Summer 2004 Issue 6
Contact Us:  apcib@apcity.org
  APEC Science and Technology Ministers Call for Research into Information Technology and Science Skills Shortfall
Asian Countries Join Spam War
Global Survey on WSIS Targets
Internet Governance Issues Discussed at ITU Workshop
Korea Ranks First in e-Commerce Awareness
Mechanisms to Protect Consumer & Business Information in e-Commerce: Focus of APEC Symposium on Data Privacy
Parallel Sessions During the 4th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Region (CIAPR IV ) in Shanghai
PC Sales in Asia Grows Almost 10 Percent in 2003
PC Shipments Slower But Still Robust to 2005
U.N. Projects Historic City Populations by 2007
Internet Traffic to Reach 15 Tbytes a Second by 2008, Says Probe
Korea, China, Japan Unified in 4G Mobile Phone Standard
IDC Wins Contracts to Provide Broadband Satellite Network in Asia
Samsung Electronics Rises, Nokia Falls in World Wireless Handset Market
Asia-Pacific IT Spending to Rise 10 Pct in '04-IDC
Online Travel Market in Asia to Hit US$16b by '06
APEC Workshop on Sci-Tech Intermediary Mechanisms Begins
The World's Telecommunications Engine
"APT Regional Forum for ICT Experts in South-East Asia" Held
59th IETF Meeting Showcases Latest Broadband Technology
Worldwide IT Skills Shortage and Sustainable Development - High on APEC Science Ministers' Meeting Agenda
The Press Conference on the 4th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Region
South Korea to Host APEC Info-Tech Meeting in 2005
The ITU TELECOM Board Recommends Final Negotiations with Hong Kong, China for the Next ITU TELECOM WORLD Event
The 1st International Conference on "Information Statistics of the Internet: Measurement, Analysis and Applications"
 
  AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Ban on Female TV Performers Lifted
CHINA: New Regulation Protects Privacy in Personal Credit Rating
Rule Opens More Data to the Public
Shanghai: Development Plan Through 2007 Set
Hong Kong, Shenzhen to Cooperatein IC Development
Beijing: New Legislation Would Make More Info Public
Hong Kong: Government Focuses on IT Education
Chinese Government Technology Agency Joins OSDL: It Hopes to Bring Internationalization Features to Linux
China to Issue E-Commerce Regulations
China Edges Towards Digital Signatures
Shanghai to Enhance Government Work Transparency
Beijing: Gov't Regulations Easier to View
IRAN: 3,900 Telecommunication Projects Kick Off
JAPAN: ATM, Internet Payment System for Gov't Fees Starts
Prediction of Communications Crisis Prompts Japan's Telecom Ministry to Take Action
Two Ministries to Launch IT Project
Digital TV Standard for Cell Phones Set in Japan
Court Denies Copyright for Web News Headlinesc
MPHPT Designates Two Areas as IT Business Model Areas
Japan Bets New Internet Standard to Drive E-World
Govt Draws Guidelines on Getting IT Services
SOUTH KOREA: NCA Spearheading Digitization
Gov't Plans to Create 270,000 IT Jobs by 2007
50 Small Cities to Be Built
Korea to Build 50 New Towns by 2012
Antispam Legislation
Government to Spend 54 Billion Won to Improve Information Capabilities of Underprivileged
New Internet Anti-Libel Law Unenforceable for Now: NEC
Ministry to Revise Law to Crack Down Spam Mail
 
  INDONESIA: House Should Quickly Approve Cyber Law
BURMA: E-Procurement Project Formally Launched
MALAYSIA: Closer Towards K-Society
ICT-Literate Society Needed
Malaysian Cyberlaws Need to Keep Up
Cybercrime: Business and The Law on Different Pages
SINGAPORE: IDA Raises Wireless Bandwidth, Lowers Equipment Dealers' Licence Fee
Singapore Government to Award S$700m in IT Contracts This Year
Singapore Seeks Views on Proposed Amendments to Electronic Transactions Act
Singapore Government Mulls Anti-Spam Law
THAILAND: Digital Divide: Help on the Way for Disabled Net Surfers
 
  BANGLADESH: Move to Rationalise Mobile Phone Call Charges
National Economic Council Okays 8 Projects
BTTB Mobile Phones to Hit the Market by 2006 -BTTB Chairman Tells New Age
Link with Submarine Cable by July
JS Body to Probe High Tariffs of Cellphone - BTTB Asked to Maintain Schedule
BHUTAN: Comprehensive ICT Policy Needed
INDIA: Paradigm Shift in IT Laws' Recognition
Don't Regulate Cable Rates
MALDIVES: Telecommunications Authority of Maldives to Provide License to Island Communities to Set Up Telephone Networks
NEPAL: SAP- Nepal Says Information Key to Development
Govt to Expand Telecenters
PAKISTAN: Two Companies Get Cell Phone Licences
 
  AUSTRALIA: Action Course on Open Sourcec
New Act to Combat Passport Fraud
Govt to Make Interception Easier
Spam Laws Loom for Businesses
Canberra Buries Censorship Detail
E-commerce Patent Can Now Be Enforced
New Laws for Web Predators
NEW ZEALAND: New Start for Government Legislation Online Project
Govt Forces Web Rules
 
  AFGHANISTAN: First Public Appearance by Women at Khost Radio Station Opening
CHINA: Internet Helps Public Affairs Decision-Making
Civil Servants Began to Receive Mobile Communications Allowance this Month
Shanghai Planning Free E-Mail Boxes
HONG KONG: Information Security Key to Successful E-Business
Information Security Key to Successful E-Business: Official
Beijing: Netizens Petition New Mayor
Hong Kong Shares E-Government Experience with Danish Delegation
Hong Kong Smart ID Card Holders Embrace E-Cert
HONG KONG: EMB Seeks Views on Promoting IT in Education
The Formal Opening of APIRA Website
Guangdong Introduces Online Lawsuit
China Starts Issuing 2G ID
Nation Quickens Spread of E-Gov't
IRAN: Ecommerce Trailing
JAPAN: Gov't to Accept Online Passport Applications in March
Protection of Gov't Databases Insufficient, Report Shows
Web Site Set Up To Support Socially Isolated People
Time to Legalize Internet Campaigning
SOUTH KOREA: South Korea Ranks First in e-Commerce Awareness
CompTIA Helps IT Firms to Modify Public Policy
'Korea's E-Commerce Potential Limitless'
IT Award Presented
KAZAKHSTAN: Database of Innovation Technologies Created in RK
UZBEKISTAN: Uzdunrobita Introduces WAP and X-Press Payment Cards
Modernization of Management Information System for Uzbektelecom
 
  INDONESIA: Finance, Trade Ministries to Share Online Database
Regional Governments Enter Cellular Business
MALAYSIA: Online Vetting of Security Guards
E-Stamping Extended to JB Tax Office
Malaysia's General Election Fever Hits Cyberspace
Maximum Reliability, Without Clustering, for SMBs
SINGAPORE: More Taxpayers File Tax Returns Online
THAILAND: Govt Services for E-Citizens
Govt Services Come Online
Public Sector Web Sites Told to Become All-User Friendly
Upcountry Internet
 
  BANGLADESH: Bangladesh Ministry of Education Orders Over 4,600 Units of HP Compaq Business Desktop PCs
NGO Portal Launched "Bangladeshngo.Com"
INDIA: High-Tech Contest
It's a Hi-tech War for the Voters' Mind-Share
Govt to Build On-label Drug Usage Database
IBM to Set Up Linux at NISG
MALDIVES: President's Office Introduces Posting of Staff Vacancies on Their Website
 
  AUSTRALIA: RTA Plans Desktop Open Source
New Guardianship Website Launched
SA Councils Seek Broadband Links
State Pilots Desktop Open Source
New IT Identity Infrastructure for Comsuper
ATO Adopts Open Source Policy
NSW to Lobby for Mobile Jamming
IT Minister Wiliams to Retire
NEW ZEALAND: Health Official Used Net Date Service 299 Times
Govt IT Centre Big Boost for Industry
Broadband Boost for Schools
NZ Lagging Behind in Broadband Uptake
Telecom Rivals Urge Government to Open Local Line Access
Slip of the Tongue Launches Treaty Website
BCL Covers the Rugged Bits to Finish Its Digital Upgrade
 
  AFGHANISTAN: UN Targets Afghan Drug Networks
AZERBAIJAN: The Regional Information Center in Shamakhy Has Been Opened Within the Framework of the NICTS Project
CHINA: Beijing - Int'l Digital Industrial Park Under Construction
Hong Kong-Top IT Company Opens New Regional Headquarters
Chinese Software Challenges Microsoft's Office Monopoly
Hong Kong Public Libraries Website Selected in "Ten Healthy Websites 2003 Awards"
Shanghai Tops in Development Capacity
New-Generation Communication Satellite to Blast Off in 2005
Shanghai-Examination Evaluation Goes Online
Chinese Websites Focus on Games After First Year of Profits
Digital R&D Base to Be Built in Beijing
Hong Kong: Hang Seng Bank Launches Lifestyle Banking Website
Hong Kong: Smart Id Card Holders Embrace E-Cert
Shanghai Plans E-Business Zones
China Ranks No. 1 in DSL
China Becomes World's Second Most Popular Destination for Spam
Hong Kong: HKSAR and Japan Forge Closer Ties on ICT Co-Operation
The Formal Opening of APIRA Website
Chinese Websites Up 60.3% in 2003
"China City Series" Published
Hong Kong Observatory Launches Personal Digital Assistant Website
Guangdong: Internet Service Booms
Chongqing: It's All in The Cards
Dalian Develops Software Industry
Beijing Netizens Nation's 'Most Wired'
IRAN: Children's Internet Center Launched
Astan-E Qods Library Linked to Internet
Alcatel Provides First DSL Network in Iran to Asre Danesh Afzar
JAPAN: Serious Crimes Linked to Online Dating up 37%
Japan's DSL Subscribers Exceed 10.6 Million in January
Gov't Wants to Adopt Cell Phone Number Portability
New System of Labeling Stations and Lines Using the Alphabet and Numbers in Tokyo
Info on Thousands of Customers Leaked from Major Mail Order Firm
4 Firms Develop New Smart Card
Web Site Set Up to Support Socially Isolated People
Broadcasters Set to Offer Digital Services for Mobile Phones
Digital Broadcasts to Be Seen on Cell Phones from 2005
Launch of 24-Hour National ATM Network Delayed
Matsushita to Invest Y120 bil in IT
Kobe Protests E-Snitching on Immigrants
Net User Population Tops 60%
Okinawa Slated to Get High-Speed Internet
SOUTH KOREA: Electronics Makers Boost R&D
Korean Online Population Approaches 30 Mil.
IT Cluster to Be Formed in Gyeonggi
Korea Adopts Mobile Internet Platform
Internet Use Low for Disabled
South Korean Robot to Guard Houses
Korea Evolving Into Genuine IT Hotbed
Internet Service Via Power Lines Set for October
Can Korea Be Kingpin of Online Games?
Samsung Electronics Pushing to Build Nation's First "Corporate City"
IT Trade Surplus Soars 60% in First Quarter
KT to Launch Advanced Search System
Woman Power Grows in Telecom Business
TURKEY: European Information Center Opens in Bursa
UZBEKISTAN: Completion of a Project "Reconstruction of Namanghan City Telephone Network"
Leading Uzbek Internet Providers Pool Informational Channels
Uzbek Telecom Selects Lucent, Marubeni Equipment
Telecom Inc. Opens Samarkand Branch
 
  INDONESIA: Better Technology Needed for E-Business
BURMA: FAO to Disseminate Advanced Technologies on Dairy Products Production in Myanmar
MALAYSIA: Scientists Unveil Electronic Tongues
The Star to Launch E-paper
Local Banking System Goes Global
Challenges in Implementing Enterprise Security Management
Business Ideas Bank Now Online
Legal Services Competition Coming From the Web
Health Informatics Ready for Next Stage
SINGAPORE: Marriage Services in Singapore Fully Online
Starhub Launches Flexible Broadband Internet Payments Package
High-Tech Manufacturing Sector Set to Become More Competitive Through Use of Infocomm Technology
E-bay Launches Dedicated Singapore Trading Portal
THAILAND: EMC Rolls Out Storage Line Refresh
E-Shopping: Gearing Up for Broadband
High-Speed Surfing in the Lap of Luxury
Broadband Boost for Northeast
VIET NAM: Hi-Techniques in Health Treatment Expected for Provincial Hospitals
 
  BANGLADESH: New Website of Real Estate Sector
Speed Cameras for City Roads in Two Weeks
Hand-held Computer for the Masses
Internet Fair Draws Huge Crowd
INDIA: Now, E-cinema Is in India's Kismat
First Wi-fi City in the World
Healthcare IT Firms in Expansion Mode
IP Telephony Gaining Momentum
NEPAL: NTC for Int'l Roaming Service in Mobile Phones
Nepal Telecommunication Corporation Becomes Private Limited
PAKISTAN: 50 Universities Linked Up with Fibres
 
  AUSTRALIA: Patent Threatens E-health Scheme
SA Gained $1bn from EDS
Banks Get Good Marks for Basel II
Niche Farmers Going Online to Run Their Properties
Melbourne IT Buys Cogent
Telstra's Cheaper Broadband Delayed
Technology Helps Cut Car Thefts in Vic
Phishing Scam Targets Citibank Customers
NEW ZEALAND: Auckland's OTL Software in Deal with US Post
New Data Service Helps Farmers
Banking on Paper Sticking Around
Local Net Access on a Shoestring
Wi-Fi High-speed Internet Access Gives Hotel an Edge
New Zealand Bandwidth Pitiful Says Grid Guru
Local Lab Helped Develop Telco Messaging System
Unis Join Forces on Multimillion Dollar Library System
Roamad and Reach Fire Up City Wi-Fi
 
  CHINA: Shanghai - Elecomm Show to Push it Industry
Shanghai Ranks 1st Among Metropolitan Economic Giants
Shanghai: Computer Skill Test Center Launched
Shanghai Online Expo Opens
Hong Kong: E-Business Seminar to Help Explore Business Opportunities
JAPAN: Online Conflict-Prevention Symposium Ends on Positive Note
"Study Group on Networking of Digital Information Consumer Electronics" Held
SOUTH KOREA: Ministry to Offer Workshops for 320 Foreign IT Specialists This Year
2003 Internet Volunteer Corps Program Concludes Successfully
KAZAKHSTAN: IATP Trainings for Government Employees Result in New Web Resources in Uralsk
UZBEKISTAN: International Financial Institutions Supporting Uzbek IT Sector
E-document Turnover Issues Discussed in Uzbek Capital
International Seminar on Intellectual Property Starts
 
  INDONESIA: Employees, Students Boost Internet Use Total to Eight Million
MALAYSIA: Demand for Software Engineers to Escalate
Comquiz 2004 to Promote Computer Literacy and ICT
PHILIPPINES: The Emergence of Information Technology in Marikina City
SINGAPORE: Cyber Wellness Programme Aims to Make Internet Safe for Students
THAILAND: Ministry Plans Hi-Tech Learning Centres
 
  BANGLADESH: New Internet Protocol Faster than DSL Developed -BIC-TCP, Stands for Binary Increase Congestion Transmission Control Protocol
'5th Software 2004'Seminar on "WSIS Consultation: Road Map to Tunisia 2005" Held
5th Softfair 2004 /Tech Fair- A Gala of Innovations
INDIA: Farmers Upbeat About Infothela
IIT Software to Break Language Barriers
Saregama Eyes Net Profit in 2004-05
Indian IT Giants Too Busy in Foreign Markets
PAKISTAN: Easy Learning Programme Launched
Workshop Held to Launch Scientific Digital Library
Intel and Education Ministry Sign MoU
 
  NEW ZEALAND: NZ Science on Show to World
     
 
 
 

APEC Science and Technology Ministers Call for Research into Information Technology and Science Skills Shortfall

APEC Science Ministers have agreed to undertake a program of research to identify the causes and seek solutions to the apparent shortfall in science and technology skills in the global economy. In their Joint Communiqu¨¦ following the 4th APEC Ministers' Meeting on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation, Ministers have also drawn attention to environmental and sustainability issues relating to science and technology development. Ministers noted in the Communiqu¨¦: "Some evidence suggests that most economies face difficulties in training and retaining people with the needed science and technology (S&T) skills. We ask that Industrial Science and Technology Working Group (ISTWG) and other APEC working groups including the Human Resource Development Working Group (HRDWG) work together and consider how to promote further research on the supply and demand of needed science and technology skills within APEC economies. "The focus of this study should be whether there is a world-wide shortage of S&T skills, or a mismatch between available skills and changing demands. Depending on the results of this work, topics that could be considered for information exchange and further study by the two working groups are: The demand for S&T skills in relation to the capacity of economies to educate and train researchers, scientists and secondary & tertiary teaching staff. The main factors that encourage people to study and work in the S&T field (or discourage them from doing so). The key factors behind skilled S&T staff moving across borders, either within APEC or to other countries. "We underscored the need to ensure the workforce within APEC economies is equipped to meet the scientific and technological needs of today and the challenges of the future, and that it draws on the widest pool of talent, now and in the future." Drawing attention to environmental and development issues, Ministers recognized that "the concept of sustainable growth is very broad, and extends well beyond the responsibilities of science portfolios. "However, we are well aware that science and technology will play a pivotal role in APEC's ability to deliver sustainable growth," the Communiqu¨¦ stated. "We have noted the potential of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies to improve the region's energy, environment and economic security, and that the Energy Working Group is developing a framework document on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as directed by APEC Leaders. "We ask Industrial Science and Technology Working Group and the Center for Technology Foresight to continue to collaborate with the APEC Energy Working Group in its research on the hydrogen economy." Ministers also made a series of recommendations on sustainability that will be considered by other APEC Ministers throughout the year. These include a call for business leaders to take an increasingly sustainable approach to business practices. The Communiqu¨¦ stated: "Business leaders within APEC be encouraged to adopt a positive approach towards sustainability concepts as a way of establishing goals that will release the creativity of engineers and scientists." Throughout their meetings on March 10-12 in Christchurch, New Zealand, a common theme has been the recognition of the link between globalisation and the development of new technologies. The communiqu¨¦ recognizes that: "Globalisation has profound implications for S&T. As economies become increasingly knowledge-based and subject to international flows of goods, services, people, investment and ideas, governments have a critical role in encouraging collaboration among universities, research institutions and business." The Joint Communiqu¨¦ and recommendations from Science Ministers will now be presented to other APEC Ministerial Meetings and APEC working groups. The Communiqu¨¦ specifically calls for Education Ministers to consider the issues arising in science and technology education at the APEC Education Ministers meet in Santiago, Chile, in April. The Final Communiqu¨¦ from the 4th APEC Ministers' Meeting on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation is available online at: www.apec.org

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 03/12/2004

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Asian Countries Join Spam War

Fed up with unsolicited emails offering everything from enhanced penises to instant college degrees, Asia-Pacific countries are joining the US-led war against a new world scourge: spam. The flood of annoying emails has become a serious problem for Internet users who do not wish to purchase Viagra or get cheap mortgages online, but experts say little can be done unless spam is attacked at the source. The United States, whose email users receive more spam than anyone else and is also the source of most spam received worldwide, has fired the opening salvo in the war with the "Can-Spam Act." Last week, four of the largest Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United States - Microsoft, Yahoo, America Online and Earthlink - jointly filed six lawsuits against more than 100 suspected spam offenders. This move has spurred governments and companies in the Asia-Pacific region into action. In Singapore, the government is working with the three local ISPs to review several measures to curb spam, including legislation. "Given that spam is a complex and multi-faceted issue, we believe that legislation alone will not solve the spam email problem," a spokesperson for leading ISP SingNet said. "We do not expect a quick and easy solution as any legislation will have to address issues such as definition of spam, invasion of privacy, etc." Australia will see the implementation of new laws in April under which senders of unsolicited emails will face fines as high as 810,000 US dollars. However, the government has acknowledged it is a global problem and legislation alone would not stem the tide. "We need to be looking at other means of dealing with the issue, particularly from overseas sources," Australian Communications Minister Daryl Williams said. Japan already has anti-spam legislation in place, which requires online advertisers to identify themselves, state their physical addresses and mark their email messages as unsolicited advertising, or face a 4,500 dollar fine. But the government admitted such measures can only go so far. "We realise these government measures alone cannot stop people from sending spam messages," said Toshihiko Shibuya, deputy chief of consumers policies at the telecommunications ministry. "We are urging individual Internet users to take self-protective measures against spam mail."

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 03/16/2004

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Global Survey on WSIS Targets

Geneva - The International Telecommunication Union, the organizing entity of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), is conducting a survey to obtain views on the perceived importance of agreed upon targets for improving connectivity and access in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The targets outlined in the WSIS Plan of Action were agreed to by 175 countries represented at the first phase of the Summit in Geneva, 10-12 December 2003. The objectives of WSIS are to build an inclusive information society that will put the potential of ICTs at the service of development and to promote the use of information and knowledge for the achievement of internationally agreed upon development goals, including those contained in the United Nations Millennium Declaration.

From http://www.itu.int/ 04/13/2004

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Internet Governance Issues Discussed at ITU Workshop

Geneva - The Workshop on Internet Governance, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and held on 26-27 February was a follow-up to the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 10-12 December), where Internet governance had been one of the most complex and contentious issues. Roberto Blois, Deputy Secretary-General of ITU, opened the workshop by stressing that the Internet "can play an important role in reaching many of the goals expressed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration," adding that the Geneva phase of the World Summit on the Information Society had placed the issue of information and communication technologies on the agenda of world leaders and produced consensus on the importance of shaping the information society in a manner beneficial to all. At the Summit, governments asked United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to set up a multi-stakeholder working group on Internet governance to investigate and make proposals for action by the Summit's second phase (Tunis, 16-18 November 2005). The task of the working group is to develop a working definition of Internet governance; identify public policy issues that are relevant to Internet governance; and develop a common understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders. The working group is to include governments, intergovernmental and international organizations, as well as the private sector and civil society, from both developed and developing countries. In order to contribute to a process by which the ITU and its members may prepare their inputs to the working group, ITU, the United Nations telecommunication agency, organized the Geneva workshop, which was attended by some 140 participants from government, industry, international organizations and civil society including root server operators, Regional Internet Registries (RIRs), and ICANN staff and former board members and those responsible for country code top-level domain names (ccTLD). Participants expressed a broad range of opinions, but also a willingness to find common ground and to stress the complementarities of efforts. Several speakers stressed the problem of articulating the character and scope of governance activities in a neutral, non-ideological and systematic way. In formulating a common understanding of what constitutes governance, some made the case for differentiating between "hard" forms of governance, which involve laws, regulations or standards, and "soft" forms, which include cooperation and coordination. These definitions would map across big-picture issues such as development of technology for equitable and sustainable global development, to narrow-focus issues such as the use of common resources and the exchange of specific services and products between nations. There was significant support for the architectural maxim that "form should follow function". In other words, the governance tools chosen to address a particular issue, and the decision-making structures designed to apply these tools to specific problems, should reflect and fully represent the balance of interests, capabilities and needs that exist in the 'real world' - there should be sufficient flexibility to adapt as this balance changes. The history of global ICT governance has demonstrated that some things are best left to the private sector, some are best left to governments, and that satisfactory arrangements have yet to be devised for including developing countries and civil society in either the public or private domains of governance. This experience has also shown that it is difficult, if not impossible, to become truly inclusive without fundamental recognition of the separate and complementary functions of public and private governance structures, the legitimate roles of different actors, and the need to create dynamic linkages between them. To address current gaps in governance, some speakers said, many developing countries would like to see a "one stop shop" like ITU to help them adjust to the new governance universe, since they lacked the financial, technical and policy resources to pursue their interests effectively across multiple forums. Others felt that multiple forums allowed faster adaptation to technological changes and more flexibility. Significant components of governance issues that were highlighted included information and network security, protection of citizens' rights and consumer interests, support for cultural and linguistic diversity, and measures to deal with spam. Modalities for reaching consensus were also discussed. The chairman of the workshop, Shyamal Ghosh, of India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said that after the first phase of the Summit many felt that drafting in big plenary meetings was not the best way to forge consensus, but also that small committees were too exclusive and did not adequately reflect the views of many Member States. One recommendation was thus to hold open-ended meetings for all stakeholders, which would still be intergovernmental in character but more inclusive. The workshop sounded out ideas that would feed into the efforts of the various bodies involved in the process. The ITU Workshop was the first of a series of meetings to tackle the issue of Internet governance.

From http://www.itu.int/ 03/03/2004

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Korea Ranks First in e-Commerce Awareness

South Korea ranks first in awareness of the importance of e-commerce in business, a British government study showed. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) on Tuesday said the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry's International Benchmarking Study (IBS) for 2003 put South Korea top in e-business awareness among 11 countries surveyed. South Korea's index reached 0.63, trailed by Ireland (0.62), Germany (0.61), Canada (0.6), the United States (0.6). Awareness refers to the receptiveness of businesses to information communication technologies or e-business. However, in general utilization of information communication technology, South Korea ranked sixth with its index standing at 0.5, behind Ireland (0.53), Canada (0.52), the U.S. (0.52), Germany (0.51) and Sweden (0.51). Japan (0.47) ranked a distant ninth and France took last place (0.42). South Korea also ranked relatively low in seven other categories of the IBS survey. It was seventh in environmental influences (0.39) and staff to new e-business technologies (0.57), sixth in technology (0.59) and fifth in adoption (0.51). It ranked eighth in process (0.43), ninth in deployment or strategic distribution of information communication technology infrastructure (0.37) and 10th in impact (0.47). ``The survey showed that South Korea boasts the world's best broadband technology and infrastructure, as well as awareness of the importance of e-business,'' said Lee Chang-han, MOCIE director in charge of e-business policy. ``But local firms are undergoing greater trial-and-error in adopting e-business and lag behind in strategic utilization of IT technology, such as using video conferencing, which results in a lesser synergistic effect,'' he said. The survey said South Korea is easily ahead of advanced countries in IT infrastructure, with the broadband network penetration rate reaching 95 percent and Internet access rate at 100 percent. It said 97 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have Web sites. ``About 97 percent of Korean SMEs have websites, the highest percentage among the 11 countries, reflecting that the digital divide between conglomerates and SMEs is not as severe as in other developed economies,'' Lee said. ``But conglomerates are enjoying more benefits from adopting information communication technologies than SMEs,'' he said. Global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton surveyed more than 500 firms in manufacturing, construction, retail, transportation, telecom, finance, services and public sectors to compare their effective usage of information communication technologies. The DTI included South Korea for the first time in its annual IBS report last year. It pointed to aggressive government investment and the near-universal availability of broadband as the background for including it in the annual survey. (by Kim Sung-jin)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 02/17/2004

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Mechanisms to Protect Consumer & Business Information in e-Commerce: Focus of APEC Symposium on Data Privacy

Improving consumer confidence and ensuring the growth of electronic commerce through cooperation on data privacy issues will be the focus of an APEC data privacy implementation symposium next week. The "APEC Symposium on Data Privacy Implementation Mechanisms: Developing the APEC Privacy Framework" will bring together business, consumer and government experts from APEC's 21 Member Economies on February 23-24 in Santiago, Chile. Sponsored by the APEC Electronic Commerce Steering Group (ECSG), the symposium will address key issues confronting both governments and businesses as they seek to create a balance between effective privacy protections and the free flow of information. More specifically, panellists will address: Privacy issues in the networked global environment; The nature of modern information management; Approaches to information use and processing Flexible approaches to international information flows; Effective enforcement mechanisms to enforce privacy protections; Cross-border cooperation on enforcement matters; and, Consumer and business education on privacy. The APEC Privacy Implementation Symposium is the latest project undertaken by the ECSG as part of its efforts to develop the APEC Privacy Framework. This Framework, which will be made up of both privacy principles and effective mechanisms for their implementation, is designed to help economies protect privacy and maintain the free flow of information, and to enable enforcement agencies to fulfil their mandates regarding privacy and public safety. Peter Ford, Chair of the APEC ECSG Privacy Subgroup, voiced support for the APEC Privacy Implementation Symposium: "This Symposium is central to APEC's work to increase consumer and business confidence, and to promote electronic commerce in the Asia-Pacific region. Considering the social, cultural and legal differences among APEC economies, flexibility in the implementation of the privacy principles will be essential to the success of the APEC Privacy Framework." Speakers at the APEC Privacy Implementation Symposium will include high-level representatives from the private sector, government and non-governmental organizations. The Symposium will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Salon Prieto, Santiago, Chile.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 02/19/2004

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Parallel Sessions During the 4th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Region (CIAPR IV ) in Shanghai

It is estimated more than 800 participants from 50 cities covering 5 continents and 20 international organizations will be present at CIAPR IV. Apart from 2 plenary sessions entitled, respectively, "The Global Trends of Information Technology for Developmente-Management" and "Information Technology for Development - the Strategies of China," there are about a dozen parallel sessions in 3 groups, namely, e-Management, IT & its Applications, and Information Industry. Most arractive among those are UN ICT Task Force Regional Meeting on Internet Governance, Workshop on Developing Intelligent City and Informatization Assessment, Workshop for National Informatization and Legal Construction, E-Government Workshop with themes of "E-government contexts and trends," "E-participation," "Knowledge development," and, "City E-government awareness"; The 6th Interregional Consultative Meeting of UNPAN with preliminary themes of "The role of UNPAN members in promoting the United Nations Public Service Awards," "The role of UNPAN members in the celebration of the United Nations Public Service Day(23 June)," and, "Enhancement of content development by UNPAN members", and Summit for the Telecommunication Development Trend and City Informatization.

From http://www.apcity.org/ 04/12/2004

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PC Sales in Asia Grows Almost 10 Percent in 2003

SINGAPORE (AFP) - Sales of personal computers (PCs) in the Asia Pacific region, excluding Japan, rose 9.5 percent in 2003 to 29.7 million units with Lenovo (formerly Legend) of China the top selling brand, research house Gartner said. Lenovo had 9.5 percent of the market, selling 2.835 million PCs in 2003 for a gain of 15.1 percent, it said in a report. US computer giant Hewlett-Packard was ranked second with 2.707 million PCs sold, giving it 9.1 percent of the market. In third place was IBM with 1.96 million units sold, followed by Dell on 1.762 million and Acer of Taiwan on 1.193 million, Gartner said.

