khan, said the country has a good number of competent ICT professionals and most of them are better than their neighbouring counterparts. But due to lack of proper support and assistance, the country could not utilise their full potentials, he added during a seminar on Information Paradox and Possible Solutions. The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), organised Software Fair-2003 in the city Saturday. "In many cases, our ICT professionals are doing better, but due to lack of proper and adequate support, the desired result could not be achieved", he lamented while drawing a comparison between local and overseas ICT professionals. Later, he inaugurated the two-day mini fair in which 25 local software development companies took part. The minister observed that locally grown software products were yet to achieve expected results despite the fact that the country's ICT sector had a large number of comparative advantages. He emphasised the need for capacity building in terms of quality and reliability to face the stiff competition and also to remove other barriers in the sector. Assuring allout efforts from the government, the minister said they are striving hard to remove the barriers that hold back the growth of the ICT sector. Presided over by DCCI President Matiur Rahman, the seminar was attended by BRAC University Vice- chancellor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury as the special guest. DCCI director Atique-e-Rabbani presented the keynote paper in which he pointed out that information paradox referred to the inconsistency between investment on ICT and profitability. Speakers said ICT has been seen as an alternative option for rapid economic development. Despite utmost efforts, the country could not achieve expected progress, they added. They stressed the need for launching awareness and motivation campaigns for the rapid development of our ICT sector. (The Financial Express)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 10/26/2003

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SRI LANKA: Phone Codes Change Today

The area codes for Colombo, Kandy and Galle will change today, under the 10-digit number plan proposed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Sri Lanka. Users will have to add '1' to the existing area code to get the new code. Accordingly, the new area code for Colombo will be 011. The new codes for Kandy and Galle will be 081 and 091. As usual, callers dialling within these areas do not have to dial the area code. Callers dialling from outstations and overseas will have to use the new codes to access subscribers in Colombo, Kandy and Galle. For example, a caller from Kandy dialling subscriber number 234 5678 will have to dial 011-234 5678. Overseas callers should dial 94-11-234 5678. All other area codes will remain unchanged. Sri Lanka Telecom has advised subscribers to reprogramme call forwarding and hotline facilities with the new area codes. Numbers stored in fax/phone machines should also be changed accordingly. Suntel and Lanka Bell numbers will also be brought into the geographical national numbering plan under the respective area codes, instead of the present '074' and '075' access codes.

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 10/18/2003

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PAKISTAN: Rajanpur Better Micro Credit Scheme Urged

RAJANPUR -- Punjab Governor Khalid Maqbool has directed officials of the Zarai Tarraqiati and Khushhali banks to widen the scope of the micro credit scheme in areas like Rajanpur. The governor expressed these views while inspecting different federal government departments in the district here on Thursday. During his visit to the Zarai Tarraqiati Bank and the Khushhali Bank, he directed their high-ups to advance loans under the micro credit scheme to the educated women in rural areas for setting up sewing and embroidery training centres. He praised both the institutions for providing loans of Rs60 million to the unemployed youth in Rajanpur. Visiting the Nadra Swift Registration Centre, the governor was informed that the Nadra would also open its sub-divisional offices in Jampur and Rojhan tehsils. Maqbool directed the officials concerned that mobile teams should be constituted at union council level for the provision of computerized NICs to the people. Earlier, the governor visited the offices of the Mepco, NCHD and the PTCL Customer Service Centre. Punjab Assembly deputy speaker Sardar Shaukat Hussain Mazari, MNA Sardar Muhammad Jaffer Khan Leghari, MPA Sardar Ghazali, District Nazim Dr Hafizur Rahman Dreshak and DCO Malik Samiullah Abid were also present on the occasion. shot dead: A man and his two sons were shot dead by five people over a minor issue on Thursday at Dajal town, Rajanpur. Dadu Khan along with his sons Usman Khan and Amanullah were present in his house when Mian Riaz, Ali Gull, Pandi, Niazi and then another accomplice came there and opened fire on them. As a result, Dadu and his sons died on the spot. A case has been registered against the absconding accused.

From http://www.dawn.com/ 10/17/2003

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AUSTRALIA: E-Crime Guidelines Released

NEW national e-crime guidelines were launched today to help organizations deal with incidents following widespread concerns about the forensic status of computer-generated evidence. The guidelines, published by Standards Australia, set a benchmark for the preservation and collection of evidence in digital form, as part of the development of legal standards for handling electronic information. The aim is to provide clear rules on how electronic records that may be used in judicial or administrative proceedings - whether plaintiff, defendant, or witness - should be managed. Standards Australia says the guidelines will operate as a starting point to be tested in legal proceedings, and will be subject to review as appropriate. "Recent films such as Tom Cruise's Minority Report and The Bank have demonstrated the power of electronic evidence and these guidelines will give both technical and non-technical personnel information on what should be preserved in the event of an incident," Standards Australia chief executive Ross Wraight said. IT evidence is increasingly being called upon as proof of a wide variety of crimes where a computer has been used as a tool for fraud, identity theft or other illegal activities, Standards Australia standards development executive Peter Walsh said. "This will place businesses in a better position to take action through the courts to prosecute security breaches," Mr Walsh said. "They will also assist law enforcement agencies in their criminal investigations by improving the methods for collecting evidence and making it available in legal proceedings." The guidelines are part of the Federal Government's E-Security National Agenda aimed at persuading senior business leaders to better manage their information risks.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 08/12/2003

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State in $300m IP Tender

THE NSW Government is planning to go to market by mid-October on a $300 million per-year statewide telecommunications project. The project will pool demand for telecoms services for "all the significant agencies", including health, education and police and emergency services, a spokesman for NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said. It would be based on an internet protocol network, he said. A preferred tenderer was expected to be chosen by the end of the year. The Government is believed to have selected a short list of four potential contractors to deploy as many as 20,000 IP handsets across the state. Short-listed organisations include Telstra and the Fusion syndicate, which consists of Optus, construction giant Leighton Holdings and investment bank ABN Amro. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 09/30/2003

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First Identity Theft Laws Proposed in South Australia

The first laws in Australia to specifically target identity theft have been proposed by the South Australian government. The state government today announced its latest string of law and order initiatives, including planned laws to target identity theft, cyber crime and those who attack police. SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said yesterday that identity theft, which occurs when people use someone else's personal information with the intention of committing a crime, would be an offence under the new laws, attracting a maximum jail term of up to 12 years. He said identity theft paved the way for terrorist activities, citing fake IDs used by the World Trade Center bombers and stolen credit cards used by an al-Qaeda cell in Spain for illegal purchases. "Crooks get this lucrative information by scavenging through rubbish (dumpster-diving), stealing mail, peeking over someone's shoulder at a public phone, computer or ATM (shoulder-surfing) or using an electronic device to scan a credit card (skimming)," Mr Atkinson said in a statement. "This is the first legislation in Australia specifically targeting identity theft. "We want to nip this in the bud before the information is used to help terrorists, illegal immigrants and drug couriers, let alone assist with money laundering or frauds against people, businesses and governments." Mr Atkinson said laws were also planned by the government to target cyber crime. The proposed laws would impose penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment for those found guilty of using a computer with the intent to commit an offence, modifying or impairing electronic data without authorisation and possessing computer viruses with the intent to commit a serious computer offence.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 10/16/2003

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NSW Maps State Broadband Plans

THE NSW Government has called for proposals to build a broadband network to connect its main agencies at a cost of up to $300 million. NSW Commerce Minister John Della Bosca said the state would use capacity on networks used for railways and electricity transmission to provide the service, giving a high-bandwidth backbone network to 24 key locations throughout the state. Surplus capacity on the network would be made available to commercial service providers, he said. The government network would let commercial providers connect to its network. "The NSW Government wants the telecommunications industry to put forward innovative and competitive propositions to operate a broadband network that reaches population centres outside Sydney," Mr Della Bosca said. The network would allow better delivery of government services, connecting to as many as 2000 schools, hospitals, libraries, court houses and police stations. "At present, there is very limited competition in broadband services for residents and businesses outside of Sydney, so there's little incentive to improve services or provide competitive pricing," Mr Della Bosca said.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 10/22/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Police Not Equipped to Enforce New Computer Laws, Says National

New laws to deal with computer crime, which came into force yesterday, will not work unless the police have the resources to enforce them, says National MP Tony Ryall. It is now an offence to access a computer for dishonest purposes, damage or interfere with a computer system, access a computer without authorisation or make, sell, distribute or possess software to commit a crime. The new crimes carry sentences of up to seven years in prison. Police Minister George Hawkins said they brought the law into line with the latest technology, but Mr Ryall said there was little point having new laws if hardly anyone was prosecuted. "Already the police are suffering from under-resourcing, and the police have now confirmed that at present they are only able to investigate between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of reported computer crime," he said. "It's time George Hawkins got real with the problems facing the force -- he can't add new penalties without giving police the tools and the resources they need." Mr Ryall, National's police spokesman, said money was being spent on highway patrols and speed cameras but not much else. "New Zealanders don't want cops ticketing people for driving six kilometres over the limit as serious computer crime goes unchecked and while burglars have only a less than one in 12 chance of getting caught in Auckland."

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz 10/02/2003

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Capital Picks Numbers

Positively Wellington reckons the capital could boast 20 information and communication technology companies with revenues of more than $100 million by 2012. The Hi Growth Project - created by the Government-backed ICT Taskforce - has enlisted the help of regional development groups throughout New Zealand in its efforts to foster 100 companies with $100 million-plus revenues by 2012. Each of the regions is setting goals for how many companies it hopes their region can cough up and is nominating possible companies. Positively Wellington has nominated 40 companies to take part and reckons half could make the grade. The organisation will mentor those involved to help them reach the goal. The Christchurch Software Cluster and Auckland's North Shore have also set goals of 20 companies. Auckland is still finalising its numbers. Hi Growth Project executive director Catherine Calarco says each of the regional development groups and clusters has promised help to grow the companies through mentoring. "They've taken it on themselves to be part of the project and now have a goal to have 20 companies in the Wellington region which will achieve that $100 million mark and they're working on identifying them and providing programmes to achieve that growth." Ms Calarco says 40 companies have signed up with the Hi Growth Project itself. The companies - whose current revenues range from $500,000 to nearly $100 million - will receive information and advice in areas such as government programmes, export marketing and funding. The companies will also be required to set growth goals and will be measured on a yearly basis. A new ICT entrant to the $100 million revenue club will be announced at the Hi Tech Awards in November.

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 10/06/2003

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Law a Blast from the Past for Cyber Cafes

A law created to deal with the space invader craze is being dusted off to help police tackle problems with youngsters spending late nights in internet cafes. A report by Waitakere police says one of the city's internet cafes in New Lynn often has "five to six persons collapsed over computers asleep". Sergeant Brian Louden told Waitakere City councillors that a bylaw could help put a stop to situations such as schoolchildren playing games at internet cafes at 3am and 12-year-olds falling asleep there. He said it was undesirable for school-age children to be on these premises until early morning when "one would hope they would be resting for the next day of school". Internet cafes had become more like high-tech gaming parlours than educational facilities. "I'm yet to see kids doing their homework in one," Mr Louden said. Instead, children played internet games such as "Battlefield 1942" for $2 an hour or $5 to $10 for an all-night session. Police saw restrictions of operating hours as a solution to problems at some premises with underage patrons, minor criminal offending, drug use, intoxication, disorderly behaviour and youth gangs. The council's compliance manager, Alan Ahmu, said internet cafes were a new phenomenon for the city. They had been seen as a way of providing ready and convenient access to the internet for gathering information, email and cyber shopping. But complaints about some cafes had prompted an inspection of premises, which found the main attraction in them was playing computer games. A 1990 bylaw for amusement galleries, designed to control billiard halls and space-invader-type games arcades, could be applied to any internet cafe. Under it, operators must seek a licence. The licence can restrict opening hours, ban children being on premises during school hours and require premises to meet council standards. Police have welcomed restrictions on opening hours as a solution to criminal offending and other problems. But cafe owners see it as a threat to their businesses. Most responded by seeking dispensations so they could open for 24 hours, seven days a week. Councillors last week turned down three bids for dispensation made by people who the police said were bad operators. Full-time operation was allowed for three cafes which received clean police reports. The Herald found later that two of the cafes on the police bad books had closed. The other rejected applicant, Bruce Wang of X-net Cafe in New Lynn, said he would appeal against the decision. He said the cafe, which had been open for a year, had been a trouble-free and safe entertainment place. "I can't understand why they apply these outdated laws to us. "The police may as well say, 'Everyone stay home - don't go out'." Mr Wang said his cafe had the most modern software and hardware in Auckland and was popular because of its fast internet connection and rates. (by Wayne Thompson)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 10/14/2003

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AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan Revives Telecommunications and Postal Services

With an average of only two telephones per 1,000 people, among the lowest coverage in the world, Afghanistan has taken a major step to increase access and improve telecommunications services with the support of a US$22 million credit approved today by the World Bank's International Development Association. The majority of Ministries in Kabul, along with most provincial capitals, have extremely limited access to telecommunications and the internet. Postal services are also recovering from years of conflict. While there is a post office in every district, the majority are dilapidated and lack even such basic equipment as scales and franking machines. The World Bank financing will support an Emergency Telecommunications Project which will assist in developing a government communications network linking ministries in Kabul with the provinces. It will also encourage the growth of private competition among telecommunications networks and services. "We need to modernize and quickly expand telecommunications networks and services throughout the country to reconnect people and develop our social and economic system," said Eng. Mohammad Masoom Stanakzai, Afghanistan Telecommunications Minister. "To achieve this, we recognize the importance of creating the right conditions for open competition and private sector investment in delivering these services. "The government network, combined with the growth of telecommunications access, is also expected to support the delivery of public services and improve governance through faster information flow regarding government activities at both the provincial and national level. The credit will also support capacity building and purchase of basic equipment for post offices. "It is urgent for the government to be able to communicate both internally and with its many development partners. We believe this project will play a major role in building that capacity," said Charles J. Kenny, a World Bank Telecommunications Specialist and Project Task Leader. "The government has also shown its commitment to building a vibrant, competitive telecommunications sector that provides widespread access to affordable services. The assistance provided by the World Bank under this project should help it to reach thatgoal. "The new financing builds upon assistance the World Bank and other donors have already provided to the communications sector in Afghanistan. Existing World Bank grants have supported the licensing of two mobile telephone operators and movement toward the creation of a telecom law and regulatory institutions. In May 2003, the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), administered by the World Bank, provided US$3 million in grants to support the rehabilitation of a satellite earth station in Kabul, repair of a microwave link to neighboring countries, as well as installation of a basic billing system. This project will allow for greatly improved international connectivity supporting the flow of voice and data traffic between Afghanistan and the rest of the world. The installation of a billing system will ensure sustainability of the services while raising much needed funds for further network expansion. The Emergency Communications Project will provide investment and technical assistance resources to the Ministry of Telecommunications. It will help it address inter-government communications needs through developing a government intranet; supporting basic postal services; strengthening government institutions; and fostering the growth of private sector-led telecommunication services. The project will be implemented over a period of four years by the Ministry of Telecommunications. The IDA credit for the Emergency Communications Project carries no interest, a0.75 percent service charge, and has a 40-year maturity, with a 10-year grace period.

From http://www.afgha.com/ 10/07/2003

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KAZAKHSTAN: First Issue of "IT Magazine" Out

The first issue of the "IT Magazine" dealing with the development stages of the informational and communication technologies has come out in Azerbaijan. The magazine contains articles, which are of great interest to readers for both beginners and specialists working in the IT sphere and recommendations. Taking into consideration that fact that there were a longstanding necessity for this magazine and now we can say that this gap is filled. The magazine is designed for cooperation with the world community. The first issue contains an interview with Azerbaijan representatives along with the large interview of the UNESCO IT department Ms. Elizabeth Longward in English. At the Azerbaijan Exhibition "International Telecommunication and Information Technologies- BakuTel 2003" held on 1-3 October the participants were presented the first issues. We wish every success to the magazine, which will be somewhat of a bridge between the public and IT.

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

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CHINA: Shanghai to Erect Credit Database

Shanghai government on July 30 announced it will complete a comprehensive credit database covering most Shanghai individuals and enterprises within three years. By the end of 2005, more than 80 per cent of large enterprises and 50 per cent of the small and medium-sized enterprises in Shanghai will have their credit information collected on the database, allowing for their credit records to be checked and publicized, said Shanghai municipal government spokesman Jiang Lan. He noted that the project, which originally aimed to provide a credit information platform for local commercial banks, also encourages local individuals and enterprises to look after their credibility. According to the spokesman, the credit information collected will not cover confidential business information, or any other private details such as religious beliefs, health status or personal property.

From China Daily 07/31/2003

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Shanghai Reports Robust Growth in IT Industry

Shanghai recorded more than 110 billion yuan (approximately US$13.25 billion) in the total output value of the information technology industry and related service revenue in the first six months of the year, up 43.8 percent from the same period last year. The IT industry accomplished 28.54 billion yuan (about US$3.44 billion) in added value from January to June, accounting for 10.1 percent of the municipality's gross domestic product (GDP), a record high, said the Shanghai Municipal Office for Information Industry. The information product manufacturing sector created 86.6 billion yuan (about US$10.43 billion) in total industrial output value in the first six months of 2003, a rise of 47 percent or 14 percent more than the average industrial growth rate of the city. Shanghai municipality also raked in 24.2 billion yuan (some 2. US$92 billion) in information service revenue in the first half of the year, up 33.2 percent. Integrated circuits and software parts exports were major powerhouses spurring development of the city's IT industry. So far, 150 IC projects have been built or are under construction across the city, with total investment exceeding US$10 billion. The city exported nearly US$6 billion worth of information products in the first six months of the year, accounting for about 30 percent of the city's total export.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 08/03/2003

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Suzhou Becomes World's Leading Notebook PC Production Base

The scenic city of Suzhou in east China has become the biggest laptop computer production center in the world with an annual output close to 10 million units, about a quarter of the world's total. The top nine computer companies in Taiwan have set up factories in Suzhou, including Uniwell Compute Corp., Acer Inc. and Mitac International Corp. Uniwell's overall production capacity in Suzhou, about 100 km from Shanghai in the east, is close to 1 million units per year thanks to the recent operation of a new workshop in the Suzhou Industrial Park. The company said its annual capacity will be raised to 5 million units after all its factory buildings and production lines in Suzhou become operational. Samsung Electronics Co. of the Republic of Korea also plans to locate its notebook computer production line in Suzhou, with a target output of half a million units a year. The information industry has become the No. 1 industrial sector of the city, where investment from some 700 Taiwanese firms accounts for 40 percent of the industry's total.

From China Daily 08/05/2003

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Management Software Giant Sets Up R&D Center in Shanghai

Systems Union Group, a world's leading supplier of financial and business management software, has set up its first subsidiary and research and development center in Shanghai, the biggest city in China. Ashley Clarke, executive president of the group's Asia and Pacific department, said that China was the fastest-growing market for financial management and intelligent software in the Asia and Pacific region with an average annual growth rate of 30 percent in the past five years. The center is the only research and development institution setup by the group outside Britain, where the company is based. Iain Bishop, who is in charge of the group's research and development, said the Shanghai center would focus on financial software products for four-star hotels and the manufacturing sector, and was considering transferring some core business from its headquarters. The software produced by the group is published in 30 different languages, which are suitable for multinationals with global markets.

From Xinhua News Agency 08/09/2003

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Zhongguancun Companies Exceed 10,000

More than 10,000 companies have entered Zhongguancun High-tech Park in Beijing, which is dubbed China's Silicon Valley, with an average one more company born into the park every 6.5 minutes, Eastday.com said on Aug.11. Citing data from Beijing Haidian District Industrial and Commercial Administration, the report said 10,398 enterprises had been registered in the park by the end of July, with capital topping 6.8 billion yuan (US$822 million). Of the enterprises, 84 are launched by personnel returned from overseas and 2,698 are in the hi-tech sector. The booming number of park tenants has resulted from the administration reforms the local market watchdog has carried out in enterprise registration progress and methods. To make it easier to register a company, the industrial and commercial administration has launched an online registration service at its official website of http://www.hd315.gov.cn, which is faster, easier and less costly than the previous paper work. Registers only need to download the reforms from the website and return them to the administration office to obtain the business license after filling them out.

From http://www.eastday.com 08/11/2003

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Shanghai Bank Launched Rate Monitoring System

Shanghai branch of People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, has taken the lead nationwide to publish its interest rate monitoring and information revealing regulation, International Financial News reported on Aug.14. United with Nation Interbank Funding Center, it has developed an interest rate monitoring computer system based on the regulation, the same report said. The system has started operation since this month on www.Chinamoney.com.cn, the joint official website of the interbank funding center and China Foreign Exchange Trade Center. The rate monitoring system is aimed at providing an interactive platform between the central bank and the financial institutions as well as setting good order for the local financial market, the regulation states.