From http://asia.news.yahoo.com/ 02/11/2004

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PC Shipments Slower But Still Robust to 2005

(IDG NEWS SERVICE) - Despite expectations that worldwide PC shipments over the next two years won't be able to match figures for 2003, the forecast is still one of double-digit growth through 2005, market research firm IDC said Wednesday in its Quarterly PC Tracker estimate. Worldwide PC shipments are now expected to grow 11.4% in 2004 and 11.2% in 2005. That compares with an 11.7% growth rate in 2003 with 154.5 million units shipped, IDC said. "This is not the growth rate of the late '90s, but it's still pretty healthy," said Roger Kay, vice president of client computing at IDC in Framingham, Mass. "The late '90s was a period of accumulation, and we're now past that point." Beyond 2005, growth in worldwide PC shipments is projected to slow to about 8% through 2008, IDC said. Shipment value is expected to grow by more than 5% for the next two years, followed by growth of roughly 3% through 2008. Interest in laptops and wireless technology, from both the consumer and enterprise sectors, is a driving factor in the market's growth worldwide, but particularly in the U.S. and Western Europe, Kay said. "Wireless is becoming a check-box item for businesses," he said. "Part of the reason for that is because enterprises are having to deal with employees who are doing wireless on their own at home, which does raise some security issues for companies." In 2004, 172.1 million units are expected to be shipped worldwide, with the U.S. accounting for 58.5 million of those units. The worldwide commercial sector in 2004 can expect shipments of 109.9 million units, a growth rate of 12.1%, while the consumer sector is forecast to have 62.1 million units shipped on a 10.2% yearly growth rate. "Enterprises have cannibalized their closets so to speak and now need to refresh technology with new PC purchases," Kay said. "Meanwhile, consumer spending is still growing, despite poor job growth. Consumers haven't been tapped out in terms of their PC spending." U.S. demand for laptops, or "portables," is projected to be up by 30% over the next two years, growth that will more than offset an expected decline in public-sector spending, due in part to this year's presidential election. "Election years throw funny things into IT spending projections. For example, questions about future tax policies become an issue," Kay said. Spending in the government sector is expected to drop, especially in the areas of education and federal spending, he said. In other regions, both consumer and business demand in Western Europe will remain strong into 2005 due to rapid portables adoption and improving price points, IDC said. "Western Europe is forecast to be slightly stronger than the U.S. in 2004, though that will most likely reverse in 2005," Kay said. IDC projected growth in the PC market in Japan, which is expected to rise from 2.8% in 2003 to around 6% in 2004 and 2005, while the Asia-Pacific region in general will remain in double digits throughout the period. "China is really the engine in the region, though India is becoming very interesting and also showing strong growth," Kay said. "The Asia-Pacific market was underpenetrated but is now in full-swing." IDC is a division of International Data Group, parent company of the IDG News Service and Computerworld. (by Laura Rohde)

From http://www.computerworld.com/ 03/11/2004

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U.N. Projects Historic City Populations by 2007

For the first time in history, most of the world's population will live in cities by 2007, U.N. demographers have said. They said that 48 per cent of the world's population lived in urban areas in 2003 and this was "expected to exceed the 50 percent mark by 2007, thus marking the first time in history that the world will have more urban residents than rural residents." They projected that the world's urban population would rise to 5 billion by 2030 from an estimated 3 billion in 2003. Conversely, demographers expect the rural population to decline to 3.2 billion from 3.3 billion in 2003 by that year. Global urban populations would grow at an annual average rate of 1.8 percent and double at that rate in 38 years, according to the U.N. Population Division report, "World Urbanization Prospects: The 2003 Revision." Tokyo, the world's most populous city with 35 million, was projected to still be the largest in 2015 with 36 million people, followed by the Indian cities of Mumbai at 22.6 million and New Delhi at 20.9 million. Next on the list were Mexico City at 20.6 million and Sao Paulo at 20 million. The population division simultaneously released another report, "World Population Policies 2003," which said high mortality was the most significant concern for developing countries. "The number one issue that is of concern to the developing world is mortality and for some countries also rapid population growth," U.N. Population Division director Joseph Chamie said at a news briefing. "In contrast, the concern for many and most of the developed countries is low fertility and declining population growth." The report said more than 90 percent of countries supported providing contraceptives and that developed and developing countries held a similar desire to lower immigration.

From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/ 03/26/2004

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Internet Traffic to Reach 15 Tbytes a Second by 2008, Says Probe

(HONG KONG) -- International Internet traffic will grow at rapid rates over the next five years, doubling every year. A new study from Probe Group, "Global Internet Traffic 2004," forecasts international and domestic Internet traffic through the year 2008. Peak international Internet traffic will surpass 15 terabytes per second by 2008. "As broadband Internet penetration increases, and wireless data usage grows, internet traffic will experience a new surge in demand," commented Victor Schnee, CEO of Probe Group. "We expect the highest growth rates to come in 2005 and 2006." IP transit revenues will also show strong growth. "Including the US, Europe and Asia, transit revenue will reach US$7 billion by 2007," Schnee continued. "Transit services are becoming more attractive as prices erode. Service providers are offering them to customers as the most effective way to guarantee a high level of service." As broadband grows, service providers will see the rise in applications that deliver multimedia content. "Peer-to-peer applications, video-on-demand and multimedia streaming will be the leading applications driving traffic," Schnee said. "In the wireless sector, mobile gaming will be the leading data application." Enterprise applications also play a part in driving traffic growth. "More use of collaborative communication tools in business will increase peer-to-peer and streaming video traffic," Schnee said.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 03/30/2004

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Korea, China, Japan Unified in 4G Mobile Phone Standard

South Korea, China and Japan agreed to jointly develop communications technologies for fourth-generation (4G) cellular phones, which are expected to come into commercial use in 2010, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported on Sunday. As the number of mobile phone users in the three nations account for 30 percent of all users, there is the possibility that the protocol could eventually become the global standard. The three nations plan to convene a communication related ministerial meeting in July in Japan, where they will officially agree on joint development of the technology. The three nations also plan to regularize working-level meetings to share information and support collaboration between business and research institutes. Fourth-generation cell phones will come into commercial service in 2010. Analog handsets of the 1980's and digital handsets of the 1990's are labeled first and second generation respectively, and NTT DoCoMo's FOMA as third generation. Fourth-generation cell phones are expected to be 50 times faster than third generation equipment in transmitting information, with transfer rates of 100 megabits per second equaling the speed of fiber-optic communications. Customers can expect to have crystal-clear TV images on their displays even while traveling on fast-moving trains. South Korea, China and Japan plan to collaborate to solve technological problems in adopting common communication technologies and to cooperate when the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) adopts an international frequency spectrum for fourth generation mobile phone in 2007. Currently, third generation mobile phones used in the three nations use different methods to transmit information.

From http://english.chosun.com/ 04/05/2004

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IDC Wins Contracts to Provide Broadband Satellite Network in Asia

Ottawa-based International Datacasting Corporation, which provides advanced products, systems and services for the implementation of broadband wireless infrastructure networks, announced that it has been awarded contracts to provide a broadband satellite network for the distribution of multimedia content across Asia. The contracts, which are valued at $2.7 million, include systems integration services and equipment needed to establish operational uplinks in Singapore and Hong Kong, plus satellite router appliances sufficient to equip over 1,500 sites.

From International Datacasting Corp. 04/08/2004

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Samsung Electronics Rises, Nokia Falls in World Wireless Handset Market

(SEOUL) -- As Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd recorded record high sales during the first quarter, contrasting with sluggish sales estimates from Nokia Corp, industry watchers are expecting a position shift in the world wireless handset market. Samsung Electronics succeeded in heightening the image as a luxury brand through lucrative but mid-priced products, while Nokia focused on price competitiveness and mid- and low-priced handsets, a strategy that was not helpful to its brand competitiveness, industry watchers said on April 19. Samsung Electronics saw sales of 4.61 trillion won during the first quarter of the year on the back of camera phones and other high priced handsets. Total sales of handsets amounted to 20 million units, up by 51.5% on an annual comparison. Meanwhile, Nokia saw a 2% fall in sales, lower than the forecast of 3-7% year-on-year for the period, and the company expects sales to remain sluggish during the second half of the year.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 04/21/2004

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Asia-Pacific IT Spending to Rise 10 Pct in '04-IDC

BEIJING (Reuters) - Information technology (IT) spending in Asia, excluding Japan, is expected to rise 10 percent this year to nearly $88 billion as the global economic recovery gathers steam, a research group said on Thursday. International Data Corp's forecast is nearly triple the 3.4 percent increase in IT spending for 2003, when the economy began to pick up after two years of weakness. Among the more than 3,000 enterprises polled by IDC, 58 percent said they expect their overall IT spending to increase this year, while just 2.5 percent said it would go down. But IT spending is unlikely to bounce back to levels experienced during the telecoms build-up and technology boom of the 1990s, IDC added. "IDC believes that it is unlikely that the region will witness longer-term regional growth beyond 10 to 11 percent in the foreseeable future," it said. Strong IT spending should benefit computer and chip makers such as Dell Inc (nasdaq: DELL - news - people), Hewlett-Packard Co (nyse: HPQ - news - people) and Intel Corp (nasdaq: INTC - news - people), as well as telecoms equipment makers such as Motorola Inc (nyse: MOT - news - people), Nortel Networks and Ericsson .

From http://www.forbes.com/ 04/22/2004

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Online Travel Market in Asia to Hit US$16b by '06

RESEARCH has revealed that the Asia-Pacific's outbound online travel market will be worth more than US$16 billion by 2006, up from a forecast US$12.6 billion this year. Japan is expected to be the leader, with its outbound online travel market forecast to be worth US$6.68 billion by 2006, up from US$4.9 billion in 2004. Japan is followed by Australia and South Korea, with predicted markets in 2006 of US$2.9 billion and US$2.3 billion respectively. Singapore will contribute US$640 million to the pie, up from an expected US$500 million this year. Anthony Venus, executive director of Marketshare, the independent market research consultancy that conducted the study, attributes the expected increase in the value of the online travel market to various factors. According to him, budget carriers in the region will play a major role in boosting online travel. 'One common catalyst is the launch of low-cost airlines across Asia,' he said. 'Their business model of online discount fares will be a major driver for growth in online bookings for hotel and travel packages.' Other factors include intense competition among websites providing online travel services, and a global audience without national boundaries. Factors holding back the growth of online travel include limited access to the Internet, limited credit card penetration and apprehension about purchasing online. There is also a preference for human contact while buying travel packages and group tours. The Pacific Asia Travel Association has predicted that the outbound travel market in Singapore will be worth US$5 billion in 2004. From this, Marketshare expects 10 per cent, or US$500 million, to come from online bookings.

From http://business-times.asia1.com.sg/ 04/22/2004

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APEC Workshop on Sci-Tech Intermediary Mechanisms Begins

More than 100 officials and experts from 13 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are attending a workshop on science and technology intermediary mechanisms, which started in Beijing Monday morning. At the 11th informal meeting of APEC leaders, held in October 2003 in Thailand, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the promotion of science and technology advancement and innovation is critically important to the realization of sustainable economic development. In response to Hu's proposal, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, together with the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology, sponsored the workshop, focusing on governments' role in promoting intermediary organs, related policies, information sharing systems and international cooperation in the field. In his opening remarks, Li Xueyong, vice minister of science and technology, said that under a market economy, science and technology intermediary service institutions are able to help establish close ties among different innovation entities and provide important supporting services for innovation activities. The joint efforts of APEC members to promote the development of intermediary institutions are in line with the demands of the times and demands for the coordinated development in the region, Li said. Statistics showed that China has more than 60,000 such intermediary organs, providing over 1.1 million jobs. By organizing the two-day workshop within the APEC framework, China hopes to further boost domestic intermediary services for scientific and technological innovation.

From Xinhua News Agency 02/09/2004

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The World's Telecommunications Engine

The International Telecommunication Union is proud to announce ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004, being held in Busan, Republic of Korea, from 7-11 September 2004. Asia's edge in technological innovation, adoption and explosive growth make it the natural marketplace for buyers and sellers from around the world. ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004 will highlight the groundbreaking technologies and rapidly changing business and regulatory landscape defining the telecommunication trends of tomorrow. ITU TELECOM events are unique in their ability to attract senior-level decision-makers including CEOs, government ministers, regulators and others spanning both the private and public sectors. The events consist of a major Exhibition and thought-provoking Forum all delivering the latest technologies and business networking opportunities needed to meet the goals of the telecommunications industry. ITU TELECOM ASIA events have been important industry milestones throughout Asia over the past 19 years with an unmatched reputation for bringing together the right mix of technologies, leaders and visionaries necessary to successfully expand business opportunities throughout the region. The burgeoning growth and laboratory of exciting new technologies make Asia an essential stop for those looking to grow business, or buy and sell the latest products in the world's largest, fastest-growing and most innovative market.

The Best of Both Worlds
Asia leads the telecommunications world in terms of growth, as well as innovation and deployment of advanced technologies.In almost every category, Asia is arguably the most important market for telecommunications investment and partnering. In 2002, while fixed-lines grew a healthy 10%, mobile subscribers jumped 34%. Meanwhile Korea and Hong Kong, China were the top two global economies in terms of broadband Internet penetration. And Japan and Korea were first to launch 3G services. North Asia is a communications powerhouse whether in broadband, mobile, manufacturing or services. It also feeds the region's growth with close business relations and short supply lines to quickly expanding markets across the Asia region. South Asia is primed for growth with easy access to advanced technologies. Village telecenters still dominate in Southeast Asia, where less than one in 100 inhabitants is a broadband customer while mobile subscriptions quickly climbed 50% in 2002 alone. That leaves open a world of opportunity in a region of tremendous innovation including offshore software development, e-government, cyber cafes, Wi-Fi, gaming and prepaid services. The role of government in telecommunications development in Asia is also unique as regulatory efforts lead to increased privatization and joint venture opportunities. The ITU's neutral but influential role as the United Nations specialized agency for telecommunications helps ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004 attendees keep abreast of new telecommunications trends, laws and opportunities through high-level debate between government ministers, regulators and CEOs at the ITU Telecom Forum.

Who will participate
As always, the world's leading telecommunications companies will attend ITU TELECOM ASIA 2004. Telecommunications operators, gear manufacturers, suppliers of networking parts, software, services and the latest Internet technologies are among the regular mix of participants at the exhibit. The Exhibition will provide the total breadth of the industry; including mobile, satellite, Internet, media, fixed-line and broadband areas. The Forum, with its respected roster of business leaders, technology visionaries, communications ministers, regulatory authorities, academics and keynote speakers will supply enlightened insight. Among the themes to be discussed are: creating successful business models, partnerships and alliances, new technologies and services in addition to many others.

From http://www.itu.int/ 02/20/2004

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"APT Regional Forum for ICT Experts in South-East Asia" Held

The Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT) and the Indonesian government (State Ministry for Communications and Information, Directorate General Posts and Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications) held the "APT Regional Forum for ICT Experts in South-East Asia" with the financial support from Japan (Extra Budgetary Contribution from Japan to APT) in Jakarta on February 4 and 5, 2004. This Seminar was convened to i) review the current status of ICT development in the South-East Asian region and socioeconomic impacts thereon, ii) exchange opinions on development of various applications such as e-governments, etc. development of information infrastructure, etc. in rural areas in the region, and iii) discuss on ICT development in the future and measures for dissolving the digital divide. At this Seminar, some 80 participants, including government officials from Japan and ASEAN members and researchers, gave speeches and exchanged opinions. At the opening, Minister Mu'arif of State Ministry for Communications and Information, and Mr. OKU, Director of International Cooperation Division, MPHPT, gave keynote speeches. Other participants from Japan included Prof. SAGA (fellow Researcher) and Mr. IGARASHI, the Communications Research Laboratory; representatives of NTT Data and Hitachi Singapore.

Sessions 1 -- 3:
Government officials* and opinion leaders from the private sector explained ICT policies and measures concerning concrete applications such as e-governments, etc. and exchanged opinions. *(Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia)

Sessions 4: Special lectures
Efforts of CRL in Asia, efforts of NTT and Hitachi to address e-governments were introduced. Indonesian PT Telekom and the National Information Industry Laboratory introduced initiatives for widespread use of ICT.

Session 5: Summary
Based upon all discussions, Prof. SAGA of CRL summarized efforts to dissolve the digital divide, and promote ICT policies for rural areas, etc.

Participants reached common recognition that toward widespread deployment of ICT infrastructures and widespread use of applications in the Asian region, relevant countries/economies and organizations should strengthen "partnership" and it is vital to prepare a "sustainable" development environment.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 02/26/2004

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59th IETF Meeting Showcases Latest Broadband Technology

Some 1,000 Internet experts have begun to work on fast-evolving standard and technology issues at the 59th Internet Engineering Task Force Meeting held in Korea, a major international conference that is expected to set the stage for the global broadband technology sector. IETF Meeting kicked off its week-long schedule at Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul on Sunday (Feb. 29), with attendees setting the standards for various Internet-related technologies including IPv6, mobile IP, MPLS, VoIP and QoS. IETF is the Internet standardization agency, which influences broadband and related sectors. Since its launch in 1986, the agency has offered guidelines on how broadband and Internet solution industries should move. The Seoul meeting is hosted by KT Corp., the country's largest fixed-line and broadband carrier, and Samsung Electronics, the world's largest DRAM maker. The Telecommunications Technology Association, Korea's major standardization agency, is organizing the event. Participating organizations include the Advanced Network Forum, state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, the Korean IT Industry Promotion Agency, Korean Information Security Agency, the Korean Institute of Science and Technology Information, the Korean Network Information Center, the National Computerization Agency and the Open Standards and Internet Association. In the private sector, network equipment maker Cisco Systems, KTF Co., electronics maker LG Electronics Inc., LG Telecom Co., multi-lingual domain service provider Netpia Inc., SIGn and SK Telecom, the country's largest mobile carrier, join the conference. The Korean government expects the IETF meeting to infuse fresh energy into the country's broadband sector, which is staging steady growth despite the protracted slump in the overall high-tech sector. Korea has more than 11 million households hooked up to the broadband network, which is largely dependent on digital subscriber line and cable infrastructure. And the high penetration rate of the Internet - about 75 percent - is envied by other countries keen to build up and expand their broadband network. But Korea IT companies and policymakers are now aiming to play a bigger role in Internet standardization. Until now, IETF has set some 3,500 standards for the global Internet industry, Korea has contributed just two items, while the United States is dominating the standardization front with its firm grip on related technologies and solutions. Recently, major corporations like Samsung Electronics and local universities are actively participating in major standard-setting conferences and forums. The number of related papers filed by Korean engineers and researchers is also on the rise. Kim Dae-young, professor of Chungnam National University, said, "Korea will file 40 to 60 papers at the IETF meeting in Seoul regarding IPv6 and mobile IP sectors, which will give a new momentum to the country's initiative toward the Internet sector." Japan and China also are expected to be active conference participants. IETF Meeting organizers said that the Seoul meeting is now drawing keen interest from participating members, especially at a time when Korea is being regarded as a test bed for new Internet technologies. Korea is set to focus on IPv6, dynamic host configuration, network mobility and related sectors during the conference. In particular, IPv6 is at the center of attention as Korea and Japan are competing with each other in the field. "Leading the industry standard is crucial for the high-tech sector, and the IETF meeting in Seoul should provide a chance for Korean companies and researchers to catch up with other advanced countries and adopt new trends quickly," said Lim Joo-hwan, director of the ETRI, the country's largest IT research institute. IETF has nine fields: application, general, Internet, sub-IP, operations and management, routing, security, transport and user services. Each field has a host of working groups which develop and finalize "request for comments," or RFC. IETF working groups have so far settled standards for various technologies such as TCP/IP, DNS, IPv6, IPv4, multicast and eNUM. The agency cooperates with the Internet Architecture Board and the Internet Engineering Steering Group. For further information on IETF and the 59th meeting in Seoul, visit its Web site at www.ietf.org.

From http://www.korea.net/ 03/02/2004

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Worldwide IT Skills Shortage and Sustainable Development - High on APEC Science Ministers' Meeting Agenda

APEC Science and Technology Ministers will look at solutions to the worldwide shortage of information technology skills when they meet in Christchurch, New Zealand, this week. Other issues before the 4th APEC Ministers' Meeting on Regional Science and Technology Cooperation relate to ensuring scientific and technological advancement is sustainable for all economies in the region. The New Zealand Minister for Research, Science and Technology, Hon. Pete Hodgson, said while advances in science and technology are creating new opportunities, there is concern to ensure that requirements that come with these advances are sustainable for all APEC Member Economies. "Scientific and technological discovery is moving at a dramatic pace and this has numerous implications for the global economy," Mr. Hodgson said. "On the one hand we have new opportunities to develop increasingly effective medicines, improve living standards and develop products that are more environmentally friendly. "At the same time breakthroughs in the science and technology sector require a much more highly skilled and specialized workforce to make the most of these opportunities. "The problem for many developing areas is how they develop the skill base to fully compete in the new digital economy and not be left behind. "Investment in human capacity building initiatives and ongoing education programs are essential if all APEC Member Economies are to fully compete in the modern global economy. "Ministers at this meeting will have the opportunity to look at capacity building initiatives and ways to improve the scientific and information technology skills of people throughout the Asia-Pacific." The theme of the Science Ministers' Meeting is "Enhancing the capacity of science, technology and innovation to deliver sustainable growth across the APEC region." Mr. Hodgson said the City of Christchurch had welcomed delegates from APEC Member Economies and he expects the series of working visits by delegates to New Zealand smart industries would build firmer science and IT links around the APEC region. Ministers will be greeted by a traditional Maori greeting tonight at the Christchurch Town Hall before the formal opening of the meeting by Mr. Hodgson, on Thursday Morning.

From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 03/10/2004

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The Press Conference on the 4th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Region

The 4th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Region (CIAPR IV) will be held in Shanghai, China from May 20th to 22nd, 2004. The following information was issued by the 4th CIAPR Organizing Committee on 27 February in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The CIAPR IV is co-sponsored by the Shanghai Municipal People's government and United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), The CIAPR IV is also co-sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Communication Union (ITU), the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (UN ICT TF), the State Council Informatization Office of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, the Ministry of Information Industry of China, the Ministry of Commerce of China, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shanghai Municipal People's Government. The 4th CIAPR Forums, with its core notion of "ICT for Development: the Role of Local Government", will be held in Shanghai, China from May 20th to 22nd. It will discuss "Global ICT trend for Development", "Global trend of ICT development and its use" and "China's ICT strategy for development and its use", etc. Under Secretary-General of UN and high level officer of UN, Government leaders, more than 800 participants from 50 cities covering 5 continents and 20 international organizations, will be present at the that time in Shanghai. As sponsors think, richness of the contents of CIAPR IV will exceed past three years. During the Conference, the UN Public Service Awards will be presented by UN/DESA to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions in local e-Government application. Representatives from the UN institution, VIPs from worldwide and representatives of enterprises will discuss the strategies of informatization development and experiences successful. CIAPR IV will be composed of a series of thematic sessions£¬working sessions and international exhibitions on ICT. Keystone focus of discussion including: e-Government, e-Commerce, application of international Credit Card, telecommunication development, information technologies and application and legal construction of informatization, etc. In the Press Conference, Mr. Chen Dawei, deputy director of the State Council Informtization Office, delivered a speech. Mr. Yang Xiong, chairman of CIAPR IV Forum Committee and vice mayor of Shanghai Municipal People's Government, made a brief introduction to the CIAPR IV Preparations.

From http://www.apcity.org/ 03/17/2004

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South Korea to Host APEC Info-Tech Meeting in 2005

(Yonhap News) -- SEOUL -- South Korea, home of the world's fastest Internet and cell-phone networks, will host a meeting of the information technology (IT) working group of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum next year, the Ministry of Information and Communication said Friday. The decision was made in a March 21-26 meeting of the annual gathering in Hong Kong, the ministry said in a statement.

From http://www.undp.org/ 03/26/2004

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The ITU TELECOM Board Recommends Final Negotiations with Hong Kong, China for the Next ITU TELECOM WORLD Event

Geneva - Mr Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announces that the TELECOM Board meeting in Geneva today recommended that final negotiations be conducted with Hong Kong (China) to hold the next ITU TELECOM WORLD event. The Board of ITU TELECOM considered the candidacies of five cities bidding to be the venue for ITU TELECOM WORLD 2006 (Geneva, Hong Kong, Milan, Istanbul and Algiers). A comparison of the bids was reviewed by the Board, focusing both on the responses to the specific requirements of the call for bids and an analysis of the financial conditions. The Board considered that the bids of Geneva and Hong Kong were the two leading ones. Although the Geneva bid marked a considerable improvement on the terms offered for hosting ITU TELECOM WORLD 2003 (especially with regard to the commitment to guarantee the withdrawal of the "minimum stay" requirement in hotels), nevertheless, the Board expressed a preference for Hong Kong based on the following considerations: The enormous market opportunity represented by Asia, and by China in particular. The strong preference of vendors and operators to follow market trends. The overall costs to exhibitors (taking into account rental rates, sub-contractor rates, hotel rates etc), which are considered to be lower in Hong Kong. The need to send a signal to the industry of the willingness of ITU to listen to its customers, and to change. The desire to rotate the World events. Guarantees offered by Hong Kong concerning the minimum level of space to be purchased by Chinese companies. The Board invited the Secretary-General to open final negotiations first with Hong Kong, with a view to obtaining the most favourable terms and conditions, particularly with respect to the financial conditions which were not sufficiently attractive. In case the negotiations with Hong Kong do not yield satisfactory results, the decision could therefore be to remain in Geneva. The ultimate decision will rest with the Secretary-General based on the results obtained. The ITU TELECOM Board is a body whose role is to provide strategic advice to the Secretary-General on ITU TELECOM events and who represent the views of all stakeholders to the events. ITU TELECOM events were launched more than 30 years ago with the first World event being held in Geneva in 1971. The most recent world event held in Geneva in October 2003 brought together 911 exhibitors representing 51 countries were present with over 375 industry's CEOs and 148 government ministers and regulators participating in the event. Over 1 500 journalists including 300 broadcast media and more than 120 industry analysts were also accredited for the show.

From http://www.itu.int/ 03/30/2004

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The 1st International Conference on "Information Statistics of the Internet: Measurement, Analysis and Applications"

August 19~20, 2004
Hong Kong and Macao
Purpose: The Internet has evolved so rapidly and has brought so many changes to the world we live. The use of the Internet has entered the maturity stage in some places while it only starts to take off in others. Researchers and professionals have tried to explain such phenomena with various theories, hypotheses and methods. On the one hand, we have known much of it from the current data; on the other hand, we unfortunately have not yet explored deeply into the story behind how we get this data. For this reason, the newly formed Asia-Pacific Internet Research Alliance (APIRA) is organizing its first international conference on the measurement, analysis and applications of the Internet usage in August 2004 in Hong Kong and Macao.
Themes: APIRA seeks papers on the following main themes: Measurement of the Internet users and usage behavior, Analysis techniques for Internet use data, Applications of Internet use research in commercial and non-commercial settings.

From http://www.apira.org/ 04/01/2004

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AFGHANISTAN: Afghan Ban on Female TV Performers Lifted

An Afghan province has lifted a ban on women performers on television and radio just days after imposing it, residents say, following pressure by reformists in President Hamid Karzai's government. The deputy provincial governor of Nangarhar, an area heavily patrolled by U.S.-led troops hunting for Muslim militants and largely run by former anti-Soviet warriors, had announced the ban on Friday, declaring female performers un-Islamic. But this week women were back on the air, residents said. The ban echoed the strict imposition of sharia Islamic law during the Taliban's repressive five-year rule of Afghanistan when television wasbanned, women were not allowed to work and girls were kept out of schools. U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban late in 2001.The issue of women performing on television and radio has divided moderates and conservative Islamist members of Karzai's government since the Taliban's fall. Moderates have kept up pressure on conservative provinces to follow the new Afghan constitution that gives women equal rights. A decision by Kabul Television in January to broadcast a female singer for the first time in more than a decade stirred protests from Islamists who briefly forced the station to stop airing such performances.

From http://www.myafghan.com/ 04/22/2004

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CHINA: New Regulation Protects Privacy in Personal Credit Rating

China's largest city, Shanghai, has issued a regulation to protect privacy in data collection for its individual credit files, a personal credit rating system that has created records on over a quarter of its residents since it was set up in 2000. The regulation, the first of its kind in China, went into effect on Feb. 1 and outlaws the collection of nationality, racial,family background, religious and political beliefs, blood type, health and other personal information that is not related to a person's credit standing. It rules that personal information should be subject to the person's approval before it is collected on his credit files, except for poor credit records such as deliberate delays of telecommunications, water, electricity and gas charges, overdraftsand defaults on loans. The new regulation has also banned the collection of personal credit information by means of cheating, theft, bribery, intimidation or enticement, according to sources with the municipal information committee. Shanghai is the only city on the Chinese mainland authorized tocollect personal credit information, and one in every four Shanghainese have their personal credit files recorded by an authorized credit information company. Sources with Shanghai Credit Information Service Co. said the company had collected credit records on 3.6 million residents and over 600,000 enterprises in Shanghai. Outstanding personal credit loans accounted for 12 percent of the total in the metropolis, much higher than the national average,of only 2 to 3 percent, says the company's General Manager Chen Zhiguo. In an effort to ensure timely repayment of loans, Chen said hiscompany had joined with over 50 Shanghai-based universities to setup credit files for students who paid for higher education with loans. The nation's capital, Beijing, has also set a timetable to establish an individual credit record system, as the Beijing BanksAssociation announced last year its member banks planned to collect credit records on individual applicants for bank loans to buy cars. The association represents 21 Chinese banks and 18 overseas-funded banks operating in Beijing. The banks are expected to have access to a planned credit information system on individuals with poor credit records involving bank cards, housing loans and individual loans before June 2004.