From Eastday.com 08/14/2003

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Nearly 50 Pct of Taiwanese Use Broad-Band Internet Connection

TAIPEI - Nearly half the population of Taiwan uses a broadband connection to surf the Internet, according to a survey released Monday. The results of the survey conducted by Taiwan Network Information Center in July showed that the number of people who used the Internet totaled 11.75 million as of July, accounting for 57.23 per cent of Taiwan's population. Of this figure, 9.37 million people had broadband connections, with 30 per cent of the households which have not yet been connected to the Internet saying they would be hooked up within the next six months.

From http://www.asiapulse.com/ 08/18/2003

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Big Cities Joint to Crack Down on Pirated Software

Big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have joined together to fight the making and selling of pirated software. Launched by the Chinese Copyright Administration, the four-month-long campaign will crack down on the trade in pirated software and thereby cut off its marketing channels. Officials from the administration say they will expose and severely punish those found guilty of dealing in pirated software, prevent the spread of such software via the Internet and clamp down on related illegal activities so as to foster an orderly, well-regulated software market.

From CRI 09/08/2003

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Small-Business Software Launched

SAP China, the Chinese branch firm of the world's largest enterprise management and collaboration e-commerce solutions provider, has unveiled SAP Business One Chinese version solutions for Chinese small and medium- sized businesses, and branches of large enterprises. The solution, designed specifically to meet the needs of growing Chinese enterprises, provides small and medium-sized businesses with greater control of expanding resources and the ability to manage their interactions with customers, suppliers and employees.

From China Daily 09/12/2003

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Shanghai Customs Computer System Restored

The computerized port management system at Shanghai Customs resumed operation Saturday morning after 16hours of emergency repair. It was the first time that Shanghai Customs had experienced a breakdown of its computer hardware system. At 8:20a.m.Friday,the mainframe computer malfunctioned. After initial investigation, technicians excluded an intended breach or illegal operation. To ensure smooth processing of cargo waiting at the port, officials started a hand-written procedure immediately and worked non-stop until all the goods had passed through ports. Shanghai Customs is one of the busiest customs in the country. In the past two years, there were two breakdowns in its computer system. But both were process faults which were repaired quickly. Shanghai customs has taken measures to prevent similar problems and a backup data processing center will be set up as soon as possible.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 09/14/2003

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New School of Microelectronics Opens in Shanghai

Jiao Tong University launched a school of microelectronics yesterday. As one of nine national training centers, the school aims to bridge academic research and the need for IT professionals. The school has signed cooperation pacts with a batch of local companies such as IBM, Motorola and Cadence to offer internships. The school will enroll some 3,000 students by 2005.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 09/25/2003

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Hong Kong: e-Banking Security Stepped Up

All 35 authorised institutions offering e-banking services have installed digital certificates on their servers, allowing customers to verify the authenticity of e-banking websites. Responding to a question in the Legislative Council today, Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury Frederick Ma said the Monetary Authority issued a guidance note in July 2000 requiring the institutions to implement appropriate measures, such as digital certificates, for customers to verify the identity and genuineness of their websites. The guidance note, however, does not mandate the use of digital certificates for authenticating electronic messages due to certain technical limitations, he said. The authority then recommended a more pragmatic approach in May. The proposals included: * ensuring that e-banking customers are made aware the institution or its agents/business partners will never ask for customers' sensitive account information (such as PIN numbers or passwords) by e-mail; * advising their e-banking customers of ways to ensure that they are communicating with the official site, such as by checking the digital certificate of the e-banking site; * searching the Internet regularly to see if there are other websites with domain names which could be mistaken for that of the institution or websites which have established hyperlinks to its site; * if the intent of these websites is doubtful, the institution should consider disputing the use of those similar domain names or seeking the assistance of the Police or the authority; and, * the authority, Police and the Association of Banks have co-operated to launch a consumer education programme to promote awareness of e-banking security precautions among the general public.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 10/15/2003

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E-commerce Websites Set to Boom

Experts predicted great potential for the development of China's electronic commerce (e-commerce) websites at the 2003 general assembly of the China Electronic Commerce Association (CECA). Dai Haiping, secretary general of CECA's tax branch, said it was easy for e-commerce websites targeting particular audiences to develop their own groups of loyal buyers as long as their services were properly oriented. Dai said this had been proved by the success of some e-commerce websites like on-line bookstore dangdang.com and Chinese domain name service provider 3721. Websites for the trading of antiques, jade and stamps had their own groups of customers, which were stable and growing. The operation mode of these websites was worth studying, Dai said. China's e-commerce had entered a development stage which would see a boom of e-commerce websites. Before 2001, e-commerce websites were mainly those established by IT businesses and e-commerce service providers.

From Xinhua News Agency 10/17/2003

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Shanghai Rises as Hub for Software

Shanghai software companies are embracing an increasing amount of outsourcing orders as overseas technology giants recognize the city's strength in talent and relatively lower costs. "The city's software outsourcing industry has taken off in the past few years and its growing strengths have persuaded many multinationals to shift orders here from former star countries like India and Ireland," said Song Jinbiao, director of the technology import and export department at Shanghai Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Commission. He made the remark as the city announced yesterday it is hosting the Global IT Outsourcing Summit 2003 from October 14 to 15. About a dozen executives from information technology giants such as NEC Corp, Tata Group, Microsoft Corp and NTT Data will give keynote speeches at the event. As of the end of last year, Shanghai had 1,207 major software companies with revenue totaling 11.7 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion). Software exports were valued at US$175 million last year, nearly 2.4 times more than that of 2000. They accounted for about 12 percent of the country's total. "The majority of the exports are out-sourcing projects from overseas," Song said. Shanghai's software is mainly exported to Japan, Europe, the United States and regions of Hong Kong and Taiwan. So far, Japanese companies such as NEC and Fujitsu have set up sub-contract centers in the city. They are responsible for passing the orders to Shanghai's software exporters. In addition, Microsoft Corp and Hewlett-Packard have set up global software research and development centers in the city, while Ericsson AB has opened a telecom-munications software research and development center. Indian software giants National Institution Information Technology - better known as NIIT - Tata and Infosys have also set up businesses locally, laying a solid base for Shanghai's software outsourcing industry. Wang Deming, president of Shanghai Venus Software Ltd, a local company which mainly targets the Japanese outsourcing market, said its export business witnessed a noticeable rise last year. "The company's clients such as NTT Data and NEC have shifted a big part of their orders from India to China," he said. "Japan's sagging economy has also pushed them to outsource orders to lower-cost markets such as China." Wang's company, which employs about 500 people, has enjoyed an average 20 percent growth in export orders since the early 1990s. Last year, it sold US$4 million worth of orders to Japan. Wang expects the figure to jump by 50 percent to reach US$6 million this year. "Compared with India, China has advantages in language, location and a lower cost of software engineers," he said. Companies have to pay, on average, US$3,000-US$4,000 to each Indian engineer per month, while their Chinese counterpart costs US$2,000-US$3,000. Last year, Shanghai also had 86 IT companies with more than US$500,000 in software exports, 22 more than in 2001.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 09/20/2003

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IRAQ: Lucent to Rebuild Baghdad Network

Telecom equipment maker Lucent Technologies (Quote, Chart) has won a $25 million subcontract to help restore phone service to 240,000 Baghdad households still without dial tones. "This type of work is one of our strengths," spokeswoman Mary Ward told internetnews.com. "(We have) more than 25 years of experience deploying, operating and maintaining telecom networks in the Middle East. We have a large, local and international workforce experienced in turning up complex networks quickly." The deal flows through Bechtel, a construction giant chosen by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to design, rebuild and upgrade Iraq's infrastructure after the U.S.-led war. It's a big job. Before the conflict erupted this spring, approximately 1.1 million Iraqis used Iraqi Telephone and Post Company (ITPC) for landline service. But in Baghdad alone, 240,000 out of 540,000 telephone lines are down. Lucent will provide 13 central office switches, optical transport technology and network management capable of handling voice and high-speed data transmissions. The work will begin next month and should take about six months. Lucent's services arm and Bechtel will work with ITPC personnel and Iraqi contractors to install switches to bring the lines back into service within ITPC's network serving Baghdad and its suburbs. In addition to rebuilding the network, Lucent will train Iraqis to take over operations of the network to ITPC. Bechtel, of San Francisco, estimates that as much as 80 percent of the actual work will be done by Iraqi workers and engineers. Still, Iraq is still a dangerous place, with regular guerilla attacks against U.S. and British troops. "We have not determined exactly how many Lucent employees will be sent to Iraq," Ward said. "The number will probably vary during the project and at any rate will be a very small group of employees. Most of the work will be done by Iraqi nationals." Ward said the company is "taking appropriate precautions to ensure their safety and will constantly reevaluate and adjust our measures." The Iraq deal comes days after Murray Hill, N.J., firm acknowledged an investigatation by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission for possible violations of federal statute prohibiting bribery of foreign officials. The probe, which stems from a lawsuit filed by a Saudi Arabian telecom company, centers around allegations that a Lucent employee bribed a Saudi Arabian official with $15 million in cash, gifts and use of private jets influence decisions that could help Lucent's business. Lucent has denied the allegations and is cooperating with U.S. investigators. (by Colin C. Haley)

From http://boston.internet.com/ 08/26/2003

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IRAN: Greatest Digital Library Becomes Operational

TEHRAN -- The greatest digital library in the field of medical sciences and biological technologies was put into full operation at Iran's Pasteur Institute. A report released by Pasteur Institute quoting head of the institute's data processing center, Farzan Majidfar, said that the library houses a combination of figurative libraries from the world international network (internet) and digital libraries from domestic network. Majidfar, the project designer and executive manager, added that the library makes five million articles and scientific documents accessible to researchers as complete electronic texts with an approximate volume of 60 million WebPages." The accessible data consists of a wide range of basic medical sciences such as molecular biology and medicine, medicinal sciences, immunology, micrology, physiology, medical parasitology and various other sciences associated with biological and biotechnological technologies," he added, IRNA reported. The official said that the library has been developed within three years and the related equipment were designed and installed in several stages in accordance with the latest computerized scientific developments. "Application of firewall technology and fast transmission of data in multiphase internet sites are some of the features of the library," he added. He reiterated that the library currently provides users with access to 300 million WebPages containing full information along with images_4 and added that given the available system facilities, the figure can be raised to four billion.

From http://www.tehrantimes.com/ 08/11/2003

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Electronic Libraries for the Blind to Be Established

TEHRAN (Mehr News Agency) - The assistant director of the Welfare Organization said here Saturday that by the end of October, all blind people in Iran will have access to electronic libraries through the efforts of the Welfare Organization. Ali Asghar Makarem told the Mehr News Agency that the blind currently use special libraries located in provincial centers, but from now on they will be able to use other sources from other libraries. "The Roudaki Center, a special library for the blind in Tehran, is going to be linked to 28 provinces, and blind people from different parts of Iran will be able to use various libraries through the internet," Makarem said. He added that this project will be extended to public libraries and universities in the near future.

From http://www.tehrantimes.com/ 09/21/2003

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JAPAN: Loan-Shark Consultation Phone Line Set Up in Kyoto

The Municipality of Kyoto has recently set up the Loan-Shark Consultation Phone Line, for consultations regarding illegal money lending. This is a response to the increasing number of consultations at the Citizens' Lifestyle Center concerning lenders who offer loans via direct mail and fliers, then demand illegal interest rates. The service will offer advice on how to deal with such lenders, and introduce callers to other services that help handle debts, with the aim of preventing harm to consumers. The phone line is open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on weekdays. The number is 075-256-8379.

From http://www.city.kyoto.jp/ 08/01/2003

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JAPAN: Broadband Users Reach 10.9 M

Japan's overall broadband users have crossed the 10 millionth user mark for the first time, thanks to a surge in fiber-to-the-home subscription. Broadband lines grew by 450,638 for the month of June, bringing the total number to 10.9 miilion for the first half of the year, stated the report released by Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. According to the report by NE Asia Online, the sluggish growth of digital subscriber lines (xDSL) led to a reduced growth for the month of June, down from May's 520,000. The total number of subscribers for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services rose by 60,000 in June to 458,293, up from May and April, while cable TV Internet subscribers increased by 41,000 in June to 2.2 million. In a report published by the ministry on July 10, June saw a small increase of 349,681, bringing the number of xDSL subscribers to 8.2 miilion. June's growth decreased, compared with 450,000 recorded in April and 430,000 in May. Price declines, an increasing number of mobile users and increasing availability of broadband infrastructure will see the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan lead in the most broadband subscribers globally this year. Asia-Pacific's 14 key countries will see a 31 percent jump from last year broadband subscribers, to 21.8 million this year. They will spend US$8.33 billion on broadband access in all, up 50 percent from 2002, according to market researcher International Data Corp (IDC). Growing at 24 per cent a year, there will be 48.6 million broadband subscribers by 2007, spending more than US$26.9 billion on broadband, growing 37 per cent a year during the period.

From http://asia.cnet.com/ 08/07/2003

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Japan Plans Biometric Passports

Japan will introduce biometric passports in about a year to work with the United States to combat terrorism, officials in Tokyo said this weekend. This is a response to Washington's decision not to grant visa waivers after October 2004 to people with non-biometric passports. It is not without political cost, because recent moves toward national IDs in Japan have drawn criticism and concern about Big Brotherism. The passports will be smart cards, the chips inside them holding fingerprints, retina scan data or other biometrics to confirm identity. Japan is one of 27 countries that do not require visas for its residents to enter the United States for short stays.

From http://pacific.bizjournals.com/ 09/01/2003

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3-D Digital Map of Japan Planned to Boost Accuracy

The Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry is planning to create a digital three-dimensional map of Japan for use in such fields as disaster preparedness and fostering new businesses. Ministry sources said Sunday the estimated cost of the project, which would improve map accuracy, is 7.8 billion yen over three years. It is to start in the next fiscal year. For the first year, the ministry will seek roughly 2.7 billion yen to enable it to gather topographical data using aircraft and lasers. The map will be created at the Geographical Survey Institute by combining the data with satellite photos and a two-dimensional map. A conventional topographical map with a scale of 1:25,000, for instance, can show 10-meter elevation changes at best. But a 3-D version could show changes of less than 20 cm, the sources said. Such detailed information would allow low-cost production of more accurate hazard maps for predicting possible damage from floods or tidal waves. By including rain data, changes in river levels and the likelihood of flooding could be predicted more accurately. Laser-measurement technology would also allow better damage estimates by comparing maps before and after landslides. The 3-D map will eventually be made available for use by private-sector companies keen on developing new services, the sources said. For example, it could be used in combination with future mobile phones that will transmit handsets' coordinates, they said.

The Japan Times 09/08/2003

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KYRGYZSTAN: Local Newspaper Develops Online News Resource in Bishkek

From August 25 to 29, IATP trainer Alexander Savchenko conducted a Web design workshop for employees of Kut Bilim, a local educational newspaper, at the ECA Alumni Resource Center in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The newspaper covers topics related to education in Kyrgyzstan and various programs for high school and university students. The purpose of the seminar was to introduce the employees to website creation and update methods. During the course, the participants learned the basics of the HTML language and registered on IATP Kyrgyzstan's server, where they can now independently update their webpages on a regular basis and create additional pages by applying knowledge gained during the seminar. By the conclusion of the five-day seminar, they completed a Kut Bilim online newspaper, available at http://kb.host.net.kg. The number of weekly printed publications is limited due to the financial situation of the town and newspaper. Having created an online Web resource, the newspaper can greatly increase the number of readers in Kyrgyzstan and abroad and can deliver the latest education-related news happening in Kyrgyzstan to local audiences.

From http://www.irex.org/ 09/05/2003

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Women's Rights Organization Creates Online Presence in Kant

From August 25 to 29, the IATP access site in Kant, Kyrgyzstan, was the venue for a workshop on developing online resources for eight employees of Chinek, a local nongovernmental organization (NGO) protecting women's rights in the Chuy region. Chinek's activities are based on raising women's roles in political, economic, and social issues of the region by providing seminars on women's rights, grant proposal writing, and how to establish new contacts with organizations abroad working in a similar sphere. Having completed the course, the employees learned how to create new links for their websites and regularly update them by applying knowledge and skills obtained from the seminar. Chinek's website at http://chinek.host.net.kg contains the organization's mission, a summary of its activities, contact information, and a photo gallery. Moreover, Chinek employees hope the online Web resource will bring new contacts with foreign organizations.

From http://www.irex.org/ 09/05/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Internet to Open Up

The Ministry of Information and Communication said yesterday that it would open up the mobile network in September so that subscribers can freely download a variety of digital content from thrid-party providers through their personal digital assistants and mobile handsets. The ministry said it would give a green light to SK Telecom`s plan to revise the related terms of agreement in connection with the mobile Internet network early next week. "SK Telecom needs about one month to review technical issues regarding content providers and portal service providers after receiving the government approval, and the formal opening of the mobile network will be September 1," a ministry official said. KTF and LG Telecom are also set to follow suit, signaling that Korea`s mobile Internet, which has long been closed to third-parties, will offer greater opportunities to content providers and Web startups. Ahead of the opening of the network, Daum Communications Corp., NHN, NeoWiz and Yahoo! Korea are preparing their content services that will be able to be downloaded to mobile handsets and smart phones through the CDMA wireless service. Industry watchers said there are about 3,000 content providers and online venture startups that are moving to jump into the mobile Internet content provision business. Ministry officials projected that the opening of the mobile network is expected to infuse fresh energy into the mobile sector as the profit margin in offering a content download service over the wireless network is far greater than that of the fixed-line Internet content services. SK Telecom, KTF and LG Telecom have so far favored their own content providers, many of which are fledgling venture startups, restricting their subscribers access to only the content suppliers they chose. The current system was formed as the carriers tried to attract as many content providers as possible. But the outlook is far from optimistic for small, cash-strapped content suppliers. As mobile carriers open up their networks for third-party companies, smaller content providers as well as fledgling mobile game makers could find it hard to compete with major Web portals. Daum, for instance, virtually dominates the country`s Web-based e-mail service and online community services. Its huge user pool means that if Daum offers its own mobile Internet content to its subscribers, smaller players will be sidelined. Mobile game developers are also worried about the possibility that online heavyweights will stage aggressive marketing, even offering steep discounts. Analysts said if competition intensifies in the second half due to the open mobile Internet network, particularly in terms of price-cutting campaigns, some minor mobile content providers would go bust or become the targets of hostile takeovers. The ministry`s move to speed up the opening of the mobile network came after mobile carriers witnessed slower-than-expected growth of wireless Internet services. The Information Ministry asked SK Telecom to cut the mobile service rates in January, affecting the standard charges of other carriers as well. The logic behind the government`s move to cut rates was that data traffic rather than voice traffic would drive the earnings growth for carriers. Local mobile phone users are relatively quick to adopt new technologies and services, something that accelerates innovation and competition, but mainstream users regarded the mobile Internet rates as too expensive. This has led to disappointing revenue growth performance so far. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 07/28/2003

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Agency Provides Advanced e-Customs Services

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) released on Tuesday (July 29) statistics on its e-customs services, saying that the number of such services has reached 10 million a month. KCS first began providing electronic customs services in 1994 and has steadily modernized the services since then. Its modernized and simplified services led to a drastic increase in the number of customs cases it processed. The Tuesday statistics also showed that by 2002 the agency's monthly e-customs service average reached above 9 million cases, and that the figure posted over 10 million in June 2003, which meant savings of approximately 2.5 trillion won in handling costs. The KCS also said that it began in July 2000 to process 95 percent of the nation's entire exports through electronic means, requiring no papers, with each case completed in less than 2 minutes. Processing imports also took much less time, only an hour and a half for each case. The agency said it would continue to improve its "one-stop" and "single-window" systems so as to provide its customers with much simplified and advanced customs services.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 07/30/2003

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Sovereign to Offer Web Site in Korean

Sovereign Asset Management, the largest shareholder of SK Corp., will launch a Korean-language Internet site within a few weeks to improve its image here. Sovereign will translate its English homepage, currently available at http://www.sov.com, into Korean to step up its marketing efforts and dispel suspicions surrounding its acquisition of a stake in SK Corp., according to the local public relations agency for the fund. Sovereign purchased a 14.99 percent stake in SK Corp, the de facto holding company of SK Group, in April when the accounting scandal at SK Global Co. roiled the Korean financial markets. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 08/01/2003

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Incheon Areas Designated as Free Economic Zones