From Xinhuanet 02/02/2004

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Rule Opens More Data to the Public

A new local regulation will come into force on May 1 to ensure the public get greater access to a host of governmental information. Local authorities will review the scope of information that was once defined by some officials as State secrets, therefore becoming inaccessible to the public, experts said. Under the regulation, governments at all levels are expected to provide the public with timely information that is closely related with the latter's life and work. "The regulation is a significant move that helps the Shanghai government create an open approach to its performance," said Tang Xiaobo, an expert of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences who tracks China's public administration reforms. While the new policy is expected to help keep the governmental power under public check, it will also spur local officials to change their practices, especially those using State secrets to protect their own interests, both on a personal and departmental level, she said. "Some officials' awareness of secrets led to the fact that public check was shut out," said Tang. The new regulation, the first in China that is issued by a provincial-level government, will hopefully change that situation, according to Tang. The information covered by the policy includes local governments' regulations and rules, economic and social development plans, urban planning outlines, epidemic or disaster situation and emergencies. The expected contents also include information on education, social security, housing relocation, public bidding, auditing of fiscal budget and accounting as well as recruiting of government officials. Information is supposed to be disclosed through varied media channels, local citizens, corporations and other organizations are also able to apply for access. Although the regulation still specifies confidential data, including State secrets, it will enable the public to obtain a wider scope of governmental information, experts said. In experts' eyes, the new regulation co-insides well with the Law on Administrative Licensing that will be enforced nationwide since July 1. "Like the law, the policy is in line with the general trend after China's WTO (World Trade Organization) accession, which calls for more transparency in government," said Chen Qixing, expert of Shanghai Administration Institute. Prior to Shanghai's move, the regional governments of Guangzhou and Shantou, all in South China's Guangdong Province, began in 2003 to adopt similar regulations.

From China Daily 02/04/2004

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Shanghai: Development Plan Through 2007 Set

The Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau on February 11 announced its blueprint for the city's socialand economic development through 2007. It also mapped out its major goals to develop thecity into an international financial,shipping and tradecenter by 2010when the World Expo is held in Shanghai. Among them:The city is planning to build 20 specialized commercial streets and five to 10super shoppingmalls,each of which will be no smaller than 100,000 square meters. Additionally,the blueprint also says the city expects to build one natural conservationzone,four suburban parks and put 1,000 squarekilometers under municipal protection.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn 02/11/2004

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Hong Kong, Shenzhen to Cooperatein IC Development

The Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) on Thursday signed in Hong Kong a three-year cooperative agreement with the National IC Design Industrial Base (Shenzhen) Institution. The agreement marks a step toward closer collaboration between Hong Kong and Shenzhen in IC (integrated circuit) design in furtherance of the "7+1" program launched by the Ministry of Information Industry for development of IC design bases in Chinese mainland, according to Chief Executive Officer of the HKSTP C. D. Tam. Under the agreement, the HKSTP will provide small batch and finished product testing services for the National IC Design Industrial Base (Shenzhen) Institution, while its IC Design/Development Support Center will offer materials analysis and IC fault analysis. For its part, Shenzhen will help the HKSTP promote its platform for test verification services. The agreement is based on the memorandum of understanding concluded in December last year between the HKSTP and the High Technology Research and Development Center (Hi-tech R&D Center) under the Ministry of Science and Technology. Under the Memorandum, seven IC design bases in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Xi'an, Hangzhou, Wuxi and Chengdu, will work under the leadership of the Hi-tech R&D Center with HKSTP's IC Design Center in all areas of IC design and development.

From Xinhua News Agency 02/12/2004

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Beijing: New Legislation Would Make More Info Public

Beijing municipal authorities are considering making some information about government officials public while examining the definition of a State secret.According to the new legislation proposed by the Beijing Municipal Office of Information, the government would publish data that has, until now, been considered to inflict on the privacy of officials, sources told China Daily."We believe that some personal affairs of governmental officials, such as their income, could be made public," Wang Yu, an official with the regulation department of the information office, said Tuesday. At the same time, the definition of a State secret, which has sometimes been used as an excuse for governments to keep information away from eyes of the public, would be examined and possibly re-evaluated, sources said.Part of the motivation is the changes in China's society. What was once considered a secret, may no longer be one.Wang's office released the draft legislation last week and opened it up to comments from the public.According to the draft, personal details, duties and post changes of local governmental officials will have to be made public. "This is only a draft. We will add more things to it if residents believe they need know more about officials," Wang said. The government will leave the draft legislation open to opinions and comments until April.But the official emphasized that his office is only responsible for drafting the legislation and does not have final say."We will hand in the draft to the Beijing municipal government's Legal Affairs Office for a formal version. It still needs final approval from the municipal government," he said.The released draft, however, protects private information of residents collected by the authorities and forbids the publication of State secrets."The definition of State secret in our draft refers to that in the State law to ensure State secrets, which was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 1988," Wang said. But Wang said some of the definitions of a State secret are already out of date and need to be further revised. "We were asked for an opinion on the issue last year and were informed that the law is expected to be revised," he said. This was not confirmed by other authorities Tuesday. he Guangzhou Municipal Bureau for the Protection of State Secrets made public more than 100,000 pieces of information last year which were previously defined as State secrets. revious draft legislation that protected media outlets that released information on public figures, was deleted before it was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in 2002.One example that highlighted the need for such protection was an accusation brought by Zhang Xide, former Party Chief of the Linquan County in northwest China's Gansu Province, against authors of a best seller - Investigation into Chinese farmers - for infringement on his right of fame.Zhang claims the book's assertions that he beat down appeals by local farmers to higher authorities are not true.He asks for 200,000 yuan (US$24,200) in compensation.The draft legislation says the government must release information about any epidemics, disasters and accidents in the capital city.Another 14 items of governmental information that must be released are also listed.

From China Daily 02/25/2004

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Hong Kong: Government Focuses on IT Education

The Government is committed to promoting the use of information technology (IT) by the education sector and to training more IT professionals. Opening the ICT (Information and Communications Technology) Showcase 2004 at Hong Kong Baptist University today (March 11), the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, said the Government was committed to fostering Hong Kong's IT development and encouraging IT adoption by enterprises and the public. In the 2004 Digital 21 Strategy announced last week, one of the Government's eight main areas of action is to work with educational and vocational training institutions and the industry to enhance the training and skills of the workforce and the next generation. "In light of our vision for education, the Government is formulating the strategic directions for the further development of IT in education," Mr Wong said. The Government is also working closely with the education sector and training institutes, which are encouraged to review and improve their IT programmes to reflect advancements in the IT industry and cater for the demand for IT professionals in the market. The Information Technology Education Resource Centre was set up to give teachers of various subjects access to IT resources. Basic IT training was provided to some 46,000 teachers and 4,600 teaching assistants in Hong Kong. They are now capable of handling basic computer operations, such as word processing and website browsing, and using educational software. To further enhance teachers' IT skills, the "IT in Education Refresher Training Courses" for primary and secondary school teachers have been organised since 1998. Subsidies to help primary and secondary schools buy computer equipment were provided over the past five years. At the end of last year, all schools were equipped with Internet access, with more than 90% of them using broadband services. Most secondary schools and over 75% of primary schools have also set up their own websites. The percentage of primary school students having knowledge of using computers rose from 60.3% in 2000 to 94.5% in 2002, while that of secondary school students increased from 90.8% in 2000 to 99.3% in 2002, indicating the effectiveness of the Government's IT education measures. In 2000, the Government launched the Hong Kong Education City website (www.hkedcity.net), a joint effort by the Government, education sector, business organisations and social service associations to develop an online learning portal and provide wholesome and educational information. Recording more than 3.3 million page views per day, the website has become the largest and most popular education portal in Hong Kong. Apart from the management of school accounts and the iClassroom launched during the SARS outbreak last year, the website provides teaching resources and services. Mr Wong called on school principals, teachers and students to use the online resources and to help expand the content of the website. This would encourage exchange of information and enhance the learning process, he said. Mr Wong said the ICT Showcase 2004, which ends on Saturday (March 13), offered a golden opportunity for principals and teachers to share their experiences in the use of IT in education. It also allowed industry players to present the latest technologies and extend the horizons of teaching and learning.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk 03/11/2004

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Chinese Government Technology Agency Joins OSDL: It Hopes to Bring Internationalization Features to Linux

(COMPUTERWORLD) - A Chinese government science and technology group has joined the nonprofit Open Source Development Labs to help improve the quality and testing of the Linux operating system. In an announcement today, the Beaverton, Ore.-based OSDL said that the Beijing Software Testing Center, China's largest software testing organization, has joined the group and will focus on the development of internationalization features for Linux. The BSTC was founded in 2002 by the Beijing Government Science and Technology Commission and the Beijing Products Quality and Inspection Institute. It is charged with providing regulation and quality control to accelerate the development of China's export software industry. "With the rapid global adoption of Linux, we're excited that the Beijing Software Testing Center is joining OSDL to increase their participation in the worldwide Linux development community," Stuart Cohen, CEO of the OSDL, said in a statement. "This newest OSDL member will bring a wealth of knowledge about the use of Linux in China and its potential for use in the data center and on the desktop." The OSDL is a global consortium that is working toward increased adoption of Linux around the world. OSDL members include Cisco Systems Inc., Computer Associates International Inc., Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM, NEC Corp., Red Hat Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., SUSE Linux Inc. and Unilever PLC. (by Todd R. Weiss)

From http://www.computerworld.com/ 03/18/2004

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China to Issue E-Commerce Regulations

China is set to issue new regulations related to e-commerce this year. The move is aimed to better protect consumers buying goods online. The expected new regulation on electronic signature will support the validity of electronic documents and signatures as legal evidence of online purchases. Zhao Xiaofan, vice department director of State Council, said, "The State Council will discuss the rules on electronic signature this year. The regulations on contract, payments, advertising and consumer rights will also include rules on e-commerce." Currently, China has no official national regulations on e-commerce. This creates a lack of trust on online business. Eachnet, the largest auction portal in the country, has seen its business suffer due to the lack of regulations. To improve the business environment, the company submitted its own draft of regulations to the government for a reference. Netease executive Shao Yibo says China has 2.7 million e-commerce consumers, with a dramatic growth in the number from 2000. But the per capita consumption of online buyers is not even one tenth of that in the western countries. If a high degree of trust is created, and supported by related regulations, China's e-commerce can offer promising growth prospects.

From CCTV 03/29/2004

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China Edges Towards Digital Signatures

China has moved closer to the authentication of electronic signatures for e-government and e-commerce transactions. A draft law favouring the implementation of digital signatures was approved at an executive meeting of China's State Council in late March. The draft Law on Electronic Signatures proposes the establishment of an on-line authentication system that will safeguard Web-based transactions and legalise the use of e-government and e-business applications. Speaking at the meeting, Cao Kangtai, director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council, said the draft law would make electronic signatures as legitimate as handwritten signatures. The draft legislation will now be submitted for approval to the National People's Congress.

From http://www.enn.ie 04/07/2004

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Shanghai to Enhance Government Work Transparency

By May 1, the city government will launch an upgraded municipal Website to make government work more transparent, with all the government departments needed to release information to the public in an initiative way, municipal spokesperson Jiao Yang said at yesterday's regular press conference. The new Website will highlight the transparency of 15 government departments that have close relationship with residents' lives, including education, human resources, real estate, water resources, quality and technical supervision, construction, planning, industrial and commercial administration, public security, foreign economics and trade, public health, labor security, civil affairs, finance and urban planning. Some highlights: Shanghai Municipal Education Commission: Releasing educational information popular with the public, such as information on enrollment and recruitment of local kindergartens, elementary, middle schools and universities; examinations, fee-collection standard, and policies; employment for university graduates and Sino-foreign educational joint ventures. Shanghai Personnel Bureau: releasing human resources plans, statistics and research reports; examination and recruitment of civil servants over the past several years; preferential policies for returned students and visa policies for relatives of overseas talents working in the city; training programs for needed talents. Shanghai Housing and Land Resources Administrative Bureau: Releasing official documents as of 1995 on land bidding, old home demolishing and the lowest compensation to residents relocating; information on qualifications of real estate firms. Shanghai Public Security Bureau: Offering information via hot line - 24023456 - especially on important and emergency cases; releasing public security situation every ten days and every year. Shanghai Planning Bureau: Releasing general, regional, industrial, professional and important project plans.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn 04/08/2004

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Beijing: Gov't Regulations Easier to View

Copies of regulations issued by the Beijing municipal government are now available at more than 800 spots across the city. Among the total 811 spots where copies of the regulations are freely available, 362 were established by district and county governments, said Zhou Jidong, director of the Legal Affairs Office of the Beijing municipal government, which is responsible for drafting local governmental regulations. District and county governments covered 119 and the other 243 were set up by subdistrict offices at urban and rural residential areas, according to government statistics. Meanwhile, departments directly under the Beijing municipal government set up 450 free spots. Residents can get free copies of local regulations on social security, medical insurance, housing, family planning and other issues closely related with residents' lives. English versions of regulations on labour and social security are also available at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labour and Social Security, Ling Peili, an official with the Legal Affairs Office of the Beijing municipal government said yesterday. In Beijing's Chaoyang District, regular governmental reports are also translated into English and placed in the investment service hall of the district. "Most copies of regulations are in the service halls of the 22 subdistrict offices," said Zhang Xiumei, an official with the Chaoyang District Legal Affairs Office. Zhang said the documents will be updated every three months with newly-adopted rules. Zhang vowed to set up more spots in residential areas to make it more convenient for residents to fetch the copies. "Currently, only in government offices and its dispatched organizations can people get copies of the regulations," she said. Beijing began to take the measure last April to give residents easier access to information about their obligations and duties. The move is part of an attempt to meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization. "I am a taxpayer. I need to supervise the government over whether their actions are legal. The free regulation copies help me do this," Gao Ting, a 28-year-old Beijing resident, said yesterday. (by Liu Li)

From China Daily 04/15/2004

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IRAN: 3,900 Telecommunication Projects Kick Off

Some 3,900 telecommunication and postal projects are to be inaugurated during the Ten-Day Dawn (Feb 1-11), which marks the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. The projects are at a cost of Rls 4.413 trillion. The Information Technology and Communications Ministry has made strenuous efforts to improve services to underprivileged districts in line with the objectives of the Year of the Movement to Render Service to the People, which is the motto of the current Iranian year. Of Iran's 28 provinces, the highest amount of investment in telecommunications is in Khorasan, Kerman, and East Azarbaijan provinces. Kerman province has the most projects in progress followed by Fars and West Azarbaijan provinces.

From http://iran.ru/ 02/04/2004

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JAPAN: ATM, Internet Payment System for Gov't Fees Starts

TOKYO - The government will accept payments for certain administrative fees such as patent filings and labor insurance through Internet banking or automated teller machines (ATMs) beginning Monday. Payments can be made through 1,200 financial institutions nationwide, including banks, "shinkin" savings and loan banks, credit unions, agricultural and fishery cooperatives and Japan Post.

From Kyodo News 01/19/2004

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Prediction of Communications Crisis Prompts Japan's Telecom Ministry to Take Action

(TOKYO) -- Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT) is taking the initiative to establish a study group in order to circumvent a potential communications crisis that could occur in Japan due to a sharp increase in data communications traffic. The study group will comprise major telecom companies, communication equipment makers and well-informed individuals. Predicting that the spread of broadband communications may cause capacity shortages in existing communications infrastructures as soon as five years from now, and strong possibilities of triggering interruptions, the MPHPT plans to launch countermeasures aimed at reinforcing the communications infrastructure. The study group expects to release a midterm report this summer.

Large Amounts of Data to Impact Communications Infrastructure in Five Years
A private study group's report made by company executives led MPHPT to consider launching an official study group addressing the issue. The private study group, under the initiative of Koichi Suzuki, president of Internet Initiative Japan Inc (IIJ), was assembled from the viewpoint of "assessing whether Japan's communications infrastructure is truly vulnerable, using actual data." It includes experts in communications, and has had several meetings since the autumn of 2003. The conclusions reached by the study group are alarming. According to the report, data communications traffic across the country has been expanded nearly 1,000 times as large as that observed in the last 10 years (See graph). If it continues to increase at this pace, the domestic data communications traffic should reach as much as 1,024 times the current volume in the next 10 years. On the other hand, the existing communications infrastructure, if it remains as is, will not likely be able to handle the sharply increased data communications traffic. For instance, the backbone communications network has a maximum capacity of 80Gbps as of the end of 2003. Even if the multiplexing technology to amplify the capacity by feeding numerous data through a core of optical fiber is used, the maximum capacity is said to be 1Tbps. On the contrary, the maximum communications traffic at the same time frame is 40Gbps. With the current facilities as they are, a simple calculation shows that actual communications traffic will exceed the backbone's maximum capacity as soon as five years from now. That is not the only problem. Capacity limits of devices -- routers and switches that constitute communications networks -- are coming within sight. In order to handle huge communications traffic without any delay, large-capacity routers of more than 10Tbps are required. Since a new development may involve a large amount of investment, there is no manufacturer yet, from industry leader Cisco Systems Inc to all others, which have revealed a specific roadmap for a large-capacity router. Ethernet is widely used in enterprises and relay networks as a communications standard compliant with the Internet Protocol. It has just started to utilize a 10-gigabit standard for its communications speed. However, there is no prospect yet for the Ethernet to utilize a bit rate of more than 40Gbps.

Huge Improvement Cost for Infrastructure Needed
To deal with growing data communications traffic, it is imperative to reinvest in the communications infrastructure, such as an expansion of relay-network capacities by adding new optical fibers and communications equipment. According to the study group's estimate, an initial investment will likely reach 80 to 150 trillion yen in case the communications infrastructure is improved by putting in a large number of communications lines and equipment without waiting for technological innovation. Furthermore, there is another issue yet to be addressed. That is a rapid increase in electric power demand. According to the study group's estimate, in about five years, electric power consumption of communications equipment will amount to 3.4 to 8.3 million kilowatts. Assuming power consumption of servers and electric power required by air-conditioning systems, the electric power needed by then will become 13.6 to 33.2 million kilowatts, four times as much as that of communications equipment. Tokyo Electric Power Co, Inc, Japan's biggest electric power supplier (providing electricity to the Tokyo metropolitan area), has a power supply capacity of about 70 million kilowatts. It is calculated that 20% to 50% of the capacity will be consumed by the communications-network related systems. When considering the circumstances in Japan, which is facing difficulties in adding more atomic power plants and is slow in implementing projects to secure natural gas from Siberia, it is necessary to say that a simple expansion of the communications infrastructure may lead to a power crisis.

Breakthrough Awaited for Systemic Reform to Encourage Reinvestment
Two titles could be given to the scenario to open up Japan's bottleneck based on the report of the study group: "technological innovations," and "a soft landing through systemic reform." If a technological innovation takes place that increases the capacities of communications lines or improves the throughput of communications equipment, the crisis of communications infrastructure could be avoided for the time being. However, this scenario is not likely to occur in Japan. Because the price of communications services in terms of per bandwidth used by clients plunged to very low levels due to a severe price-cutting war, the domestic data communications traffic has increased sharply in the past 10 years. This makes it hard for telecom companies and communications equipment manufacturers to gain profits from the communications service itself. Thus, it is likely that in order to secure profits, there is no choice other than withholding investment in technology development that leads to technological innovation and installation of the infrastructure. Another real scenario is how to plan a "soft landing" through changing systems, introducing a mechanism to encourage investment from telecom companies and makers, and promoting technological innovation and infrastructure investment. To be specific, users pay appropriate benefit assessments, which are the prices corresponding to the cost, and telecom companies reinvest in improvement of infrastructure. For example, just as postcards and letters require postal stamps, a method to charge a metered rate of e-mail senders can be considered. With this method alone, communications volumes on the Internet could be reduced and a sharp increase of data communications traffic could be slowed. Furthermore, this would lead to profit increases for telecom companies. One may note that such socio-industrial changes in Japan's communications industry may give rise to a major issue concerning NTT's existence. A battle may result when it does happen -- when various actors' expectations clash in the market. The MPHPT's study group needs to exercise a role to help chart Japan's future communications infrastructure enough to accommodate ever-increasing traffic. (by Jumpei Furuhata, Staff Editor, Nikkei Associe)

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 02/23/2004

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Two Ministries to Launch IT Project

TOKYO - Two Japanese government ministries will launch a joint project to encourage the development of information technology in such fields as digital home appliances, government officials said Wednesday. The project by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications will cover six areas, including the standardization of IC tags and digital home appliances.

From Kyodo News 03/11/2004

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Digital TV Standard for Cell Phones Set in Japan

Japan's six major television networks said on Wednesday they had agreed on a terrestrial digital standard aimed at beaming high-quality TV images to mobile phones, starting March 2006. Publicly funded Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK), along with private stations TBS, NTV, TV Asahi, Fuji TV and TV Tokyo agreed on the deal with MPEG LA, a group that negotiates on behalf of the multiple patent holders involved. "I think this will raise awareness among viewers about digital broadcasting and we hope it acts as a spur," TV Tokyo managing director Katsumi Ueda told a news conference. In December, Japan became the 12th nation in the world to start terrestrial digital broadcasting, with services beginning in the three biggest metropolitan areas - Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya - covering 12 million households. While the networks agreed to broadcast the new service free of charge, no handset makers or mobile phone service providers have said they will jump on the bandwagon. "I think if we decide to make this a business, we will have to make sure our phones are compatible with this standard," said a spokeswoman for NTT DoCoMo, the nation's largest operator with some 45.5 million subscribers. Vodafone KK, the third-largest operator with 14.9 million users, said it had no comment on the announcement. Vodafone is the only cell phone operator in Japan to offer a handset model equipped with analogue TV tuners, which it launched last October.

From http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/ 03/24/2004

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Court Denies Copyright for Web News Headlines

A damages suit filed by the Tokyo head office of the Yomiuri Shimbun against an Internet service firm that used the newspaper's headlines without permission was rejected in the Tokyo District Court on Wednesday. Denying the newspaper's demand that the Internet firm stop using the headlines and pay damages of 68 million yen, the court ruled that using Internet headlines without permission did not violate copyright. "Using headlines that are open to the public on the Internet without authorization does not constitute a copyright violation," Presiding Judge Toshiaki Iimura said in handing down the ruling. The ruling is reportedly the first on Internet headlines. In making the ruling, the court denied that the headlines were creative expression. "These headlines were created within 25 characters, and either stated objective facts, or used only very short qualifying words, and cannot be described as creative expression," the ruling said. The newspaper had filed the suit against Kobe-based Digital Alliance. The headlines the Internet firm used either duplicated headlines that various newspapers had used on their sites, or modified them slightly.A representative of the newspaper said the paper could not agree with a ruling that allowed unauthorized use and would appeal the ruling.

From Mainichi Shimbun, Japan 03/25/2004

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MPHPT Designates Two Areas as IT Business Model Areas

The MPHPT had additionally designated Iwamizawa City and Matsuyama City as IT business model areas that promote the vitalization of regional economies by concentrating development on IT measures covering both hardware and software. This brings the number of IT business model areas nationwide to 10. For details refer to the Japanese web site: http://www.soumu.go.jp/s-news/2004/040405_1.html

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 04/05/2004

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Japan Bets New Internet Standard to Drive E-World

TOKYO: The World Wide Web is just about 15 years old, but already it is showing signs of wear as growing demand for Internet addresses and everyday functionality challenge the limits of the technology behind the Web. In the not-so distant future, for example, computers and mobile devices will likely communicate easily and securely with refrigerators, light switches and other appliances. Much of that can already be done with today's technology, but some industry insiders say the current Internet standard falls short of being able to meet the full potential of such functionality. It's time, they say, for an upgrade. Companies led by Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp and KDDI Corp believe the solution is a nascent next-generation standard: Internet Protocol, version 6 (IPv6). The advanced technology allows for virtually an unlimited number of Internet addresses, making it possible for every home appliance or device to be given its own address. The networks will be more efficient and architecturally simpler than current networks, which only allow for four billion addresses - not even enough for every person on Earth - and require a labour-intensive net of technology to manage them. Security features, such as encryption, are also built directly into the IPv6 standard, unlike the current version, where security was added as an afterthought. "As broadband networks become more common, we believe it will open the door to new services and devices beyond Internet surfing and e-mail such as smart appliances that will require more secure networks than are available now," said Satoshi Ishiyama, vice president at NTT Communications, the broadband arm of NTT. Global appeal: Japan is not the only country focused on IPv6. In Asia, China, Taiwan and South Korea have also announced intentions to upgrade to the advanced standard over the next several years. In the United States, the Department of Defense has said it would phase out purchases of current standard-based network equipment and switch entirely to IPv6 by 2008. However, Japan has been the forerunner in the field, helped in part by the government's so-called "e-Japan" policy, which aims to create a ubiquitous network that will allow any device or thing - be it an appliance or a box of cereal with a tiny tracking chip - to communicate via the network. IPv6 devices are expected to start entering markets later this year. The government estimates that new emerging businesses and services taking advantage of the technology will be worth 84.3 trillion yen ($809 billion) by 2010. "Right now, Internet communication is subject to limitations of the network structure," said Jun Murai, a Keio University professor, who led the development of the Internet in Japan and is spearheading the development of IPv6. "The structure of communications should be developed by society... Our job is to develop a technology that's as open and flexible as possible so when doctors, farmers, entertainers, or ordinary people have needs, we can meet them." Getting started: For now, the biggest challenge for Japan's two-largest telecoms carriers, NTT and KDDI, is to kickstart the momentum. The two companies both say their IPv6 networks are essentially ready. NTT Communications already offers IPv6 service while KDDI started a trial on its network last summer. However, with an extra fee and no applications available, there is little foreseeable demand. Moreover, many of the concommit to products compatible with IPv6 without adequate network coverage or users, and users won't buy into it unless it's cheap and useful," said Toru Maruta, a manager in KDDI's IP network department. KDDI and NTT Communications said they are exploring technology compatible with both the new and old Internet standards in anticipation of a long transition phase. Kenshi Tazaki, analyst at Gartner Japan, said he sees a lot of potential in the new technology but he doesn't think IPv6 will take off until well after 2010. "The hardest segment to tackle will be corporations because they won't upgrade networks until they see how that will help them make money," said Tazaki. "They will not invest in new network equipment just to improve efficiency, but if they see a direct correlation to sales, they will invest."

From http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/ 04/12/2004

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Govt Draws Guidelines on Getting IT Services

The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry has drawn up guidelines to be introduced this fiscal year for ministries and agencies when selecting suppliers for computer systems and other information technology products. The guidelines were created partly to make it easier for small venture firms with excellent technologies to take part in government procurement bids for IT products, an area traditionally dominated by big companies. In the past, small venture firms have been have been caught in a catch-22 situation, effectively barred from the government procurement market because they do not have a track record of successful bids. But clearer standards of what services are required is expected to widen opportunities for venture firms if they have the desired technologies. The guidelines clarify standards to be used when evaluating the performance and quality of IT services when signing contracts, with the aim of making the process more transparent. Points for evaluation include how many leading-edge functions can be installed in the system offered by a bidder, and also the predicted time required to get the system back up and running in the event of a system crash. Under the guidelines, when signing a contract, ministries and contractors will decide upon points of service to be evaluated so as to set a level for quality of products and services to be supplied. By continuously evaluating a system's performance, the ministries can determine the adequacy of the cost-performance of the procured products and services. The guidelines also aim to introduce a system under which procurement prices can fluctuate depending on past performances of contractors. Contractor companies also will benefit from the guidelines as they will not be asked to provide a higher level of services than initially scheduled due to ambiguous goals in contracts. The government has been facing surging costs in procuring computer systems and other IT products, resulting in an inflexible distribution of budgets. In light of this, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry set up a panel of IT firms and experts to draft the guidelines. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry then submitted the panel's report to a liaison council of procurement officials of ministries and agencies and obtained their agreement for the guidelines.

From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 04/13/2004

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SOUTH KOREA: NCA Spearheading Digitization

Today, Korea boasts one of the best information-telecommunication infrastructures in the world. Last year, the United Nations ranked Korea 13th in an e-government evaluation of its 191 member states, taking into consideration factors such as a country's official online presence and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as human development capacity. The Korean public sector's prompt adaptation to technological developments has helped Korea become the IT powerhouse it is today. Like many countries during the 1980s, Korea was faced with the task of transforming into a knowledge-based information society in order to stay competitive. The National Computerization Agency was born in 1987 amid this paradigm shift as the leading agency for national "informatization." Since then, the state-funded NCA has played a crucial part in laying the foundations for an information society and leading various IT initiatives nationwide, notably the National Basic Information System (1987-1991), Korea Information Infrastructure-Government (1995-2005), and e-Government (2001-present). During this time the Korean public sector has turned into a computer-savvy organization on par with the private sector. The NCA has added on more responsibilities over the years. Aside from managing and operating information networks of public organizations, the NCA is today responsible for developing & maintaining information systems for inter-agency information sharing, formulating IT-related policies, establishing IT standards, evaluating and auditing IT projects in the public sector and promoting IT culture. In 2001, the NCA was authorized to provide technical consulting services related to the e-government project, and certify electronic signatures. Then last year, the NCA staff participated in drawing up the e-government roadmap for the Roh Moo-hyun administration. "There are very few countries in the world which have organizations like the NCA that exclusively support a country's informatization efforts," said Suh Sam-young, president of NCA. "We are certain that NCA contributed to Korea becoming the information powerhouse it is today." Given its responsibilities, the NCA has expanded its work force from just 20 researchers at the start to today's 200-strong staff, comprising not only IT specialists but professionals well-versed in other fields such as economic policy, law and administration. The NCA is led by the best minds in Korea who are devoted to creating a world-class knowledge economy," Suh said. The organization's budget has also grown in tandem with the larger work force and greater tasks from 3.2 billion won in 1987 to more than 500 billion won by 1999. The NCA further turned global last year by providing consulting services to developing countries, with the first beneficiaries of its Information Technology and Policy Assistance Program being Cambodia and Myanmar. The NCA chose these countries as they are expected to become Korea's important partners in the IT sector, although they currently have poor infrastructure. Though the main purpose of the assistance program is to help developing countries digitize, Suh said that it is also a great opportunity to advertise Korea's model for digitization. "Eventually, the NCA hopes to become a notable member of international society by contributing to resolving the global digital drive," Suh said. Further, Suh said the program is a good stimulus to keep up the agency's good work. "In carrying out the ITPAP, we put the greatest focus on delivering tailored service that is appropriate to the respective country's needs and resources, so as to earn their trust," Suh said. "But it's really a two-way program. By agonizing over how to pursue digitization in a totally different environment from ours, we upgrade our capability in the IT field by another rung," he said. Suh said ITPAP will continue this year, with beneficiaries to include African countries. Suh said the NCA will continue to put the utmost effort to stay "on top of things" to ensure that Korea has the world's most competitive IT infrastructure. In working toward realizing the vision of a "ubiquitous Korea" where "everything is just a click away," the NCA plans to carry out various trial projects in the near future related to "broadband convergence network," deemed the next-generation Internet infrastructure. This year, the NCA is also set to devise specific indexes to systematically evaluate digitization in the public sector.