The Ministry of Finance and Economy announced on Tuesday (Aug. 5) that it designated three locations in the port city of Incheon as the nation's first free economic zones (FEZ) under a scheme to create a broad-based international business center by 2020. Incheon City's development plan, which the ministry endorsed, involves 20,909 square meters of land in Song-do, Yeongjong-do and Cheongra areas. According to the plan, the coastal areas of Song-do will be developed into a business center for information technology and knowledge-based industries. Yeongjongdo, surrounding Incheon International Airport, will host logistics industries and the Cheongra district will be transformed into a hub for tourism, leisure and international business and finance. Foreign businesses operating in the zones will be exempt from income and corporate taxes for the first three years of operation. They will pay only 50 percent of the normal tax rate in the following two years. Incheon City plans to improve living conditions for foreign residents by allowing the establishment of education and medical facilities. It also plans to set up about 100 schools of all levels, including five foreign schools, three college campuses for foreign students and three hospitals. The total planned population for the three areas is around 490,000 and more than 60 percent of the entire free economic zone will be allotted for parks, lawns, sightseeing and other leisure facilities. In addition, government offices will receive and issue official documents in English. The government will also relax various central government regulations concerning factories and large public buildings. The FEZ is a central part of President Roh Moo-hyun's initiative to promote the nation as an economic hub of Northeast Asia.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 08/07/2003

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Online Mall Opens for Ethnic Koreans

Internet shopping mall Shinsegae Dotcom - http://www.shinsegae.com - opened a shopping site exclusively for overseas Koreans yesterday in time for Chuseok, or Korean Thanksgiving, that falls on Sept. 11 this year. "The service is for overseas Korean students and residents who want to send presents to families and friends for the holiday," the company explained. The firm has developed a special identification system so that those who do not have a Korean social security number can register using their email address and personal identification numbers. The online store will accept both local and foreign credit cards, though the accepted currency will be Korean won. Given these unique characteristics, industry sources say the success of this trial may spark a new trend among online shopping services. Shinsegae Dotcom will operate through Sept. 5, or Sept. 4 U.S. time. (by Yang Sung-jin)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 08/20/2003

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Korea Eager to Host Foreign R&D Centers

The government`s efforts to develop Korea into a research and development hub in Northeast Asia are bearing fruit, with an increasing number of foreign institutes agreeing to set up their braches here. The Ministry of Science and Technology said yesterday that it has recently agreed with France`s Institute Pasteur and Russia`s State Optical Institute to set up research facilities in Korea. The announcement followed Intel Corp`s promise Saturday to establish an R&D center for wireless and information technology in Korea. The Science Ministry said it had recently finalized an accord with Institute Pasteur, a world-renown research center on diseases. The ministry reached a tentative agreement with the Russian research complex specializing in optical mechanics and electronics fields when Choi Seok-shik, chief of the ministry`s planning office, visited St. Petersburg last month. "Working-level negotiations are underway to follow up on the basic agreement with the SOI," the official added. The ministry has also been in talks with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis to convince them to establish a research branch here. It also pushing for a project with Britain`s University of Cambridge Cavendish Laboratory to found a joint R&D center for physics and nanotechnology in Korea, he said. The ministry selected about 1,400 potential foreign research institutes and private companies to promote exchanges in high-tech fields including aerospace, environmental technologies, information technology, biotechnology and artificial intelligence robotics, he noted. (by Kim Sung-mi)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 09/01/2003

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South Korea World's Most Wired Nation

GENEVA - South Korea has regained its reputation as the world's most wired nation, according to a report to be released Tuesday. The annual survey, taken by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said 21 out of 100 South Koreans have broadband connections to the Internet. Broadband connections pump data to users at rates 50 to 100 times that of regular telephone modems. Hong Kong was ranked second with a market penetration rate of 15 per cent. Canada came third place with 11 per cent.

From http://www.asiapulse.com/ 09/15/2003

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Plans Unveiled to Create 300,000 IT Jobs

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) on Thursday (Sept. 18) unveiled a plan to create at least 300,000 information-technology jobs by 2007. As part of the plan, the MIC will invest 46 billion won in projects to build a database of information and knowledge resources such as science, education, culture and history in the hope of a short-term employment boost. The ministry said it will give tax insentives and compensation to companies hiring more young workers. It will also find and promote measures to solve the job market problem through existing projects nurturing professional workers for the IT industries and supporting informatization of small- and mid-sized companies. Youth unemployment has remained a serious social issue as the jobless rate for those aged 15-29 stood at 6.9 percent in August, two times of the overall rate of 3.3 percent, according to the National Statistical Office on Thursday.

From http://www.korea.net/ 09/19/2003

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Korea to Create 10 Mil. Automated Homes by 2007

Automated homes where residents can receive various services such as healthcare, entertainment, education, e-commerce and home security via digital home networking technology will be available in South Korea from 2007. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) yesterday said it will start building home networking infrastructure for 10 million households this month. ``We will begin infrastructure construction for home networking services in major cities this month. The MIC already secured the budget for home networking infrastructure construction projects last year,'' ministry official Choi Woo-hyuk said. ``The MIC plans to launch pilot home networking services in 10 million households in 2007.'' Intelligent homes enable people to turn on lights in the house, control electric rice cookers, adjust the room temperature, operate refrigerators and washing machines or control home security systems for children returning from school with a remote control device or computer. The MIC predicted a total of 36.5 billion won will be spent on the nationwide project and said the government will shoulder 12.5 billion won of the total costs. For the first phase pilot service, the government will develop various service models to create interest in home networking jointly with private companies by 2004. In phase two, the government will focus on developing new service models that are based on ubiquitous digital communication technologies, as well as broadband convergence network and Internet protocol version 6 technologies by 2007. The MIC will select two consortiums, consisting of broadcasting firms, construction firms and two or more home appliance makers to build the infrastructure and manufacture related devices in November. The areas for the pilot home networking services are Seoul, Kyonggi Province and five metropolitan cities _ Inchon, Pusan, Taegu, Kwangju and Taejon _ that have high broadband Internet saturation and are equipped with infrastructure for digital terrestrial broadcasting services. Each consortium will choose two to three regions. At least 1 million households will be developed for the home network service in each region. The actual construction work for infrastructure building projects will begin sometime around December, the MIC said. The MIC predicts that the home network market will grow at an average 19 percent until 2010, reaching $162 billion. The domestic home network market is projected to reveal speedier growth of 32 percent annually on average and reach $23.5 billion by 2010. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) last week announced a separate plan to foster the intelligent home network industry. South Korea aims to grasp 15 percent of the home networking market by 2012 through expanding related exports to 92.2 trillion won and related production to 37 trillion won, MOCIE said.

From The Korea Times 10/20/2003

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Internet Resources for Young Mothers in Taraz

On August 26, the attending physician of Maternity Hospital Number One, Maxim Yusupbayev, conducted a seminar on Internet resources for 12 future mothers at the IATP access site in Taraz, Kazakhstan. Yusupbayev successfully passed the final exams of the IATP training-of-trainers course, and as a new trainer, he developed the seminar for his patients. Among the reliable resources Yusupbayev demonstrated was a website containing everything about childbirth at www.rodi.ru, an online portal for parents at www.parenting.ru, and a website for families with infants at www.kid.ru. The future mothers spent a significant amount of time searching for information on nursing and infant nutrition and were astonished by the amount of useful information available and the opportunity for online consultations with specialists. Hoping to improve their Internet skills in order to better access the information online, the participants decided to attend additional trainings at the IATP access site. The expectant mothers will complete courses on basic Internet and e-mail over the next two weeks.

From http://www.irex.org/ 09/05/2003

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UZBEKISTAN: OSCE Opens Information Resource Centre in Tashkent

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has opened an Information Resource Centre at its Tashkent office. The main purpose of the centre is to provide representatives of NGOs, teachers, journalists and students with information on the organisation's activity and issues within the OSCE competence. The centre visitors can also use local and foreign periodicals, books and publications on human rights, law, gender issues, as well as Internet.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 09/22/2003

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KOICA to Open Its Information Technology Centre

Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Tashkent city administration signed an agreement to set up a KOICA information technology centre on 16 October. Korean partners issued US$700,000 to this project. According to the document, the money will be used to further development of the IT network in Uzbekistan and buy the latest computers and equipment for the new education centre in particular. The centre will train skilled staff for education establishments not only in Tashkent but also in other regions. The participants of the ceremony expressed that bilateral cooperation will continue in the field of introducing modern technologies.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 10/17/2003

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INDONESIA: PT Integrasi Win IT Tender

The General Elections Commission (KPU) announced on Wednesday that PT Integrasi Technology had been awarded a tender to provide information technology (IT) infrastructure for next year's elections.The final result was announced after the five days given to the public to lodge objections to the company winning the tender after the KPU announced it as the preliminary winner. KPU member Chusnul Mar'iyah said the commission had delayed the announcement for one day as the KPU needed time to respond to a number of objections. Chusnul, who is in charge of the IT tender, just returned from Morocco on Wednesday.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 10/23/2003

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MALAYSIA: E-passport for Thais Planned

MULTIMEDIA Development Corp Sdn Bhd (MDC) will work with the National Electronic & Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) to develop e-passport which will facilitate Thailand and Malaysian immigration. "MDC will work with Nectec to transfer the e-passport platform used in Malaysia to Thailand," MDC senior vice-president Dr Muhammad Ghazie said. He added that there were five other areas of collaboration with Nectec. Ghazie was speaking to Starbiz at the sidelines of the Technology and Business Partnership Dialogue 2003 in Langkawi. He said MDC would also work with Nectec on the development and implementation of the general multi-purpose card in Thailand. "We will explore potential research and development cooperation on smart card integrated circuit chip and other related products," he added. Ghazie said MDC and Nectec would develop the next generation Internet, Internet protocol version 6, to connect Thailand and Malaysia. "We will explore developing a world class network matching the aggregated needs of Asia's Academic Network, advanced test-beds for integration and validation of next generation computers, networking, applications and services," he added. Ghazie said the collaboration with Nectec would focus on promoting electronic commerce for adoption in local enterprises in Malaysia and Thailand. "Besides local enterprises, we will promote the adoption of electronic commerce for government e-procurement and trade electronic data interchange," he said. According to Ghazie, MDC and Nectec will also work on exchanging information and experience on the development, implementation and harmonization of cyber-laws. "We will cooperate in software and content development for broadband and satellite applications. "We will also build up partnership in the software sector to explore third country market opportunities," he said.

From http://biz.thestar.com.my/ 08/01/2003

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Time Dotcom Secures Its Connections

Network services provider Asia Netcom has a "strategic working relationship" with Time dotCom Bhd to provide fully secured high capacity connections for endusers in Malaysia. In a statement, Asia Netcom said it was chosen as one of the major provider for Time dotCom's International Private Line (IPL) based on its ability to deliver on all key requirements mandated by the latter, including reliable after-sales service through its 24x7 service centre, one-stop solution for all network service issues and real-time delivery on all applications. Asia Netcom's Private Line Service is based on a city-to-city network that provides both door-to-door connectivity as well as flexible POP (Point-of-Presence) interconnections in major Asian markets and other key business destinations worldwide, the company claimed. Built on a fully redundant architecture and operated on a seamless pan-Asian network that Asian Netcom owns, its Private Line product ensures the highest availability and performance levels, along with unmatched service. Formed in 2003 by a consortium led by China Netcom, which includes Newbridge Capital and Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund, Asia Netcom is headquartered in Hong Kong. It owns and operates its own 19,500km regional fibre optic submarine cable system and offers a comprehensive portfolio of enterprise and carrier services.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 09/04/2003

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Enhancing Business With Mapping Info

BUSINESSES in the near future can expect to gain more accurate knowledge of their consumers with the marrying of traditionally-based business intelligence systems with accurate digital mapping information, according to mapping software specialist MapInfo Corp (www.mapinfo.com). "MapInfo has the expertise in the application of location intelligence to business analytics," said Mark Cattini, its president and chief executive officer. Cattini, who spoke to In.Tech in Petaling Jaya this week, said that traditional business analytics companies' strength lie in crunching raw data and making sense of it. "You could have a business intelligence tool, from any vendor, that gathers and processes massive data sets and have algorithms running up and down and figuring out what the linkage and correlation patterns are. "But what these companies don't have is the ability to correlate them based on location," he claimed. MapInfo's group vice-president of sales and marketing Gavin Lennox added that location is often a variable rather than an analytical discipline in itself in the field of competitive analysis. "It's merely an address in a table, which can be grouped together for intelligence purposes," he said. Lennox said that MapInfo is able to provide the technology and the understanding of the spatial interactions between those addresses. Cattini revealed that one area of growth that MapInfo plans to expand on is the application of location technology to the retail segment. He said that MapInfo's software gives companies the ability to understand geographic relationships between points on the Earth's surface. "Our technology allows us to bring the reality of location into solving a problem. For example, if there are two stores near a group of consumers, these stores would be interested in knowing how long it would take for consumers to get to the store or which store they would choose to go to and why. "With the collaboration of traditional business analytics and MapInfo's products, the stores would be able to understand the physical network of roads leading to the stores, how long it would take a consumer to get to the store or a competing store and what the impact of that distance is," he explained. He added that MapInfo has a number of global strategic agreements with renowned business intelligence vendors such as, Cognos Inc and Business Objects Inc. "In fact we have our technology embedded in Cognos," he said. Meanwhile, as part of its ongoing expansion into Asia, MapInfo signed an exclusive international distributor agreement with Map Information Solutions Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian provider of geographic information systems (GIS) solutions. Under this agreement, Map Information Solutions will offer customised and packaged MapInfo solutions in Malaysia. These solutions are built with advanced GIS technologies and a broad portfolio of software and data products designed to meet the growing demand for spatial applications throughout Malaysia. "These agreements are indicative of MapInfo's commitment to Malaysia. We are pleased to have forged a relationship with a company that is recognised globally for its superior spatial technology and expertise," said Michael Koo, director of Map Information Solutions. Map Information Solutions' local client base spans various sectors including the public sector, telecommunications, utilities, consumer and retail, emergency services, fleet management and education. For more on Map Information Solutions, call (03) 9057-9918.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 10/16/2003

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Boosting IT Infrastructure With Enterprise Apps

Today's enterprises need the most cost-effective ways to improve the performance and reliability of complex business and technical applications to safeguard their competitive advantage. These applications demand greater computing power and cache resources because they link together more users and automate complex processes. Upgrading the enterprise's IT infrastructure is critical to not only meet the challenge of handling ever-growing workloads, but also supporting and facilitating new ways of doing business. However, the sluggish economy has forced companies to tighten their IT budgets and scrutinise return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO) from any proposed changes or upgrades to the IT infrastructure. The traditional approach of using proprietary, RISC-based systems as part of the IT infrastructure is no longer a viable option, as enterprises are finding them simply too complex, costly, and, in the long run, inflexible to manage. Improvements in the Linux and Windows operating systems over the years, coupled with next-generation, lower cost server equipment capable of performing many compute-intensive tasks, have gradually become a sound and viable alternative to legacy RISC technology. Just as mainframes and minicomputers gave way to Unix systems with the new class of RISC processors in the early 1990s, RISC-based systems are being displaced by Intel architecture (IA)-based systems running Windows and Linux. For example, in 1994, 4% of servers shipped ran Windows; in 2002 that figure increased to 60%. Volume manufacturing boasts greater economies of scale, which translate to an overall lowering of server costs as well as increased competition in the performance of Intel processors. The lower price/higher performance ratio and wide industry support for Intel platforms has helped expand market opportunities for servers based on Intel architecture. According to research firm IDC, the Intel processor-based server market segment grew 24.4% by units and 25.7% by revenue year-over-year in the first quarter of 2003. Meanwhile, RISC-based Unix server revenue declined by 2.4% year-on-year, while unit shipments grew 9% in the first quarter of 2003. Many companies are turning to low-cost, open and flexible systems that span the enterprise, depending on their needs. These systems must be able to run different applications - ranging from midrange data tier including business logic, mid-sized databases and application servers, to large-scale data centre applications like enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM) and business intelligence (BI) - regardless of the platform they choose. For example, the data in the databases need to be sifted through, analysed and accessed very quickly. Lightning-quick access is required for the data and instructions that are used most often, especially for real-time data mining and smooth online transaction processing. There must be fewer bottlenecks when working with compute-intensive applications and content the infrastructure needs to achieve high levels of uptime for the most demanding database environments. This is true especially with increasingly complex enterprise applications that need time to swap large amounts of data between disk and memory. Insufficient processing power to perform the computing task can cause a major bottleneck that adversely affects server performance. Let's take business intelligence (BI), for example. BI often involves mission critical applications and technologies that gather, store, analyse and provide access to data to help enterprise users make better and more informed business decisions. Enterprises need a computing platform that offers not only the best performance/price ratio but also platform ubiquity, scalability, exceptional fault tolerance, wide availability of components, adherence to standards, interoperability in mixed-mode environments, and easy access for qualified personnel trained to use it. Servers based on the Itanium processor family offer all of these advantages and optimise the performance of business intelligence applications. They have large 64bit addressing capability that allows them to store as much as 18 exabytes of data in physical memory. This means speedy access for by-the-minute decisions. Built from the ground up with superior parallel processing capabilities, the Itanium processor can execute several instructions simultaneously and reduce wait time for data access. Enterprises need a broad choice of systems and solutions to serve their customers more flexibly and conveniently. For example, systems based on Itanium processors and Xeon processors are supported by numerous operating systems including Microsoft's new Windows Server 2003 as well as Linux from all major Linux distributors, including Caldera, Red Hat, SuSE and TurboLinux and Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX. And, there are thousands of enterprise applications and tools now available or in production for these server processors. By consolidating different operating system environments onto a single platform, an Itanium processor-based system can eliminate the need to maintain multiple systems and resources running different environments, thereby reducing additional hardware investments and simplifying system management. This ultimately means considerable cost savings for the business. Specific features in Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 operating system are optimised for the Itanium processor family's Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing (EPIC) architecture, which enables efficient management of large datasets, supports a greater number of users, and more instructions per cycle executed, all of which impact overall performance. Additionally, large integrated caches and substantial platform (memory) bandwidth provide the capacity and performance to scale applications, while extensive error detection, correction, and logging capabilities, including Machine Check Architecture and Error Correction Code, help to reduce downtime, data loss and data corruption. Enterprises are also reaping the benefits of Intel architecture running on Linux. According to IDC, during the first quarter of 2003, the worldwide Linux server market segment posted a 35% increase to US$583mil (RM2.2bil) from the year-ago quarter. At this rate, the Linux market segment will fetch well over US$2bil (RM7.6bil) in revenue for 2003. Today, more than 90% of Linux installations are on Intel-based systems and Linux server volume is more than twice that of all Unix server volumes combined. Under the open source model on which the Linux operating system is based, anyone can write a driver for a particular piece of hardware, adding to the list of hardware that Linux can support. With the reliability and cost-effectiveness of an industry-standard platform, analysts predict that Windows and Linux will continue proliferating rapidly across the enterprise. The operating systems support hardware from multiple OEMs, which in turn provides a broad environment for software development. It also enhances the availability of enterprise software applications at competitive prices. The combination gives enterprises an outstanding price/performance ratio, opening new avenues for the evolution of enterprise computing. The Australian Domain Name registry (.au) has been live on Oracle9i RAC database on Red Hat Linux since July 2002. By using Oracle9i RAC on Linux and Intel processor-based systems, AusRegistry has been able to benefit from enterprise-class computing capabilities at a fraction of the cost of proprietary RISC systems. In addition, with Oracle's database clustering technology, AusRegistry can now remove and maintain any of the hardware in the cluster without disrupting service, and can grow the system incrementally as business needs dictate. The combination of Oracle9i RAC on Linux enables the Domain Name registry system to process hundreds of registrars' connections simultaneously, send hundreds of thousands of requests, and process more than 250,000 transactions per day. Another advantage of Linux is price. Using an example to illustrate the cost benefits of Linux, Intel began considering migrating some of its own enterprise systems to Linux in 2001. When determining server price/performance and other cost factors such as tangible and administrative costs of the Intel Architecture (IA) and RISC platforms, Intel found that the average list price of an IA-based system at 2.4GHz was US$4,000 (RM15,200), and the average list price of a RISC system at 750MHz was US$40,000 (RM152,000). It was projected then that the total three-year maintenance cost of the RISC system would be at US$4,000, compared to US$400 (RM1,520) for the same period. The IA licence for the Linux operating system is free, while the three-year cost of the RISC operating system license is US$1,600 (RM6,080) per server.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 10/23/2003

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Scanning Through 3D Medical images_4