From http://www.korea.net/ 01/16/2004

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Gov't Plans to Create 270,000 IT Jobs by 2007

PC wristwatches and digital TV broadcasts on your mobile phone, the government says these are some of the new information technology innovations you will see within this year. On top of these consumer products, the Information and Communication Ministry is planning to create 50,000 IT-related jobs in 2004. In a briefing to President Roh Moo-hyun on Wednesday, the Information and Communication Minister Chin Dae-je said the move is part of his ministry's plan to generate a total of 270,000 IT positions by 2007 which would account for 1.5 million people on payroll. Also included in the ministry's short to long-term plans, increasing Korea's IT exports in 2004 to US$70 billion, a 23 percent jump from last year's US$57 billion. To this end, the ministry has designated nine new IT fields for development which includes next generation mobile Internet products, video-on-demand servers and wearable PC wristwatches. Minister Chin also said that these products alone would rake in around US$12 billion in outbound shipments this year. Exports aside, people in Korea will get to experience digital ingenuity while on the go. Starting this year, the Digital Multimedia Broadcasting or DMB technology will allow cellular phone and personal digital assistant users to receive digital broadcasts via satellite.

From http://srch.chosun.com/ 02/05/2004

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50 Small Cities to Be Built

By 2012, fifty new small-scale cities, each on land measuring about 1 milion pyeong (3.3 million square meters), will be built across the nation. Many of the new cities will be developed to provide long-term leased housing, where apartments with floor space of about 30-40 pyeong (one pyeong equals 3.3 square meters) will be constructed for the middle class. As a result, a total of five million new homes will be constructed to raise the housing penetration rate to 116.7 percent for the Seoul Metro area and 112.4 percent for the entire nation. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) on Sunday unveiled the plans as part of its 10-year housing plan stretching between 2003 and 2012. The ministry will build some 500,000 housing units per year over the 10 years of the plan. A total of five million units will be constructed across the nation, of which 2.71 million units will be located in the Seoul Metro area. 1.5 million of the units will be long-term public lease apartments so as to increase the ratio of public lease housings to the total residential housing to some 15 percent. Some 130 million pyeong of land, 50 percent of the land needed for the new five million units, will be provided from public land, while the rest will be secured from the private sector. To prevent reckless development, half of the public home lots will be developed in larger projects of more than one million pyeong. As a result, some 50 new cities equal to the size of the Yongin-Chukjon region, where a new city is being constructed on ground of 1.09 million pyeong, will be built by 2012. Of the 50, 25 will be located in the Seoul Metro area. Some observers, however, suspect the government has recently unveiled a series of projects regarding public welfare in order to build support ahead of the general election in April. With the housing plan, MOCT aims to raise the housing penetration rate from 2002's 96.2 percent to 116.7 percent by 2012, similar to levels found in advanced nations. For the Seoul Metro area alone, it targets to increase the rate from 86.1 percent to 112.4 percent for the cited period.

From http://srch.chosun.com/ 02/15/2004

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Korea to Build 50 New Towns by 2012

The government will develop 50 new residential towns and supply 5 million housing units nationwide by 2012 to improve living standards for low-income brackets and stabilize housing prices. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation on Sunday (Feb. 15) announced its 10-year housing supply plan, which will be implemented this year. The ministry expects the project to help raise the nation's housing supply rate to 116.7 percent by the target year from the current 96.2 percent. "The project will help resolve the perennial problems of the Korean real estate market such as a shortage in housing and instability in prices," a ministry spokesman said. The official didn't elaborate on the cost of the projects, saying that detailed plans will be completed by next February. The plan is the latest in a series of welfare and development policies the government has floated since early this year. Critics said the administration is chasing electoral gains in the April parliamentary elections. They said many of the plans are unrealistic, overlap and are not backed by specific budget plans and measures to prevent environmental damage. Under the ministry's plan, about 5 million new housing units will be supplied nationwide including 1.5 million long-term, low-rent units. Half of the houses will be built on land owned by the government or affiliated institutions and companies, the ministry said. The new towns will be established on a total land area of 1 million pyeong. One pyeong equals 3.3 square meters. Half of the envisioned 50 towns will be developed in Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi Province, officials said. It includes more than 10 urban development projects in northern Seoul announced last November. The Seoul city government has pushed the plan in line with the central government's drive to stabilize apartment prices in the more affluent southern part of the city. Apartment prices in southern Seoul have been dropping since late last year as the government raised property taxes and toughened regulations on property transactions beginning in September. But apartment prices in the city again went on an upswing over the past two weeks, according to Budongsan 114, a real estate market survey firm, on Sunday. Prices have risen 0.24 percent over the period, led by prices for reconstructed flats that shot up 0.93 percent, the company said.

From http://www.korea.net/ 02/16/2004

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Antispam Legislation

In comparison to the U.S. "opt-out" approach discussed last time, the United Kingdom adopted an antispam law late last year that limits e-mail advertisers by allowing them to send e-mails only to consumers who have agreed beforehand to accept such mails, or to existing customers of a particular company. This "opt-in" approach is seen as much more stringent than the U.S. model. The U.K. laws were based on the European Union's Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications (Directive 2002/58/EC), which required that all E.U. member nations enact antispam laws by October 31, 2003. However, nine member nations have yet to enact antispam legislation. In Korea, antispam legislation consists mainly of two statutes and their accompanying regulations. The first is the Act on Promotion of Information and Communication and Communication Network Utilization and Information Protection, which also laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Korea Information Security Agency (KISA). KISA, together with the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) and the Ministry of Information and Communication, is charged with, among other things, researching and combating the ever-growing spam problem in Korea. The above law prohibits the transmission of advertisements for profit against the recipient's explicit rejection of such information. As such, Korea is an opt-out jurisdiction. Any electronic advertising is required to indicate the nature of the transmission, the identity and contact information of the sender, the source from which the recipient's e-mail address was obtained, and a means by which the recipient can reject the advertising. The law also prohibits the collection of e-mail addresses without the addressees' permission, as well as the sale or distribution of such information. In addition, ISPs are authorized to deny service to violators. Finally, the law prohibits spammers from using technical means to thwart antispam measures. The second relevant piece of legislation is the Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce Transactions, which is designed to protect consumers' rights in e-commerce and mail order transactions. This includes electronic advertising for goods and services and prohibits telling falsehoods or exaggerations, using deceptive methods, interfering with cancellation of orders or termination of contracts, changing or closing down the seller's contact information with the purpose of interference with cancellation of orders, having inadequate manpower to solve disputes or complaints, unilaterally supplying goods without the consumer's order and requesting payment thereof, forcing consumers to buy goods or to receive services through telephone, facsimile, personal computer communications, even though the consumer made clear that he had no intention to buy or receive the same, and using consumer information without consent or beyond the extent of such consent. On Feb. 6, the KFTC, which also operates a Web site (www.nospam.go.kr) where people can opt out of spam, imposed sanctions against 25 spammers for violations of the above law. An additional 154 spammers are currently under investigation. While the law has had a positive effect on the flood of spam hitting consumers, one of the effects of such stringent legislation, both in Korea and overseas, is that spammers simply move off-shore. Further, differences among international spam regulations make international cooperation imperative. For example, how can one determine from any given e-mail address whether the recipient is in the U.S., Europe, or Korea, and thus what type of opt-in or opt-out requirements apply? Given these issues with antispam laws, and as long as it remains profitable for spammers to keep spamming, they will continue to look for ways around the law with the result that the ultimate solution to the spam problem may be more technological than legal.

From http://www.korea.net/ 02/18/2004

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Government to Spend 54 Billion Won to Improve Information Capabilities of Underprivileged

The Ministry of Information and Communication reported Friday (Feb. 19) that it would spend a total of 54 billion won this year to improve information capabilities of the disabled and elderly citizens. The ministry's program to promote information capabilities of the underprivileged class will focus on providing digital opportunities to the physically disabled and elderly citizens this year. The ministry said that as a result of the annual program launched in 2001, a growing number of disabled and elderly Koreans are benefiting from computers and Internet use. According to the survey of the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO), the Internet usage rate for the physically disabled stood at 27.6 percent as of June, 2003, up 5.2 percentage points from a year ago, while about 14 percent of people over 50 used it, up 4.9 percentage points. However, the figures are still far lower than the nation's average usage rate of 65.5 percent, the world's highest level.

From http://www.korea.net/ 02/23/2004

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New Internet Anti-Libel Law Unenforceable for Now: NEC

An article of the revised election law stipulating that Internet users must use their real names has been set-aside in the upcoming general elections. The article aims to prevent anonymous posts slandering specific politicians or political parties. The National Election Commission (NEC) announced that it will delay adopting the Internet real-name system and focus on guidance in the April elections. This is because the definition of targeted Internet mediums is ambiguous and a real-name authorization system connected with credit information companies or the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs has not been completely established. According to the revised election law, which was promulgated on March 12, the Internet real-name system was supposed to take effect from April 12. As the enforcement of the Internet real-name system became difficult to enforce due to inadequate preparation, the National Election Commission decided to just issue warnings to violators instead of fining them. An official at the NEC said that the Internet real-name system is necessary because illegal activities are rampant on the Internet. The system will be complemented and fully enforced from the next election, the official added. Pundits are strongly criticizing the NEC for its failure to fully enforce the system. Meanwhile, some Internet users have strongly opposed the system, saying that it might violate freedom of expression. The NEC said that it sent official documents to the Webmasters of each political party asking for their cooperation, such as voluntarily deleting slanderous messages, in order to prevent cases of Internet libel, which appear especially at the final stages of campaigning.

From http://english.chosun.com/ 04/12/2004

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Ministry to Revise Law to Crack Down Spam Mail

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) announced on Wednesday (April 21) that it would revise the law to root out the use of spam mail, and that it has already taken preliminary steps for the revision. When the law is revised, it would prevent advertisers from transmitting information to individuals through telephones or fax without their consent or posting on Internet bulletin boards in advance. Even if there is advanced consent to receive ad messages, they nevertheless cannot be sent between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. under the revised law. The new law will also toughen restrictions against technical measures intended to encourage spam mail, as well as attempts to collect, sell, distribute and use e-mail addresses. Any violations will be subject to 10-30 million won in fines, the ministry said. With its particular focus on protecting young people, the revised law will also subject all attempts to send harmful messages to young people to 2-year prison terms or a fine of 10 million won. The law will also require a new panel designed to settle cyberspace defamation disputes to be set up within the Information and Telecommunication Ethics Committee. Failure of information security consultation companies to provide due services would also result in a fine up to 30 million won under the revised law. The ministry plans to conduct hearings on the proposed revisions as required by the law. Once the hearings are completed, it will submit the draft (The "Draft Revision for the Promotion of Telecommunication Networks and Protection of Information) to the National Assembly for legislation before the end of this year. The new law is expected to go into force sometime during the first half of 2005.

From http://www.korea.net/ 04/23/2004

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INDONESIA: House Should Quickly Approve Cyber Law

The government and the House of Representatives should quickly deliberate on and approve the bill on electronic information and transactions as it will be a crucial tool to fight rampant cyber crime in the country, an expert says. The bill on electronic information and transactions, when enacted into law, will regulate Indonesia's electronic and transaction systems, such as fund transfer, e-payment, electronic data interchange (EDI) transactions, e-mail transactions and credit card transactions. "The sooner the government and the House debate and approve the bill, the better, as credit card and transaction fraud are rampant in Indonesia as there is no cyber law at present," Budi Raharjo, the director for Industry & Information Technology Research & Development at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), told The Jakarta Post on Monday. There is no accurate data on credit card and transaction fraud recorded by the Jakarta Police. However, a report from the Indonesian Credit Card Association (AKKI) shows that credit card fraud caused a total loss of about Rp 60 billion (US$7.1 million) last year -- 50 percent higher than Rp 40 billion in 2002. Budi further said that with the presence of cyber law, businesspeople would be encouraged to start doing business through the Internet with the implementation of e-commerce. "Currently, many businesspeople are reluctant to do business online as they are afraid of fraudsters. The presence of cyber law will provide the legal certainty that businesspeople need to do their business online," he said. The Office of the State Minister of Communications and Information, along with Bank Indonesia, the National Police, the Attorney General's Office, technology experts and associations, completed the bill on electronic information and transactions, and delivered it to the State Secretary on April 8. The bill is now sitting at the State Secretariat, waiting for the approval of President Megawati Soekarnoputri. "Once the bill is approved, it will go to the House of Representatives for deliberation," said deputy assistant to the Office of the State Minister of Communications and Information, Yappi Manafe, as quoted by Antara. Yappi said that hopefully, the House would consider the bill crucial enough to include in its next sitting in May. If approved by the government and the House, the bill will be the first cyber law in the country. At present, there is a cyber crime division, set up in May last year, at the Jakarta Police. Yet, without a cyber law, it will be ineffective as police cannot do any more than just pressure suspected cyber fraudsters to sign a statement pledging to stop committing such crimes.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 04/13/2004

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BURMA: E-Procurement Project Formally Launched

With the directives of the e-National Task Force and cooperation of Myanmar ICT Development Corporation Ltd, the e-Government Pilot Projects such as e-Visa, e-Passport, Smart Card, Smart School and Certification Au thority are being implemented. Today, the e-Procurement programme was formally launched for 2004-2005 financial year at MICT Park, Hline Universities' Campus, here, this morning. Present were Chairman of the e-National Task Force Minister for Communications, Posts and Telegraphs Brig-Gen Thein Zaw, Deputy Minister for Mines U Myint Thein, Deputy Minister for Hotels and Tourism Brig-Gen Aye Myint Kyu, MICTDC Chairman e-Application Committee Chairman Brig-Gen Thein Swe, members of the e-National Task Force, departmental heads from departments and enterprises which will start to apply the e-Procurement Project and officials of local and foreign companies.

From http://www.myanmar.com/ 04/02/2004

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MALAYSIA: Closer Towards K-Society

The state government is adopting the open source system software to speed up the development of a knowledge-based society in Sarawak. Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam said there were two economic reasons for adopting the open source system as an alternative to the proprietary system in the state's information and communication technology agenda. "Its low cost and free distribution means that more people can afford ICT and this can help expand and extend the usage of ICT within the state and stimulate the development of the local ICT industry. "These two factors are critical in our drive to develop a k-society in Sarawak," he added at the launch of the Sarawak Open Source System programme at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak in Samarahan near here yesterday. Dr Chan, who is also state Information Technology and Resources Council chairman, said if the state was to impose strict software licensing controls, many would not be able to afford to own and use computers. He said although there were training and support costs involved in the open source system, these were generally lower than that of proprietary software. "What's important is that the source codes or programmes of open source systems are made available to the users. "Any individual or groups of individuals can therefore modify and customise the software. "As a result, the open source system can evolve very fast because of the huge number of people all around the world that collaboratively detect and fix problems, and develop new versions and functionalities of the software," he added. Dr Chan said the open source system gave users an avenue to promote a culture of developing software locally. He said it was important for schoolchildren to be exposed to the open source system and suggested cash prizes of RM10,000 be given as incentives to youths who developed software that could be used widely by others. Dr Chan also said the state would organise seminars, workshops and exhibitions to promote awareness and usage of the open source system. "We will implement an initiative for research and development to modify and customise selected open source systems for local use. "Initially, we may develop local user interfaces and utilities for some open source systems so that they can be used easily by more users," he added.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/12/2004

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ICT-Literate Society Needed

Malaysia needs a society with high literacy in information and communication technology for it to be transformed into a fully developed country in 2020, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman council chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik said. He said an ICT-literate society was needed to sustain a knowledge-based economy (k-economy) and to develop and enhance information or knowledge stock within the Malaysian society. "The new economy is about new engines of wealth creation balanced by social empowerment and sustainable development, and underpinned by the nurturing of a highly ICT-literate society. "We are looking at ICT as a strategic lever and an enabler of development to improve the global positioning of Malaysia," he said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Utar and Microsoft Malaysia here yesterday. Under the agreement, Microsoft will provide Utar with curriculum resources, training for lecturers, as well as arranging for Microsoft technology experts to be guest speakers at Utar. Ling said Malaysia's efforts towards a k-economy required two strategic propellers: technology as the enabler and people as the greatest resource - of which technology and knowledge would be a prerequisite, and a qualified and trained manpower resource the concomitant. He said the Utar-Microsoft collaboration was a step in the right direction at the right time. In her speech, Utar president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Dr Ng Lay Swee said the dawn of the ICT age would see the global economy developing into a k-economy, where competitiveness and efficiency would be driven by technology, skills and innovation. "In a k-economy, high technology and science-based industries will generate jobs requiring tertiary education," she said.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/12/2004

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Malaysian Cyberlaws Need to Keep Up

Despite being among the first countries in the world to introduce cyberlaws, Malaysia cannot afford to remain at a standstill. New developments in technology, products and services related to wireless content will keep raising new legal and regulatory issues, argued lawyer Wong Shiou Sien. Nor should it be left to the Government alone to drive ongoing change in this area, Wong said at the Third MSC International Cyberlaws Conference yesterday. Keeping up with technology, let alone its economic and social impact, would be difficult enough for the lawmaking and regulatory process. "Industry forums and consumer groups have a role to play in identifying the issues that affect mobile content" and coming up with solutions for them, she said. Wong cited statistics from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) which showed that from 1993 to 2003, the mobile phone penetration rate had grown from 1.7% to 41.3%. The growing importance of mobile phones as a medium for commerce and the rise of new technologies like MMS (multimedia messaging service) and 3G (third-generation cellular technology) would present new challenges to the existing legal environment. Wong noted that the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, established in 2001, had put together a Content Code which was now awaiting registration by the MCMC so that it could come into force. The Content Code was to provide a flexible, practical framework for self-regulation by content providers that could protect users while letting the providers "innovate and grow." But she also mentioned 11 other laws that could also be brought to bear on multimedia content: The Consumer Protection Act, Copyright Act, Defamation Act, Film Censorship Act, Indecent Advertisements Act, Internal Security Act, Penal Code, Printing Presses and Publications Act, Sedition Act, Trade Descriptions Act and Trade Marks Act. "This list is by no means exhaustive," she said. Application service providers and content application service providers were required under the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) to have licences, but there was an order that specifies which services were exempt from the licensing requirement. However, Wong said that it was not always a straightforward question whether a particular mobile-content provider should have a licence, or for that matter, which kind of licence. The wording of existing laws and regulations might turn out to be ambiguous in relation to new technologies and wireless applications; or a new technology might bring up a new area that required policy to be made. For instance, location-based services, which provide services to where a user is located -- such as traffic information, restaurants or post offices in his vicinity -- would raise a question as to what the service provider could do with information about a user's whereabouts. "Certain Malaysian laws may govern some aspects of location information and services," Wong said. "It is likely that the Personal Data Protection Act, when introduced, will regulate how location information is collected, used and processed." Some location-based services were available in Europe and the United States, but they had yet to be introduced in Malaysia, Wong noted. Another area of interest was spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail. Spam had grown in the last decade from a minor nuisance (created by lawyers advertising their services on a bulletin-board service) into a threat to the usefulness of e-mail itself, accounting for three-fifths of all e-mail received in the United States. After years of state-level attempts to regulate spam, the United States passed a law effective Jan 1, 2004 -- the CAN-SPAM Act -- that required commercial e-mailers to identify their e-mail messages as advertising; include valid return mail and e-mail addresses; and let recipients opt out of more unsolicited e-mail, Wong noted. But in Malaysia, she said there was a problem with the corresponding law. Section 233(b) of the CMA prohibited the initiation of communications using any applications service with the "intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass" any person. Most spam was intended to sell a product or service, or sometimes to defraud the recipient, but it was debatable whether it was intended to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass; and this, Wong said, might turn out to be a defence for spammers. She also said that with a lot of spam coming from outside the country, laws and regulations effective only in Malaysia would not be enough. Users should use spam filters, delete spam whenever they got it, and avoid websites that generated mailing lists. Service providers should enforce good content management and customer information protection policies. The public needed to be kept educated on their obligations in this regard, Wong said.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/04/2004

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Cybercrime: Business and The Law on Different Pages

Law enforcement agencies' focus on prosecuting and sentencing perpetrators of cybercrime is sometimes at odds with corporate victims' aim of ensuring business continuity, according to Universiti Teknologi Mara's Dr Zaitun Hanim. As such, this might affect cooperation between businesses and the law on dealing with cybercrime, she told the Third International MSC Cyberlaws Conference here. Part of the problem in enforcing the law was that the process of investigating and prosecuting crimes could be disruptive to the victim's business, causing harm even as it tried to remedy it. Another was that business-confidential information could be exposed in the course of the trial. And finally, even if the culprit were convicted, cybercrime laws made no provision for the victim to receive restitution for the damage suffered. "Apparently, companies value enforcing the law less than they do maintaining their business and profits, which is only human," she said. What companies preferred to do in the case of a damaging cyberattack was prevent future occurrences and minimise the harm done to their reputation, which could affect future business. To this end, their priorities were to fix their security problem, take internal disciplinary action against the wrongdoer if applicable, and resume normal business as soon as possible. Because of these considerations, businesses were reluctant to report cybercrimes. Dr Zaitun cited National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre (Niser) statistics that said only a minority of victims were willing to report cyberattacks against them, because of an unwillingness to go through a legal process out of which they would get little back. The result of the "under-reporting" was a lack of reliable information about cybercrimes, which hampered action against cybercriminals, which in turn reinforced the idea that there was little to be gained by reporting them to the authorities, she said. Dr Zaitun suggested that law enforcement bodies establish lines of communications with the private sector and find ways to ensure confidentiality of sensitive business information. Generally, she said, the authorities needed to be sensitive to business needs even while prosecuting crimes against those businesses.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/05/2004

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SINGAPORE: IDA Raises Wireless Bandwidth, Lowers Equipment Dealers' Licence Fee

The Infocomm Development Authority has increased the bandwidth for wireless local area networks and slashed annual licence fee for telecom equipment dealers. The increased bandwidth for wireless local area networks and low-powered walkie-talkies will give consumers a wider choice of telecom devices for wireless communications. The licence fee for dealers is now S$250 instead of S$400.That makes it about 30 percent lower than in Hong Kong. And it will mean total annual cost savings of about S$200,000 for the 1,350 dealers.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 02/03/200

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Singapore Government to Award S$700m in IT Contracts This Year

The Singapore government will award some S$700 million worth of IT contracts in 2004, with the bulk of these will come from the defence, education and home affairs ministries. An industry briefing on Wednesday was prompted by the private sector, which wanted to know the kind of IT projects the government will be farming out this year. So the Infocomm Development Authority decided to rope in the three big users - the defence, education and home affairs ministries - to share their buying plans with IT vendors. "We found out from experience that if we share our plans early, if not all of them are finalised, then both sides can come together and think of even better ideas than before," said IDA chief executive Tan Chin Yee. "If you have very little lead time then perhaps the solution is not the best that you could have gotten if we had a little more time to bounce ideas between the users who know their business needs and the IT vendors who know the latest solutions or other possibilities," she said. And judging by the strong turnout of more than 1,000 people, the Authority has certainly hit on a bright idea. The government will spend 70 percent of this year's budget on hardware and software products, and the other 30 percent on services such as consultancy and software development. It will also invest in IT infrastructure, infocomm security and business continuity planning. Participants say the briefing is useful as it gives them lead time to prepare their tenders and their resources, and to find the necessary partners to bid for projects. The IDA also says it will continue to help local firms which have delivered good IT solutions in Singapore to expand abroad. Companies that have benefitted include Stratech Systems and Ecquaria Technologies. "IDA, for example, has been particularly helpful in our efforts to break into China and in a short time we managed to clinch some major but relatively significant projects ... For example the white paper we did for transportation for the government of Shanghai," said Stratech Systems executive chairman David Chew. "We have success in Thailand; we have about three projects. Further afield, we have gone into Mexico, have implemented a project for the Mexican government," said Paul Leong, vice president of Ecquaria Technologies. Going forward, IDA plans to help more local companies venture abroad. These would be in sectors like e-government, finance and logistics. Details of the initiative will be released in April.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 02/04/2004

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Singapore Seeks Views on Proposed Amendments to Electronic Transactions Act

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) are conducting a general review of the Electronic Transactions Act.This review aims to keep Singapore's e-commerce legislation relevant and robust. Proposed revisions will fine-tune the ETA and align the ETA to international developments and on-going work by the E-Commerce Working Group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.IDA and AGC on Thursday issued a joint consultation paper on electronic contracting issues. This is the first stage in a three-stage public consultation exercise that will be carried out over the course of the year. The second stage will address exclusions from the ETA under section 4 and the third stage will focus on secure electronic signatures and certification authorities. The issuance of these joint consultation papers is part of on-going efforts to provide a platform for industry and members of the public to share their views, to take into account industry trends and developments.The Electronic Transactions Act (ETA) was enacted in July 1998 to create the legislative framework for electronic transactions in Singapore. The Act gives legal recognition, predictability and certainty to transactions on the Internet and facilitates electronic-commerce. It provides for the legal recognition and usage of electronic signatures and electronic records, and also covers the duties of certification authorities, duties of subscribers and the regulation of certification authorities.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 02/19/2004

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Singapore Government Mulls Anti-Spam Law

The Singapore government is considering making Internet spam messages illegal in a bid to curb the nuisance of unwanted e-mails flooding in-boxes, officials said. "We are reviewing several measures to curb e-mail spam, including legislation," a spokeswoman from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) told AFP. She said the industry watchdog was working with the three local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) -- SingNet, StarHub and Pacific Internet -- on viable measures against spammers and the results of the discussions would be shared with the public within the next few months. StarHub spokesman Michael Sim said legislation was an important step towards curbing spam e-mails. "We won't rule it out and we will continue to look at all available options but we think that more definitive legislation is the way forward to deter spammers in Singapore," he said. The battle against spam intensified this week when four of the largest ISPs in the United States -- Microsoft, Yahoo, America Online and Earthlink -- jointly filed six lawsuits against more than 100 suspected spam offenders. This is the first legal action since the Can-Spam Act took effect in January in the United States. The lawsuits, filed in the United States and Canada, took the lead from recording companies, which filed similar lawsuits against people who copied and shared music online. The lawsuits filed by the ISPs called for the spamming activities to be shut down and the offenders to pay damages that could amount to millions of dollars.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 03/12/2004

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THAILAND: Digital Divide: Help on the Way for Disabled Net Surfers

ICT Ministry to certify redesign of govt websites More than three million disabled Thais should soon be able to access information and government services through the Internet more easily. A recent government decree stated that all 283 websites run by government ministries and departments must be redesigned by the end of the year to meet universal accessibility standards. The design being proposed for use by the country's disabled is said to match the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standard. If consistent with the W3C standard, the websites will be certified by the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry, whose chief, Surapong Suebwonglee, said more helpful technology for the disabled was on the way. With e-government a growing trend around the world, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) is serving as a consultant to help government organisations redevelop their websites. The minister said that CDs featuring four programs - Daisy TAB Player, Daisy AMIS, Hand-Language for Technical Terms and Words and Keyboard on Screen - will be distributed free to disabled people nationwide. The campaign follows the government's policy of bridging the "digital divide" between able-bodied and disabled people in the use of ICT as a tool for acquiring knowledge. Surapong said his ministry was also working with the Science and Technology Ministry in researching and developing additional helpful technology, a sector that is expected to receive extra government funding by next year. "We will push much more policy and technology to reduce the digital divide between able-bodied and disabled people," he said. "In the past, we paid less attention to sharing ICT with the disabled. Many disabled people are intelligent, but they haven't had an equal chance to use ICT to acquire knowledge and information."