AS FAR as software engineering is concerned, 3D medical imaging systems for displaying MRI or CT scan data have become the thing to do, it seems. Apart from the tremendous commercial possibilities, such systems are also proving to be extremely useful to radiologists and surgeons who need to take a peek into a patient without cutting him or her up into little pieces. Barely a month after we ran a story on such a system (see In.Tech, Sept 9), we've stumbled across yet another group of individuals eager to display their very own 3D medical imaging system, called Uppercut3D. Graphic Imaging Solutions Sdn Bhd, the local marketing agent for Uppercut3D, recently held a demonstration to promote the system to the public (mostly people in the medical field). The press kit and posters littering the exhibition hall showed some rather nice looking computer-rendered images_4 of someone's spinal cord, flanked by two kidneys. Obviously, the system was capable of producing very high-quality 3D graphics, something which its designers were keen to point out. Before the presentation, I spoke to Dr Khoo Ee Win, a senior registrar with the Radiology Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, South Australia. He had a big badge with the words "Uppercut3D" in bright colours, which meant that he probably had something to do with the event. After a bit of small talk on the current state of medical imaging and various other things, I asked Dr Khoo if Graphic Imaging Solutions was going to demonstrate the software. "Sure, I'll be giving you a demonstration of the software ... from my laptop," he said. "You mean you're going to show me some videoclips and screenshots of Uppercut3D from your laptop, right?" I said, attempting to correct him. "No, I'll be running the actual program from my laptop," he asserted, with a deadpan look. This was a surprise. Normally, if you want to get your hands on a 3D medical imaging system you'd have to either purchase some exotic, specialised computer hardware or establish links with certain government-funded organisations so that they can buy the system for you, in the likely event that you can't afford it. And that's before you even buy the equally pricey imaging software to run on the system. Now, here I was, standing in front of a very humble looking laptop, watching as Dr Khoo flipped, cropped, sliced and rotated a very highly detailed 3D representation of somebody's skull in real-time, on his laptop's monitor. "This person was involved in a motor accident and smashed his face into a steering wheel. You can clearly see the extent of the fracture and make accurate measurements here and here," said Dr Khoo, pointing at two gaps on the person's badly broken jaw. Not only was the image frighteningly realistic, it looked really painful too. "So, who wrote this software, then?" I asked. "I did ..." he replied, with a slight grin. It turns out that whenever night falls, the mild mannered radiologist reveals his true identity; he's actually a computer programmer. In fact, he's the founder of Uppercut.com Pty Ltd in Australia, the company which handles the R&D for Uppercut3D. Dr Khoo first saw the need for a 3D imaging tool during his undergraduate training, when he saw the difficulty doctors had in manipulating images_4 obtained from CT and MRI scans. "I took on the challenge of creating a 3D visualisation system, something which the big companies and vendors did not offer at the time. As an undergraduate medical student, I formed a team of programmers with friends to develop 3D volume rendering software. Within a couple of weeks everyone dropped out. Undaunted, I persevered on my own, but slowed down the development to complete my medical studies," explained Dr Khoo. "On completion of my medical course, I invited three people to form a team to speed up the programming. Ensuring the product was bug free was a major challenge, as was getting compatible hardware configuration. "I spent almost all my free time after work and on weekends on the project, very often till the wee hours of the morning. I sacrificed a lot of my social life to singularly focus on the success of this program," said Dr Khoo. Like all 3D medical imaging systems, Uppercut3D relies on volume rendering with voxels (individual coloured pixels), rather than surface rendering with polygons. Voxels require far more processing power to render than polygons. A good analogy to explain this is trying to build a house out of sawdust (voxels) rather than with wooden planks (polygons). The most impressive technical aspect of Uppercut3D is that, even in the absence of specific volume rendering hardware, it is able to render complex 3D volumes rather quickly. Dr Khoo used a progressive rendering technique which displays low-resolution versions of the 3D model while you're manipulating it on screen (rotation, zoom, cropping, etc), only rendering the final full-detailed version within a couple of seconds after you've completed your manipulations. Dr Khoo pointed out that while other competing 3D medical images_4 are hardware-based, the rendering engine in Uppercut3D is 100% software based, which also drastically reduces development and production costs. It will run on most Pentium 4-equipped PCs. "Much of the rendering engine uses proprietary algorithms. However, the basic strategy for fast rendering is through optimisation at the lowest level of programming. The general principles of volume rendering have been well known for several decades now," explained Dr Khoo. Although it currently runs only on Windows, the software can be ported to other platforms such as Linux and Macintosh, should the need arise. Dr Khoo added that the code can be optimised to take advantage of the new 64-bit processors for Windows-based PCs. Technological accomplishments aside, one thing that Dr Khoo highlighted repeatedly is that Uppercut3D was designed by doctors, for doctors and is therefore very relevant since it is tailored towards the workflow of a radiologist. "The current workflow of a radiologist is plagued by many inefficiencies," he said. "When a patient is scanned, the radiographer is responsible for developing the hard copy films for the radiologist to view. He or she is relying on experience to know what the best standard views are for the radiologist to report on. If the optimal angle and contrast was not achieved, the radiologist would have to request more prints from the radiographer. This is very time consuming. "In addition, today's CT scanners can routinely generate hundreds of slices of data (typically 500 slices) and more. The current method of printing the hard copy films of the enormous amount of data is not time effective or cost effective. The workaround at the moment is to not print all the thin slices but to print the thick slices. However, much of the extra information is not looked at. This is dangerous since small lesions and details may be missed," said Dr Khoo. He then explained how his software fits into the picture: "Uppercut3D fits perfectly into the workflow because the radiologist can now generate the viewing angles all by himself in real-time, allowing the radiographer to work more efficiently. Alternate contrast and brightness settings can be quickly applied to the images_4 in real-time as well. More importantly, the radiologist has at his/her fingertips, all the thin slices instead of having to report from the thick slices only. "In addition, 3D volume rendered views of the pathology such as a complex fracture can be generated in real-time as well by the radiologist. These can then be printed and sent to the referring clinician. The endpoint of the workflow is the successful communication of the findings and the diagnosis to the referring clinician," explained Dr Khoo. According to him, another advantage of having photo-realistic 3D rendered representations is that it helps both doctors and patients to understand the problems at hand. After all, it's much simpler to convince somebody if he's okay or not by showing him what his innards look like. "This should ultimately improve doctor-patient relationships enormously; they're less likely to argue if they can see the problem," quipped Dr Khoo. Dr Khoo believes that the quality of healthcare for a patient should not be determined by cost. Since Uppercut3D runs on readily available and affordable PC hardware, it can be sold to hospitals at a much lower price than most of its competitors. Uppercut3D is already available in the market, having undergone extensive and rigorous clinical testings for two years. Dr Khoo claimed that in all trials, no problems had been identified. Indeed, it's already being used in actual clinical work. "Two medical institutions are currently using Uppercut3D on a daily basis. They are the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (a large public hospital) and Jones and Partners (a large private national radiology service provider), both in Adelaide, Australia," he revealed. Although he currently lives in Australia, Dr Khoo was born in Malaysia and spent his childhood here. His family and relatives set up Graphic Imaging Solutions with the sole purpose of marketing Uppercut3D in Asia. They plan to sell Uppercut3D for less than RM100,000, as a complete solution offering support, upgrade patches, hardware, warranty and training. They have already spoken to a few hospitals in Malaysia and will be setting up demo units so that the hospitals can evaluate their system. This may seem pricey but, according to Dr Khoo, it is more affordable than any other competing system in the market which typically costs between RM160,000 and RM480,000. Dr Khoo has also identified medical schools as another possible market. Graphic Imaging Solutions is considering releasing a special edition at a reduced cost, for lecturers and students. "The ability to view scans from a live patient's anatomy is very important in the study of diseases. Hopefully, there will be a transition where students can study anatomy from 3D images_4. Dissections are somewhat artificial in that they do not depict live tissue," explained Dr Khoo. Whether or not it achieves the commercial success that its designers and distributors are hoping for, Uppercut3D is a rather impressive piece of software. When asked if there are any improvements planned for Uppercut3D, Dr Khoo said: "Well, we could include an animated 3D fly-by through a patient's innards ...." For more information regarding Uppercut3D, contact Graphic Imaging Solutions Sdn Bhd at (04) 898-2650.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 10/23/2003

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SINGAPORE: Online University Group Spends S$50m to Set Up Asian HQ in Singapore

A group of 16 universities offering postgraduate online courses has pumped in S$50 million to set up its Asian headquarters in Singapore. And although the take-up rate for its MBA has been slow, Universities 21 Global is stepping up marketing in the region. The newly-launched MBA programme started last Friday with 27 students, including 11 Singaporeans. They expect to see 500 students sign up in the first year, with the flexibility of letting new students come onboard every week. But it hopes things will take off when its marketing reaches Hong Kong, China and Korea later this year. One reason for choosing Singapore as regional HQ is because it is close to its two biggest markets - India and China. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Education Minister, said: "It is estimated that the e-learning market in the Asia Pacific will reach US$400 million by 2005. That's two years from now." Depending on living standards, fees varies across countries so an Indian pays US$11,000, while a Singaporean US$13,000.A check with NUS, one of the partner universities, shows its own full-time MBA costs around $20,000, while a part-time one costs $25,000.The institution says being online, it is not limited by size like traditional universities. Dr Mukesh Aghi, CEO, Universities 21 Global, said: "There are roughly 35 million students who are unable to get that education and that number will grow to 100 million in 10 to 15 years." The institution says it will not mimic a traditional brick and mortar university and so there would not be any video-conferencing. But it says students can still communicate with each other and with their lecturers through chat rooms as well as discussion boards or email. While doing assignments, students can access articles, journals and periodicals in the online library. But they will not be able to gain access to the libraries of participating universities. However that will be possible for students taking courses under another group of online universities, the UKeU. Under a tie-up with Singapore's MDIS, students taking courses under UKeU also get a direct degree from the university they took the course from. (By Ca-Mie De Souza)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 08/05/2003

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Singapore Car Owners Can Now Renew Road Tax Online

Car owners can now renew their road tax from the comfort of their homes or offices via Road Tax Online (ROTAX). However, this does not remove the need to first obtain a valid motor insurance coverage and vehicle inspection certificate. Owners must also have a valid Internet banking account with DBS, UOB or Citibank to make payment. Besides the convenience, 10 lucky motorists who use the LTA's eNETs services at www.onemotoring.com.sg from now to January 2004, also stand to win attractive prizes. A grand draw will be held in February next year, and the winner will walk home with a plasma television. Motor traders and individuals can also benefit from LTA's new e-service. Those requesting for vehicle type approval and modifications can now also submit their applications online through the Vehicle Inspection & Type Approval System (VITAS). They will then only need to make a trip to the vehicle inspection centres. The status of their applications can also be tracked online. With ROTAX and VITAS, LTA now offers a total of 11 e-services on their portal. (By Johnson Choo)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 08/06/2003

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IE Singapore's Hub Development Schemes Draw 18 More Global Firms

Another 18 international trading and shipping firms have joined the ranks of more than 150 other such companies making Singapore their business hub. The 18 were given awards under International Enterprise Singapore's Global Trader Programme and Approved International Shipping Enterprise schemes. The awards confer tax concessions to the international traders and shippers who set up their regional or global operations here. The new recipients include international rubber traders like Bridgestone, equipment suppliers like Caterpillar, and top shipping companies from countries like Australia and Japan. Last year, companies under IE Singapore hub development programmes contributed more than S$4 billion in local spending and employed over 6,000 staff. Some of the companies ChannelNewsAsia spoke to say Singapore's strong infrastructure makes it an attractive choice for a business hub. But they add that the high cost structure here is a cause for concern. "Shipping is a low margin business and we're always concerned about cost," said John Lines, managing director of ANL Container Line. "We are aware that the government is focusing on this area. I think we have the confidence they'll find ways around minimizing any cost blow-out. At the moment, it is at an acceptable level, but we have to keep an eye on it." (By Frederick Lim)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 08/15/2003

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IDA Sets Up E-Supply Chain System to Cut Business Costs

Singapore's Infocomm Development Authority is setting up an e-supply chain management system to help cut business costs. For a start, it will test the S$20 million, two-year project on supermarkets and their suppliers. Currently, suppliers taking orders from the various supermarkets in Singapore have one big headache. They have to plough through many different forms and codes to process these orders. But under IDA's new supply chain system, these will now be standardised. The three major supermarket chains here - NTUC FairPrice, Cold Storage and Shop & Save - are developing their own software to tap into IDA's infrastructure. Why pick supermarkets to test out the system? Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and The Arts, said: "One of the important loss areas for supermarkets, especially if they were to carry perishable goods, is the spoilage factor. With a good e-supply management chain ecosystem, they're closely integrated with suppliers...... supermarkets save on losses, benefit in pricing to consumers........."The project is expected to generate savings equal to about 2 percent of revenue for the supermarkets. Some 100 suppliers will take part in the project. IDA will subsidise up to 50 percent of the training cost. Besides the e-supply system, the IDA also plans to set up more projects to enhance online business information exchange between suppliers and the SMEs, many of which are still not sure if it's safe to do business online or how to communicate with suppliers online. But some firms like Stamfles Food Management have taken their own initiative to put their business online. Alson Teo, CEO of Stamfles Food Management, said: "We're going to launch in perhaps 2 weeks' time our outdoor catering division. We're going to have an extensive Web-based interactive online ordering catering. Customers can reach us seven days, 24 hours, go to the Web and change the menu if they want." According to the latest IDA survey, 83 percent of Singapore businesses already use infocomm technology, and the e-supply project should boost the percentage even higher. (By Katherine Tay)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 08/21/2003

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Starhub to Charge "Surf for Free" Internet Service

From September 1, StarHub will start charging customers using its Surf-for-free Internet service. A two-cent per minute access charge will be levied on its subscription-free customers. The new charges will be reflected in the subscribers' fixed-line operator bill. StarHub says a big portion of its 300,000 free-Internet customers have become more Internet-savvy, and have migrated to either paid dial-up or broadband service. As a result, free-service customers have shrunk significantly, and the company needs to impose a minimum charge, to keep the service economically viable. Rival SingNet made a similar move in February. So now, both are on par, offering Internet browsing for $1.20 per hour. (By Stephanie Sim)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 08/21/2003

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Collaboration to Build an e-Supply Chain Ecosystem for the FMCG Industry

Major Supermarket chains will replace manual stock-ordering process with new e-procurement system, which will lead to cost savings. Thursday, 21 August 2003. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), together with the Singapore Article Number Council (SANC) and SPRING Singapore, have come together for a new $20 million project to build an e-Supply Chain Management Ecosystem for the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. The ecosystem is based on EAN International's e-Business Messaging Standards, and a National Electronic Product Catalogue will also be developed and linked internationally. The two-year project will be tested on supermarkets and their suppliers in Singapore. Currently, suppliers have to spend significant amount of time going through many different forms and codes to process orders. Under this new system, these will be standardised and the suppliers will eventually be linked up. It will eliminate inefficiencies along the supply chain and increase productivity as well as increase sales and profit. In the long run, this e-SCM Ecosystem will enhance Singapore's position as an e-business hub for the wholesale and retail industry. The three major supermarket chains, namely Cold Storage (operates by Dairy Farm), NTUC FairPrice and Shop & Save, are currently developing their own software to tap into the infrastructure. The project is expected to generate savings equal to about 2 percent of revenue for them. Minister for Information, Communications and The Arts, Dr Lee Boon Yang, who announced this at the 7th Internet Commerce, hoped that this project will become a showcase to demonstrate the benefit of information technology on business profits. "Success is the greatest motivator. We hope that when other companies see that the supermarkets can do it, they will want to use IT to improve as well," he said. IDA, SPRING Singapore and ECR Singapore will be presenting this project at the 6th Annual ECR Asia conference in Seoul, Korea in October this year. Singapore will be the first country in the region to implement e-business messaging standards involving more than 1,000 suppliers in the FMCG industry that use global e-business XML standards developed by EAN International.

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 09/05/2003

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Singapore Urges ASEAN to Speed Up Growth of Infocomms, IT

Singapore is urging ASEAN countries to speed up efforts to grow the regional grouping's infocomms and technology sector to take advantage of the global recovery. This call came from Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, who spoke at the start of the ASEAN telecoms and IT ministers meeting in Singapore. The efforts, which aim to develop a so-called "e-ASEAN," include freeing up trade in IT goods and services to help lower business costs and promote investment within the group. The meeting kicked off on a dramatic note, drumming home the point that ASEAN should work harder to create a unified voice in the global marketplace to compete against bigger markets like China. Naturally, one way is to become more connected through infocomms and technology. The sector has on average expanded by double digits annually in the last decade, in member countries like Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. "We must press ahead with e-ASEAN. In fact, I would argue for efforts to be accelerated. Because of the changing global environment and rapid advancements in ICT technology, e-ASEAN is even more relevant today," Mr Goh said. So he urged the ministers to continue making sure that government regulations are transparent and predictable. This will help telecom companies like SingTel operate in the region. Mr Goh also stressed the importance of protecting Southeast Asia's networks against attacks. And since ASEAN members are at different stages of development, the ministers are also looking at ways to improve IT access and education. "Our focus must be to devise a strategy, to not just bridge the digital divide, but to also create and tap the benefits of digital opportunities," said Lee Boon Yang, Singapore's minister for Communications, Information and the Arts. Over the next two days, the ministers will be charting next year's direction for ASEAN's information, communications and technology industries, to see how they can jointly leverage on these industries to benefit the ASEAN community. (by Dawn Teo)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 09/18/2003

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Track Net Attacks? Have Cyberguards at 24/7 Centre

A 24/7 IT security operation centre may be the answer to the growing scourge of Net threats. This centre would provide cyberspace with more robust 'guard posts', such as those in the real world which protect against illegal immigrants, for example. Putting this idea forward on Wednesday, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee urged IT security practitioners to explore it further. Such a centre can coordinate real-time monitoring round the clock against cyberattacks on systems which register with them, he said. 'With such a cybersecurity monitoring centre in place, we can at least have an idea of who the hackers are and how they are trying to hack into the IT networks and systems it is monitoring,' said Associate Professor Ho. He was speaking at Governmentware, an annual security seminar organised by the Internal Security Department (ISD) of the Home Affairs Ministry and the Institute of Public Administration and Management of the Civil Service College. Another benefit of having a 24-hour 'guard post' - it will be better equipped to detect attacks early, when intervention is most timely, said Assoc Prof Ho. When contacted for more details yesterday, a Home Affairs Ministry spokesman told The Straits Times that although organisations have systems such as intrusion and detection technologies in place now, it may be difficult for them to separate real threats from the many false alerts. A dedicated centre with trained staff can develop a better system of alerts, she added. The spokesman said the next step would be for IT security practitioners to examine areas to look into, operational costs and the staffing and technical training needed for the centre. 'These are issues which need to be identified and addressed systematically, and some of them have been the subjects of ongoing discussion among agencies concerned with IT security,' she added.