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/13/2004

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BANGLADESH: Move to Rationalise Mobile Phone Call Charges

A move to rationalise the mobile phone call charges in line with the fees charged by neighbouring countries has been initiated by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Post & Telecommunication. The Standing Committee yesterday at a meeting constituted a three-member sub-committee headed by Prof Kazi Golam Morshed, MP to examine these in consultations with the Bangladesh Telephone Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and the four mobile phone companies-Grameen Phone Ltd, City Cell, Sheba Telecom and Alcatel Company. Two other members of the sub-committee are-Syed Mehedi Ahmed Rumee and Abul Hossain Khan. After the meeting, standing committee chairman GM Fazlul Hoque, MP who presided over the meeting, told The New Nation that the sub-committee would recommend on how mobile phone call charges could be reduced to keep pace with those of neighbouring countries including India and Sri Lanka so that the mobile phone companies could not run their monopoly business and the people could get some relief by paying comparatively less call charges. The Chairman said, all the members of the committee were for reducing mobile phone call charges to protect the interests of the people. Informed sources said, although per minute call charge in India was only 40 paisa, and Tk 2.50 in Sri Lanka, most of the companies in Bangladesh charge till Tk 6.90 including VAT. Kazi Golam Morshed, Convenor of the newly formed sub-committee, said, "there was no country in the globe where mobile phone charges were excessive like ours." The sub-committee will fix a reduced call rates soon in line with those of the neighbouring countries," he added. Golam Morshed further said, the sub-committee would look into the reason the mobile phone companies' appeal to the government to remit the revenues amounting to crores of Taka. (by Rafiqul Islam Azad)

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 03/01/2004

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National Economic Council Okays 8 Projects

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Wednesday approved eight development projects with an outlay of Tk 12869 crore, including Tk 4240 crore in project aid. The approval was given at an ECNEC meeting held at the NEC auditorium with Prime Minister and NEC Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia in the chair, said an official release. The projects include Improved PIP of Health, Nutrition and Population Sector Project (HNPSP) under Health and Family Welfare Ministry, modernisation of nuclear treatment centres in Sylhet, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Dinajpur under Science and Information & Communication Technology Ministry, construction of a 150-megawatt combined cycle power station in Haripur and National Load Dispatch Centre, and improvement of power transmission system in 10 towns under Power Department. The projects also include establishment of international telecommunications system through submarine cable (revised), launching of 2.5 lakh T&T mobile phones (first phase, revised) under Telecommunications Ministry and construction of a new bridge over the Surma river and Amberkhan bypass (revised) under Communications Ministry. Finance and Planning Minister and Alternate Chairman of ECNEC M Saifur Rahman, LGRD Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, Health Minister Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Industries Minister Matiur Rahman Nizami, Communications Minister Barrister Nazmul Huda, Agriculture Minister MK Anwar, Post and Telecommunications Minister Barrister Aminul Haque, Education Minister Dr Osman Farruk, Science and Information & Communication Technology Minister Dr. Abdul Moyeen Khan, State Minister for Finance Anwarul Kabir Talukder and State Minister for Power Iqbal Hasan Mahmud attended the meeting. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Planning Secretary, members of the Planning Commission, secretaries of the concerned ministries and senior officials were present in the meeting. (by UNB, Dhaka)

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 03/17/2004

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BTTB Mobile Phones to Hit the Market by 2006 -BTTB Chairman Tells New Age

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board chairman Nurul Islam has said the BTTB mobile phone is expected to hit the market by 2006. "I hope implementation of the first phase of the 10 lakh mobile phone project will be started this year," the chairman said in an exclusive interview with New Age on Saturday. "Initially we will provide 2.5 lakh mobile phones to subscribers all over the country," said Islam. "This is my personal expectation; I hope the BTTB will be the leader in the mobile phone sector in Bangladesh. "We have got the best infrastructure in the country and the important thing is that it will not face the interconnection problem like other mobile operators in the country. "Bangladesh has the second lowest tele-density in the world and to increase tele-density we have to increase the number of telephone connections. "Our main goals are to provide better service to the general people of Bangladesh and to expand the network to the village level." Nurul Islam commented that Bangladesh should have been connected to the submarine cable earlier. "It is very unfortunate that Bangladesh does not have any submarine cable though its neighbouring countries have had it for a long time," Islam said. The chairman hoped that Bangladesh's decision to join a consortium of 16 parties of 14 countries to lay a transcontinental submarine cable line will bring tremendous changes in the telecom and information technology sector. The multiparty consortium will sign the agreement in Dubai on March 27. "The IT sector will get a big boost as the capacity of the submarine cable will be huge and will enable us to go for broadband facilities." Regarding telephone scarcity in the country, the chairman said that his organisation has taken up several projects to upgrade the telecom sector. "The BTTB has sixteen ongoing projects and another thirteen in the pipeline to mitigate telephone scarcity in the country." At present the total capacity of the BTTB all over the country is about 940,000 and total connections given up to January 31 is 780,000. The pending demand is for about 211,000. To solve the scarcity problem the BTTB has taken up a Tk 501-crore project for setting up 110,000 telephones (90,000 in Dhaka city alone) for Dhaka, Chittagong, Bogra and Khulna. Another project's budget is Tk 381 crore for setting up digital exchanges at 220 upazilas and growth centres. The BTTB also intends to set up one lakh and five thousand telephones at the cost of over Tk 336 crore in Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet with the assistance of the Korean government. Another project of five lakh telephones at six divisional cities and Bogra at the cost of Tk 2,082 crore is now being scrutinised by the Planning Commission. "We are committed to provide cheap call rates and have already reduced the rate to only Tk 7.5 per minute for calling ten overseas destinations." He categorically denied the BTTB's reported involvement in VoIP (voice over internet protocol) to terminate calls at the reduced rate. "We are using a special compressed technology to apply the reduced rate, instead of using the conventional International Trunk Exchange (ITX)," he said. Regarding the reduction of the nationwide call charge, Nurul Islam said that the BTTB has already sent a proposal to reduce the NWD call charge as well as overseas call charge. Referring to private sector investment in fixed line telephony, Nurul Islam said, "We welcome the private companies, and we are ready to work in a competitive environment." He also said that the BTTB has launched a project to modernise its billing system by automating the system.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 03/23/2004

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Link with Submarine Cable by July

Post and Telecommunications Minister Barrister Aminul Haq on Saturday said Bangladesh would be linked with an international submarine cable by July next year. "It will put Bangladesh onto the information super highway and bring a boom in the country's ICT sector," he said addressing a scholarship awarding ceremony at Hotel Sheraton. Three Bangladeshi students got the award provided by Telecom Malaysia International Bangladesh, the operator of AKTel cellphone. The winners of the award, two boys and a girl, will be studying in Multi Media University in Malaysia. The TMIB-AKTel scholarship propgramme was introduced in 1998 to provide opportunities for the meritorious but financially insolvent students of Bangladesh to undergo graduate studies in the renowned university in Malaysia. Under this programme every year TMIB offers scholarships to three Bangladeshi students for enrolment in bachelor courses in Engineering Information Technology and Business Administration. A total of fourteen Bangladeshi students have so far been awarded scholarships under the programme. TMIB introduced the scholarships as a part of its Corporate Citizenship Programme to help develop human resources and thereby create a knowledge-based society in Bangladesh. One of the cardinal aspects of the scholarship programme is to offer the recipients employment opportunities with TM International (Bangladesh) Ltd, upon successful completion of their studies and thus help the society to contain "brain drain". Three of the scholarship recipients on completion of their studies have now been employed in TMIB. (by UNB, Dhaka)

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 04/17/2004

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JS Body to Probe High Tariffs of Cellphone - BTTB Asked to Maintain Schedule

A parliamentary sub-committee will investigate the matter of high tariff of mobile phones in the country. The committee will find out why the private mobile operators here are charging much higher tariff than that of the operators in neighbouring India, Pakistan and other countries. The three-member committee, headed by Kazi Golam Morshed MP, will submit its findings within two months. The other members of the committee are Syed Mehdi Ahmed Rumi MP and Abul Hossain Khan MP. The Standing Committee on the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications at its meeting on Wednesday approved the sub-committee, which was formed in its previous meeting. There is a widespread allegation against the existing four private mobile operators - Grameen Phone, Aktel, CityCell and the Sheba - that they are charging much higher tariff in comparison with the tariff structure of the operators in neighbouring countries. In India, per minute call charge of mobile phone is Tk 0.65 on an average while per minute call charge in Bangladesh is more than Tk 4.0. Users of mobile phones have been blaming the private operators for such exaggerated charge. They are saying the operators are doing brisk business in a syndicated arrangement. On the other, the mobile operators shift the blame on the shoulder of the government for its high tax regime that they have to abide by. They say the high tax regime forced them to set a high tariff structure. Head of the sub-committee Kazi Golam Morshed said they would start investigation soon to unearth the fact behind the higher tariff. After completion of the investigation, the committee would prepare its recommendations for the government to lower the tariff. Chairman of the Standing Committee GM Fazlul Haque MP said his committee would also verify the matter whether Grameen Phone has given the BTTB-accessibility to its 1,00,000 mobile-to-mobile phone connections given earlier or it has given the same to new connections under new packages. "If we find the company has given the BTTB-accessibility to new connections instead of the old ones, the committee would definitely recommend action against the company," he said. GM Fazlul Haque said the members of the committee discussed the mobile phone project of the BTTB and asked the authorities concerned to make sure that the phone would come in the market by December this year. Sources said member of the standing committee Abul Hossain Khan threatened to walk out from the meeting protesting a decision that the proposed BTTB mobile phone would not cover the Barisal region. But he withdrew the threat as Telecommunications Minister Barrister Aminul Haque assured him that the region would be brought under the mobile phone coverage. UNB adds: BTTB cellphone project will have a network up to villages of the country with lower call charges compared to other mobile phone providers, the minister said. The minister reiterated that people would get the BTTB mobile phones by the year-end and said the incoming calls would be free. "It will be turned into an independent public limited company within 6 months of its launching to ensure quick service," he said. The meeting directed the Parliament Secretariat to take steps for providing fax, Internet and email connections to the offices of chairmen of different parliamentary standing committees and the rooms of MP Hostel in consultation with BTTB. The meeting was told that the process to set up GPOs and offices of Post Master General in Sylhet and Barisal division was underway. It directed the authorities concerned to take necessary steps for quick implementation of the projects. The meeting felt the necessity of having government control over courier service and there should have a policy to run it smoothly.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 04/22/2004

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BHUTAN: Comprehensive ICT Policy Needed

Thimphu - Lack of a development focus and the absence of a concerted effort to invest were some of the stumbling blocks for Information Communication Technology (ICT) development in Bhutan, according to the Bhutan ICT strategy and action plans (BIPS) consultative workshop held in Thimphu yesterday. The draft situation analysis and strategic plans prepared for BIPS by special committees agreed that telecommunications services at present were relatively expensive for the average Bhutanese, and most Bhutanese were still not aware of the benefits of ICT. "Lack of proper coordination, absence of a comprehensive ICT policy and a strong regulatory body had always hindered the ICT programmes in Bhutan," said Yeshey of the policy and planning department of the ministry of information and communications (MoIC). The committees acknowledged that strong digital telecommunications infrastructure was already in place and Bhutan had adopted various important legal frameworks for the development of ICT. A new ICT and Media Act is to be endorsed by the National Assembly this year. Lack of financing schemes, high local cost and a weak role played by the government in facilitating ICT sector were some of the weaknesses in developing ICT in the private sector. Bhutan also lacked standard ICT curricula and most IT job seekers were Class X or XII students with a few months of computer training according to the committees. Bhutan was also being threatened by double digital divide: internal and external. Most urban areas were more privileged. The urban teledensity was about 15 percent compared to one percent in rural areas. Voice telephony and internet services were available in only 78 of the 201 geogs. Of the 12 Internet cafes seven were in Thimphu and BBS TV was operational only in Thimphu. "As much as we want the government to be transparent, accountable and responsive to people to that extent we have to have a strong ICT strategy and frame work in the country," said the information and communications minister, Lyonpo Leki Dorji, who chaired the workshop. The draft BIPS will be put forth for discussion and endorsement in the coming session of National Assembly. For a country where more than 70 percent of about 700,000 people are still farming, where the first computer was installed as late as in 1984, ICT is a race against time. But the race has begun. (by Gopilal Acharya)

From http://www.kuenselonline.com/ 04/17/2004

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INDIA: Paradigm Shift in IT Laws' Recognition

CHANDIGARH - Do uni-dimensional laws of the physical world significant in the virtual world? Well, the acceptance of symbols like @ (at the rate of), .(dot), www (worldwide web), .org (domain) and the digital signature in day to day functions denotes a paradigm shift in the recognition of the information technology laws operating through the man-machine interface leading into the cyber world, say experts. "See, a computer today is not merely a computing equipment, it actually is a powerful tool in cyber space. Power of one computer in the wired world is the power of all the connected computers," said Vakul Sharma, a Supreme Court lawyer and an expert in cyber laws while talking to Times News Network. Explaining his point, Sharma said that the digital signature was becoming the functional equivalent of the handwritten signature. This shows the expansion of the web world, where technology drives business models, he said. "Cyber space takes the place of the geographical space, citizens become netizens and the tangible becomes intangible when instead of buying a music CD you download music from the net," he added. "How can the law lag behind?" asks Sharma. Quoting Nicholas Negroponte who said - Moving bits is cheaper than moving atoms- Sharma said that the cyber world is not a mere xerox of the physical world. "It is a whole new world expanding before us which we cannot ignore," he said. Supporting his views, Dr KK Bajaj, Deputy Controller of Certifying Authority said that the main purpose of the IT Act 2000 was to establish trust in the electronic environment. Explaining the difference between a digital signature and a hand written one he said that in the digital document there is no duplicate. "Every thing is original," he said. Dr Bajaj said that digital signature is created through cryptography and works through the public key infrastructure (PKI) based on asymmetric keys. "The public key is used to sign digitally while the private key is used to verify the identity of the user," informed Bajaj. (Amit Agnihotri)

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/03/2004

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Don't Regulate Cable Rates

MUMBAI - Star and Zee have criticised Trai's plan to regulate cable subscription prices for three years. Addressing showbiz leaders at Ficci-Frames event, Star TV CEO Michelle Guthrie said market-led development is the global model for Pay TV growth. Zee Telefilms chairman Subhash Chandra said there was no need to regulate cable TV industry. Guthrie sent a message that Star would not like Trai to fix cable TV prices, mandate deployment of set-top boxes and allow broadcasters to sell channels in bouquet instead of enabling subscribers' to pick channels of their choice. "Dangers of fixed rates is that it will stifle growth and result in less choice for subscribers... And it must be behind any ambitious platform be it cable, DTH or broadband." Price caps give very little incentive for players to invest in the industry," added Guthrie, explaining that Star TV invests $200,000 a day on original Hindi programming for Indian market. Chandra is bullish on Indian entertainment industry, but not on cable TV regulation. He said competition from broadband and DTH will force the cable TV industry to upgrade and go digital. Chalking out a roadmap for Reliance Infocomm's digital entertainment strategy - to be unveiled over the next one year - Mukash Ambani said it will create a broadband bharat. "We are out to connect millions of Indians from villages and towns to each other and the world in a seamless manner." In broadband era, Ambani said cable operators will benefit from delivering signals to provide a whole range of digital services rather than being collection agencies. He also visualised a scenario that prime time will be replaced by premium content.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/18/2004

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MALDIVES: Telecommunications Authority of Maldives to Provide License to Island Communities to Set Up Telephone Networks

MALE - telecommunications Authority of Maldives will start providing licenses next month to island communities to set up and operate on their own telephone networks in islands where such exchange has not presently been installed by Dhiraagu, the telecommunications Authority of Maldives said. Chief Executive Mohamed Amir told Haveeru recently that they have studied proposals submitted by island communities of Lhaviyani atoll Naifaru and Hinnavaru islands, and Raa atoll Alifushi. telecommunications Authority of Maldives will try to accommodate as many island communities as possible with regard to availability of space on Dhiraagu's telephone exchange, Amir said. "This is a pilot project. If this turns out to be a positive experience, we will open opportunity for other island communities as well," Amir said.

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 03/09/2004

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NEPAL: SAP- Nepal Says Information Key to Development

KATHMANDU - The executive director of South Asian Partnership (SAP-Nepal) Dr. Rohit Kumar Nepali has said that effective and sustainable information access is key to development process. Speaking at the Open Development Strategic Directions Meeting in the capital Friday, Dr. Rohit said, "There is a need to identify present needs and develop the strategies to meet the demands of people." He further stressed the need to maintain transparency and openness while sharing information amongst the development participants. Speaking during the same meeting, Michael Roberts, International Secretariat of Bellanet, Canada threw light on the open development concept. Roberts elaborated the three tools of Open Development - Open Source, Open Content and Open Standards - for effective information dissemination. "The integration of these tools help to bridge the gap of digital-divide," added Roberts.

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 02/06/2004

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Govt to Expand Telecenters

KATHMANDU - As an effort to link remote parts of the country with telephone service and Internet facilities, the government is soon expanding telecenters in three more districts. Only five districts currently have effective telecenters. A senior government official Thursday told Kantipur Online that Darchula, Manag and Mustang are selected as the priority districts for the telecenter project by the end of another two months. Out of three districts, Manag will get four telecenters soon. "Our technical team has recently carried out a survey in Mustang to set up telecenters," said Atma Ram Ghimire, Member-Secretary at the High Level Commission Information Technology. "As the district matched the requirements, we will soon begin operating the telecenters there." A joint-team of the commission, Worldlink and Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) had recently visited Mustang for the assessment to set up telecenters. Out of proposed five areas; the team has approved four areas of Mustang - Marpha, Tukuche, Kobang and Jomsom - as appropriate places for setting up of the telecenters. Only Kawasoti was disqualified for setting up of the telecenter. The telecenter expansion comes as a part of the government's policy to set at least 1,500 telecenters throughout the country by the end of Tenth Five-Year Plan. One year down the line, the government, however, has succeeded to establish only seven such telecenters despite its aim to have 15 such centers under pilot project program. The telecenter, as per the original concept, will provide telephony and internet access, plus specialized local content that would minimize digital gap between places eventually helping in the ultimate objective of reducing poverty information and communication technology (ICT) throughout the country. Ghimire also informed that the commission and the District Development Committee of Mustang would be signing an agreement within this week to establish telecenters in the district. "After being set up, the DDC will be responsible for the operation and the management of the telecenters," he added. Till now, seven telecenters are currently operating in various remote parts of Sunsari, Parvat, Kathmandu, Chitwan and Sunsari. While Parvat has three such centers, each other district has a single such facility. However, only two centers - Katuwa Chaupari of Parvat and Sakhu of Kathmandu have Internet facility along with telephony communications. Meanwhile, another senior government official informed that the plan to expand more telecenters in other region of the country has badly effected by the Maoists' insurgency. "We would have set up few more centers had there not been insurgency," he added. However, some centers are being connected "offline" with newspapers and magazines, as they have not been linked with telephony connection.

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

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PAKISTAN: Two Companies Get Cell Phone Licences

ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) gave two companies cellular phone licences on Wednesday. Space Telecom, Pakistan, and Telenor Mobile Communications, Norway, got the licences for offering the highest bid of $291 million each in an open bidding. Telenor, second after the bidding, agreed to match the bid of Space Telecom to get the second licence. The licences, valid for 15 years, would be renewed after this period. Nine parties, which deposited $10 million as earnest money, were qualified to cast their bids in sealed envelopes in a transparent box placed at the venue of the bidding. Renowned personalities from the audience representing various walks of life were requested to open and announced the sealed bids. Five parties - Telenor, Space Telecom, along with Warid Telecom, Fauji Foundation, and World Call Communication - were qualified for the second round of bidding, which was conducted through open cry. Chairman PTA Major-General (retd) Shahzada Alam Malik congratulated the winning parties and reiterated the authority's support and cooperation for their business. He thanked President General Pervez Musharraf and the Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali for giving complete independence and liberty to PTA to play its due role as a telecom regulator. He said the induction of new companies would result in bringing huge investment as the mobile sector could absorb more than one billion dollars within next two to three years. The two new companies would have to invest $500 million dollars within two to three years to establish their infrastructure. The companies are expected to operate their business within six months of the issuance of the licences, Malik added. He termed the bidding as a historic occasion for the telecom sector and a great achievement for the country. He said the PTA is discussing with the government relief to consumers by reducing activation charges and abolition of shifting charges from one system to another. He said that availability of six mobile phone companies would give more choices to consumers, introduce competition, help reduce mobile phone tariff and generate employment opportunities. Reuters adds: "We have an ambition of making strong operations in Pakistan," Arve Johansen, chief executive of Telenor, told reporters after the bidding ended. In a statement issued in Norway's capital Oslo, Telenor said 50 percent of the licence fee would be paid in the first year and the balance over a 10-year period. "Based on the positive economic development in Pakistan and the low mobile penetration in the country, high growth within the mobile segment is expected in coming years," it added. A beaming Chief Executive Officer of Space Telecom, Abid Ali Butt, told reporters the company had plans to invest up to $500 million in the country in the next "year or two" and Syriatel, a Syrian cellphone company, would be the operators in Pakistan. Telenor's sealed bid was the highest at $161 million, but Space Telecom topped the three-hour open outcry session with an offer of $291 million which was matched by Telenor. The price was well above analysts' expectations. "We were expecting $150 million to $170 million (for each licence)," said Arshad Arif, head of research at KASB brokerage house in Karachi. A second analyst had forecast a winning bid of around $100 million. Pakistan, which currently has four cellular phone operators, received applications from 33 international and domestic telecoms firms to operate the two new nationwide cellular phone services. The existing market is dominated by Mobilink, run by Egypt-based regional mobile telephone operator Orascom Telecom. Mobilink has more than two million customers. The other three operators are Ufone, a 100-percent subsidiary of state-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Co, Paktel and Instaphone - both majority-owned by Sweden's Millicom International Cellular. Officials at the auction said existing licence holders would have to pay $291 million to renew their licences when they expire. The licences of Paktel and Instaphone are due to expire next year. (by Muhammad Anis)

From http://jang.com.pk/ 04/15/2004

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AUSTRALIA: Action Course on Open Source

NSW commerce and IT minister John Della Bosca will use a policy and administrative bulldozer, rather than legislation, to create a "level playing field" for adopting open source software within his government. In any government tender process where an evaluation of an open source versus proprietary solution produced "roughly the same" results, better industry development returns to the state dictated the business should go the open source package, he said. Mr Della Bosca said yesterday that he expected to formalise an open source procurement policy by the end of the year, after pilot projects in four state agencies had been completed. He said government procurement practices may be skewed in favour of proprietary providers because proprietary software was so deeply entrenched. Mr Della Bosca flagged the state's open source interest at an IT forum on the industry's $14.4 billion trade deficit organised by federal Opposition technology spokeswoman Kate Lundy and held in conjunction with the ALP conference. Like Senator Lundy, he said the main advantage of using open source versus proprietary software was that it gave better opportunities to local industry. And if government could get better industry development outcomes by buying open source rather than proprietary software without adversely affecting services, it was a policy worth adopting. When the pilots were complete, the commerce department would conduct audits to calculate total cost of ownership of each open source solution against the entrenched proprietary system. Details of the pilots have been kept under wraps by government, although it is known two agencies are testing alternate open source desktop environments and two are using open source for mission critical back-office transaction services. It is understood the Department of Health and the Road and Traffic Authority are two of the agencies. Microsoft managing director Steve Vamos questioned whether the use of open source delivered better industry development outcomes to local business. "The commercial software industry has a proven record of creating and sustaining thousands of jobs for Australians," Mr Vamos said. "It is still to be seen and fully understood how a non-commercial and community-based software development model translates into new jobs and more jobs for Australians." Mr Della Bosca said legislation to encourage the adoption of open source would be too heavy handed, and would not give government officers enough flexibility. "We'd have to be pretty careful about (introducing legislation), because you really want to be able to pick horses for courses," he said. Although the Government won't legislate or mandate its use, Mr Della Bosca said it could require departments to market test an open source against a proprietary system to ensure it was evaluated. "If there are changes to be made, I think they are better made as matters of policy, rather than legislation," Mr Della Bosca said. "We wouldn't normally take a legislative approach to a procurement issue."

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/03/2004

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New Act to Combat Passport Fraud

THE introduction of biometric passports will be accompanied by tougher penalties for fraud and greater government control over the travel of suspected paedophiles. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer today released a proposed new Passport Act, to replace one originally enacted in 1938, that will go to parliament after more consultations. It coincides with a new high-tech passport, which incorporates biometric facial technology to make identification at border posts more certain, which the government is expected to introduce later this year. Mr Downer said the changes would improve passport security and make identity fraud more difficult. Identity fraud cost Australia more than $1 billion a year and increased security risks. Mr Downer said the new laws would give the Foreign Affairs Minister greater powers to deny or confiscate passports when the government believed they'd be used to cause harm overseas - whether through child sex, people smuggling, drug trafficking or terrorism. The greater powers would be developed in consultation with civil liberties and privacy groups and there would be provisions for appeal. Mr Downer said maximum penalties for passport fraud would be raised from a $5,000 fine or two years jail to $110,000 or 10 years. He said the old penalties did not deter identity fraud. Mr Downer said more than 32,000 Australian passports were lost or stolen in 2002-03, representing a significant risk of criminal misuse. The old laws didn't sufficiently emphasise the importance of passport security and serial losers would now be punished. People who lost more than two passports could be charged increased fees or given a document of limited validity or both. Mr Downer said there was not enough clarity over issuing passports to children. The new laws would require the consent of both parents, when both were available, before a child under 16 was given a passport. If the parents disagreed, the matter would go to the Family Court. That would reduce the risk of a non-custodial parent defying a Family Court order and abducting a child. (by Don Woolford)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/17/2004

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Govt to Make Interception Easier

THE federal Government today moved to give greater powers to spy agencies to intercept people's emails. The Telecommunications (Interception) Amendment Bill 2004 also allows warrants to be sought in connection with the investigation of a wider range of serious offences, including terrorism. The bill, if passed by parliament, will allow recording of calls to ASIO public lines. It will also amend the definition of interception to ensure that the protections conferred by the Interception Act keep up with technological developments. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said as a result of recent advances in technology many communications passing over the telecommunications system now take the form of written words or images, not covered by current legislation. "The bill will allow the definition of interception to include reading and viewing, as well as listening to and recording, a communication in its passage over the telecommunications system," he told parliament. "The amendment will ensure that the protections afforded by the Act extend to all forms of communication passing over the Australian telecommunications system." Other amendments allow for agencies to obtain warrants to assist in investigating terrorism offences involving firearms and state and territory cybercrime. Debate on the bill was adjourned to a later time.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/19/2004

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Spam Laws Loom for Businesses

REGULAR senders of mass unsolicited commercial email, or spam, have been put on notice ahead of new laws to help curb the rise in the annoying and costly trend. The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) said today it had significant spammers in its sights, just six weeks before the country's first laws targeting unsolicited electronic messages come into effect. Under the new legislation, fines could be as high as $1.1 million a day for a continuing offence. "We certainly have some information about the reportedly significant (offenders) and we will certainly be working to help get them in line," the ACA's John Haydon said today. Mr Haydon said the Spam Act 2003 would help prevent unsolicited emails, as well as unwanted SMS and MMS messaging to mobile phones, an increasing trend. "Recent estimates put the cost (of spam) at somewhere between $1,000 and $1,400 a year per employee," Mr Haydon told reporters. "The industry is the one that mostly suffers. Individuals suffer a great deal of inconvenience, but businesses whose employees are obliged to delete the spam ... are the ones who suffer." Communications Minister Daryl Williams said businesses with good practices would not have to do much to meet the requirements of the new laws. Although the new laws prohibited the sending of spam by Australian companies, and the sending of spam to Australia, Mr Williams said spam was a global problem. "Legislation alone will not stem the tide of spam," he said. "There needs to be a multi-layered approach. We need to be looking at other means of dealing with the issue, particularly from overseas sources." Mr Williams encouraged Australian businesses to consult The Spam Act 2003: A Practical Guide for Business to learn what is required when the legislation comes into effect on April 10.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/27/2004

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Canberra Buries Censorship Detail

THE Federal Government has stopped issuing reports on the number of websites it has censored, as it considers a review of censorship laws begun almost two years ago. Despite a Senate motion passed in September 1999 calling on the Communications Minister to issue six-monthly reports on any action based on internet censorship laws introduced in January 2000, no figures have been issued since the July-December 2001 report. A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Daryl Williams said subsequent reports, prepared by the Australian Broadcasting Authority, would not be issued until the Government had considered a review of the censorship regime. The review was ordered by former communications minister Senator Richard Alston in May 2002. "A number of issues, such as the provision of internet content on mobile phones, have been raised late in the review process and the Government has sought to fully consider these before finalising the report," the spokeswoman said. The pattern of activity showed little change from previous periods, she said. About 201 complaints had been received in the first six months after the laws were introduced, peaking at 290 in the following six months and falling to 215 and 231 in the two most recent reports. A minority of complaints investigated - 34 of 199 in July-December 2001 - were for content hosted in Australia. The minister's spokeswoman said the report would be made public "following government consideration". The Federal Government has shied away from revealing which internet content has been censored since the laws were introduced. After online civil rights group Electronic Frontiers Australia made requests under Freedom of Information law to view the data, the Government introduced legislation, which was passed in September, to exempt such information from FOI laws. EFA executive director Irene Graham said it was "extremely concerning" that Australians could not even find out the number of internet content complaints made and investigated. "This further shows the whole regime is operating in a completely unaccountable manner," she said. "Taxpayers' money is being spent on this, and for what benefit?" (by Kate Mackenzie)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/09/2004

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E-commerce Patent Can Now Be Enforced

An e-commerce patent, that received plenty of media coverage in Australia last year, has been granted and Australia's commissioner of patents and registrar of designs, Fatima Beattie, says that it can be enforced any time the owner wishes to do so. However, the person who brought it to the attention of the media, Matthew Tutaki, says that there is little chance of the patent being enforced in Australia after a speech by Senator John Tierney to the Senate in August last year. The speech outlined the right to review and the right of the Federal Government to protect Australian business in the face of anything considered predatory trade practices. The man who sought the patent, Ed Pool of D.E. Technologies, a company based in Canada, said: "The Australian patent office sealed and issued Australian No. 758864 concluding that not only is the technology meritus of a patent award but the ownership of the invention is conveyed." He did not indicate whether he was going to try and enforce the patent any time soon. As granted in the US, the patent is for "an international transaction system for operation over the internet/intranet provides a pre-transactional calculation of all charges involved in any international transaction" and the inventors are listed as Pool and Doug Mauer, both of the US.Tutaki noticed that a patent for such an invention had been granted in New Zealand last year and then found out that one was on the verge of being granted in Australia. He sought an extension but did not file an objection in time, according to Ms Beattie. However, Tutaki remains sanguine that the patent will not be enforced. "There is no gurantee, however, actions speak louder than words and if they make any such attempt, they will be hauled before the appropriate authorities and dealt with," he said. "DE Technologies, according to our sources and information, have failed upon appeal in the European Courts - with that in mind a test case here would prove, and quickly, that prior art had been established in that case and therefore the patent would be defeated here. "We decided to await any action that would be taken by D.E. Technologies before mounting the legal challenge - mainly it was cheaper to follow this process than the other." Tutaki said: "I believe that D.E. Technologies will not attempt to enforce any patent in Australia and that if they do the full weight of the Australian Government and our laws will be bought to bear upon them." (by Sam Varghese)

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 03/10/2004

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New Laws for Web Predators

PEOPLE who lure children by contacting them online or who view child porn on the internet could face up to 15 years in jail under tough new laws flagged by the federal Government. Under the draft laws released for public discussion yesterday, accessing, transmitting or making child pornography available on the internet would lead to 10-year jail sentences. And using the internet to procure children for sex would attract a term of up to 15 years. Justice and Customs Minister Chris Ellison said he hoped the laws would be passed by June. It would also be illegal to use the internet to advocate or incite violent protests. Modifying unique identity numbers found in mobile phones - to make calls involved in illegal activity untraceable - would be also outlawed. Australia presently has no uniform national laws dealing with internet crimes against children. Senator Ellison said the draft laws were unusually tough, and demonstrated how serious the Government was about stopping pedophiles before they meet children. "These are offences which surround the act of pedophilia," he said. (by Patricia Karvelas)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/15/2004

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NEW ZEALAND: New Start for Government Legislation Online Project