From http://it.asia1.com.sg/ 10/24/2003

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BANGLADESH: NIIT Planetworkz Launched

NIIT, the IT Education pioneer, has drawn up an ambitious plan to create Planetworkers for the service industry in Dhaka after successful trials in India, says a Press release. Certain basic skills are pre-requisite for success in any career-for instance a good grounding in IT skills or the ability to communicate effectively in English. NIIT Planetworkz has been launched to address the gap in the English communication skills required by the service industry in Dhaka. Speaking on the occasion, NIIT General Manager, Ms Tulika Sinha said, "NIIT-Planetworkz's Global English, Education offer is a result of long and intensive interaction with key service industry leaders. We hope to develop a large pool of industry accepted skilled professionals, who will add to the long-term global competitiveness of the Bangladesh service industry". NIIT will be offering this specialized training in the Executive Training Center in Dhaka run by NRG, a city-based strategic consulting firm. 'Planetworkz' series of offerings start with a 30-day Certificate in Customer Service programme to a six-month programme that prepares young enthusiastic career seekers in generic Global English Communication. Speaking on behalf of NRG, Nazim Farhan Choudhury, CEO, said "We are delighted to launch NIIT-Planetworkz's education programme as appropriate training inputs for the professional in service industry is the key to offer quality customer experience". (The BD Observer)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 08/16/2003

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Trailer of 3D Animation Screened at DRU

Shom Computers, a local multi media development company, has released the trailer of a locally made 3D animation film 'Tratuler Jagat'. Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, head of computer science at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, popular science-fiction writer and author of 'Tratuler Jagat', released the trailer at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity auditorium. Afroza Haq Rina, managing director of Shom Computers, presided over the function. Rina said the movie would add a new dimension to the Bangladesh's entertainment arena as it is a completely new concept. Forty per cent of the work is complete and the 50-minute film should be released on November, she said. Rajib Ahmed, a director of the company, said it was indeed a bold step as the company had to develop its own software to make the animation movie. The animation film would make its premiere on different television channel of the country, he said.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 09/06/2003

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BANGLADESH: Big Fire at N'ganj Telephone Exchange - 7800 Phones Out of Order

About 7000 telephone connections have gone out of order when a big fire destroyed Narayanganj Telephone Exchange early this morning. All phone lines of 971 group have been totally damaged following the incident. Telecommunications Minister Barrister Aminul Haque along with high officials of T&T Board visited the spot and formed a three-member body headed by board member Niazur Rahman to probe the incident. The body was ordered to submit the report within three days. The cause behind the fire is yet to be ascertained. Different source said that it should be properly investigated whether any sabotage may be cause behind the fire. T&T Chairman SATM Badrul Haque told the local journalists that the fire that occurred at Chalk Bazar Exchange six months before was an act of sabotage but today's fire was a 'normal' fire incident. However, they are investigating the matter. According to T&T Board sources, the fire originated from a Main Distribution Frame (MDF) box between 5 and 5.30 am. Six thousand lines at 971 group digital exchange totally burnt to ashes. The MDF room was locked during the fire. The automatic alarm was sounded during the fire but nobody heard it as heavy rains were falling at that time. Kamaluddin, operator of the exchange got smell of the smoke. He raised hue and cry and people rushed to control the fire. Fire service units from Mondal Para and Hajiganj rushed to the spot immediately. They broke open the locks and collapsible gate and entered the burning room and extinguished the fire. T&T chairman told journalists that a total of 7000 telephone lines were totally damaged following the fire. It will take a minimum seven days to repair the phone service again, he said. Meanwhile, the police are looking into the conflicts between Narayanganj Telecom Divisional Engineer (DE) and a section of CBA leaders. It is alleged that DE was giving telephone lines to his favourite persons. But hundreds of applicants were not getting lines since a long time. A tense situation has been prevailing in Narayanganj Telecom office since a long time. (by Narayanganj)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 09/22/2003

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Daffodil Computers Wears a New Corporate Look

A discussion meeting was held at a local hotel in Dhaka on 2nd October at 7:00 PM with the participation of some BCS members, says a press release. Md. Sabur Khan, Managing Director of Daffodil Computers Ltd. and Chairman of Daffodil Group informed that Daffodil has now reached a place wherein one can find any kind of IT related solutions. Daffodil is representing well renowned IT Companies of the world in bond of corporate reseller, distributor, importer and trader and assembler. Solutions namely LAN, WAN, Backbone Network, Remote Access Server (RAS), Internal External Main Server, Customised Software Development, Web Design and Development, IT Service Provider, System Integration, Multimedia Authoring, Developing ERP Solutions for enterprises are being offered by this organisation. Countrywide network channel for sales, support and service to customers are also available under the same roof. Daffodil is the country's leading computer trading and assembling, software development and marketing company having other multi-ventures in the discipline of information technology offering total IT solutions. Daffodil is the first IT Company of its kind to come into listing with the stock exchange. ICB Capital Management Limited, Equity Partners Limited, Green Delta Insurance Company Limited, Karnaphuli Insurance Company Limited, Vanik Bangladesh Limited, Bay Leasing and Investment Ltd, Raspit Securities and Management Ltd, Banco Trans World (BD) Ltd. are the underwriters to the IPO. The shares will be traded in both the Dhaka and Chittagong Stock Exchange. Prospectus and IPO forms are available with the above underwriters, DSE, CSE and Daffodil Computers Ltd. H. M. Mahfujul Arif, Treasurer of BCS delivered the welcome speech and Mr. Aftab Ul Islam Ex-President of BCS and President of American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh thanked the Chairman of Daffodil Group for getting Daffodil Computers Ltd. into a Public Limited Company. M N Islam Managing Director of Flora Ltd. and other IT personnel were present on the occasion.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 10/10/2003

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INDIA: ITES Set to Grow Rapidly in State

IT-ENABLED services (ITES) industry is set to grow rapidly in Andhra Pradesh during the next four to five years and, apart from Hyderabad, the other centres such as Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Warangal should derive benefit out of it, according to Dr J.C Mohanty, the Principal Secretary, Information Technology and Communications Department. He was speaking at a conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Visakhapatnam Information Technology Association (VITA) here. Dr Mohanty said that during 2002-2003 ITES industry's turnover amounted to Rs 1,411 crore in the State, which stood first in the country, followed by Karnataka (Rs 988 crore) and Tamil Nadu (Rs 523 crore). During the current year, the target was set at Rs 2,500 crore and "the industry is confident of achieving it". He said that the setting up of a call centre by HSBC in Visakhapatnam was a big step forward. "We have succeeded in attracting a big company to Vizag. The call centre would be operational by the end of the year. Other companies will follow. Wipro has evinced interest in setting up shop here," he added. Dr Mohanty said that according to projections the industry would achieve a size of $24 billion by 2008, employing 2 million people, in the country. "It is our ambition to capture 50 per cent of it and to achieve it IT infrastructure would have to be developed at Vizag, Vijayawada and other places in the State. Hyderabad alone is not sufficient," he said. He said a special institute had been set up in Hyderabad for ITES sector under the AP Council of Higher Education and more such schools would be set up in other parts. Mr M. Gopalakrishna, Chairman of the AP State Financial Corporation, said the financial institutions were still fighting shy of financing the IT sector in the State, as there was not much awareness about the sector. "The sector is still in the nascent phase and there is a long way to go," he said. Mr D. Ramesh, Vice-Chairman of CII, Andhra Pradesh, and Mr G.V. Prasanna, President of VITA, sought more encouragement to the sector from the Government. (by Visakhapatnam)

From http://www.blonnet.com/ 08/07/2003

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Tata Tele Launches Limited Mobility Service in Mumbai

TATA Indicom's CDMA limited mobility service today joined the band of mobile service operators in Mumbai, the second largest mobile services market after Delhi, with its launch in the city by the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde. It is the seventh entrant into the mobile services in the city, and the third in the CDMA-limited mobility category (after MTNL and Reliance Infocomm) and in functionality would compete with Reliance IndiaMobile, being based on the 3GCDMA 2000 1x technology. The company has also launched its Fixed Mobile Telephone (FWT), whose tariff and rental would be identical to that of the company's wire line service. "We do not want to say we are the biggest or the cheapest, but we are going to be the best," said Dr J.J. Irani, Chairman, Tata Teleservices.The service has already been launched in all five circles of TTSL, and in eight other cities in Maharashtra itself, "Mumbai being the most important market, left for the last," said officials. The Mumbai service is from Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, subsidiary of Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL), whose COO, Mr Y.V.L. Pandit, made a detailed launch presentation showing the Tata Indicom service as being cheaper in the long run as compared to that of its CDMA as well as GSM competitors in the city. Tata Indicom mobile's entry cost is Rs 999; with the tariff plans ranging from a Basic Rs 295 plan up to the Privilege Rs 999 plan; with calling costs ranging from 70 paise to 45 paise per minute. The pulse rate is 15 seconds for all calls, except for calls made to GSM operators where it is 60 seconds. SMS is currently offered for free, but can be sent only to other CDMA operators, the interconnect agreements for SMS with GSM operators currently still being worked out. Multiple registrations will be offered to customers, who would like to move across Short Distance Calling Areas (SDCAs) since roaming is not allowed under the regulations to limited mobility subscribers. "We would have a voice mail directing callers to dial the customer's other numbers, since we currently cannot offer call-forwarding facilities," said Mr S. Ramakrishnan, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd.

From http://www.blonnet.com/ 08/07/2003

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Renaissance to Fine-Tune Techie Skills

RENAISSANCE Infotech, a Hyderabad-based software start-up, has announced that it has carved out Idea Labs, which has been positioned as an incubation initiative to bridge the gap between academic turnouts and industry expectations. The Chief Executive Officer of Renaissance Infotech, Mr Pankaj Divan, in a statement said, "we have strategically positioned Idea Labs between a training school and a software services company to enable engineering graduates and technology professionals to hone up their skills and ramp up the value chain." Mr Diwan said Idea Labs was like `Sutradhaar' or a link between IT industry, academicians and techies and would work towards bridging the gap between academic output, which does not draw from much practical experience, and the industry requirements. The incubation programme is carried out under the guidance of industry mentors with case studies. Idea Labs has initiated the programme with an industry interaction at Cyber Towers. The recent meeting here witnessed over 300 registrations where a host of industry players from Genesis Insoft, Cap Gemini, HP India and Leapstone System interacted with techies.

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 09/10/2003

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Tulip to Wire Malappuram with Wireless Tech

Thiruvananthapuram -- TWO months after the UN launched a major initiative aimed at harnessing wireless Internet technologies to bridge the `digital divide' in developing countries, Malappuram in Kerala is set to become the world's first revenue district to get fully wired with the latest technology. Sources in the Kerala State IT Mission, the official implementing agency, informed Business Line that New Delhi-based Tulip IT Services has been selected as the service provider for Malappuram after they came up with a cost-effective and terrain-friendly last-mile solutions for the Akshaya Internet community centres housed there. Tulip will bring to this once sleepy district, with a jurisdictional area of 3550 sq km, cutting-edge wireless technologies from principals WiLAN (Calgary, Canada), Airspan (UK) and YDI (US). Malappuram will have a well-considered hybrid connectivity infrastructure, through a mix of wireless technologies like WipLL, Vine and 802.11.b WiFi with multiple redundancies. The backbone redundancy will be provided through fibre. The 550 Akshaya e-centres will be connected in a LAN environment, which, in turn, will be connected to a network operating centre (NOC). The NOC will have direct connectivity with the Internet backbone. The NOC infrastructure would ensure browsing at no cost to users in the network. This would mean that the entire district would be converted into "a small wired office" seamlessly inter-connected with linkages to three world-class purveyors of the technology. One of the key impacts that Akshaya project brings to the State is of the last mile Internet connectivity. World over, delivery of Internet connectivity services in the rural and remote areas has been the biggest challenge in bringing benefits of IT to masses. Each Akshaya centre would cater to the needs of 1,000-1,500 households, enabling each to benefit from the advantages of Internet connectivity. The Malappuram experiment is only a pilot, to be replicated in phases over the entire State. As the locations of these centres are strategically planned and spatially distributed, they will form a powerful network to guide and support the e-governance initiatives, community development interventions, e-commerce and information dissemination. The technology solution for Malappuram was arrived at after extensive studies and interactions, including demonstration of various technologies in the district. The connectivity infrastructure established through the Akshaya project, i.e., network and backbone, network centre, software, Internet access and management, can also be used to connect, apart from Akshaya centres, all panchayat offices, village offices and departmental offices spread across the district. According to sources, the waiting will soon be over. Services to be delivered in Malappuram will be limited only by the providers' creativity and entrepreneurship, they added. (by Vinson Kurian)

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 09/18/2003

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Corio Inc Sets Up R&D Outfit in Bangalore

Enterprise application service provider (ASP), Corio Inc, has set up a development subsidiary in Bangalore, the only outfit outside the US. Corio India Infotech Services Pvt Ltd would carry out the research and development operations and provide customer support services for the parent's clientele from Bangalore. The company had invested between $15-$20 million over the last four months in setting up the Indian operations, said Mr Sridhar Sarathy, Country Manager, Corio India, adding that the ramp-up plans would decide future investments. "We expect to hire about 150 engineers in a year's time," Mr Sarathy said. Corio has hired about 40 engineers for its India operations, of which 20 are deployed to carry out R&D operations and the rest to provide customer support services. Currently, the R&D team in Bangalore is focussing on developing upgrades for two of the five of Corio's product line iService. The upgrades for Corio's asset management system and the centralised identity management system were being developed in Bangalore, Mr Sarathy said, adding that all quality testing of the company's products were being done in India. Corio India also handles the Level II and Level III support for its customers such as code changes and enhancement among others. As Corio currently had a customer base only in the US, the first point of contact for support services was being kept in the US, Mr Sarathy said. Indian operations would provide round the clock support services seven days a week, he added. The company is also planning to handle telemarketing activities for the parent from Bangalore. "We have already commissioned a Bangalore-based telemarketing firm to carry out lead generation exercise on a pilot basis. If it is proved successful, we may take up the exercise on a full time basis," he said. Corio, which offers packaged software of major vendors such as SAP, Peoplesoft, Oracle, Siebel and Ariba to US clients on an ASP platform, is also examining the possibilities of entering the Indian market. "While we have the desire to establish the Indian operations, we are yet to decide on the strategy on how to go about it," Mr Sarathy said. (by Vishwanath Kulkarni)

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 10/03/2003

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India's First Mobile Bank Starts Rolling in Madhya Pradesh

Villagers in Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh have been saved a long walk to the bank with the launch of India's first mobile bank. The Gram Luxmi Vahini, named after Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, started rolling in the district on Monday after being inaugurated by Deputy Chief Minister Subhash Yadav. The bank, an extension of the Mahila Nagrik Bank, a co-operative bank run successfully in various parts of the state by rural women, will travel across the 1,170 villages to visit the homes of the nearly one million villagers in the district. The Gram Luxmi Vahini, a van turned into a bank, cost Rs 1 crore to set up and can seat 6-7 employees. Sarla Sahu, chairperson of the Mahila Nagrik Bank, said the mobile bank would not only revolutionise banking in the rural sector and strengthen the financial condition of the villagers but also eradicate social evils. "The villagers will now be able to save money without much trouble. When the bank reaches their doorstep, they can deposit cash, even if it is a small sum," said the chairperson. The number of banks in villagers, she said, was limited and many villagers had to travel long distances to reach them. "The distance often acts a hurdle between people and banks," said Sarla Singh. She believes the bank will prove a boon for women with alcoholic husbands. "Cases of men beating their wives to get money for liquor is not uncommon in villages," she said. "Now the women will be able to keep their money safe in the mobile bank." (by Rohit Ghosh)

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 10/07/2003

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BSNL to Invest Rs 170 Cr to Double Subscriber Base in Karnataka

BHARAT Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) plans to invest over Rs 170 crore to double its subscriber base in Karnataka to around 6.5 lakh by March next. BSNL officials told a news conference today that within 12 months of the launch of the mobile services in Karnataka, it has been able to mop up a subscriber base of around 3 lakh. BSNL, which has already invested around Rs 170 crore in the State, plans to invest an equal amount to increase the subscriber base. Revenues from mobile services, since it started operations in October 2002, were around Rs 180 crore. But the increase in mobile subscriber base has hit the landline subscriber base of BSNL. The Principal General Manager for Bangalore Telecom District, Mr B.R. Baliga said the net addition during the first six months of the current fiscal was around 500 to around 9.74 lakh subscribers in Bangalore. Mr Baliga said despite the increase in mobile subscriber base, BSNL has been able to hold on to its landline subscriber base. BSNL expects around 15 per cent increase in revenue for the current fiscal. During 2002-03, BSNL posted revenues of around Rs 2,200 crore of which over 50 per cent was contributed by the Bangalore circle. In another development, BSNL has offered a festival discount for customers opting for leased line Internet access. The scheme is open till October 15. Customers applying for 2Mbps leased line ports will be given additional benefits such as 2 Sancharnet PSTN dial up Internet connections of 1000 hours each or 1 ISDN dial up 128K-backup package of 500 hours. BSNL has also introduced booking of complaints by dialing 198 for customers in Bangalore rural district. This facility is in addition to the existing service for booking complaints. Offer for students: BSNL has announced a low mobile rental plan for students in Karnataka. Under the `student power scheme', students will be offered a monthly rental of Rs 99 with a pulse rate of 15 seconds while each SMS will be charged 60 paise. The new scheme offers all value-added services as per the standard plan of CellOne mobile scheme. The subscribers need not pay any security deposit if they don't want to avail of STD facility.

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 10/08/2003

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New Intellicon Tool

CHENNAI - Intellicon Pvt Ltd, a provider of barcode solutions, has launched iwarehouse management software, IntelliWMS. Addressing a press conference in the city, Mr Sameer Parekh said, "IntelliWMS helps warehouses and a company's supply chain gain true value from real time information." Intellicon had revenues of Rs 14 crore the past year and estimates a Rs 25 crore revenue this year, out of which it sees revenues from software services rake in between Rs 4 and 5 crore. It has tie-ups with international vendors including HHP USA, Metrologic Instruments and Zebra USA.

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 10/09/2003

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MALDIVES: Laying of Cables Underway in Kulhudhuffushi to Provide Cable TV Service

MALE -- The Wave Length Private Limited has started laying cables in Kulhudhuffushi island of Haa Dhaalu atoll, to provide cable TV services in the island. The company started the work on Saturday. Wavelength also started connecting houses with cables. "To accelerate the work, which started on Saturday, the company is using a small excavator to dig the roads," said Yunus Ibrahim, the owner of Wavelength. The company has also started providing application forms for cable TV service. The connection fee for this service is Rf1,500 per month. And monthly fee for the service is Rf180. "People who have difficulty in paying the connection fee can first pay Rf700 at the initial stage and then the remaining amount can be paid later within three months," said Yunus. Although at the launching stage of this service, 12 channels will be available, number of channels will be increased, said the company. "Although, at the initial stage, 12 channels will be launched, there are equipment that can provide 15 channels. Even if channels are increased, the monthly fee will not be increased," Yunus said. The channels that will be provided at the initial stage include TVM, Cartoon Network, BBC, Sony TV, B4U and channels of Star TV network.

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 09/24/2003

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PAKISTAN: New Digital Telephone Exchanges to Be Established

The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) will establish 275 new digital telephone exchanges in the region besides laying 77,000 new lines with an amount of Rs1,500 million during the next three years. This was stated by Gujranwala Telecom Region (GTR) general manger Muhammad Anwer while speaking at a meeting here on Saturday. He said the wireless telephone system would be provided to subscribers on their demand which might work within 25 kilometre range of the digital exchange. In the first phase, he said the wireless telephone system facility was being provided to Kamoki, Ghakkhar, Alipur Chattha, Daska, Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Bhago Alipur, Adil Garh and other towns while the wireless system was being installed at digital exchanges. He pointed out that the PTCL had made a record recovery of Rs3,998 million during the fiscal year 2002-03 besides laying 443,000 new telephone lines while 65,000 lines out of them were kept reserved to meet any emergency situation. The GTR general manager revealed that 18 complaint number was being computerized for detecting wrong calls and any fault in the lines. He claimed that the corrupt officials were being punished as two supervisors and as many linemen involved in embezzlement were chargesheeted and would be dismissed from their service if they were found guilty in an inquiry. Roads' destruction: The city tehsil council has resented the negligence of the telephone and Sui gas departments, which have destructed many newly constructed roads while laying cables. The council has decided that the gadgets of these departments lying on roads will be confiscated and damages will be claimed, according to Nazim Babu Javed Ahmad. Convening an emergent meeting on Saturday, the Nazim said the city tehsil council had recently constructed various roads with an expenditure of hundreds of thousands rupees to ensure smooth flow of traffic. However, he said, the PTCL and the SNGPL development wings had damaged these roads while laying new telephone and gas pipes without informing the relevant department and depositing the cost of repairs. He directed the council's planning and engineering department to confiscate the goods of these departments until these offered charges for repairs. INQUIRY: A high-level committee, constituted by Wapda chairman Lt-Gen Zulfiqar Ali Khan (retired) to probe power theft charges against the prime minister's political adviser, recorded statements of the raiders and the chief suspect on Saturday. Reports said the inquiry committee reached Tohang Bucha village at Wahando and recorded the statements of the relevant persons.

From http://www.dawn.com/ 08/24/2003

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PAKISTAN: Peshawar Number Plates not Available

PESHAWAR -- Non-availability of computerized number plates has been causing problems for vehicle owners in Peshawar for the last eight months. The five-year plan, which was started in 1998 to computerise number plates of all vehicles in the NWFP, has run into snags and a large number of vehicles are still without the computerized number plates. An official claimed that since the departure of the contractor who was supplying number plates, vehicle owners were facing problems. The vehicle owners have already paid the charges for computerized registration numbers, but they have not received the number plates. The Excise and Taxation Department, which has been collecting fee for the issuance of computerized number plates, asks the vehicle owners to collect their number plate after three months but the department is short of number plates, official sources said. Fee for the change of number plate of a car is Rs500, for motorbikes Rs300 and Rs795 for a truck, the sources added. "Some of the vehicle owners who were issued computerized numbers have starting using unauthorized plates due to non-provision of computerized plates," said an official of the department. He stated that a large number of vehicle owners visited his office daily to inquire about the number plates but the officials offered lame excuses for the delay. The five-year contract was signed with a private firm, Cyber Graphic Technical System Limited. Under the contract, the firm was to supply 375,000 computerized number plates and was supposed to link different districts with a main computer server. The firm was also supposed to provide hardware and software to the excise department. The contractor has sued the government for not fulfilling some of the conditions agreed in the contract. He had demanded increase in the cost of plate as he fell short of money, a source told Dawn. "The plan which was supposed to eradicate all the irregularities and was aimed at computerising the system by the year 2003 remains incomplete," sources told Dawn. There are still over 100,000 vehicles in the NWFP which are without computerized number plates. (by Sadia Qasim Shah)

From http://www.dawn.com/ 10/17/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Women Doing Better in Hi-Tech

SOFTWARE, hi-tech services and telecommunications are among the best performers when it comes to employing women as executive managers. The 2003 Australian Census of Women in Leadership names the sectors - alongside retailing and healthcare equipment and services - as the biggest employers of women executive managers. The 2003 Census finds women account for 18.33 per cent of executive managers in software and IT services companies in the top 200 companies on the Australian stock exchange, while women hold 8.8 per cent of executive management positions in the companies overall. Women account for 16.67 per cent of executives in telecommunications, mainly because of Telecom New Zealand, the census finds. Telecom New Zealand is included because it is listed on both the New Zealand and the Australian stock exchanges. It was one of just five of Australia's top 200 companies with a woman as chief executive, Theresa Gattung, at the Census cut off date of March 31, 2003. Software and services and telecommunications also performed well for women board members, scoring 13.64 and 21.05 per cent respectively. Overall, women account for just 8.4 per cent of directorships in the companies in the census, which was conducted by the federal government's Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, US-based research organisation Catalyst and Macquarie University. EOWA federal director Fiona Krautil said women were doing well at executive management level in IT because the companies had a global focus and a talent management focus. "It's an industry that relies on innovation and creativity, so they have a real focus that talent can come in many packages," Ms Krautil said. Women may also do well in those sectors because a lot of IT was team-based, she said. "Maybe IT is doing better, and this is just my theory, because you have a flatter structure, so you haven't got as many levels," she said. "In IT you have the team-based things, and women have more exposure to strategy, I think." She said workers in these industries were also comfortable with technology and using remote systems that make workplaces more flexible and attractive to women. But the survey shows generally that women are not getting profit-and-loss experience in the vast majority of staff roles, she said. "They're running human resources, they're running the legal department, and that's fine, but it's actually not the pathway to executive management and chief executive positions and boards." Novell Asia-Pacific chief executive Rhonda O'Donnell said the IT industries that performed well were not necessarily traditional and could offer more flexible work practices. "There are two issues: work life balance becomes easier, but they're not necessarily hierarchical in nature," she said. "A great example is our organisation, I'm on the Worldwide Management Committee and yet, in terms of the hours, I can be very flexible about how I do those, so they wouldn't know whether I was working from home, in the office or where." (by Diana Thorp)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 09/07/2003

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Local Supercomputer Cracks Teraflop

A CONSORTIUM of NSW universities claims its new supercomputer is the first Australian system to crack the teraflop processing mark. The Centre for Advanced Computing and Communications (AC3) located in Sydney, reached what it claims as a new Australian record of 1.095 teraflops (1.095 trillion calculations per second) using the LINPACK benchmark last week, AC3 chief executive Dr Philip McCrea said. The centre announced in August that it would acquire a new supercomputer comprised of 147 3.06 GHz Dell PowerEdge 1750 dual processor nodes, each with 2 GB of memory. The system runs on the Red Hat Linux distribution. The project was jointly funded by Sydney University, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, the University of NSW, the University of Wollongong and the Australian Research Council. The 1.095 teraflop mark would have placed the system at number 46 on the June 2003 list of the world's Top 500 supercomputers. AC3 would be "delighted" if its system could maintain its place in the top 50 by the time the next list was published in November, Dr McCrea said. Nevertheless, the figure achieved set a new Australian benchmark for systems assessed using the LINPACK yardstick, he said. "We broke out the champagne last week," he said. The LINPACK benchmark uses a standard set of equations to measure computational performance. At least two runs using the benchmark are required to submit performance of listing on the Top 500 list, Dr McCrea said. The new system would begin processing live research data soon, Dr McCrea said. Research fields to use the new supercomputer include photonics, microwaves, communications and drug research. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au l10/08/2003

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State Bonanza More Than $1bn

SOUTH Australia's upcoming post-EDS IT contracts bonanza could be worth more than the $1 billion price tag originally attached to it, as the Government is considering tipping more work into the pool. SA Administrative and Information Services Minister Jay Weatherill said the Government was committed to reviewing and re-tendering the work contained in the existing EDS whole-of-government outsourcing contract, and it was lining up other contracts for renewal at the same time. Work from the former EDS contract is worth $1 billion over five years, according to State Treasury estimates. "That's just what's in the scope of the existing arrangement," Mr Weatherill said. "There's the potential for more - for example, there's infrastructure and applications. "We have a whole range of other contracts and we're lining them up in terms of expiry dates, so we are in a position to go to market with a whole range of ICT needs." Mr Weatherill said telecoms would not be part of the work, but "it may be that telecoms providers are capable of bidding". The state will unveil details of the first tranche of contracts on October 29, at a forum for IT companies in Adelaide. One thing potential bidders will learn is that economic development - one of the driving factors of the EDS contract - is much lower on the agenda. That raises the prospect of another multinational taking work away from EDS without making the same commitments to the state. "In a constrained budget environment, value for money is high on the agenda," Mr Weatherill said. "It won't be the case that industry development will be as dominant a focus in procurement as it was with EDS. "It will be more focused on value for money." EDS employs about 400 staff on the SA Government contract, and has been a prominent promoter of the state's IT industry. EDS has 2000 staff in SA, and 6800 in Australia overall. Mr Weatherill said potential job losses - should EDS lose a substantial chunk of work - were "a factor to be taken into account", but the company had not given any indication of its intentions. "At this point, EDS is tackling it on the basis of winning as much work as it can," he said. "EDS hasn't issued any warnings as to what may happen if it doesn't achieve its present level of work." (by Simon Hayes)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 10/14/2003

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Victoria Reins in Telemarketers

THE Victorian government has moved to curb the hours telemarketers can call people at home. Under amendments to the Fair Trading Act now before Parliament, telemarketers will be banned from calling people at home after 8pm on weeknights and after 5pm on weekends. They will also be banned from making calls on public holidays. But the changes will not apply to telemarketers conducting surveys or to charity organisations. Consumer Affairs Minister John Lenders said there was currently no restriction under Victorian law on the hours telemarketers could call people at home. Mr Lenders admitted the bill did not deal with telemarketers who called people during dinner time, between 6pm and 8pm. He said the legislation was instead designed to streamline the laws with existing door-to-door sales legislation and interstate and federal guidelines, and reduce calls at unreasonable hours. "We try to have a commonsense approach where we protect people at home from being disturbed at unreasonable and late hours, to try to balance that with the fact that telemarketing is a part of today's commercial reality," he said. "I think we've got the balance right, but as (is) always the case in this you will have some stakeholders who would perhaps want you to go further in one direction or the other." Telemarketing companies that break the new law will face penalties of up to $120,000, while individual callers will face fines of up to $60,000. The fines do not apply to the companies whose product is being sold. Mr Lenders said the government was considering proposals for a register of consumers who did not want to be called by telemarketers. However, the new laws will force telemarketers to cease a call when requested by the consumer and not call back for 30 days. Other changes will include giving Victorian consumers a 10 day cooling off right for telesales over $50.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 10/16/2003

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ASX Links to Global Network

THE Australian Stock Exchange has signed a networking agreement that will put it in touch with exchanges and brokers around the world, promising improved access to overseas markets and a smoother inflow of foreign investment. The internet protocol-based RadianzNet international network is used by other stock exchanges, including New York, Boston and Chicago, for electronic clearing, pricing and news services, and by thousands of international brokers and clearing houses. The ASX would use the network for international clearing and data dissemination services, ASX executive general manager of production services Jeff Olsson said. Using RadianzNet would allow companies to condense the multiple virtual private network connections now used for clearing into a single major line, with perhaps an additional line as a safety measure, he said. The rationalisation is made possible by the number of organisations that use the network for transactions. "It makes the overall telecommunications much simpler and much more scalable," Mr Olsson said. Some 9000 firms are connected to RadianzNet, established by Reuters and Equant in 2000. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 10/23/2003

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GUAM: GUAM: Telemedicine Connects Honolulu and Guam

Honolulu - Doctors at the Tripler Army Medical Center are using telemedicine technology to share their expertise with their Guam colleagues in treating critically-ill patients, reports the Honolulu Advertiser. The $1.45 million program allows Tripler specialists to examine intensive-care unit patients, talk to them and monitor their vital signs through the use of high-resolution remote-controlled cameras and real time transmissions. In use since mid-June at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Guam, the pilot eICU program has resulted in one documented saved life out of 25 patients examined so far, officials said. Tripler is the first military medical center to use the telemedicine product for long-distance ICU care. Others are expected to follow as part of a move to improve treatment and reduce emergency evacuation costs. According to the Advertiser, the eICU may be expanded throughout the Pacific to include all of the smaller healthcare facilities with intensive-care units in the Tripler system, including centers in Okinawa, part of northern Japan and South Korea. Tripler is the specialty-level care provider for Asia and the Pacific. The fiber-optic eICU is expected to result in significant cost-savings by stabilizing some patients who might otherwise need emergency air-evacuation at a cost of more than $100,000. Instead, those patients can be transported on a regularly scheduled medical flight mission when they are in better condition to fly. - Pacific Magazine

From http://www.pacificislands.cc/ 08/18/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: International IT Group Prepares to Profile NZ Industry

Global information technology group Gartner is preparing to profile New Zealand's information, communications and technology sector - a move it believes will raise this country's profile among foreign investors. "It would certainly help New Zealand get on the radar screens of overseas companies looking to outsource IT services," Gartner research director Ian Marriott said. The profile would analyse the strengths and weaknesses of New Zealand's IT industry and identify where government policy and private sector activities could be improved. More broadly, it would allow overseas businesses considering outsourcing IT services to benchmark New Zealand against other countries. London-based Mr Marriott was invited to Wellington by software developer and consultancy Synergy International. In Wellington this week, Mr Marriott met Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton for talks about how to best ensure New Zealand appeared on the global IT radar screen. (by Craig Howie)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 07/24/2003

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Fund Puts Safety Net Under Tech Investors

The manager of one of the first protected technology investment funds to be offered locally says such funds will allow New Zealand investors to break their traditionally low weighting of tech investment - and to do so safely. Paul Davis, an American investment expert who manages tech funds from his farm on Banks Peninsula, has been brought onboard by Capital Guaranteed Investments to manage its Orb Technology Fund, which is trying to raise A$25 million to A$150 million ($28.4 million to $170.7 million) to invest across a range of US-listed communications, medical science and IT companies. The pitch is that New Zealanders can invest at a relatively low entry level - from A$5000 - and have their initial investment protected. Citibank underwrites the fund, holding back part of the money raised for hedge investments. The fund has an eight-year term and contributors are guaranteed their initial investment back or 80 per cent of the annual net asset value of the portfolio, whichever is higher. Davis said New Zealand investors tended to overlook tech stocks. The three sectors targeted by the Orb Technology Fund accounted for 30 per cent of equity market investment worldwide, which he said was a sensible minimum threshold for a tech investment weighting. "To be underweight in those industries is dangerous. It's not a sensible investment call. "Because these sectors are dominated by businesses not listed in Australia or New Zealand, investors here don't participate." Tech Invest, which manages the Orb funds, has targeted 40 companies for investment. "We look for companies that are undervalued relative to the present value of their free cash flows," said Davis. Favourites within each sector were narrowed down. In communications, for example, wireless and broadband service providers were favoured, as regular voice and long-distance telephone firms struggled with huge infrastructure but poor growth. Bellwether stocks may form part of the portfolio. Heavyweights such as Microsoft and Intel have featured in Tech Invest's portfolios in the past. "We're also going all the way down to companies only worth US$30 million," said Davis, who already manages the A$37 million Technology Investment Fund. The managing director of ASB Securities, Tim Preston, said funds like Orb were likely to appear increasingly here as enthusiasm for technology investment re-gained momentum. ASB had received strong interest in the fund from customers, he said. Davis said the complexity of the technology and medical science industries made individual investments relatively difficult to track. "I started in the software industry ... But I always told myself I wouldn't invest in the stock market until I could afford to do it full-time. Amateur investors get done over." Closing date for investment in the Orb fund is September 29.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/20/2003

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Kiwibank Turns to VoIP

Kiwibank has spent several hundred thousand dollars upgrading its rapidly-growing Wellington call centre with an Internet protocol telephony system. The contact centre started with 18 employees when the bank was founded in 2002 and now has a total staff of 91. The Cisco IPPC system, supplied through Telecom, replaces the bank's conventional PABX, and will make it possible to handle calls in more intelligent ways, says Kiwibank customer services manager Chris Sturgeon. Customers can now identify themselves by keying a pin into their handset rather than having to answer security questions posed by contact centre staff. The Cisco IPPC system is also making it possible to reroute incoming calls to particular staff - either inside the call centre or elsewhere in the country - based on the phone number customers have called to access phone banking or their customer profile. Kiwibank isn't using the system to prioritise calls from high-value customers, though Mr Sturgeon says the new phone platform does have the capability to allow that. The system also has improved disaster recovery features. Mr Sturgeon says "the jury is out" on whether Kiwibank might set up more contact centres outside Wellington as its business grows, or remain centred on the capital, but either way the IP-based system will make it easier to expand the contact centre. "Some of the future benefits are that if you have got a network of agents throughout the country, you could easily route a call through to Invercargill, for example. That's considerably harder to do with a conventional PABX." Mr Sturgeon says the use of phone banking is still growing, despite the popularity of Internet banking. Customers are using the phone to obtain bank balances and to check if incoming payments have arrived and often turn to the Net for services such as arranging bill payments, he says. TelstraClear will provide telco services to law firm Bell Gully for the next three years in a deal valued at $2.5 million. The company employs 250 staff in Wellington and Auckland and will use TelstraClear's IP network for telephony and video-conferencing. "The enhanced speed and security of this solution will allow us to create a truly virtual law firm," says Bell Gully commercial director Don Staples. "Our lawyers and clients will be able to work together and share information securely wherever they are."

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 10/06/2003

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Canterbury Tops in High-Tech

Canterbury is the high-tech capital of the country, says a report from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. The 76-page report says combined revenue for 100 IT and electronics industries in the region totalled $792 million for 2002-2003. Export earnings were $481 million and 3400 staff were employed. According to Trade and Enterprise, the IT and electronics industry in Canterbury is 30 per cent larger than in Auckland, and the productivity of $200,000 per employee compares with a national average of $60,000. The software firms, headed by Jade, account for 22 per cent of total revenue. The big six Canterbury electronics firms - Allied Telesyn, Dynamic Controls, Invensys, Tait, Trimble and Pulse Data - account for 62 per cent and 16 per cent comes from smaller electronics firms. Direct employment in the industries is predicted to treble over the next four years, with output rising to $1.48 billion. (by by Richard Wood)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 10/07/2003

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Big-Money Hopes for Broadband on the Farm

A $50 million Southland investment in broadband internet is expected to return $190 million a year within five years, more than $400 million a year in 10 years and create at least 490 jobs. Venture Southland strategic projects manager Steve Canny revealed the figures at the opening of the first Woosh Wireless transmission site, at Tuatapere, on Friday. He said the figures, based on work done by Christchurch economist Geoff Butcher, were conservative. "This reflects the opportunity for intensive management of primary sectors like farming, tourism and process industries," Canny said. "That means adding a little bit extra to traditional farming practices. Broadband allows precise inputs into primary production, so you can better understand what comes off the farm, understand what is happening and activate remedial action quickly." Fonterra gives milk quality and health risks information through its Fencepost internet portal. The dairy co-operative is touting a Telecom-BCL internet service to farmers, but is likely to face competition from the Woosh system. "It also means farmers or farm businesses will be able to send high resolution images_4 of flowers, meat cuts and so on to prospective markets," Canny said. One beta user, highland cattle breeder Tim Gow, has used the service to beef up his website images_4, and is looking at posting QuickTime videos of his beasts. "With tourism, there is the opportunity to not just shift information but to surround it with rich content, which increases the ability to differentiate in the market," Canny said. Tourism already accounts for more than 9 per cent of the region's jobs. Canny expects Woosh's voice service to be ready for soon after the Invercargill transmission site goes live in November. An entry-level package will include high-speed data and two phone lines, including free regional calls and flat-rate national toll calls, for $85 a month. Canny said cutting the region's toll bill and Telecom access charges would save $35 million a year. "There is a direct saving to schools of $800,000 a year if they adopt this technology," he said. The investment estimate includes $2.75 million from Probe - provincial broadband extension, a Government project, which aims to connect all New Zealand schools to high-speed internet. The Southland Community Trust and regional development funding each provided $1 million. Southland District Council chief executive Mike Ross said the run-down state of Telecom's network was one of the main reasons the region's councils went looking for alternatives, starting in 2000 with his council's submission to the telecommunications review headed by Hugh Fletcher. "We were there because we are solely a rural council, we have no major population centres," Ross said. "At the same time we have Edendale, the second largest milk manufacturing operation in the country, where Fonterra was investing $200 million." Ross said dairy farming was booming, and the council could see its farmer ratepayers needed high speed, reliable communications to help them reach their potential. Working with the Invercargill and Gore councils, it set up Venture Southland as an economic and community development agency, with one of its major projects to bring broadband to the south. (by Adam Gifford)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 10/14/2003

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CHINA: Net Ready E-Business Seminar Series to Be Introduced

China Enterprise Confederation (CEC) and Cisco Systems China announced today the Net Ready E-Business Seminar Series. This series will share the real experience of Cisco Systems and Chinese enterprises. It is designed to teach business leaders and managers how to use information technology (IT) and the Internet to achieve better business results. China Business Cybercast (CBC) will broadcast a six-part weekly series, beginning on August 25, based on the concepts and principles of the book Net Ready and Cisco's expertise in using information technology (IT) and the Internet as a strategic enabler for creating business value. It is expected that enterprise business leaders and senior managers, and students and faculty of sixty universities will view the broadcast. In the future this series will also be available on CEC's new iQ Net Readiness Education Portal at http://www.cec-ceda.com/. This informative and timely series will feature insights and real-life practical examples from Cisco executives, Chinese business leaders, and e-business experts and thought-leaders. The series will review challenges, opportunities and the business and IT keys for success for Chinese enterprises using IT and the Internet. "Globalization and the recent health crisis has made e-Business a "must have" for Chinese Enterprises," said Chen Ying, Deputy Director General of CEC. "However, Chinese business leaders are concerned about investing wisely. Net Readiness provides a simple practical framework and methodology to do e-business right." CEC recently introduced a new portal for e-Business education for Chinese enterprises. This series provides yet another tool for Chinese enterprises. Cisco Systems, Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Information on Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com/.

From Xinhua News Agency 08/19/2003

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IRAN: 18th Int`l Electricity Confab Opens in Tehran

Tehran - The 18th three-day International Electricity Conference opened here on Monday with a ceremony attended by Minister of Energy Habibollah Bitaraf, a number of MPs, Iranian and foreign experts, professors and researchers. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, deputy minister of energy and managing director of Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Organization (TAVANIR), Mohammad Ahmadian, said that the conference has been organized through joint effort of the officials in charge and full support of over 140 Iranian and foreign scientific and industrial institutes. Some 231 essays from Azerbaijan, Germany, Jordan, Australia, Slovenia, Britain, the US, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Japan, Sweden, Oman, Canada, the US, Malaysia and Yugoslavia have been selected among a total of 868 submitted to the conference secretariat. 'Some 140 professors and senior specialists from the industry have been chosen as members of specialized scientific boards and 250 were appointed as members of the jury. 'Simultaneous with the ongoing conference, 50 training workshops on various fields of the industry including generation, transmission, distribution, control an protection, information technology (IT), environment, security and health are also underway,' he added. Planning, systems studies, chemicals and environmental materials, security, health, generation of electrical energy, new energies, HV systems, precision tools and automation, control and protection, load administration, management as well as economic and social studies are among the issues to be discussed in the conference.

From http://iran.ru/ 10/21/2003

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JAPAN: Conference on Evaluating the State of Competition in the Telecommunications Field

The MPHPT, in cooperation with the Telecommunications Carriers Association and the Telecom Service Association, will hold a Conference on Evaluating Competition in the Telecommunications Field on October 22 (Wed), 2003.

1. Details:
The MPHPT set up the study group on methods for evaluating the state of competition in the telecommunications field as IP evolves in September 2002 with the aim of investigating methods for evaluating the state of competition in telecommunications services, and a report was compiled in July 2003. The MPHPT has taken this report into consideration and is currently promoting the necessary preparations for implementing a steady evaluation of the state of competition.