The stalled project to put Government legislation on the web could be rebooted. The project to came to a halt in May last year, when the Parliamentary Counsel Office fell out with system integrator Unisys over "scope creep" and technical glitches. The Cabinet demanded that the project, which includes a complete overhaul of the software the office uses to write legislation and prepare it for publication, should cost no more than $8.17 million. Almost all of that has been spent already. Timothy Arnold-Moore from Melbourne company InQuirion, which was chosen by international tender to do a technical review of the project, said it had some problems, but they were fixable. The biggest problem appeared to be the print rendering engine, which takes the XML (extensible markup language) created by the Arbortext Epic text editor and turns it into the formats required for reproduction in print or on the web site. InQuirion was subsequently asked to research alternatives to the Arbortext Print Composer engine chosen by Unisys. Arnold-Moore said his recommendation should be ready "soon". Arbortext's new print engine, Enterprise E-Content Engine, is among the options being considered. Other XML publishing solutions used by governments around the world include Advent 3b2, Xyvision, RenderX from Germany and the FOP open source tool. "Some jurisdictions use Word, including Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania," Arnold-Moore said. The cost of the engine ranges from free to about $200,000, so "if they have to switch, it will not blow the budget". He said New Zealand had unique problems with change tracking, because of the degree of detail shown on consolidated bills. "Other jurisdictions don't do nearly as much, and that is to do with the select committee process. "New Zealand is much more transparent in that process so the requirements for change tracking are much higher." Arnold-Moore dismissed suggestions the Parliamentary Counsel Office was being overly cautious. "I have worked with a number of PCOs, some reasonable, some not so reasonable, and New Zealand is not unreasonable in comparison," he said. "These are the most important documents in the land, and it is quite appropriate to deal with them in a cautious fashion." Arnold-Moore said the way the on-line legislation solution was chosen was appropriate. "On the information they had at the time, they were not poor choices." Deputy Chief Parliamentary Counsel Geoff Lawn said the office was talking to Unisys about how the project could be completed. Unisys refused to comment. The office has extended its arrangement with legal publisher Brookers to make legislation available at www.legislation.govt.nz Bills can be seen on www.knowledge-basket.co.nz (by Adam Gifford)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/17/2004

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Govt Forces Web Rules

Most government websites will have to be changed to meet new design rules, creating a potential bonanza for web developers. The Government has set a January 1, 2006 deadline for websites to meet the New Zealand Government Web Guidelines version 2.1, though it has not assessed how much this may cost. A cabinet paper written by State Services Minister Trevor Mallard says that people who have disabilities, live in the wrong place, or can't afford the latest technology face difficulties accessing government websites. The guidelines aim to ensure websites work on old PCs with Internet connections as slow as 9.6kbps, use the Maori language consistently and take account of disabilities. The deadline applies to the websites of all public service departments, including Police, Defence, the Parliamentary Counsel Office and the Security Intelligence Service. They will self-audit their compliance. The guidelines, which were first introduced in December 2002, remain voluntary for state-owned enterprises and local government. The cabinet paper says the cost is expected to be met within departments' existing website maintenance budgets. The Economic Development Ministry has expressed concern over the deadline, cost, and applicability of the guidelines to its "transactional" websites, such as the Companies Office website, and asked for its objections to be put in writing. The paper says some agencies want to wait tilltill their existing website investments pay off before redeveloping them. Some claim their target audiences can access non-compliant websites, or that the guidelines are too expensive to be worth implementing. Some agencies are reliant on website developers who are ignorant of the guidelines or disagree with them, the paper says. Mr Mallard says none of these arguments "provide adequate reason for agencies to deny New Zealanders their right of access to government information and services". However, there will be a process for temporary exemptions. The IT industry has mixed feelings about mandating the guidelines. Mason Pratt, managing director of Wellington Web developer Provoke Solutions, says the Government should have surveyed departments first to find out how much work would be needed. He says the work in making old systems compliant will be huge and older websites will need rebuilding. The guidelines target the "lowest common denominator". IT services and Web development firm Intergen supports the guidelines, which it says represent "best practice" and allow access to the public no matter how "bad their PC or how crummy their browser". Intergen graphic designer Jill Ross, estimates 20 per cent of government sites will have to be completely reengineered, while a further 50 per cent will have to be tweaked. Intergen creative director Eamon O'Rourke says because of the pace of technological change the latter portion will be under review in the next two years anyway and changes may be able to be made within regular budgets. While the guidelines remain voluntary, it is possible to "meet the intent rather than the letter" of the specifications, he says. The guidelines say webpages must work if a browser doesn't support scripting languages such as JavaScript. Ms Ross says this could be an issue for transactional sites. Provoke's Mr Pratt says JavaScript is powerful and can add to an offering. He says not all government websites have to reach a broad public and there should be the flexibility to use such technology in certain circumstances. "If we can't then we are limiting our ability to provide maximum value to customers." Any website document that is in the popular PDF format will have to be available in HTML code as well. Mr Pratt says this is "narrow-sighted", and will increase publishing cost without necessarily creating extra benefits given that PDFs are easy to create and upload. Government departments will be forced to adopt content management systems or increase their internal Web development skills. Mr O'Rourke says some government departments have a multitude of small websites and the logical move will be to put in a content management system driven by templates. The State Services Commission's manager of moderation and Web standards, Mark Harris, says he does not see why a text document needs to be in a special format other than HTML. The guidelines provide some exceptions for existing documents where an HTML conversion would be pointless or unacceptable for legal reasons. (by Richard Wood)

From http://www.stuff.co.nzl 02/23/2004

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AFGHANISTAN: First Public Appearance by Women at Khost Radio Station Opening

The opening of a new independent radio station in the southern Afghan city of Khost has heralded the first known participation by women in a public event in the city since 1992. Ten women from the local office of the Ministry of Women's Affairs attended the opening of Radio Sulh-e Paygham (The Message of Peace), one of 13 independent stations launched in Afghanistan under an Internews project funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID). "This is the first participation by women in a public event since the fall of the Najib government," said station manager Zahid Shah Angar, who was born and lives in the city. "We are very happy that our radio station will serve all sections of the local community." Khost lies in Afghanistan's deeply conservative south east, and Osama bin Laden built training camps for the al-Qaeda's network near the city. The area is still plagued by tribal conflicts and few women leave their homes. The current Internews project aims not only to build 14 independent community radio stations but also provide radio programming and manage other central support services which will give the stations a reasonable chance of long-term viability. Radio Sulh-e Paygham, which began broadcasting February 25 on 88.2 MHz FM, will reach at least 59,000 residents of Khost and the surrounding districts in 224 km2. The station is broadcasting both in-house programming and material from the Tanin Network five hours a day and will expand soon. Residents will now have access to a unique local source of entertainment and news, vital in Afghanistan's first election year. The 14 stations now have an estimated signal reach of about five million people.

From http://www.internews.org/ 03/29/2004

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CHINA: Internet Helps Public Affairs Decision-Making

Having become a popular personal communication tool in China, the Internet is gradually entering the country's public affairs decision-making. In Shenzhen, the local legislature recently issued a circular on shenzhen.net.cn, asking citizens to contribute suggestions for its legislative work in 2004. In Beijing, the municipal government has posted a notice on Beijing.gov.cn, soliciting public views on 56 major public undertakings planned for 2004. Nationwide, cases of the government using the Internet to communicate with the public have been increasing rapidly. "Thanks to the Internet, the degree of public participation in China's public affairs has reached an unprecedented level," said Zhou Sheng, a university teacher in Beijing. The government has been vigorously promoting this trend with the launch of two projects, one for building a transparent government and another for building an e-government. The first project requires government agencies across the country to make public important issues, including fiscal revenue and spending, and major decisions and plans. The second project encourages government agencies to use computer networks, including the Internet, to improve the transparency of public affairs, draw public views in making major decisions and streamlining bureaucratic procedures. "Lots of government agencies have come to regard the Internet as a useful tool, one that would help them to make better decisions," said Professor Liu Qinglong of China's Qinghua University, who is heading a research program on e-government. Besides view collecting sessions, the government also looks upon Internet bulletin boards, on-line chat rooms and Website voting systems as everyday channels of government-public interaction. In Wuhu, a city in east China's Anhui Province, a special bulletin board has been established on the city's Website where citizens could relate grievances and difficulties. The operator ofthe board would pass these voices to government departments concerned, which are obligated to supply feedback. The Beijing Municipal Government is considering establishing a similar opinion collecting system in 2004. On-line chatting in China used to be dominated by youths seeking fun, their other halves and English practicing opportunities. Nowadays, some learned scholars and high-level government officials have joined the population. On Dec. 23, 2003, China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing participated in a scheduled on-line chat session that lasted around two hours. The content of the chat ranged from China's foreign policy, Sino-US and Sino-Japanese relations to Li's personal life. Officials from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and other government offices have also participated in on-line chats arranged by Websites with the topics ranging from the significance of certain new policies to the work style of the government and other hot issues. Nowadays, the Chinese general public now know much more about government administration than any previous periods. The Internet has played a very big role in this change. Logging on to Websites of governments of various levels and regions, ordinary citizens have instant access to resumes of leading government officials, existing laws and regulations, development plans and the socio-economic status quo, as well as budget and spending of major public-funded projects. In Heze, an ordinary medium-sized city in east China's ShandongProvince, information on the budget and spending of a sewage treatment project is carried on the city's Website. The Website also lists a number of laws and regulations that influence local citizens, including procedures of applying for legal assistance incourt and licenses for practicing medicine in the rural areas. In addition, lots of public affairs receive real-time coverage by the Internet, mainly by governmental Websites and Websites specializing in news reports, including China.com.cn, Xinhuanet.com and people.com.cn. In the first 15 days of 2004, Xinhuanet.com carried live coverage of five press conferences, including those given by the minister of education, director of the General Administration of Civil Aviation and head of the State Administration of Taxation. Public response to the new opportunities created by the Internet has been enthusiastic. According to Xinhuanet.com, more than 40,000 people participated in the on-line chat with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxinglast December. In November of 2003, the Beijing Municipal Government invited public appraisals of the performance of its 60 functional departments through Beijing.gov.cn. More than 100,000 people cast their votes showing satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Commenting on the on-line chat of foreign minister Li, a netizen with the on-line nickname of "Blue Sky, Blue Sea" wrote: "This is further evidence of the creative work style of the currentadministration. I hope it will serve as a good example for other government officials to follow." "With the Internet, democratic decision making becomes easier to achieve in China, with its population of 1.3 billion," said Zhou Sheng. According to the latest statistics, the number of Internet users in China had reached 79.5 million by the end of 2003.

From chinaview.cn 01/28/2004

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Civil Servants Began to Receive Mobile Communications Allowance this Month

Civil servants of China's central government and national agencies began to enjoy allowance for their mobile communications for business purpose. Civil servants of China's central government and national agencies began to enjoy allowance for their mobile communications for business purpose. This is another salary rise for civil servants working at the central government agencies since December last year. As learned mobile phones and beepers at public expense are not allowed to be provided to civil servants at the central and national government agencies from this month. Any expenses related to this are paid by the owners of the mobiles and beepers. Relevant persons pointed out the promulgation of the measures on communications allowance was a further step taken to regulate the administrative behaviors of the government, improve the communications management system and working efficiency and make the spending more transparent. It is also a reform on the irrational salary structure of the civil servants. It is also learned that the salary increase for public servants comes with stricter supervision of departments from discipline inspection, supervision, and auditing on any breaches of the regulation. Units found to continue to buy communications equipment and pay for relevant fees at public expense will be criticized and the leaders of these units will be held responsible for such violations. Retired civil servants will stop enjoying the mobile communications allowance.

From People's Daily Online, China 02/01/2004

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Shanghai Planning Free E-Mail Boxes

The Shanghai government is planning to set up 1 million free e-mail accounts in July for local citizens to receive information about their social security funds as well as utilities bills they can pay online. "The Internet is an effective platform for the municipal government to release its statements and policies to local people," said Zhang Jianmin, an official with the Shanghai Information Technology Development Commission, which is organizing the project. The government recently promised to increase transparency by releasing more information about social security funds and the city's budget among other items. Currently, the city publishes pamphlets containing such information, which are distributed through more than 1,000 newsstands around Shanghai. But the statements often disappear before many people get a chance to read them. The free online mailboxes will allow the government to send individual information to city residents. Users of the program, who must register to set up one of the free e-mail accounts, will receive information about their accounts at the so-called "four funds" - the city's housing, unemployment insurance, medical insurance and pension funds. They can also receive their water, electricity, gas and phone bills, which they can pay online with a credit card. "All the services of the mailbox are free," said Xiang Lihong of the information commission. Shanghai fft Information Service Company, the online payment Website's operator, said it won't charge users any service fees. "We will charge the utility companies and mobile operators, such as Shanghai Mobile and Shanghai Unicom, less than 0.5 percent of money in the users' bills to maintain the free e-mail service," said FFT's General Manager Xu Hao. "Certainly, I will register for an e-mail account as soon as possible because it cost me a lot of time to calculate the 'four funds' and pay my bills now," said Cao Jian, 24. Cao said he currently pays his utility bills at three different sites every month. The information commission said it will develop 2 million citizen e-mail accounts by the end of next year. City residents will soon be able to register for one of the free accounts at the local government's Website.

From Shanghai Daily 02/05/2004

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HONG KONG: Information Security Key to Successful E-Business

Safeguarding against security breaches was the key to successful e-business, the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, said today (February 17). Opening the Integrated Security Conference and Expo 2004, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Wong said computer users should be ready to deal with unexpected cyber attacks while enjoying the convenience of e-business. To safeguard their information systems and assets, computer users should ensure that their software is up-to-date by applying the latest patches or upgrading to the latest version. Mr Wong warned that a single virus attack could trigger bulk email spamming, causing widespread network congestion, or could embed Trojan codes in "victim computers" that would allow backdoor cyber attacks in the future. New attacks would be equipped with even more sophisticated tools to disguise the virus and spread it even faster, he said. Mr Wong noted that email spamming was a serious concern. In a number of reported cases, fictitious emails were sent to lure bank customers to visit fake websites and disclose their details. He added that for the prevention of cyber crimes to be effective, users should be more vigilant and verify the authenticity of websites before performing e-transactions. Enterprises should regularly conduct risk assessments on their IT assets and implement measures to ensure they complied with their security policies and requirements. IT security cannot be left to IT professionals alone. Users also play a significant part.Special attention should be given to systems directly connected to the Internet or wireless networks as wireless networks were insecure for transmission of confidential information unless specific hardware or software security enhancements were installed, Mr Wong said. The Government, in collaboration with various information security associations and industry players, has posted on the Internet information and advice on wireless network security strategies as well as related research findings and best practices for public reference. Mr Wong said a security management framework had been established in the Government to ensure and enhance its internal IT security. To promote public awareness on the subject, the "Infosec" website (www.infosec.gov.hk) was set up in 2002 to provide information on IT security. The importance of IT security is also publicised through radio broadcasts and TV programmes. Hong Kong Police and the Information Technology Services Department work closely with the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Centre to help the public handle cyber attacks. The Government also encourages the development of industry-specific information security standards and is consulting various professional organisations and business associations on the feasibility of introducing audit mechanisms to certify information security standards for different industries. The Integrated Security Conference and Expo ends tomorrow.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 02/17/2004

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Information Security Key to Successful E-Business: Official

The key to successful e-business was safeguarding it against security breaches, Alan Wong Chi-kong, director of Information Technology Services of Hong Kong government, said Tuesday in Hong Kong. Opening the Integrated Security Conference and Expo 2004, Wong said the Hong Kong government encourages the development of industry-specific information security standards. The government is consulting various professional organizations and business associations on the feasibility of introducing audit mechanisms to certify information security standards for different industries, Wong said. The government, in collaboration with various information security associations and industry players, has posted on the Internet information and advice on wireless network security strategies as well as related research findings and best practices for public reference, according to Wong. Wong said a security management framework had been established in the government to ensure and enhance its internal IT security. To promote public awareness on the subject, the "Infosec" website (www.infosec.gov.hk) was set up in 2002 to provide information on IT security. The importance of IT security is also publicized through radio broadcasts and TV programs. Hong Kong Police and the Information Technology Services Department work closely with the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team/Coordination Center to help the public handle cyber attacks, he said.

From People's Daily 02/17/2004

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Beijing: Netizens Petition New Mayor

Wang Qishan was elected Saturday morning as mayor of Beijing at the second session of the 12th Beijing Municipal People's Congress. Internet users went online to post their hopes, suggestions and opinions for the new mayor as soon as the election result was made known to the public.
zxb5257: Hope the new mayor can ease employment pressure and help us find jobs.
IP 218.247.153: Hope the new mayor will take better care of migrant workers in Beijing.
IP 218.56.20: I know little about Wang Qishan, but he will be a good mayor if he takes practical actions for the people. In return, the people will support him!
IP 61.240.9: As a student, I think the country's urban planning needs further improvement, as well as the social security and economic systems. May our country enjoy prosperity!
Chh8866: Tackling such big concerns as traffic in Beijing should begin with "small" issues, such as stopping minor traffic violations like jumping a queue when driving in a traffic jam. Overlooking minor traffic violations encourages major ones, and ignoring them is poisoning the souls of those who observe the laws and regulations. Dealing with traffic is dealing with society as well as human beings, and thus should begin with education in human nature. Those in charge of traffic administration will have heavy responsibilities in the years to come. Their actions are associated with social ethics. Beijing should learn from Guangzhou, where citizens are mobilized to supervise order by taking photos of cars breaking traffic laws. Leaders and authorities of Beijing should have more daring and resolve, and should play a leading role in the country.
IP 61.135.12: The people love you, a good mayor. You have made great achievements with boldness, determination and tenacity. Congratulations on your election. The people are looking forward to a new Beijing.
IP 203.92.63: Many roads and bridges have been built in Beijing in the past few years, but why are the traffic jams getting more and more serious? The basic reason comes from urban planning. I hope Mayor Wang Qishan will put more effort into dealing with these problems.
IP 211.136.74: I hope the mayor will solve the problem of public transport in Fangshan District as soon as possible. And I hope more 300- and 400- series commuter bus routes can be arranged to shuttle between downtown areas and the district. Bus No. 917 running from Liuliqiao to Fangshan stops running at 7:30 PM. It's quite inconvenient.
Txf527: A good mayor. People support you.
IP: 61.149.241: I expected this result. I was waiting online for the news the whole morning. Mayor, I support you on behalf of the police in Beijing.
Timgigi: Just what people wanted. I hope the mayor won't let us down.
IP: 61.49.149: I hope that Beijing will withdraw the household registration policy to allow people from other places to settle in the city, therefore contributing to the development of the capital.
IP: 61.49.149: After reading the news coverage of Mayor Wang's government work report, which addresses such detailed issues as developing the southern urban district and tackling the traffic congestion at the Chongwenmen crossroad, I feel he has taken a scientific approach to problems.
IP: 202.102.145: I hope that Mayor Wang has the daring and vigor of Zhang Fei (Shu general in the Three Kingdoms period, known for his sometimes rash bravery) and the wisdom of Zhuge Liang (Shu statesman and strategist who became the incarnation of wisdom and resourcefulness in Chinese folklore).
IP: 218. 246.127: Hello, Mayor. Could you please spare some time for the issue of Beijing's house pricing? It's too expensive now. We can't afford it.
IP: 61.149.217: I hope Mayor Wang will live up to our expectations.
IP: 218.65.87: Mayor Wang, power should be exercised for the interests of people.

From China.org.cn 02/23/2004

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Hong Kong Shares E-Government Experience with Danish Delegation

The Information Technology Services Department today (March 3) welcomed a delegation of Danish information technology (IT) professionals involved in e-government solutions. The Acting Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Stephen Mak Hung-sung, and other directorate officers briefed the visitors on the Government's efforts in making Hong Kong a world leader in IT. Topics included the Digital 21 Strategy, IT infrastructure and the next wave of e-government. Two successful e-government flagship projects, the Electronic Service Delivery Scheme and the Smart Identity Card project, were also introduced to the delegates. Mr Mak said the visitors also shared some of their own insights with their hosts. "Denmark is one of the world's most advanced economies in IT adoption," he said. "We also benefited by learning about our Danish counterparts' e-government vision and initiatives." The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has achieved its overall e-government targets of providing an e-option for 90% of public services amenable to the electronic mode of service delivery and is carrying out 80% of government procurement tenders through electronic means. "To better serve the public, we will focus on providing more customer-centric and multi-department services that would complement the Government Electronic Trading Services and Business Entry Portal, which are already in operation," Mr Mak said. Other multi-department initiatives in the pipeline include the Integrated Criminal Justice Processes, Property Information Hub and Digital Trade and Transportation Network. The department organises exchanges with other governments and industry players regularly to inspire more innovative e-government solutions and stay abreast of international developments. The 17-member delegation consisted of Danish government officials and the management of KMD, a major IT provider for the public sector in Denmark.

From http://www.info.gov.hk 03/03/2004

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Hong Kong Smart ID Card Holders Embrace E-Cert

The future of e-commerce in Hong Kong looks bright, with over 210,000 Smart ID Card holders already embedding Hongkong Post's e-Cert in their cards. Hongkong Post today (March 11) conducted a briefing for the public about the security features of e-Cert and its applications to facilitate online transactions, in particular in e-banking. Mr Allen Mok, Hongkong Post's General Manager (Electronic Services), hosted the briefing together with two guest speakers Mr Li Shu-pui, Head of Banking Development Department from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), and Mr Vincent Hui, Head of the e-Distribution Department of the Bank of East Asia (BEA). All three provided updates on the latest e-banking developments, and the safety measures recently introduced - including e-Cert - to protect the interests of online banking service providers as well as their customers. Mr Li said it was a worldwide trend that more and more banking transactions were conducted online, and Hong Kong was no exception. "Currently, there are around 38 authorised institutions offering Internet banking services in Hong Kong. At the end of 2003, there were around 2.2 million personal Internet banking accounts (compared with 1.6 million in 2002 or an increase of 37%) and 67,000 business Internet banking accounts (compared with 31,000 in 2002 or an increase of 116%)," he said " In addition, the total number of financial transactions of personal and business Internet banking services have increased encouragingly by 38% and 440% respectively during 2003. While enjoying the benefits of increasing use of online transactions and the greater convenience that comes with it, consumers should also take every precaution over security to protect their own interests," Mr Li said. Mr Mok agreed that, "with more and more banks in Hong Kong offering online banking services to their customers and with the increasing number of Internet banking transactions, enhancing security has become a priority". He said the recent fraudulent website cases had aroused a lot of concern in the market. "In this aspect, the e-Cert of Hongkong Post is recognised as the most secure means that can protect online users from exposing their secrets or passwords to unauthorised third parties. The identity verification by e-Cert is based on users' digital signature rather than shared secret or password transmitted over the Internet. In addition, e-Cert gives users peace of mind by protecting the online transactions from being tampered with, either deliberately or accidentally," Mr Mok said. "The Government has been striving to promote Hong Kong's international image as a dynamic digital city and one of the initiatives is to encourage people to apply for e-Cert embedded Smart ID Cards. We already have more than 210,000 e-Cert subscribers through the Smart ID Card bulk replacement exercise and the number is ever increasing. With the ease of accessibility of the e-Cert embedded Smart ID Card, it creates a very favourable and convenient environment for conducting secure e-commerce, be it e-banking, online securities trading, shopping or betting," continued Mr Mok. BEA is one of the leaders among Hong Kong banks to apply the e-Cert technology. Mr Hui said that to offer a more secure means of online banking services to its customers, the bank has adopted Hongkong Post e-Cert as it is the most popular digital certificate in Hong Kong. With improved security, the transaction limit of our online banking services will be increased to provide greater flexibility and even more valued-added solutions to our customers."

From http://www.info.gov.hk 03/11/2004

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HONG KONG: EMB Seeks Views on Promoting IT in Education

The Education and Manpower Bureau (EMB) today (March 16) launched a two-month public consultation on the way forward for promoting information technology (IT) in education. The consultation document, entitled "Information Technology in Education - Way Forward'', reviewed the achievements of the five-year IT in education strategy launched in 1998/99 and proposed the way forward to canvass public opinions, an EMB spokesman said. "The five-year strategy has succeeded in laying a solid foundation for IT in education in Hong Kong. The government is committed to sustaining IT development in education, making enhanced efforts to equip our students for the information age, and fostering collaboration among schools, parents and the community." The consultation document proposed six strategic goals for implementing IT in education. They are: Empowering learners with IT; * Empowering teachers with IT; Enhancing the leadership capacity of schools for the knowledge age; Digital resources for learning; Sharing and continuing professional development; and Community-wide support and community building. To allow schools maximum flexibility to allocate resources to support school-based IT plans and account for results, the EMB is proposing merging all recurrent IT grants for schools, reducing constraints on the use of such grants and enlarging the scope of permissible use of the grants. On students, the document proposed to empower learners with IT, strengthen their skills on information retrieval, evaluation and analysis, establish clear learning targets and formulate an "Information Literacy" framework to give clear targets for students and teachers. It also suggested that through professional development, teachers be empowered with IT to undertake the challenge of pedagogical innovation. For teachers responsible for co-ordinating IT in education across the curriculum, it was proposed that schools be allowed to designate a promotion post in recognition of their key role. Noting that IT had played an important role in supporting curriculum reform, the spokesman said that it was vital to enhance the e-leadership of school heads. "We believe that school heads and their associates should be provided with professional development to help them understand better how IT can be used to promote innovation. They should also be given more flexibility in making decisions and leading changes effectively." Extensive support for schools is also indispensable in promoting IT in education, the spokesman added. "While digital resources will continue to be enriched, the Hong Kong Education City will strengthen its role as an agent for sourcing, editing and disseminating those resources. We will also continue to identify effective strategies for IT in education and facilitate sharing of exemplars among teachers," he said. "In addition, community-wide support, in particular parents' involvement in backing children's learning of IT, should be encouraged. Collaboration among the government, schools, professional bodies and members of the private sectors in support of IT in education should also be deepened." The consultation document is now available from EMB's Regional Education Offices and Information Technology Education Resource Centre, and can be downloaded from its website (http://www.emb.gov.hk/consultation_ited).

From http://www.info.gov.hk 03/16/2004

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The Formal Opening of APIRA Website

A few days ago, CNNIC formally opened the official website of Asia Pacific Internet Research Alliance (APIRA). People may inquire about the organization and the statistical information about the Internet development of Asia Pacific region and even that of the whole world. APIRA was launched by CNNIC and was founded on September 27, 2003. APRIA is a spontaneously organized and non-profit organization. It is a regional academic organization that focuses on enhancing communication and comparison in Asia-Pacific region on the Internet information, deepening the research on statistical techniques of the Internet information, facilitating the cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries and regions on the Internet information survey and boosting the regional development of the Internet researches. The initial member organizations of APIRA are China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Korea Network Information Center (KRNIC), City University of Hong Kong, University of Macao and Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC). At the end of each year, all the APIRA members will conduct a statistical survey on local Internet development situation in a same period of time, using comparable survey method and questionnaire. APIRA member meeting will be held once a year, on which member organizations will make presentations, sharing their new techniques and research achievements, discussing on newly emerged technologies and phenomenon. Participants will also jointly research on methodologies of Internet information statistics and layout working plans of the coming year. The APIRA 2004 Member Meeting will be held in Hong Kong and Macao from August 19 to 20, 2004. City University of Hong Kong and University of Macao will jointly host the two days' meeting. APIRA member meeting is an open-to-public symposium and is free to attend. The APIRA secretariat is now calling for papers. APIRA will continuously put efforts to encourage other countries and regions in AP region to join the alliance, expanding the team and promoting its impact in the global statistics community. The alliance is devoted to decrease differences of statistical technique and information among countries and regions in AP region. The APIRA website will become a favorable communication platform for Asia Pacific statistic community.

From http://www.cnnic.net.cn 03/24/2004

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Guangdong Introduces Online Lawsuit

The intermediate people's court of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, launched a website for parties involved in lawsuits to submit materials, in a bid to simplify lawsuit procedures. The new mechanism, earlier this week, would save litigants much time because they do not need to go to the court to hand over the materials in person, said an official with the court. People always had to go to the court several times to provide all necessary materials when lodging lawsuits as many of them lack sufficient knowledge in this field, he said. The court would look into the materials and place suitable cases on file in line with legal standards. Litigants would simply have to supplement materials through the Internet if needed and go to the judges on the court day, the official said.

From Xinhua News Agency 03/28/ 2004

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China Starts Issuing 2G ID

One hundred residents of Huzhou city in east China's Zhejiang Province received their new, digitized ID cards Monday morning, marking China's first ID upgrade in almost 20 years. The second-generation cards were also distributed in Shanghai and Shenzhen on Monday. The newly released microchip ID card contains information such as validity period and issuer, as well as designs of the national emblem, the Great Wall and decorative patterns on the front. The cardholder's name, sex, ethnicity, birthday, address, ID number and photo are on the back. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) started to consider changing the first-generation ID cards a few years ago due to quality and security. The old cards cannot be recognized by computers. MPS official Bao Suixian said while attending Monday's card-issuing ceremony in Huzhou that the generational shift of China's ID cards will help to modernize population management. Digital anti-forgery technologies are used in making the new ID cards, facilitating authentication and storage. The 2G ID cards will be officially distributed nationwide in 2005 as the first-generation cards are phased out. The shift is expected to finish by the end of 2008.

From Xinhua News Agency 03/30/2004

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Nation Quickens Spread of E-Gov't

The government staff still love to work in the real world despite mounting calls for e-government services. A State Council report shows that government services are still delivered mainly face-to-face or on paper, despite the mushrooming number of governmental websites in recent years. The findings obtained after a three-month study show that only 5.2 per cent of China's government websites are frequently used. Nearly half of the 11,764 governmental websites are simply one-way mirrors, the State Council Informatization Office said in the report, meaning that more interaction is badly needed. Facing the situation, the State Council will take the lead in e-government service. A State Council official who wanted to remain anonymous, said that central government departments will deliver documents and meeting notes through the web by the end of this year while a long-awaited central-government portal will be launched this year. China had approximately 600,000 approved websites by the end of 2003, up 60.3 per cent from 2002, said the report on Internet resources in China, which was produced by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) with authorization from the central government. However, about 90 per cent of the websites are in the more developed provinces, showing a growing gap between rich regions and less developed regions, the report said. Beijing, South China's Guangdong Province, East China's Zhejiang Province and Shanghai are the top four for the number of websites, accounting for 56.8 per cent of the total. In western China, however, many governmental officials face cyber difficulties. Wang Gang, a 30-year-old assistant for a county head in Sichuan Province said his daily business has always been done face-to-face or on paper. "I have no basic knowledge of the Internet and I cannot e-mail," Wang told China Daily when asked to conduct an online interview this week. The report also showed that all government websites are in Chinese while only 14.8 per cent have English pages and 3.0 per cent include Japanese. The lack of content in foreign languages has also brought complaints from foreigners. Canadian businessman Mark Justine, said there is no English version in some websites of cabinet departments, not to mention agencies at provincial or local levels. "That makes it difficult for me to read them," said Justine. But some cities are leading the way. Northeast China's coastal city of Dalian has set up Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean versions of its governmental website. Zhao Xiaofan, director of the State Council Informatization Office said the Internet in China has developed rapidly despite its late introduction. Even in the early 1990s "Internet" was still an alien word to the public. Zhao said the e-government initiative would promote democracy by providing residents with more digital connections, such as e-mail, and simplifying election procedures by, for example, allowing voting online. "What's more, they can make administrative work more transparent and efficient by networking government departments and introducing Intranets and so on," said Zhao. He said the Chinese Government has shown great enthusiasm for information technology as part of the country's modernization drive. The government also set ambitious goals for Internet usage and information technology development in the 10th Five Year Plan (2001-05). By the end of 2005, China should have a broadband network that combines Internet, telephone lines and cable TV networks while the number of Internet users will reach 150 million or more than 11 per cent of the population. (by Fu Jing)

From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/ 04/05/2004

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IRAN: Ecommerce Trailing

Between 1996-1999, the current value of gross domestic product (GDP) grew roughly by twice the amount of liquidity. In other words, the value of domestic trade has at least been twice the GDP in the period. In the Third Five-Year Development Plan (2000-2005), the average annual GDP growth rate was stipulated at six%, while the same figure for inflation was forecast to average 15.9%. It also merits mention here that in the last year of the Third Plan, ecommerce is expected to save the national economy 15 trillion rials. This will become more significant if we take into consideration the projected 30% ratio of the total value of imports and exports to GDP during 2000-2005. Given the abovementioned figures, it seems to be necessary for the national economy to focus more on developing e-commerce as an economically feasible enterprise. The e-commerce law--in Iran--includes 134 articles, some of which deal with certain mechanisms for preventing possible violations. In a country like Iran, where the required legal grounds for promoting e-commerce have not yet been created due to legal complications with respect to electronic seals, signatures and documents as well as lack of the necessary soft- and hardware and Internet culture, e-commerce will face a mammoth task should it develop nationwide. However, many hope that the fourth development plan (2005-2010), which is said to be export-oriented, would pave the way for the expansion of this modern science. Economic analysts contend that Iran's economy needs, above all, to set up a specific body dealing with information technology. While the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has recently taken certain steps to this effect, the required macroeconomic and investment infrastructures have not yet been prepared. Internet courts must inevitably be established in line with the same policy. Internet-oriented purchase and sales strategies and advanced delivery mechanisms are also amongst other important requirements for promoting e-commerce.

From http://iran.ru/ 02/19/2004

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JAPAN: Gov't to Accept Online Passport Applications in March

TOKYO - The Foreign Ministry said Monday it will start accepting online applications for Japanese passports in late March. The service will be launched in Okayama Prefecture, and later expanded to other prefectures. Applicants will have to pick up their passports at passport offices after their online applications are processed.

From Kyodo News 01/26/2004

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Protection of Gov't Databases Insufficient, Report Shows

TOKYO - An office handling the security of government databases has reported 153 weak points in the information systems, government officials said Wednesday. The Information Technology Security Office reported its findings to a meeting of officials in charge of database protection at government agencies.

From Kyodo News 03/04/2004

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Web Site Set Up To Support Socially Isolated People

In a bid to help people who have withdrawn from society or stopped attending school, support groups have set up a Web site offering professional advice. The site, titled Hikikomori Sapoto Nabi (Social withdrawal support navigation), was designed by Think Project, an organization devoted to helping people with mental disorders or problems, through an Internet support system. It is jointly run by the Zenkoku Hikikomori KHJ Oya no Kai organization. Officials from the organizations decided to create the site in response to the large number of socially withdrawn people trying to make a connection with society through the Internet. Yuji Sakano, a professor at Waseda University's School of Human Sciences, offered support for the creation of the system through his research office. In the project, cases of isolation were categorized, enabling counselors to offer advice to those who "avoid families" or those with "obsessive behavior," etc. Classification using check sheets on the site is free, while e-mail counseling is member-based at a price of 1,000 yen a month. The site can be accessed at: http://www.hikikomori-navi.com.

From Mainichi Shimbun 03/23/2004

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Time to Legalize Internet Campaigning

There are less than three months to go before the official start of campaigning for the House of Councillors election, meaning all political parties are heavily involved in preparing for the poll. Of course the election would be very boring if all the results were known in advance. To ensure this is not the case, the parties should do their utmost to field as many well-known and high-quality candidates as possible. Also of key importance is for every party to set out easy-to-understand explanations of their vision for the future of the country, based on specific proposals for domestic and foreign policy. Such efforts to boost public understanding of party policies will be of pivotal significance in increasing voter participation in politics. A key debate here is the issue of election campaigning using the Internet. No progress has been made in Diet deliberations on proposals to change the law to allow the use of the Internet in campaigns. Calls to legalize online campaigns first surfaced around 1996 when a House of Representatives election took place. Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan) presented two bills to the Diet, in 1998 and 2001, ahead of an upper house election and a lower house election, respectively, seeking to revise the Public Offices Election Law to allow candidates to stage campaigns on their Internet sites. The Liberal Democratic Party, however, opposed the Minshuto proposals both times. The LDP argued that Internet electioneering would lead to an increased risk of election offenses. It claimed candidates would be vulnerable to the spread of false or malign information. As a result, the government announced in 1996 that the use of the Internet for election campaign purposes would remain a violation of the Public Offices Election Law. This situation is now absurdly anachronistic. The number of Japanese Internet users has ballooned year after year, reaching 106.12 million as of the end of January, according to the Public Management Ministry. As a means of information gathering and communication, the Internet definitely has become a part of everyday life. Whatever the law says, the Internet already has a major impact on election campaigns. A case in point is a slander spread on the Net about a female LDP candidate at the time of the lower house election last autumn. Although the candidate was subject to outrageous slander, she could not refute the charge on her own homepage because doing so is banned under the current election law. Unable to take any effective countermeasures against a slander that badly damaged her public image, the candidate was defeated in the election. Given that Internet use is now so prevalent, it seems only fair to allow candidates to use the Web to defend themselves against slander. The growing popularity of election manifestos is another major factor driving calls for legalization of Internet campaigning. A manifesto, or a set of policy pledges that a party is to carry out if it takes power, includes specific promises tied to numerical goals. The party that wins the election is supposed to do everything it can to make good on its promises, and will be judged by the voters on its success or failure in so doing. If it is deemed to have broken its promises, then electoral defeat and a change of government are almost certain. The idea of giving manifestos central significance in steering the nation's politics is a vitally important part of ending the political stalemate that afflicts this country. The problem, however, is that voters may not be so well-informed about the content of the various party manifestos. This is mainly because the way manifestos are distributed is currently highly restrictive. Under the current law, manifestos only may be handed out to voters at specified occasions such as election campaign speeches. Distribution on the streets or to individual voters' homes is banned. Such constraints must be lifted without delay. In addition, manifestos should be published on the Internet so that they may be consulted by voters at any time. A Public Management Ministry study panel on reforming election campaigns for the Internet age published its report in August 2002, calling for legalization of Internet campaigning. Other countries including the United States, Britain and France already allow it. The enforcement of the current Public Offices Election Law dates back to 1950, when Internet campaigning would have been unimaginable. The government interpretation of the law is that where it regulates "documents and images" this also covers material sent using the Internet. This interpretation can only be called an extreme anachronism. It should be remembered in this connection that the government in 2001 came out with an "e-Japan strategy," intended to make Japan "the world's most advanced country in terms of information technology within five years." This goal will never be achieved as long as the country fails to address the task of legalizing Internet campaigning. (by Yohio Okubo)

From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 04/01/2004

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SOUTH KOREA: South Korea Ranks First in e-Commerce Awareness

South Korea ranks first in awareness of the importance of e-commerce in business, a British government study showed. The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MOCIE) on Tuesday said the U.K. Department of Trade and Industry's International Benchmarking Study (IBS) for 2003 put South Korea top in e-business awareness among 11 countries surveyed. South Korea's index reached 0.63, trailed by Ireland (0.62), Germany (0.61), Canada (0.6), the United States (0.6). Awareness refers to the receptiveness of businesses to information communication technologies or e-business. However, in general utilization of information communication technology, South Korea ranked sixth with its index standing at 0.5, behind Ireland (0.53), Canada (0.52), the U.S. (0.52), Germany (0.51) and Sweden (0.51). Japan (0.47) ranked a distant ninth and France took last place (0.42). South Korea also ranked relatively low in seven other categories of the IBS survey. It was seventh in environmental influences (0.39) and staff to new e-business technologies (0.57), sixth in technology (0.59) and fifth in adoption (0.51). It ranked eighth in process (0.43), ninth in deployment or strategic distribution of information communication technology infrastructure (0.37) and 10th in impact (0.47). "The survey showed that South Korea boasts the world's best broadband technology and infrastructure, as well as awareness of the importance of e-business," said Lee Chang-han, MOCIE director in charge of e-business policy. "But local firms are undergoing greater trial-and-error in adopting e-business and lag behind in strategic utilization of IT technology, such as using video conferencing, which results in a lesser synergistic effect," he said. The survey said South Korea is easily ahead of advanced countries in IT infrastructure, with the broadband network penetration rate reaching 95 percent and Internet access rate at 100 percent. It said 97 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have Web sites. "About 97 percent of Korean SMEs have websites, the highest percentage among the 11 countries, reflecting that the digital divide between conglomerates and SMEs is not as severe as in other developed economies," Lee said. "But conglomerates are enjoying more benefits from adopting information communication technologies than SMEs," he said. Global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton surveyed more than 500 firms in manufacturing, construction, retail, transportation, telecom, finance, services and public sectors to compare their effective usage of information communication technologies. The DTI included South Korea for the first time in its annual IBS report last year. It pointed to aggressive government investment and the near-universal availability of broadband as the background for including it in the annual survey. (by Kim Sung-jin)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 02/17/2004

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CompTIA Helps IT Firms to Modify Public Policy

When the government says it will only procure wordprocessing software from local firm Hangul and Computer, everybody loses, including the company itself. Not that the Hangul software is worse than those from Microsoft, although there may be an argument to be made, but because the restriction of choice usually pulls down productivity. ``When choices are limited through public policy, consumers lose out in the end and we would like to play a role in preventing such unfortunate developments,'' said Robert Kramer, vice president for public policy at the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). Visiting Seoul to attract more membership in the organization by Korean companies, Kramer said in an interview with The Korea Times that all companies should compete on their own merits without arbitrary government requirements where state procurement is concerned. ``We are involved in educating policymakers and regulators about the value and importance of maintaining objectivity in procurement in order to best serve taxpayers and maximize future innovation,'' Kramer said. This activity of CompTIA, the world's largest trade organization in the information and communications industry, is increasingly gaining importance as it strives to promote the interest of its members. CompTIA has been serving this and other causes for more than 20 years, providing research, networking and partnering opportunities to its members, developing standards and best practices and influencing the political, economic and educational arenas that impact IT (information technology) worldwide. And while CompTIA has been active in North America and Europe, it is working to enhance its presence in Asia, especially in Korea, which has emerged as a leader in various aspects of the IT world. ``We have been working on the Japanese market for quite some time now and we are just now getting into Korea where we hope to become more visible in the near future,'' said Kramer. Indeed, while CompTIA boasts a membership of 19,000 in nearly 90 countries, there are just five member companies in Korea, including computer virus vaccine leader Ahnlab. ``With additional efforts, we believe that we will be able to encourage more Korean companies to become members of CompTIA and benefit from the global partnership,'' Kramer said. (by Nho Joon-hun)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 03/17/2004

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'Korea's E-Commerce Potential Limitless'

The sky is the limit for Korea's e-commerce based on its cutting-edge Internet infrastructure, according to eBay's president. Meg Whitman, who heads the world's top online retailer eBay, made the statement in a press conference held during her four-day visit to Seoul on Friday. ``We will help Internet Auction build market places in Korea, the nation with high broadband rate and a limitless growth potential. Korean IT infrastructure is so immense,'' Whitman said. In recognition of Korea's potential as an IT powerhouse back in 2001, eBay invested 150 billion won ($120 million) to buy 50-percent stake in Internet Auction, Korea's largest online auction site with 8.1 million users. Late last year, eBay increased its stake in the Seoul-based firm to 62.2 percent by pouring additional funds amounting to 110 billion won. However, Whitman made it clear that eBay has no immediate plan to further perk up its stake. ``We have no pressing need to buy an additional stake in Internet Auction. We are quite happy with a 62 percent stake of today,'' she said. Whitman joined eBay as chief executive officer in early 1998 and sparked the company to become the world's most bustling online market place and top consumer e-commerce site. The San Jose-based company counts 95 million registered users across the world, who pay between 30 cents to $3.30 to list an item for sale. According to Whitman, eBay reached $10 billion mark in terms of gross merchandise sales within seven years while Wal-Mart Stores spent 25 years to achieve the milestone. (by Kim Tae-gyu)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 04/09/2004

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IT Award Presented

Information and Communication Minister Chin Dae-je, presents the Silver Tower Order of Industrial Service Merit to KT senior executive vice president Kim Woo-sik in a ceremony marking the 49th Information-Communication Day at the ministry's headquarters in Seoul, Thursday.

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 04/22/2004

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KAZAKHSTAN: Database of Innovation Technologies Created in RK

A database of national scientific inventions and innovation technologies will be created in Kazakhstan in 2004. Danial Akhmetov, prime minister of RK, has informed about this at an open board meeting in the Ministry of Industry and Trade of RK in Astana today, on 17 February. He has stressed that it is necessary to provide an accessibility of the base for "the whole vast stratum of entrepreneurs". "Theoretically corresponding institutions do exist in Kazakhstan, but the whole database is closed", - the prime minister has observed. In his view, "there are only few entrepreneurs possessing information on scientific innovative projects in Kazakhstan". At the same time there are good scientific projects in the republic. It is very important, D. Akhmetov has stressed, to make them "a patrimony for ideas of the industrial public". The creation of the database is a task of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Education and Science.

From http://www.gazeta.kz/ 02/17/2004

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UZBEKISTAN: Uzdunrobita Introduces WAP and X-Press Payment Cards

Uzdunrobita, one of the leading mobile service providers of Uzbekistan, has introduced two new services. Uzdunrobita became the first company in Uzbekistan to offer mobile Internet access using wireless application protocol (WAP). From now on the subscribers can access their e-mail, read news and download music or logos for their mobile phones, the company said. The company has also launched its WAP website, which can be accessed at http://wap.uzdunrobita.uz. WAP services cost US$0.10 per minute, but Uzdunrobita says the costs will be significantly cut after the completion of installation of the new equipment. The second product is X-Press scratch cards for payments for mobile services. All the client has to do now is to send an SMS to Uzdunrobita with card ID and PIN code, and the sum paid for the card will be deposited to the subscriber's account.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 03/03/2004

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Modernization of Management Information System for Uzbektelecom

A seminar "Modernization of Management Information System for Uzbektelecom" was held at Dedeman Silk Road Tashkent Hotel on March 25-26, 2004. This seminar was jointly organized by Uzbektelecom and British consulting company "Corporate Solutions Consulting Limited" within the project "Development of Management Information System for Uzbektelecom", financed by Asian Development Bank. Representatives of the Communications and Information Agency of Uzbekistan, Asian Development Bank, "PricewaterhouseCoopers" and "Corporate Solutions Consulting Limited", financial executive officers from Management of Uzbektelecom and its branches participated in this event. The speakers covered the following topics: -International Accounting Standards Fundamentals; -procedures of the preparation of financial statements in accordance with IAS; -result of Uzbektelecom audit; -computerized budgeting model for Uzbektelecom; -implementation of uniform accounting procedures; -implementation of centralized accounting system "SNS-Accounting" and etc..

From http://www.uztelecom.uz/eng/ 03/27/2004

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INDONESIA: Finance, Trade Ministries to Share Online Database

Beginning in August, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade will share information through an online database under an agreement signed here on Wednesday. Director General of Taxation Hadi Purnomo of the Ministry of Finance said that the online database was aimed at exchanging valid data on importation, exportation, customs, excise and taxation. "It's difficult at present to detect whether a person has paid tax in accordance with his/her assets as we have no access to banks to get information related to credit cards, money laundering and savings accounts," said Hadi. According to data collected by the Directorate General of Taxation in 2002, out of the 84 million houses and plots of land, only 9.5 million were listed in tax reports. Similarly, out of 28,519 luxury cars, only 615 were listed in tax reports, and out of 18,948 companies, only 3,100 submitted audit reports. The planned online database will enable the Ministry of Finance's Directorate General of Customs and Excise and its Directorate General of Taxation and the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Directorate General of Domestic Trade and its Directorate General of International Trade to share information on companies' tax numbers, tax reports and business licenses. "With the online database, we will be able to find out the status of product importation, whether or not it is legal. We'll also be able to find out whether or not a person or a company pays tax," Hadi said. Hadi said that the funds for the online system had been taken from the state budget, but he refused to provide figures, saying "I don't really know about the figure." Minister of Finance Boediono said the online system was a move to improve coordination between the two ministries. "This system will allow all relevant officials to communicate in depth without misunderstanding," he said. He said a lot of parties tried to find ways to avoid paying tax. "But with this system, I'm optimistic that we will nail those people," he said. Minister of Industry and Trade Rini MS Soewandhi said the online database was crucial as it could provide accurate and transparent information and thus help the country keep the industry in a healthy state. "This system will enable us to capture illegal importers who are at large and those selling products at lower prices and creating unhealthy competition among businesspeople," said Rini.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com 03/04/2004

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Regional Governments Enter Cellular Business

Three provincial and five regental administrations have agreed to join telecommunications firm PT Indonesian Satellite Corporation (Indosat) to launch Star One, the company's new fixed wireless service, by the end of this year. The provincial administrations are Bali, Central Java and Yogyakarta. The regental administrations are Kulonprogo, Bantul, Gunungkidul, Sleman and the municipal administration of Yogyakarta. Indosat president Widya Purnama said that the administrations above would invest in the construction of fixed wireless lines in their respective territories. A total of 500,000 fixed wireless lines will be built in the provinces and regencies, with construction expected to be completed by the end of this year. The ventures are based on a revenue-sharing scheme, but Widya declined to detail the amount of shares owned by each of the provinces and regencies in the ventures. Under the project, each administration will be required to open an escrow account and deposit 25 percent of the total project costs as a "sign of each administration's commitment to the project". Widya declined to disclose the total cost of the project. He did, however, explain earlier that setup costs would reach US$70 per line. The project will complete Indosat's initial plan to establish at least one million fixed wireless lines, as the company announced on Tuesday that it would offer the first 500,000 lines by the end of May, including 300,000 in Greater Jakarta and 200,000 in East Java. According to Widya, the projects in Greater Jakarta and East Java cost $40 million, with funding taken from the company's cash reserves. He claimed that the cost was lower than that of Telkom Flexi, a popular brand from state-owned PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom), as Indosat used a fixed wireless network, made in China, based on code division multiple access (CDMA) technology. Indosat has been aggressively trying to focus on its cellular services, which accounted for approximately 60 percent of its Rp 8 trillion ($941.18 million) in annual revenue last year. Telkom Flexi is seen as a threat by most cellular providers of global system for mobile communications (GSM) services, as it provides cellular services but charges customers at fixed-line rates.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com 04/21/2004

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MALAYSIA: Online Vetting of Security Guards

The Home Ministry has gone online with the police to check the background of potential security guards to be employed by government-appointed security companies. Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Aseh Che Mat said that all applications by the companies would be vetted and processed swiftly this way. "By going online with the police, the ministry will be able to process all the applications quickly because we have the information at our fingertips. "Previously, all security companies need to apply through the respective state police chiefs before their applications are forwarded to the ministry. "But this process drew flak from the companies who complained that some state police chiefs were slow. "So the ministry has solved the problem by going online and we will issue security passes quickly," Aseh told reporters after chairing the state security committee meeting here yesterday. Aseh, who is also the Kelantan Security Committee chairman, said each application, with photo included, would only be processed and approved after the applicant had been trained by the appointed security company. On another matter, Aseh said all the 17 key government installations in Kelantan would be inspected twice a year to ensure they comply with government security requirements. He said this was to ensure that private security guards employed by the government to guard these installations understood the importance of their jobs. "We want to ensure security is not lax at key government installations like power stations, main telecommunication junctions, airport interchanges, airports and TV stations. "That is why periodical inspections by state security officials are important to monitor the situation and ensure security standards are maintained. In some situations, government security forces would beef up security in areas like immigration checkpoints at Bukit Bunga, Pengkalan Kubor and Rantau Panjang between 10pm and 6am, he said.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/10/2004

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E-Stamping Extended to JB Tax Office

The Inland Revenue Board's e-stamping has been extended to its Johor Baru branch after it was successfully implemented in the Klang Valley. Its chief executive Tan Sri Zainol Abidin Abd Rashid said Johor was chosen as it was the next state outside the Klang Valley with the most property transactions. The branch processed 20,714 transactions last year and collected RM71.7mil in stamp duties. He will also introduce the system to other areas such as Penang, Ipoh, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, where there are also many property transactions. By early 2005, the e-assessment system which incorporates e-stamping would have been implemented at stamp offices throughout the country, said Zainol Abidin, adding that the system would replace the manual system of processing property transaction evaluation applications and shorten waiting time by 60%. I hope tax payers will not see this new change as an added burden as the change would be balanced by the increasing convenience for tax payers to deal with the board. The system would make it more convenient for law firms to monitor the status of their applications, he said. He said the board was looking into e-filing, which is a system for tax payers to fill in and submit their income tax forms online.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/11/2004

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Malaysia's General Election Fever Hits Cyberspace

Websites offering election news are popping up on the Internet now that the country's 11th general election is around the corner. There is The Star Online's election website at http://thestar.com.my/election2004/ which went live on Feb 26, and two other websites -- Interactive Channels (InterChannel) Sdn Bhd's www.pilihanraya.cc and www.undi.info from online news daily Malaysiakini. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced today the dissolution of Parliament effective from tomorrow, paving the way for the country's 11th general elections. He said the Yang di Pertuan Agong had consented to the dissolution of the 10th Parliament as provided for under Article 55 of the Federal Constitution. Once Parliament is dissolved by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister, the Election Commission will take over to set the date for nomination and polling. The whole process must be completed within 60 days. The news, first reported this morning on The Star Online, set Malaysian surfers into high-gear as they tried to get more information. The Star Online's website brings together all the stories and features published in The Star. It also has information on the electoral process, including links to official websites of the Election Commission, Parliament and the civil service. Malaysians can also check on their voting status online via the website as well as confirm if they are registered voters and find out where they will be voting. A full list of all the seats up for contest is also available. "Also, the photo gallery and video clips at the website enhance what the print version of The Star has to offer," said Soo Ewe Jin, editor of The Star Online. He added that there will be regular news updates and that on nomination day and election day, all the latest information and results will be posted on the website as soon as they become available. For those who prefer their election news in Bahasa Malaysia, there is www.pilihanraya.cc. The website provides news and analyses in text format as well as via video-streams and Internet radio broadcasts. News highlights and election results will be broadcast via SMS to those who register for the service. Tengku Azman Tengku Zainal Abidin, vice-president of InterChannel, said the service was mainly aimed at Internet-savvy Malaysians who are mostly in the 18 to 45 age group. "They want to be more informed on the issues around them ?. They want in-depth analyses of the issues," he said. "This can help them decide on how they can contribute to the development of the nation." He is confident the site will fulfil those needs. Tengku Azman was speaking at the relaunch of the website here today. During the general election in 2001, InterChannel had provided election news online via the website. It has also reported on several by-elections since the year 2000. The website will also be a platform for election candidates from the various parties to put across their views on any issue and share their thoughts with other Malaysians. Tengku Azman said these activities will be carried out in accordance with the laws of the country. It will also give special coverage to constituencies where close fights are taking place and especially those where political strongmen are contesting. "We are expecting about 200,000 hits a day once Parliament is dissolved," Tengku Azman said. Malaysiakini's election news website started March 1 and also offers information such as election maps for all states and seats, results from past elections, a racial breakdown of voters, as well as links to relevant websites and blogs. There is also a voter-verification service. The online news daily also announced two new SMS-based services - "News headlines" and "News on seats." Users will be charged 30sen per SMS they receive and must register for the services.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/03/2004

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Maximum Reliability, Without Clustering, for SMBs

Acer Sales and Services Sdn Bhd, Computer Associates Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CA Malaysia) and Power Kinetics have introduced a package that they described as an affordable alternative to maintaining maximum business-critical computing uptime, without server clustering. The package was designed in response to the needs of small and medium businesses (SMBs) that require the high-reliability, maximum uptime computing and business continuity associated with clustered servers, but at a significantly lower cost, CA Malaysia said in a statement. The offer is part of the ongoing commitment of the three companies to bring business-critical technologies within reach to more companies, regardless of size, the company said. The package comprises a combination of Acer Altos G510 or G701 servers, CA's BrightStor High Availability failover and storage solution, and Power Kinetics' BlackoutBuster Series Uninterruptible Power Source with its power management software. The combo gives businesses the assurance of continued uptime with a reliability of 99.99%, CA Malaysia claimed, while offering savings of 50% to 80% to comparable clustered server configurations. "System failures can shut down an entire organisation resulting in lost business opportunities, dissatisfied clients and damage to a company's reputation," said Chan Weng Hong, manager of the Commercial Product Department at Acer Sales and Services. "With this package, businesses get three levels of protection in the event of system failure -- real-time data replication and single-step reinstatement from BrightStor's High Availability; uninterrupted power backup from Power Kinetics' BlackoutBuster; and Acer Altos' trusted hardware platform," he said. Like all Acer servers, the Altos G510 and Altos G701 come with two management suites, Acer EasyBuild and Acer Server Manager, that assist in building the server, preparing and configuring it for the installation of the operating system, and performing all necessary hardware diagnostics. Included with Acer Server Manager for the Altos G701 is Remote Diagnostic Manager, a full out-of-band troubleshooting and configuring utility for the server itself, to be used from a client machine when the server fails. The Altos G701 server package also comes with numerous built-in reliability features like RAID (redundant array of independent disks), "Chip-Kill" memory protection, hot-swap fans, hot-swap hard disks and hot-swap redundant power supplies that provide added hardware reliability. BrightStor High Availability provides application-based failover without the complexity and cost of clustering for Windows 2000/2003 environments. It helps maintain business continuity by replicating application data to an alternate server and providing access to that data in the event of server or application failure. According to CA Malaysia business development manager Simon Ng, users need to evaluate and implement protection in terms of hardware, software and power backup. "Some businesses don't seem to realise that even the best servers cannot function in the event of power failure, unless there is a backup power supply," he said. "Similarly the organisation's real-time data needs a backup plan that is easy to implement, deploy and most importantly reinstate," he added. PowerKinetics' BlackoutBuster 1400 BB148E, available optionally at RM925, rounds out the package. It comes with automatic voltage regulation, automatic restart during AC recovery, a microprocessor to ensure high reliability, Internet line protection, built-in circuit breaker to protect against overloading, user-friendly battery replacement, smart communication port and four power outlets. The Acer Altos server preloaded with CA's Brightstor High Availability is available for use with Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (also preloaded). The Altos G510 Basic server package is RM18,888 while the Altos G701 server package ready with RAID 5 support is priced at RM29,888.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 04/16/2004

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SINGAPORE: More Taxpayers File Tax Returns Online

April 15 was the last day for the filing of tax returns by post, and as usual there were long queues at Revenue House. It has become an annual affair as hundreds of Singaporeas waited till the last minute to file their income tax forms. Even though the taxman had set up 35 counters back in March to help taxpayers file their returns, there was still a last-minute scramble. The good news is the number of people who e-filed their returns is up 8 percent. For those rushing to beat the deadline, there was always a good reason for leaving things to the 11th hour. An Indian man said: "Because I am too busy in my work. "A Chinese woman said: "I was too busy in my work, so I came on the last day." One Malay couple said they came down personally after their computer had problem. Another Malay man in his 30s said: "E-filing, I am still in doubt in doing so, I still do not know how to do it." For those who have not filed their tax returns, they have up till midnight on Thursday to drop it off at Revenue House. Those who are e-filing have until Sunday to do so.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 04/15/2004

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THAILAND: Govt Services for E-Citizens

Over 10 e-services on the government's website will make life easier for busy people. Registering businesses and paying taxes as well as utility bills can now be processed at www.ecitizen.go.th. First-time users can log on with their 13-digit ID number, then the system will generate a username and password, which can be changed at any time by users. The website is designed as a one-stop service portal, with links to various agencies, said Dhipavadee Meksawan, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry. The first five state organisations providing e-services are the Revenue, Business Development and Employment departments, the Social Security Office and the Registration Administration Bureau. People without a home computer or who live in remote rural areas can access the e-services at post offices. "Now, 769 post offices nationwide have installed high-speed Internet kiosks to serve people in the provinces. Here, at Thai Post headquarters 10 kiosks have been set up," Dhipavadee said. The post office kiosks are always connected to the Internet at the speed of two megabits per second and will be upgraded with smart card readers to accept the national e-citizen card when it is deployed later this year. The ICT Ministry plans to develop a uniform format for the more than 1,000 government application e-forms, Dhipavadee said. It would start with the e-forms of the Revenue and Business Development departments, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Social Security Office and the Registration Administration Bureau. "The services needed by the most people will be our first priority," she said, adding that the move was part of the implementation of the e-government scheme. A demonstration area has been set up at Laksi Post Office.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 02/14/2004