2. Conference Goal:
The MPHPT is planning to announce in the first half of October a basic approach and details for implementing an analysis and evaluation of the state of competition in the telecommunications business field. As the contents can be a reference for the future telecommunications policy, the MPHPT plans to invite comments from the public as an opportunity to hear the opinions of a broad range of telecommunications business operators and well-informed people, both from Japan and overseas, at the time of the announcement, and so decided to hold this conference during the period of the invitation to comment.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 09/24/2003

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Strategic Seminars on Intellectual Property for IT Ventures to Be Held

In order to raise the awareness of IT ventures concerning intellectual property and to promote the diffusion of knowledge as well as information exchange with experts, MPHPT will, under the auspices of Nippon Keidanren, the Japan Venture Capital Association (JVCA), etc., hold a series of seminars in collaboration with the Japan Patent Attorneys Association (JPAA), et al. from October 2003 through September 2004, in 14 venues nationwide. This will be the first ever attempt for JPAA to hold a series of nationwide seminars with a full-fledged curriculum tailored to support IT ventures. Some two hundred patent attorneys will lecture at the seminars. Effective use of intellectual property is critical for IT ventures in terms of management strategy in order to gain the technological advantage and as a result improve their power to attract such necessities like funds. In Japan, however, many IT ventures have low awareness as to the need to obtain intellectual property rights. In addition, IT ventures are not necessarily offered sufficient opportunities to meet intellectual property experts (patent attorneys, etc.) face to face. Furthermore, regional discrepancies exist since depending upon the location there are extremely few experts. Thus, with the objectives of raising IT ventures' awareness concerning intellectual property and of promoting the diffusion of knowledge as well as information exchange with experts, MPHPT has decided to hold in collaboration with JPAA a series of seminars nationwide.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 09/26/2003

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Symposium on Strengthening the Wireless IT Industry

On September 16, 2003, MPHPT, together with the Communications and Information Network Association of Japan (CIAJ), convened a "Symposium on Strengthening the Wireless IT Industry." At the Symposium, information exchanges among people from the wireless IT industry and academia were made on future trends of a ubiquitous network society, from the standpoint of R&D on wireless IT and the potentials of wireless business that can be realized by frequency reallocations. In recent years, demands for radio spectrums have been rapidly increasing, as exemplified by cellular telephones and wireless LANs. In response to such circumstances, the Symposium was held in order to realize a more strategic radio administration, for further contribution, through use of radio spectrums, to the improvement of quality of life and the revitalization of the Japanese economy. At the Symposium, Mr. KATAYAMA Toranosuke, then MPHPT Minister, gavea keynote address, clearly stating the "Strategy for Frequency Liberalization" based on the "Radio Policy Vision." In the keynote address, the Minister expressed that contribution to realization of the ubiquitous network society through construction of the world's most advanced broadband environment is set forth as one of the mid- to long-term goals and that efforts to implement drastic review of frequency assignments and swift reallocation systems are required. The Minister also showed the view that MPHPT will, as the first attempt in the world, allocate frequency bands exclusively for consumer electronics with IT functions, which Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers with international competitiveness have been expecting tobe allocated. Under a title of "Ubiquitous Computing and Japan's IT Strategy," Professor SAKAMURA Ken (Director, YRP Ubiquitous Networking Laboratory; and Professor, the University of Tokyo) illustrated future impacts of ubiquitous computing on the Japanese industries from the standpoint of promoting R&D on information and communications systems comprising ubiquitous networks. Mr. ITO Yasuhiko (Senior Vice President, KDDI Corp.), under a title of "Business Opportunities Created upon New International Frequency Allocation," predicted the potentials of business creation through the frequency reallocation in the future ubiquitous network society from the standpoints of assuming the Chairman of Radio communication Assembly (RA-03), etc. and of a telecommunications carrier. Mr. KAWADA Takashi (Advisor, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.),under a title of "Future Outlook of Wireless IT in the Age of Ubiquitous Networks," forecasted the potentials of wireless business to be brought about by wireless IT consumer electronics from the standpoint of a comprehensive electronics manufacturer. At the end of the Symposium, Mr. IKEDA Shigeru (President, CIAJ), under a title of "Industrial Approach toward Realization of the Ubiquitous Network Society," anticipated the future market and management strategies of the IT network industry with respect to IT businesses in an expanding wireless subiquitous network society, from the standpoint of presiding over an association consisting of corporate members in various fields relating to information and communications networks. The outcomes of this Symposium would contribute to the acceleration of efforts for deliberating upon the future radio administration and the strengthening of the wireless IT industry.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 09/26/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Continuing Education Cyber School to Open Next Year

The Ministry of Planning and Budget will spend 1.5 billion won ($1.25 million) next year to open a continuing education cyber school for underprivileged families. Under the program, the existing curricula of "radio" and "correspondence" high schools will be transformed into an open-line, two-way cyber communication system. The proposed cyber school will operate on a trial basis next year and by 2008 will gradually be expanded to include primary and middle school curricula. The ministry expects that the school will provide education opportunities for prison inmates, the physically challenged and high school dropouts, as well as under-educated citizens.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 09/30/2003

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First Cyber Electronics Exhibition Opens on Wednesday

The Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) opened a cyber electronics exhibition, the first of its kind in Korea, on Wednesday. It will run until Sunday (Oct. 12). The exhibition has been arranged as the first overseas marketing project after KOTRA launched a cyber overseas marketing platform. It enables to display products in cyberspace and have face-to-face cyber business meetings between prospective exporters and buyers. A total of 200 electronic companies are displaying about 450 products through e-catalogues, moving pictures or three-dimensional images_4. KOTRA expects that about 500 foreign buyers will visit the exhibition. KOTRA said that export marketing through cyber trade is gaining popularity among Korean exporters as online marketing has helped them save time and overseas travel expenses.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 10/10/2003

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Busan Finalized as Host City of 2004 ITU Telecom Asia

Korea's southeastern port city of Busan won the right to host the 2004 ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Telecom Asia, the largest IT trade show in Asia. The Ministry of Information and Communication reported on Monday (Oct. 13) that Chin Dae-je, Minister of Information and Communication, and ITU Secretary General Yoshio Utsumi reached an agreement on selecting Busan as the host city of the event and concluded the agreement at the ITU Telecom World 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday. ITU Telecom Asia 2004 scheduled for Sept. 7-11 will feature an international telecommunication exhibition and a special session of the world telecommunication forum. The exhibition will bring together the displays of the latest telecom technologies and services, while the forum will address the latest telecom issues in the region. The ministry expects that the show will draw about 500 IT companies all over the world and more than 50,000 foreign visitors including such dignitaries as ministers of various countries and CEOs of the world's renowned IT firms during the show period.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 10/15/2003

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KAZAKHSTAN: Workshop on IT Security in Astana

A one day workshop on issues of information security is carried out today, on 4 September in Astana. The Committee of National Defence of RK has initiated this workshop. At the workshop representatives of the presidential administration, the prime minister chancellery, the government, the parliament, the central executive authorities, the police and military structures discuss issues, related with economic, juridical, organisational and technological aspects in the information security of RK. Besides, issues of normative and law provision of measures of interaction between the KNB of RK and law and order structures and state authorities in the protection of state information resources, as well as issues of abating the crime carried out with the help of computer technologies.

From http://www.gazeta.kz/ 09/04/2003

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Cebit Informatics Eurasia Fair to Begin in Istanbul

ISTANBUL - CeBIT Informatics Eurasia Fair, a leading information and communication technologies fair of Eurasia, will begin in Istanbul on Tuesday. The fair will host nearly 900 companies from 20 countries including China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Denmark, Belgium, Thailand and the United States and 160,000 visitors from 55 countries. The fair, which will be held over 24,000 square meter area in seven halls, will cover the latest developments in technology. Anadolu Agency (A.A) will also open a stand and inform visitors about its activities. A.A will display its pictures and news items at the fair through the VBI system that it used for transmitting its news and photo services. A.A, the biggest news agency in Turkey and a leading one in the world, broadcasts news and photos of latest developments in Turkey and the world through satellite for 24 hours.

From http://www.turkishpress.com/ 09/01/2003

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PHILIPPINES: DTI Agency Standardizes on Jitse-Phil IT Exam

The Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) has adopted the Japanese IT Standards Examination of the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (Jitse-Phil.) as a national IT standard exams. Jitse-Phil Foundation president Maricor Akol said that the BPS has designated Jitse-Phil Exams as PNS 2030:30 - Information Technology Engineers Skills Standard following a thorough review and endorsement by the National Computer Center (NCC) in coordination with the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines (ITFP). Akol said this is the first time in the IT certification program that the Jitse-Phil IT exams has been recognized by the Philippine government through the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Developed by Japan Information Processing Development Corporation (JIPDEC), the Fundamental Information Technology Engineers Skills Standards is now a Philippine national standard for IT certification program. The Jitse-Phil certification program is a joint project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan with Jitse-Phil Foundation implementing the program. The Fundamental Information Technology Engineers Skill Standards specify what a worker needs to know and do the job as well as the level of performance required to demonstrate competence acceptable by both the local and foreign industries. Akol said the implementation of such standards will benefit both the industry in recruiting manpower with the guaranteed ability to perform and the education sector in ensuring that they produce graduates who meet the essential knowledge and skills. The fundamental IT engineers skills standard is a wealth of information presented in a very compact form that includes a description and listing of functions, tasks, key activities with corresponding details on performance indicators. A standard examination is developed in conjunction with the establsihed standard skills. According to the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS) after a review and evaluation, the Jitse-Phil exam is both general yet encompassing that ensure adherence to the established skills standard. The examination covers computer systems, systems development and operation, network technology, database technology, security and standardization. This year's Jitse-Phil exams will be held on Sept. 7 in four designated testing centers - Philippine Christian University in Manila, University of Baguio in Baguio City, University of San Carlos in Cebu City and Ateneo de Davao in Davao City. -Edu H. Lopez

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 10/23/2003

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SINGAPORE: A S$5.4m Boost to Singapore's Web Services Manpower Capabilities

Over the next two years, 51 Web Services specialists will be trained as a result of a tie-up between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Software AG and its seven local partners. The collaboration, worth S$5.4million, is supported under the first Infocomm Training Attachment (iTA) programme for Web Services. Of the 51 training places created, 10 are for existing employees of Software AG and its seven partners, while 41 are for new hires. The seven local partners are Cicada Cube, CyanSYS, dotERP, Frontline Solutions, iCo-op.net, Philip Tang and Sons and S&I Business Applications (more information on the partners provided in the Annex). Successful applicants will embark on a one-year comprehensive training and attachment programme with the local or overseas offices of Software AG and its seven partners. Through this programme, participants will be exposed to a combination of theory and project-based training in next-generation Web Services technologies. Leveraging the expertise of skilled professionals from Software AG and the seven participating organizations, participants will get the opportunity to learn how to apply Web Services technologies to real-life business scenarios. Upon completion of the one-year programme, the trainees will be bonded for two years to Software AG and its seven partners where they can apply the skills and knowledge gained during the training stint. Web Services has been identified as one of Singapore's key Infocomm clusters that offers high growth potential within the next one to three years. According to Gartner Consulting, Web Services will dominate the deployment of new applications solutions for Fortune 2000 companies by 2004. The global Web Services spend is also expected to reach US$156 billion by 2005. With the potential growth in Web Services, more Infocomm professionals with Web Services competencies will be in demand. This iTA programme will contribute towards building a pool of Web Services specialists in Singapore. "The collaboration between Software AG and its local partners is a good example of how companies with different strengths can combine their resources to help develop new capabilities for the Singapore Infocomm industry. In the current economic climate, the programme also serves as another avenue to create more employment opportunities for job seekers as well as fresh graduates entering the workforce", said Mrs Tan Ching Yee, Chief Executive Officer, IDA, speaking at the opening of XMLAsia 2003 today. "Together with IDA, we will review the challenges that our workforce will face in the Digital Age, and come up with the most relevant programme for trainees selected for the Scheme. Our relationship with IDA is also about opportunities, specifically how to take advantage of relevant skills development opportunities to help our resources attain the required depth to match the specific needs of tomorrow's business world", commented Mr Clive Tilbrook, Director, Marketing and Channels, Software AG Asia Pacific. The iTA programme supports the Web Services Skills Certification Framework which was also launched by Mrs Tan Ching Yee at today's XMLAsia 2003. The Framework is developed jointly by IDA, the National Infocomm Competency Centre (NICC), Singapore Information Technology Federation (SiTF) and XMLOne User Group. It aims to develop Infocomm professionals and reskill them with Web Services competencies by meeting the career and skills-progression needs of Web Services talent at all levels, ranging from Developers, Specialists to Architects. At the same event, IDA also announced eight new Web Services Developer courses endorsed under its 1Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme (CITREP) is an IDA training incentive programme to accelerate the development of emerging, critical and specialised Infocomm skills sought after by the Infocomm industry and user organisations. Relevant training courses that impart knowledge and skills in the identified technologies will be evaluated and endorsed under CITREP. Self-sponsored participants and organisations that fully sponsor their employees for training in these endorsed courses can apply for funding support, which covers course fees and exam fees (if any). Web services and wireless technologies have been identified as emerging Infocomm skills and are supported under CITREP. For details, please refer to www.ida.gov.sg, "Infocomm Training Schemes.

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 09/10/2003

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Singapore to Offer 40 Business Licences Online by Mid 2004

The Singapore government has cut the average processing time of business licences to two weeks instead of three, as part of the republic's move to trim red tape to boost entrepreneurship. It will also allow applicants to apply for about 40 different business licences online by the middle of next year. By July next year, entrepreneurs can apply for licences in businesses such as public entertainment, food and beverage, media, healthcare and education through the government's one-stop portal, called Startup eAdvisor. The service is part of Singapore's move to trim business red tape. So far the Pro-Enterprise Panel, a public-private sector initiative, has accepted half of the 1,000 proposals for rule changes. "Each time a suggestion is turned down, the suggester can always come back," said Lim Siong Guan, the panel's chairman. "They can argue back and we may reopen it. "Meanwhile the Action Crucible on Rules, a private sector group which identifies areas where rules should be changed or simplified, wants more feedback and better still, solutions. "For example, if a businessman goes to New Zealand and discovers that New Zealand regulates in slightly different way and that's actually slightly better than Singapore's, they should give a suggestion and say, why don't we do it like that. And I think that would be much easier for government bodies to consider," said its head Patrick Daniel. He says he and his team will work with the government and the media in seeking feedback on rules affecting businesses. (By Katherine Tay)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 09/19/2003

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Expanding Infocomm Industry With Increasing Demand for Infocomm Manpower

The Singapore Infocomm industry revenue grew by 5.1% from $30.65 billion in 2001 to $32.17 billion in 2002, according to the Annual Survey on Infocomm Industry for 2002. The companies surveyed also forecast continued growth for the next 2 years - 4.5% for 2003 and 7.5% for 2004. These figures were revealed by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, at the Official Opening of the IX2003 Conference and Exhibition. Dr Lee also revealed that manpower needs would continue to grow albeit at relatively modest rates over the next 2 years (0.2% in 2003 and 1.2% in 2004). This is according to the Annual Survey on Infocomm Manpower for 2002, which indicated that the current pool of Infocomm manpower in Singapore stood at almost 104,000, representing 5% of Singapore's workforce. About half were in the industry sector and the other half in supporting end-user organizations.The surveys also indicated many Infocomm job opportunities. In fact, over 3,000 job vacancies went unfilled in the industry in 2002. The highest number of job vacancies was in Applications Development & Integration, Technical Support and Infocomm Education & Training. The Infocomm Industry Survey noted that the sector contributing most to the total industry revenue growth was from Hardware Retail, about 34.5%, followed by the Software sector at 25%. In terms of domestic market performance, telecommunications services accounted for 40.3% of domestic revenue. However in the export market, Hardware Retail and Software accounted for than 90%. Most exports went to the United States, followed by ASEAN countries. "The Infocomm industry will remain resilient and important. ICT is pervasive, and many new possibilities are yet to be fully realised," noted Ms Tan Ching Yee, CEO of the IDA, "Looking ahead, the challenge, as it has always been, is to marry the problems to be solved with technological solutions. At the IDA, we are committed to helping Government and key sectors find these opportunities and thereby grow the ICT industry. In this venture, I am happy we have the industry as our partners." In March 2003, the IDA identified five industry clusters with strong growth potential for Singapore over the next three years. Good progress has been made in all these areas. The clusters include, Web Services & Portals. The $40 million WEAVE programme was announced in May 03. Since then, S$20 million has been committed to 13 projects piloting the use of web services in diverse industry sectors from insurance to travel. These projects will create new jobs and generate revenues of about S$46 million over the next 2 years. Singapore is also the first Asian country to chair a global technical committee of the International Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). This committee will develop Web Services implementation standards and demonstrates Singapore's commitment to thought leadership in the global Web Services industry. Value-added mobile services. Three new Calls-For-Collaboration for mobile payments, workplace productivity and the development of Java-based solutions have been completed . These are expected to generate S$38 million in business spending. Another two are in progress. Wired and wireless networks. IDA has initiated a partnership with Intel, regional telecommunications companies and their vendors. The first five Asian Telecommunications partners were announced recently. Testing will be conducted for roaming between wireless networks and new standards for seamless interconnectivity between fixed and wireless networks will be set. Multimedia Processing & Management. Singapore is on the way to becoming a key node in the world trade of digitised information, with the hubbing of games and entertainment companies here. Digital distribution will be a key focus. Security & Trust Infrastructure. The IDA will set aside S$21 million to help promote the growth of Security & Trust infrastructure in 4 focus areas: Factor Authentication, Perimeter Defence, Identity Management and Monitoring & Response.

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 09/30/2003

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VIET NAM: Seminar on" Human Resource Development in Vietnam Quality Management"

Seminar on" Human Resource Development in Vietnam Quality Management" was held by Vietnam Productivity Centre within the framework of co-operation Program between Directorate for Standards and Quality and German Association for Quality on September 23rd, 2003. The Seminar was to support Vietnam Businesses in promoting ability and knowledge of personnel in the field of quality management. The Seminar was an useful opportunity for personnel exploring knowledge on quality management system; applying statistics tools in quality management; total quality management; expertise in quality...At the seminar, members were also supplied more information on human training programs in quality management field within the framework of co-operation Program between German Association for Quality and Vietnam Productivity Centre.

From http://www.tcvn.gov.vn/ 09/29/2003

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Opening Techmart Vietnam 2003

On October 13th 2003 at Vietnam Exhibition Fair, Giang Vo, Ha Noi, Techmart Vietnam 2003 was opened. This is the first time the equipment and technology Market on national scale was held in Vietnam presided over by the Ministry of Science and Technology; the People Committee of Ha Noi and the People Committee of Ho Chi Minh city. With the theme " Connecting for development", the Market was to promote relation between research and production, trade, establishment and development of Vietnam science and technology market. The opening ceremony was solemnly held with the participation of Mr. Pham Gia Khiem- Deputy Prime Minister; Mr. Do Nguyen Phuong- Chairman of the Commission for Science and Education; Mr. Ho Duc Viet- Chairman of Science, Technology and Environment Committee of the National Assembly; Mr. Hoang Van Phong- Minister of Science and Technology; Mr. Hoang Van Nghien- Chairman of the People Committee of Ha Noi; Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan- Vice Chairman of the People Committee of Ho Chi Minh city. Besides, Representatives from Ministries, Branches, Provinces and Cities; Embassies in Hanoi; Representatives from offices, businesses and Press Agencies were also attended. Attending the Market was about 300 showcases of institutes, research centers, universities, businesses in the domestic and foreign country with 2000 technologies and equipment for offer. At the beginning day of the Market, 60 technologies and equipment were signed to hand over. The Market took place on three days, 13- 15 October 2003. On the afternoon of 15th October 2003, awarding ceremony for advanced technologies and equipment basing on criteria: the number of signed contract, memorandum, quality and the technology level, showing form and technology introduction was held . Directorate for Standards and Quality has three show- cases including show- cases of Metrology Center, Vietnam Productivity Center and Vietnam-Germany Technology transfer and Training Center (HwC).

From http://www.tcvn.gov.vn/ 10/14/2003

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BANGLADESH: Bhuiyan Computers Holds Workshop

A business development workshop 2003 of Bhuiyan Computers was held recently. The head of all information centres situated out of Dhaka under Bhuiyan Computers attended the development workshop. Work area, business strategy, operation and co-operation among members were key objectives of this workshop, says a Press release. Bhuiyan Computers is an internationally renowned education organisation. This organisation successfully maintains different courses like 4 years computer science and 4 years BBA programme of national university, 4 years Computer Engineering of Bangladesh Technical Educational Board, international and advance diploma of NCC Education UK, ADEXEL authorised A level and O level, and different courses from Btech. Besides there are short course, package, programmes and Diploma courses in computer, spoken English, IELTS and TOEFL course. Jamal Uddin Sikder, Managing Director of Bhuiyan Computers was present in the programme as chief guest. In his speech, he focused on the importance of English and computer education in today's world. He thanked the head of all information centres for their work for Bhuiyan Computers. The Executive Director M Solaiman, Director Admin Najmul Hoque Jamali, Executive Director Thouhid I Bhuiyan and Finance Director Faruque Sikder were also present during the programme.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 08/28/2003

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UITS to Launch Academic Activities Soon

University of Information Technology and Sciences (UITS), Dhaka, is going to launch its academic activities soon to provide modern and quality knowledge of IT in computer science and other subjects of Science and Arts. Dr A Majeed Khan, Vice-Chancellor of UITS, said this at a press conference held at a city hotel today. UITS is introducing the four-year courses in BBA in Accounting, Economics, Management, Finance, Marketing, Information Technology, BA in English Language and Literature, B Ed in Computer Education and BSc in Nursing and Community Health Science, Electronic and Communication Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and Information Technology. Key Executive Director of UITS Mirza Salman Ispahani, M Mohsin and Syed Mahmudul Hoque also addressed the press conference. (by Chittagong)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 09/01/2003

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IT Edn Centre of BATB: 7th Batch of Dishari-Chechua Completes Course

The 7th batch of Dishari-Chechua completed their two months course on 30th August, 2003. 12 students including 4 female students completed a course on basic IT Education. 'Dishari'- an initiative taken by the British American Tobacco Bangladesh to contribute to this progressive industry and take forward their commitment of development of the youth, said a press release. 'Dishari' basic IT education centre was born in July 2002 at Chechua, Kushtia to spread IT education among the rural youth. Dishari works with a philosophy of providing a platform for the students which can help them grow in future. Till date 78 students passed out from this centre including 14 female students. In May 2003, the second centre of Dishari kicked off in Moulvibazar, Sylhet. Dishari seeks to provide quality education to the students through its standard course content and unique infrastructural facilities. The classes at Dishari take place six days a week from 9.00 A.M. to 12.00 P.M. The course content includes: English orientation, Amazing world of Computer, Introduction to Computers, Introduction to Windows 2000 (Operating System), Introduction to MS-Word 2000, Introduction to MS-Excel 2000, MS-PowerPoint 2000, MS-Access 2000, Internet and its Applications. Meanwhile. Dishari provides facilities the following in the following spheres: 1. The full time teacher of Dishari is highly trained not only in computer skills but also in interpersonal and communication that aids in better learning environment. Modern teaching styles using projector are an element of Dishari. 2. There is a full time Counselor who assists the students in their different needs. 3. All the students have access to individual PCs during the classes 4. The Dishari encourages using the computer facilities in their off time which allows the students to practice. 5. The centre has a 7-hour Library for the students. 6. The centre gives opportunity to the Ex students to practice while regular classes are off. 7. The students of Dishari work on different projects, which applies different applications of Microsoft to enhance "learning by doing". Dishari has already created thirst for personal development amongst the students. They regularly keep contact with their course instructor in the form of sending self-written poems, letters and continuous suggestions.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 09/02/2003

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A Dozen Students Complete IT Course at Dishari

A dozen meritorious students completed their two-month basic IT education course at Dishari-Moulvibazar. It was the second successful batch of British American Tobacco Bangladesh's IT Education Centre in Moulvibazar, Sylhet. BATB launched Dishari as part of its commitment to social development of the country in 2002 at Chechua, Kushtia to spread IT education among the rural youth. Dishari works with a philosophy of providing a platform for the students that can help them grow in future. Learning and experiences derived from Dishari-Chechua, BATB established its second Dishari Centre at Moulvibazar with evidence of increased facilities. Till this month, some 102 students passed out from both the centres including 29 female students. Students have expressed their gratitude to Dishari for offering the course at free of cost and are extremely impressed with its facilities. The full time teacher of Dishari is highly trained not only in computer skills but also in interpersonal and communication that aids in better learning environment. There is a full time Counsellor who assists the students in their different needs. The centre gives opportunity to the ex-students to practice while regular classes are not held.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 09/18/2003

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Dhaka to Join IT Summit in Geneva

A global IT summit under the auspices of the United Nations will begin in Geneva on December 10. Dubbed as 'The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS),' the three-day gathering would be attended by representatives from 130 countries including 50 heads of state. Bangladesh is making preparations to attend the summit being hosted by the Swiss Government. A government delegation, expected to be led by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, will join the grand meeting. A Bangladesh Working Group of the WSIS has been formed recently in connection with the IT summit with Syed Marghub Morshed, Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC), and Reza Selim, Bangladesh representative of the Global Knowledge Partnership, as President and Member-Secretary respectively. The secretariat and an information centre have also been set up at the office of BTRC. Syed Margub Morshed told The Independent that the world summit on IT would act as a bridge for removing the digital divide between the developed and the least developed countries of the world. The WSIS would discuss plans to alleviate poverty through information and communication technology. He said Bangladesh would get the opportunity to seek cooperation of the attending partners in the summit to develop its ICT sector. The BTRC Chairman said, Bangladesh was giving priority to the summit as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had personally invited Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia to the summit. Prior to the summit, a draft declaration and a working plan have been prepared in two pre-conference meetings. The draft declaration would be presented for adoption in September. Later, the Information Society of UN would be formed following the final declaration of the summit in December. Morshed said the WSIS would be a grand success like the Women's Conference in Beijing and Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as declarations from those meetings were being adhered to by the participating nations. He said local IT organisations comprising BASIS, BCS, ISP Association, IT personnel, representatives of NGOs and civil society were also expected to attend the global IT meet. Reza Ali told The Independent that the upcoming Geneva summit would be the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society. It would address a broad range of issues relating to the Information Society and adopt a Declaration and Plan of Action. The second phase focusing on the concept of development would take place in Tunis hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from November 16 to 18 in the year 2005, he added. Meanwhile, a Bangladesh delegation led by the Minister for Science and ICT Abdul Moyeen Khan is now in Geneva for participating in a meeting of the Preparatory Committee of WSIS that began on September 15. (by S M Salahuddin)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 09/28/2003

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INDIA: Seminar on Career Opportunities in Call Centres

THE Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (Maditssia) is organising a seminar here on `Career opportunities in the call centres' on September 13. Mr K. Ramachandran, President, Maditssia, in a statement has said that the concept of call centres has become very popular in customer relations management. Of late, in the western countries, the information technology and business organisations have distributed their jobs to the experts in India and other South East Asian Countries, because of the high payment of salary. Hence, this IT-enabled industries has a got a good future for the educated mass in the country. More call centres are coming up in India, especially in the southern region, where opportunities for employment are growing with a demand for skilled youth and trained staff. For placement in the call centres, one need not have computer knowledge. One must be a graduate in any discipline and be in a position to work during late hours and importantly, should be proficient in spoken English in American slang. Through business process outsourcing at present, the placement statistics is about 5 lakhs and this is expected to grow five times in another five years. To meet this demand and to enlighten on the opportunities for employment for the skilled youth in the call centres, the seminar was being organised, he said.

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 09/10/2003

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Maples Opens Centre in Bangalore

MAPLES ESM Technologies, a Chennai-based consulting company focused on enterprise systems management (ESM), opened its centre here on Wednesday as part of its ongoing expansion programme. It recently commenced operations in Hyderabad and Vijayawada. Maples provides training and consulting services in ESM relating to managing operating systems, databases, network applications for medium and large organisations. In application development, the company focuses on IBM mainframe-related application consulting services. Talking to Business Line, Mr N. Ram Subramani, Chairman and CEO, said that Maples would be embarking upon a consortium consulting model, which would help in optimising utilisation of the assets owned by the company, apart from reducing the cost of services to its clients. The new service would be launched by the middle of this month, he said.

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 10/09/2003

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SRI LANKA: Children Acquire Basic Computer Skills Without Much Effort

"It's heartening to note that the underprivileged children in a remote village like Bandagiriya in Hambantota are immensely benefited by opening a computer centre to provide them a comprehensive three months' residential computer training, besides an ultra modern bakery to provide pastries, bread, sausage buns, rolls, cakes, etc., funded by the Netherlands to alleviate some of the hardships of the rural folk," said High Court Judge, Hambantota. "The beneficiaries of the program should reap the optimum benefits by following this course successfully to find gainful employment once they pass out. I observe that the centre is in the middle of a full bloom and blossoming emerald paddy field, signifying the finery, splendour and charisma of a typical rural setting." The High Court Judge Guneratna said: "Constructing a picturesque structure for the welfare of the rural community isn't enough. Reaping the benefits on the long run should be the most cogent and convincing factor. Otherwise, funds utilised for the project will be wasted. Besides, there are several projects started in these parts with the generous funds of the Netherlands taking into account the well-being of the downtrodden rural children." "Terre de Hommes" ("Earth for Mankind") South Asia Director, Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh, Lei Brouns said: "Some are of the opinion that donor agencies are their salvation and they try to depend on them. But the axiom that 'God helps only those who help themselves' is also quite true and precise, because depending always on others' assistance for everything is not the panacea or universal remedy, after all. It's obvious that beautiful buildings avail nothing, if they are like 'white elephants' that are utilised for no purpose. They are like empty lakes where no water flows. So what is started in a small way to improve the conditions of the underprivileged should germinate, grow and develop their inopportune lives. If this is the case, I can feel happy the community will be benefited on the long run and I hope it will ameliorate the lives of rural children in these parts so that they could procure jobs through computer training to make a living." South Asia (Lei Brouns said: "Sri Lanka has the highest rate of literacy but the other side of the coin which is bleak is that knowledge of computer technology in the country is very low. A basic knowledge of the computer is essential. Computer training in the school as well as at home come handy for anyone. It's astonishing how fast the children learn. In fact, I had to struggle to learn it at my age and time. Children acquire basic skills without much effort. In many countries, it's introduced at a much earlier age for children." "He said: "When you acquire the skills, you can conveniently find jobs, but it's not a guarantee. You have to work hard, because the competition is very high. And if you are clever enough, you can easily find a job. There are plenty of jobs available in the country for those who possess a computer knowledge. You must take the chance to find them, because Information Technology in Sri Lanka has a place." Let's also remember that peace goes hand in hand with development because without peace there cannot be any tangible development in the country, Lei Brouns added. Anuradha Wickramasinghe, Director, Small Fishers Federation, Pambala, Chilaw and several others also spoke. (by Christie Fernando)

From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 09/02/2003

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AUSTRALIA: States Say Canberra Fails on Rural IT

THE first meeting of the national council of IT ministers in 18 months left states and territories disappointed with the Federal Government's attitude to rural and regional telecommunications. State and territory Ministers were generally happy with the outcome of the meeting, held in Hobart, but telecommunications demand aggregation remained a sticking point. Queensland IT minister Paul Lucas was most outspoken on the issue, saying the Federal Government found demand aggregation "too hard", despite the fact it had made $8 million available to assist state programs. "They are happy to congratulate the states on what they are doing but they won't do it themselves," he said. In a joint statement, the council said "State and territory governments are of the view that the benefits of aggregation would be greatly increased if Australian Government telecommunications were made available for aggregation initiatives and the Australian government agreed to consider the ramifications of this proposition." Mr Lucas said the Federal Government could use its $400 million annual telecommunications budget to "get really good infrastructure for rural and regional Australia". The Online Council endorsed the National Broadband Strategy, although Victoria reserved its position until an action plan became available. The strategy will be released for public comment in the near future, a spokesman for Telecommunications and IT Minister Richard Alston said. Overall, the meeting took place in an "agreeable atmosphere" and was "pretty low key", the spokesman said. The meeting also examined a "model" agreement between Centrelink and WA government for online transactions. The work is being supported by the Local Government Association and "could potentially extend its reach to more than 600 local councils", the council said. The council also discussed the Federal Government's response to the Estens Inquiry into regional telecommunications, the sustainability of online access centres in regional areas. The council found good progress had been made in implementing the telecommunications action plan for remote indigenous communities. They agreed to take part in the review of priorities set out in the 1998 Strategic Framework For The Information Economy white paper and set up a working party to examine the recommendations of this year's Framework for the Future (F3) document. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 09/30/2003

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$10m for Research on 'Digital Junkyard'

AN international research effort, spearheaded by Australia, is poised to secure almost $10 million to help stimulate broadband content development. Dr Phillip Graham, a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland business school, is heading up the project, which will pilot the concept of a "digital junkyard" for collecting potential broadband content. "There is miles and miles of footage in audio, photography and all sorts of material that does not get used, which we want to make available for distribution and reuse on broadband," Dr Graham said. "We have basically got the infrastructure built, we are just starting to digitise the material now, and we are pulling together a group to do the various areas of research." The model will rely on contributions from production houses, television broadcasters, music and audio producers, digital artists, and various government bodies, which already hold raw archives from bodies such as tourism commissions and universities. The project is expected to contribute to the development of new content by discovering the kinds of digital resources, data formats, authoring tools, retrieval mechanisms, intellectual property models and business models best suited to broadband content development. Dr Graham said mass digitisation strategies for converting other forms of media, faster high-fidelity digitisation and various software and hardware developments were likely commercialisation outcomes. "A lack of resources is one problem, but there are a lot intellectual property difficulties with people using and reusing material, and it is very blurry on the internet as to what can be used, when and how. We are trying to work through that." Dr Graham is working on the project with researchers from the University of Waterloo's Canadian Centre for Cultural Innovation (CCCI), as well as the local initiative, the Australian Creative Resources Archive (ACRA), based at UQ's Ipswich campus. Dr Graham has received more than $2 million in grants for the international project, with an additional $4.9 million under assessment and $3 million in related grants under development in Australia. He said the Queensland Government was assessing a grant for a bigger version of a digitisation factory, which is likely to be based at Queensland University of Technology. Further grants also were being considered by the federal government and the Australian Research Council. The international project also includes researchers from the Australian National University (ANU), QUT, Stanford University and Hewlett-Packard Laboratories. "The future for broadband content is open source multimedia repositories like the ones we are building," Dr Graham said. Teachers, students and aspiring documentary makers could all have access to high-quality material normally beyond their budgetary constraints under the project. (by Jennifer Foreshew)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 10/07/2003

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Sun to Sponsor Delegates for National Linux Conference

Sun Microsystems is once again sponsoring one delegate from each Australian state and territory to attend the annual national Linux conference, linux.conf.au. The Regional Delegate Programme allows one person from each state and territory to attend with all major expenses paid. Regional user groups have been tasked with receiving applications from their respective regions. Applications close on October 20.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 10/13/2003

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Young IT Millionaire Taps into Students

Even a 21-year-old millionaire can't beat Auckland traffic. Canadian IT whiz Michael Furdyk's taxi was late getting to Northcross Intermediate School on Friday, where he had been invited to speak by principal Jonathan Tredray. Although he was due to leave the country in five hours, Mr Furdyk spent two hours at the school, telling children about the global movement of youth talking to youth and encouraging them to believe in their dreams. Despite being featured in Time magazine and having worked with IBM, Mr Furdyk still seems down-to-earth and approachable. Dressed informally, he looked more at home in the school than in a corporate boardroom. Mr Furdyk is co-founder of TakingITGlobal.org, a global platform for youth to air their views. With 400,000 young people on the website but only 140 New Zealand members, Mr Furdyk hoped his visit to Northcross would boost Kiwi participation in an international youth movement. It's a platform, he says, offering young people around the world the opportunity to speak on issues they feel strongly about. Members contribute their writing and artwork to the site. A collective sigh was exhaled when Mr Furdyk showed the work of teenager, Haseeb, who illustrated the struggle for peace in Afghanistan. Mr Furdyk hopes to have the website translated into five languages by the end of the year. Over the years, Mr Furdyk has done work for corporations like IBM and Microsoft, appeared on Oprah and Time magazine, and been voted Teen People's 20 Teens that Will Change the World. He started developing his talents at the age of two, on the now defunct Commodore 64. When he was eight, he and his friend, Sean, were hooked on collecting baseball and hockey cards. He spent all his money on the cards, and figured out how to produce a software programme to keep track of the cards while making money to buy even more cards. The boys advertised their startup software on telephone poles and got no response. But this early setback did not deter him. He adopted Thomas Edison's philosophy: "I haven't failed, I've learned 10,000 ways which don't work." He then discovered the internet, and web design. His first website was on the relatively new internet itself. He sold two advertisements on the website for $1000, which sparked his interest in the money-making aspects of the net. At 16, he co-founded technology website MyDesktop.com,which he later sold to Internet.com for an undisclosed sum. The website, and Mr Furdyk, shot to fame when they discovered a flaw in the Microsoft Windows operating system and published it. The finding was picked up by other media, and one million people subsequently logged on to his website, crashing it. His message to Northcross students was simple: Believe in your dreams. "I learnt by making a lot of mistakes." (by Errol Kiong)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 10/14/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: $14m Computer Block Open at Auckland University

Auckland University's fast-growing computer science department is celebrating the end of the computer industry downturn by opening a $14 million building. The department, with 1300 equivalent fulltime students, is the university's biggest and has more than doubled in the past six years. Graduate student numbers jumped by 50 per cent this year alone. The department's new glass-fronted, seven-storey building on Wellesley St includes three floors of laboratories containing 600 computers. Department head Professor John Hosking said growth in undergraduate numbers flattened this year because of the worldwide "dotcom" crash, but he expected numbers to be up again next year. "My industry sources tell me that they are hiring again and the sector is picking up," he said. The impact of the IT downturn on overseas computer science departments had been declines of up to 50 per cent. The building is part of a $200 million expansion of the university.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 09/24/2003

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Degree Course a First for Online Global University

An online university, partly owned by Auckland University, has launched its first degree course - an online MBA. Singapore-based Universitas 21 Global is a joint venture between Universitas 21 - a network of 17 universities worldwide including Auckland University - and United States Company Thomson Learning. Dr John Hood, previously vice-chancellor of Auckland University and now heading Oxford University, is the chairman of Universitas 21. U21 Global is designed to make university education accessible to those who are unable to study at traditional universities, such as students living outside university cities. Students and lecturers will communicate via e-mail, real-time online chat and threaded discussions. Universitas 21 Global's proprietary learning management system includes online announcement boards and notepad facilities to enable students to create their own lecture notes. A Master of Business Information Systems is due to follow next year. Auckland University's Professor David Emanuel says New Zealand is not a target market for the online university, which is initially focused on students in China and India. "It's not aimed at New Zealand candidates, but it's certainly not impossible." As well as being a part owner of Universitas 21, Auckland University is also involved in accreditation and individual staff may be involved in teaching. Professor Emanuel is unaware whether any Auckland University staff have been contracted to help deliver content for the online university. "That will be a private contractual arrangement between them and Universitas 21 Global." (by Heather Wright)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 08/11/2003

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Schools Do Well in ICT Study

Six out of 10 secondary school principals say ICT is improving the quality of teaching. Secondary schools have one computer for every four students and 83 per cent have their own websites or web pages, according to a comprehensive study which has just been released. The student-computer ratio has improved from one computer for every six secondary school students two years ago. The Learning Centre Trust study, sponsored in part by the Education Ministry and carried out by research firm BRC in May and June, also shows more primary schools are making wider use of technology. They have one computer for every seven pupils, up from one in 10 two years ago. More than a third have their own website and 63 per cent said ICT was improving the quality of delivering the curriculum. The proportion of secondary schools and primary schools with broadband Internet connections of 512 kilobits per second or higher was 63 per cent and 29 per cent respectively. All schools should have this by the end of 2004 as a result of the Government's Project Probe initiative. The findings are based on questionnaires sent to 602 schools, of which 339 provided detailed responses. The Learning Centre Trust cautions it is possible the schools that responded may be more technology-inclined than those that didn't, so the results may be somewhat skewed. Seven in 10 schools make learning material available to students over the net and 40 per cent of secondary schools and 14 per cent of primary schools teach or receive classes online. Learning Centre Trust chairman David Copeland says the study's results are upbeat. "One thing that's exciting is the number of schools that say they already or intend to make ICT facilities available to the community. There's a growing recognition that fully utilising ICT involves empowering communities to use technology and that means the learning space expands beyond the walls of the school." Though the study's findings clearly portray the rapid onward march of technology in education, a few of the statistics are less flattering. Two-thirds of schools can be described as fully-networked with more than 80 per cent of classrooms linked, but in most schools more than half the computers are more than three years old. While only 17 per cent of secondary schools and 28 per cent of primary schools don't intend to set up a website or homepage, most school websites that are already online are only being updated once a month, or less often. More than four in 10 primary schools and one in 10 secondary schools say access to the internet is neither monitored nor filtered. Mr Copeland says he "would be more concerned" if schools said they had no policies relating to internet content. "There are a lot of cars with no airbags, but that doesn't mean their drivers aren't concerned about having accidents. The answer is not just in software, it's about security and understanding and critical judgment. That's not new. "The real issue is not in schools, to be blunt. If you want to go to the wrong places on the net you don't do it between physics and chemistry." Challenging the stereotype that most students know more about computers than their teachers, the study shows more teachers access the web and email at school than students. Schools estimate teachers are also more likely to have access to computers and the Internet at home than students. Seventy per cent of secondary school principals and 67 per cent of primary school principals say they access the web on a daily basis, either at home or at school - up from 51 per cent and 53 per cent respectively two years ago. Only one in 20 secondary heads and one in 12 primary school principals said they didn't use email at least once a day. Four-fifths of secondary schools provide all their teachers with e-mail addresses. Nearly a third of secondary schools and 10 per cent of primary schools have also given them to students. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)

From http://www.stuff.co.nzl10/13/2003

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