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Govt Services Come Online

The government web site for its long-developing e-citizen programme finally began offering real registration and five actual services, such as paying taxes, checking social security and registering a business; it's a huge and painful 400KB download to get the web site's opening page, but instructions are simple and the login for new users is easy _ so easy security experts wondered when it will be exploited for identity theft since the key to registration is the 13-digit code on each ID card; the obsessed can look at a special demonstration area set up for them at Laksi Post Office, and e-citizen kiosks are being equipped with broadband lines nationwide for the computer-less or those who just don't want to wait five minutes for a home page, which is at http://www.ecitizen.go.th. But the online marriage registration system failed throughout Phitsanulok province on Valentine's Day, leaving hundreds of brides and grooms stranded, unmarried and without anything to do on Valentine's night. A brand new, optimistic, seven-member committee sat down in the belief that converting the contracts between state and private telecoms firms was just a matter of goodwill and negotiating skill; there are 30 concessions in all covering fixed, mobile, satellite and data telecoms, all of them providing income to your TOT Corp and Cattelecom; committee chairman Kraisorn Pornsuthee of the ICT ministry is in charge of the new effort to solve the problem. The government ordered Thais to surf the web for pornography and gambling, and report suspect web sites so that authorities could try to blacklist them so Thais cannot find pornography and gambling on the web; the idea is the brainstorm of a concerned consortium of the Culture Ministry, Social Development and Human Security Ministry and the Information and Communication Technology Ministry, all of whom were convinced that if thousands of volunteer informers searched diligently enough for sex on the Net, they can close down sex on the Net; report your favourite sex or gambling web sites to the ICT ministry's web site. The government said it wants delicate people to download and use the officially approved web browser and automatic censor Plawan; the program blocks out all that nasty sex, politics, gambling and Sites You Shouldn't See, while helping you with English translations and other Good Things; Plawan is a 12MB download that took 3 hours and 27 minutes from the best available line on Plawan.com in a test. Number 3 yuppiephone operator TA Orange set about restructuring 33 billion baht in debt and announced plans to raise six billion baht in new capital; the business activity is supposedly to put affairs in order before the company lists on the Stock Exchange of Thailand later this year, but it also fanned the already hot rumours that the "Orange" part of the partnership is about to cut its losses, abandon Thailand and TelecomAsia, and retreat to its home in France Telecom; CEO Supachai Chearavanont wouldn't talk about it, other than to say that if Orange pulls out, TA will go it alone without serious economic problems. Advanced Info Service boss Somprasong Boonyachai said AIS will be making less investment than ever this year, and has cut $100 million already from the initially budgeted $500 for network expansion, marketing and so on; company growth is slower and it won't take as much raw investment to add two million new users to grow to 16 million by 2005. Mobile phone companies pushed the idea that if you don't text someone on their yuppiephone on Valentine's Day, you don't love them; Advanced Info Service said subscribers sent 20 million messages, a one-day record surpassing last New Year's Eve's 15 million, which surpassed last year's Valentine's Day record of 13 million. Industry Minister Pinij Charusombat said Nikon of Japan will hire 2,000 to 7,000 new camera workers in order to expand its Ayutthaya factory. Stakes, fear and loathing all appeared high as TelecomAsia took your TOT Corp to arbitration again, over the fees TOT collects from yuppiephone operators but refuses to share with the likes of TA; the Chicken People's lawyers said an arbitration victory could cost TOT 10 billion baht, while the state firm said if it won it might just end the concession it grants TA to operate at all. Your Cattele.com board approved a an expansion for its CDMA mobile phone service called Hutch up-country, for a mere 13.43 billion baht; chairman Gen Anusorn Theptada said funds will come from CAT's own revenue.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com 02/25/2004

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Public Sector Web Sites Told to Become All-User Friendly

By the end of this year, all 283 web sites of government agencies must incorporate a so-called universal design that makes them accessible by people with disabilities, according to ICT Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee. To support its aim, the government has set up a committee to promote universal ICT accessibility. Besides government web sites, the ICT ministry will also encourage the private sector to deliver universal web access, especially large organisations that already have a policy relating to people with disabilities. If agencies don't follow the design guidelines, the minister said the government would consider punishments in accordance with the law. Dr Surapong noted that the ministry had provided programmes and technology and promoted the participation of people with disabilities in public and private institutions. For the second phase of the ICT PC project to be announced on March 12, there will be software programs provided for this group. "In the past, the budget allocated for people with disabilities was mostly for physical structures, but now we must focus on knowledge creation," Dr Surapong said. Monthian Buntan, executive director of the Thai Blind People's Foundation, said Thailand had proposed a declaration of principles for universal design and assistive technology at the recent World Summit on Information Society (WSIS).Universal design refers to the way the environment, products and services are designed so that all people, regardless of their differences or disabilities, can access technology. Assistive technology covers specific ways and means to achieve accessibility, both in terms of access to built environments and to information and communications. The need for assistive technology is normally caused by inaccessible or poorly designed products or services. For example, blind people need to use a computer screen reader with voice or Braille output in order to have access to the computer, which has been designed for interaction mainly through visual channels, while deaf people require the use of a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or teletypewriter (TTY) to communicate through telephone. The role of assistive technology is to help make the task of universal design more complete. The use of assistive technology is a specific solution at the micro level while universal design is at the macro level to achieve accessibility. Both are equally important and should be included in the declaration of principles, said Mr Monthian. He pointed out that one of the most effective technologies representing both universal design and assistive technology is Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY), the worldwide standard for digital talking books. According to Dr Benja Chonlatanon, director of the Special Education Centre at Rajapat Institute Suandusit, the Education Ministry has already endorsed the ministerial rules stating that people with disabilities have a right to access facilities, media, services, and any assistance related to education. The ministry has set up a centralised equipment pool for this group of people in Bangkok by utilising a network of Special Education Centres located in every province.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com 02/25/2004

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Upcountry Internet

CAT Telecom has teamed up with provincial fixed-line carrier TT&T to launch a low-fee broadband Internet service for provincial users. Sompol Chanprasert, CAT Telecom's senior executive vice president, said that the service, Hi Net, provides a data download speed of two megabits per second and the charge is Bt1,000 monthly. Besides the monthly fee, the subscribers have to buy a Hi Net modem for Bt1,700.Hi Net will initially be available in Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Phuket before expanding to other provinces. TT&T has about 1.3 million fixed-line subscribers. TOT Corp Plc previously announced that it would launch a low-fee service nationwide but has not yet done so. Sompol said that Hi Net revenue would be shared between CAT Telecom and TT&T at the ratio of 40:60. "We're aiming to secure at least 100,000 provincial users this year," he said. He added that CAT Telecom is also talking with metropolitan fixed-line carriers TelecomAsia and TOT Corp to co-provide similar services in the metropolitan area. There are currently about 10,000 broadband Internet subscribers in Thailand.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com 03/12/2004

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BANGLADESH: Bangladesh Ministry of Education Orders Over 4,600 Units of HP Compaq Business Desktop PCs

HP announced that it has won a deal to supply more than 4,600 units of HP Compaq business desktop d220 PCs to the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh. These PCs will be distributed to secondary and higher secondary schools, colleges, and madrashas to facilitate the education sector and improve the knowledge base of the students across the country. The HP Compaq business desktop d220 is the most current product to be equipped with the latest computing technology which meets both price and performance for the education sector. The HP Compaq business desktop d220 PCs will be shipped and installed by the end of May this year. This is the second time HP has won a deal with the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh. Last year, HP sold 2,200 units of HP Compaq business desktop d220 PCs to the Ministry of Education. Flora Limited, HP's premier business partner since 1991, played the pivotal role to win these businesses, and already supplied the earlier 2200 PCs and will be supplying the rest 4600 units of PC's to Ministry of Education as well. Flora is the largest IT company in Bangladesh with over 450 employees and 15 support centers throughout the country. "This is indeed a significant win for HP in Bangladesh and we are proud to be part of the Bangladesh government's project and to contribute to the success of Information Technology in the education sector in the country. We are pleased that the Bangladesh Ministry of Education has continued to partner with HP and Flora and chosen to equip the Bangladesh education sector with the HP Compaq d220 performance based PC," said Chari TVT, Vice President, Personal Systems Group, HP South East Asia / Taiwan. Apart from the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh, HP along with Flora Limited have also been successful in winning most of the Bank projects in Bangladesh such as Agrani Bank, Janata Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Bangladesh Commerce Bank for branch banking automation. HP will continue to strengthen its position in the market and contribute towards Bangladesh's push in IT development by offering more of the latest technology in its new products says press release.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 04/22/2004

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NGO Portal Launched "Bangladeshngo.Com"

President Iajuddin Ahmed Tuesday said coordination among the bodies working in different sectors is of prime importance for better results. "I strongly feel that there is a need for coordinated efforts of people and institutions for development," he said, inaugurating a portal, BangladeshNGO.com, at a city hotel. The president formally launched the portal by pressing key of a computer. Minister for Science, and Information and Communications Technology Abdul Moyeen Khan was present as special guest. The portal, aiming at coordination in the development sector, will provide information on the activities of 10 areas, including government agencies, donors, non-governmental organisations, consultants and researchers. Describing information as power, Iajuddin said there is no alternative to proper information for development efforts. The president said, "We could not afford to learn only from experiment, but also from experiences of others." He appreciated the young men for their initiative about the growing IT sector. "It is heartening to note that the younger generation has a tendency to equip themselves with IT knowledge." Moyeen Khan stressed the need for taking information technology to the doorstep of the rural people.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 04/22/2004

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INDIA: High-Tech Contest

Elections, this year, in the city seems to be going hi-tech. With the time ripe for e-polls, in order to minimise costs, several political parties are planning to go digital. "We will be using e-mails, SMSes and other such modes of communication this time around," informs Mohan Joshi, president of Congress party in Pune. Parikshit Thorat, vice-president, youth NCP, emphasises the point further, "We already have websites for our senior leaders. We will update them to highlight our work." Youngsters are taking delight in this new poll mantra as well. "It will be a nice change from the regular campaigning. I am waiting for the e-mails that I get from the political parties," says Arun Kumar, a second year law student. Understandably, website designers are all set to make hay while the sun shines. "We have orders from political parties to create their websites. But I can't name them at this stage," Kaushik Kar, a website-designer in Kothrud tells us. In another interesting development, the car rental business seems to be on an all-time high. For a few extra bucks, the common citizens are coming forward and offering their cars for election duties. Says Prashant Poddar, a resident of Koregaon Park, "I was planning to sell my jeep. But I have delayed the plans to hire it out for elections." Jumping the bandwagon are a number of people offering to hire out their prized possession. "A number of them want to earn rent during election duties," says Amit Kumar of Raviraj Auto Rental Services. Printing and publishing is the other line of business segment which will look up during elections. "We get work to print brochures and pamphlets during elections. Work is on in full gear," says Achyut Shekhar, a painter in Navi Peth.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/12/2004

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It's a Hi-tech War for the Voters' Mind-Share

AHMEDABAD - The BJP and the Congress in the state have found that technology can work wonders, even take them closer to the people, along with the traditional grassroots approach. The BJP, which has an exclusive site for Gujarat - bjpguj.org, has started updating it with news related to the Lok Sabha elections that concern the state. The Congress too is out to make a mark in the virtual world with efforts on to revive the defunct Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee website, preparing videos and CDs and sending mass e-mails. The BJP has divided the state into 33 'districts' and connected its partymen in each 'district' with a Pentium-4 computer. And, cellphones will be used extensively, so that workers can keep in touch with respective election offices and with each other as campaigning picks up. "Earlier, about 60 per cent of partymen in the state were connected through the Net. Now everybody, including party offices in rural areas, has been accounted for. We have also developed an intranet system through which we communicate and update party offices in the state regularly, with the Ahmedabad office being the nodal point," says Yamal Vyas, BJP media cell co-ordinator. The BJP headquarters in Ahmedabad is fitted with latest gizmos, including Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) screens and digital cameras. It has also created a hi-tech media cell. Modern communication methods like SMSs will be used to hilt. The state Congress has installed an inhouse software which sends out SMSs to voters while the BJP, at present, has been targeting acquaintances of party workers and sending them SMSs. BJP sources say about 20,000 to 25,000 SMSs have already been sent to various people. At a later stage, more people will be contacted through mobile phones. However, both the BJP and Congress maintain that they have not approached cellphone companies till now. "SMSs will be a big help as its reach can be wide. There may be one cellphone in a family but the message is read by all. So, the message does not stop at the cellphone owner and the target audience increases," says Himanshu Vyas of the Congress. Strategy planners in both the parties say the logic behind using mobile phones and the Internet as a tool for campaigning is to influence the youth. Sources in the BJP say that the youth is computer-savvy and can be reached easily through the Internet. The BJP is planning a live chat on bjpguj.org when Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani's 'Bharat Uday Yatra' tours the state. "We have tried this out earlier, letting people have an online chat with our leaders. We are planning a similar project this time when Advani's yatra hits Gujarat. The proposal has been sent to the party high command for clearance. Moreover, Advani's van has all the facilities for a chat," says Vyas. The Congress has media vans doing the rounds in rural Gujarat. "Five vans have been touring the state. These vans have posters of national leaders and information about the party," says Hasmukh Patel of the Congress' media cell. Moreover, the Congress has also brought out videos and CDs as a part of election campaign material and it plans to show them in the rural areas as a part of the media vans' tour. "We have recommended names of three party workers from each constituency in the state to the high command. Once cleared, they will be provided with video-conferencing facility," says Patel.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/20/2004

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Govt to Build On-label Drug Usage Database

Taking note of the increasing incidents of off-label usage like that of cyproheptadine and letrozole, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) is planning to build up a database on the on-label use of drugs approved in the country, which would help expedite any future investigation into off-label use. The plan, however, is at the initial stage and steps towards its implementation are yet to be worked out, pointed out sources at the DCGI's office. The move comes at a time, when the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is demanding legalising off-label use. At present, off-label usage is not approved under the provisions in the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, which makes it illegal. The IMA recently submitted a draft guideline on off-label usage of drugs to the Union Health Ministry. The association, apart from supporting its claim with published reports, tries to link it with the international practice and US FDA guidelines. Sources close to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) said they were not aware of any move to legalise off-label usage. Making it legal means the much criticised usage of letrozole to treat infertility and the subsequent trials by a set of doctors in the country would easily become an accepted practice. In view of the lack of monitoring mechanisms and instances of patient exploitation, the Health Ministry need to take a balanced approach, say experts. The controversy over the 'illegal off-label' usage of some drugs appears to have prompted the pharmaceutical industry to push for legalising it by bringing it under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act. Experts point out that the process of bringing off-label use under the D&C Act is not an easy task. To implement the same, medical practitioners who are at present not covered directly by the Act need to be brought under its purview. It will also require amendments/changes in different schedules in the Act including Schedule Y, Schedule G and Schedule H. It will have to clearly define as to who will be authorised to prescribe, under what conditions and what are the safety/efficacy benchmarks. IMA endorses off-label usage and states that doctors draw on a variety of sources to make the decision including personal clinical experience, the collective experience of colleagues and studies reported in scientific journals and at professional meetings. According to the US FDA, "Investigational use" suggests the use of an approved product in the context of a clinical study protocol [21 CFR 312.3(b)]. When the principal intent of the investigational use of a test article is to develop information about the product's safety or efficacy, submission of an IND or IDE may be required. However, according to 21 CFR 312.2(b)(1), the clinical investigation of a marketed drug or biologic does not require submission of an IND if all six of the following conditions are met. It should not be intended to be reported to FDA in support of a new indication for use or to support any other significant change in the labelling for the drug. It cannot be intended to support a significant change in the advertising for the product. It should not involve a route of administration or dosage level, use in a subject population, or other factor that significantly increases the risks (or decreases the acceptability of the risks) associated with the use of the drug product. It has to be conducted in compliance with the requirements for IRB review and informed consent [21 CFR parts 56 and 50, respectively] and conducted in compliance with the requirements concerning the promotion and sale of drugs [21 CFR 312.7]. Lastly, it should not be intended to invoke 21 CFR 50.24. (Jayashree Padmini)

From http://www.expresspharmapulse.com/ 04/15/2004

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IBM to Set Up Linux at NISG

BANGALORE: IT major IBM on day said that it would set up a Linux and open source practice at the National Institute of Smart Government (NISG) to promote affordable computing in the country. IBM said it has signed an MoU with Hyderabad-based NISG, aimed at helping India develop different eGovernment applications, using open standards and IBM's e-governance frameworks, a statement said here. "Linux is increasingly being used in the eGovernment space worldwide. We are leveraging the private sector resources through a public-private partnership mode in e-Governance spade in India, which will help drive greater transparency, agility, better citizen service and quality education," NISG CEO J Satyanarayana said. "IBM recognises the strategic role that NISG performs in the evolution of eGovernance applications and affordable computing in India," IBM Software Group and Developer Relations, Vice President and Country Executive R Dhamodaran said.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 04/17/2004

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MALDIVES: President's Office Introduces Posting of Staff Vacancies on Their Website

MALE - The President's Office on Sunday introduced the posting of vacancies for members of staff at the Office, on their website, www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv. As such, the website at present has five job vacancies for different posts. The necessary job application form can either be downloaded from the website or can be obtained by visiting the Office in person, as before.

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 02/23/2004

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AUSTRALIA: RTA Plans Desktop Open Source

THE NSW Roads and Traffic Authority is about to embark on what may be the biggest roll-out of a desktop open source system in NSW. The department is in the final stages of assessing a project that would result in the Sun Microsystems open source StarOffice productivity suite being deployed on the desktops of 1500 front-counter staff. The pilot is expected to begin in the first half of this year. An organisation-wide roll-out of an open-source-derived email system to more of the organisation's 5500 desktops is possible. As the RTA has traditionally been a Microsoft and Novell shop, the pilot is likely to unsettle many IT vendors. Most public sector and corporate Linux projects are Unix replacements, so the emergence of a major desktop Linux project poses a real threat to Microsoft's dominance of the desktop. Telstra announced its Linux desktop project, Project Firefly, last year. Chief information officer Jeff Smith said in September that the telco had 250 desktops in a pilot program running a combination of Linux, the Gnome graphical user interface, the Mozilla browser and StarOffice. When the trial is complete, the system is expected to roll out rapidly. Mr Smith said at the time that he expected the proposals could result in a total cost of ownership reduction of 40 per cent. The RTA's proposed new mail and desktop system will give frontline staff their first view of email and the department's intranet. Currently, staff do not have access to these applications. The RTA is experienced in open-source, having already piloted a number of systems, including one from Oracle. An RTA spokesman said the staged deployment of the messaging and desktop system was contingent on achieving total cost of ownership benefits. "This is expected to be resolved in the first half of 2004 and roll-out is expected to follow," he said. The pilot will last a couple of months at least. The spokesman confirmed the product set would include open source and commercially supported open standard software elements. "The new systems will provide a level of interworking with existing systems commensurate with business needs and will be targeted at user groups," the spokesman said. The RTA's large-scale pilot coincides with NSW Commerce and IT Minister John Della Bosca's comments that he would use policy rather than legislation to create a "level playing field" for open source adoption in the NSW government sector. In any government tender process where an evaluation of an open source versus proprietary solution produced roughly the same results, businesses would be encouraged to go down the open source road, Mr Della Bosca said last week. Sun Microsystems has already taken advantage of the Government's desire for open source, signing a four-year whole-of-government common-use contract in October. The contract includes Sun's Java system and StarOffice productivity suite. (by Kelly Mills)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/10/2004

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New Guardianship Website Launched

THE NSW government has launched a new website for the Guardianship Tribunal, making it easier for people with a disability to apply for help. The tribunal makes guardianship and financial management orders for people over 16 with decision-making disabilities. Launching the tribunal's website, Disability Services Minister Carmel Tebbutt said it was designed to be more accessible to users. "The website provides users with what they need to know about the functions of the Guardianship Tribunal, whether there is a need to submit an application to the tribunal and how to do so," Ms Tebbutt said. "It goes without saying that this greatly improves the ease with which people can make applications to the tribunal." The tribunal makes decisions about the appointment of guardians and financial managers, or in relation to medical and dental consent, for people with disabilities who do not have the capacity to make their own decisions. From next week it will also be able to make a range of decisions about enduring powers of attorney. The website can be found at www.gt.nsw.gov.au.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/12/2004

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SA Councils Seek Broadband Links

SOUTH Australia's Local Government Association is looking for broadband capacity to carry its statewide shared services initiative. The association cites the "increasing complexity of applications and technology; the need for greater access to and availability of local government systems; the scarcity of specialised IT skills needed to run and maintain the systems, and the increasing demand to transact electronically with local government," as the principal drivers behind the shared services program. The first stage of the initiative, completed in November 2003, polled councils on their support for the initiative. Of the 28 that responded, two-thirds expressed a "medium" or "high" level of support for the shared services concept. Common library applications, geographical information systems, electoral rolls and IT technical support services were among the services most favoured to be included in the shared services program, the survey found. "The enabler of much of the planned shared services initiatives will be some broadband provision in place at each council," a request for quotation issued by the association says. Quotes are being sought for 100Mbps, 10Mbps, 2Mbps for metro locations, with fibre preferred but alternatives considered for rural locations. Some SA councils already share library applications on the SWAP network. "The council plan in the first instance is to explore the possibility of extending the SWAP network library network to other councils," the request for quotation says. The request specifies ethernet-terminated fibre links for each council. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/20/2004

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State Pilots Desktop Open Source

OPEN-SOURCE pilots in the NSW government are gathering momentum, with the Department of Commerce the latest agency to kick the tyres of desktop applications. The Commerce pilot follows a Roads and Traffic Authority announcement last month that it was evaluating an open-source desktop productivity suite. NSW IT and Commerce Minister John Della Bosca has been advocating the use of open source in NSW government agencies. He said recently he would use policy rather than legislation to create a level playing field for open-source adoption in the NSW government. In any government tender process where an evaluation of open-source versus proprietary software produced roughly the same results, agencies would be encouraged to use the open-source product, he said. A spokeswoman confirmed the Commerce Department was scoping the pilot program for desktop open source. It is believed the software will include Sun Microsystems's StarOffice productivity suite and another program. The department "is continuing discussions with a number of key government agencies" about resources, the spokeswoman said. It is understood the pilots are under way, but the spokeswoman said the pilots had not "formally" begun. She declined to comment on the number of pilots, when they would begin, or how many desktops would be involved. The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority is also considering an organisation-wide desktop open-source project. It is in the final stages of assessing a project to deploy Sun's StarOffice on the desktops of 1500 front-counter staff. The RTA pilot is expected to begin in the first half of this year and last for at least two months. An organisation-wide roll-out of an open-source-derived email system to many of the organisation's 5500 desk tops could follow. Telstra's high-profile Linux desktop project, Project Firefly, began last year. The telco's chief information officer Jeff Smith said last September it had 250 desktops in a pilot program running a combination of Linux, the Gnome graphical user interface, the Mozilla browser and StarOffice. (by Kelly Mills)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/02/2004

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New IT Identity Infrastructure for Comsuper

Around 500,000 public sector and defence force employees past and present have been provided a secure way of accessing online services, following the rollout of a secure ID management set-up by Novell and Open Integration, a Canberra-based systems integrator, for the Australian government's superannuation fund administrator, ComSuper. A media release said the new IT identity infrastructure involved the building of a shared secure web access infrastructure for members. Novell's metadirectory (DirXML) and secure web access (iChain) were used to mesh the customer database with the backbone eDirectory to create an automated customer access management system. A password management system was also implemented to resolve lost and forgotten password issues.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 03/11/2004

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ATO Adopts Open Source Policy

THE Australian Tax Office is to develop a formal open source software (OSS) policy following the generally positive report on OSS prepared for the office by the Gartner Group. As well as recommending the development of an OSS policy, Gartner said the ATO should review existing processes, investigate opportunities for innovation through OSS, and to manage public perceptions of OSS platforms. The report said policy development and implementation should be considered urgent, because the office currently used some OSS in pockets on an ad hoc basis, outside of normal risk-based procurement practices Gartner found that although some open source can be found at the Tax Office, it had generally steered away from any large-scale use because it was felt that OSS was not yet mature. The de facto policy on open source had ranged from total ban to selective approval. The report recommended that the ATO develop a policy not only for the use of open source software, but a policy that would allow it to take advantage of the OSS development as a means of reducing costs. On procurement, Gartner said the ATO should specify its OSS selection policy to enable the evaluation of open source systems, and to include policies that allowed for the assessment of the maturity of a given OSS system, as well as its to assess its potential operational risk. The ATO would need to foster OSS support among its external service providers - like EDS - and to set up personnel policies and training to Ensure staff could participate in OSS virtual communities with "responsibility". On reviewing current processes, Gartner said some existing ATO systems and processes were not suited to OSS adoption. The ATO is known to be exploring ways of achieving cost saving through increased resource pooling, code sharing and participation in the open source communities. Risk-assessed process control was required at Tax for it to take full advantage of open source communities without putting ATO intellectual property, classified information or personal data at risk. Gartner said the use of the OSS development model could represent the ATO's best chance at realising cost savings. "The ATO has worked for many years with the scientific and educational institutions to gain access to innovative technologies before they become commercially available," the report said. "The OSS development model may offer more opportunities to benefit in the same manner, or for seeding local industry support services," it said. Gartner warned that open source technology was not well understood by the public and that incorrect information in the public domain could damage relationships with suppliers and undermine public trust in the ATO. It recommend that the ATO furnish the media and wider public with "definitions of the terms OSS and Open Standards as part of a standard public relations procedure". (by James Riley)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/18/2004

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NSW to Lobby for Mobile Jamming

SMUGGLING mobile phones into NSW prisons is on the rise, prompting calls for the federal Government to allow the use of jamming technology. The number of mobile phones found inside NSW jails in January and February was higher than last year's monthly average of 12.5 phones. In January, 19 mobile phones, five SIM cards and eight phone chargers were found in NSW jails. Last month, 17 phones, eight sim cards and five chargers were detected. In one incident, a female inmate taken into custody at the Surry Hills police cells, in Sydney, was found to have a mobile phone hidden in a body cavity. In a separate incident, a male inmate hid a mobile phone inside a hollowed out loaf of bread. NSW Justice Minister John Hatzistergos said he would forward the latest figures to the federal government and urge it to approve a trial of jamming technology at the Lithgow Correctional Centre. He will push his case at a ministerial council meeting in June after state and territory corrective services ministers agreed to support the Lithgow trial at last year's meeting. "The department is relentless in its efforts to detect and remove mobile phones but the federal Government is ignoring the call of all state and territories for the jamming trial to proceed," Mr Hatzistergos said. He said the NSW opposition saw merit in the trial and should lobby its federal colleagues to permit the jamming technology. The federal Government, which has responsibility for telecommunications regulation, last year found that jamming devices which render the phone useless could interfere with emergency signals.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/22/2004

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IT Minister Wiliams to Retire

Daryl Williams, Federal Minister for Communications, IT and the Arts, will retire from politics at the coming federal election, he announced today. He said he would not contest his safe West Australian seat of Tangney. "I have decided, for family reasons, that I will not be a candidate for re-election for the seat of Tangney at the next federal election," Mr Williams said in a statement. The former Attorney-General said it had been an honour to serve the people of Tangney and the wider Australian community as a federal minister. "I am privileged to have been Attorney-General for more than seven-and-a-half years and to hold the interesting and diverse portfolio of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts," he said. "In the coming months, I will be working hard with my colleagues in the Liberal and National parties for the re-election of the Howard government, which has delivered and will continue to deliver Australia's best opportunity for a strong, safe and prosperous future." Williams said that until the election, he would continue to represent the people of Tangney to the best of his ability. "I also take this opportunity to thank my family and in particular my wife, Judith, for their support and forbearance, which have made it possible for me to serve Tangney and the government for so many years," he said. "While I continue to enjoy the challenges of being a minister and a member of parliament, I look forward to devoting more time to my family after the election." Williams, who has an eight per cent margin in Tangney, has held the seat since 1993.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 04/05/2004

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NEW ZEALAND: Health Official Used Net Date Service 299 Times

A Government health official who visited an online dating service 299 times on his work computer pleaded ignorance of a code of conduct because of a learning disability. George Akast quit as a Ministry of Health disability strategy co-ordinator while facing disciplinary action for breaching principles that include a ban on using communication tools in a way which may cause offence or bring his employer into disrepute. But Mr Akast alleged he was "constructively" dismissed in an unfair investigation, a claim the Employment Relations Authority has rejected after a hearing in Auckland. He denied soliciting offensive material found on his computer, and said his learning disability, dyslexia, affected his ability to read and understand the ministry's code of conduct. The ministry began an investigation last February, midway through his two-year fixed-term contract, after his supervisor saw him visiting the NZ Dating Service website, and ordered a confidential internal review of his internet use. Northern senior location manager Rod Watts was shown several examples of pornography identified as having being opened at Mr Akast's computer and said he found them distressing and disturbing. Mr Akast admitted being a member of the dating service, but said he used it for friends to contact him and denied soliciting offensive material, which the ministry said included sexually explicit photos. He said he used a pseudonym, kept the line open at work and logged on three or four times a day, but deleted offensive material as soon as it turned up. When the Herald looked through the non-membership section of the site yesterday it found nothing more explicit than a Valentine's Day heart symbol embellished with the word "horney", but membership was barred to anyone aged under 18. Users were told not to send unlawful, defamatory, threatening, obscene or otherwise offensive material but the service said it did not directly monitor or control all use of the site and members must accept sole legal responsibility for their actions. The ministry found that the dating service was Mr Akast's second-most-used internet site, and he visited it through his work computer 299 times in 11 months. Although it admitted he was not adequately "inducted" into its code of conduct, and he had a learning impediment, Mr Watts considered Mr Akast had shown himself able to read and understand documentation. Mr Akast's lawyer, Paul Chambers, argued in a letter to the ministry that the amount of objectionable material was not enough to warrant his client's depriving himself of an email service of mainly non-pornographic content. Employment Authority member Janet Scott ruled that the ministry followed faithfully its policy for managing misconduct, and had not shown predetermination during disciplinary proceedings by keeping Mr Akast informed of the seriousness of its concerns. She also found "absolutely no requirement" for the ministry to investigate the internet use of other employees, as sought by Mr Chambers. "Employees are entitled to the trust and respect of their employer until and when a concern is raised over their conduct," she said. The fact that Mr Akast gained access to "significant amounts of highly objectionable material" over a long period and took no steps to stop the inflow warranted a finding by the ministry of serious misconduct. (by Mathew Dearnaley)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/10/2004

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Govt IT Centre Big Boost for Industry

At least 390 jobs and export revenues worth $378 million would be created within five years if the Government endorses a plan to set up a Centre for Advanced Government Applications in the capital, says the Information Technology Association. The centre would provide a forum in which government departments and industry would work together to identify technological solutions to the challenges faced by government agencies. The Information Technology Association (Itanz) envisages government departments would be encouraged to "test-bed" innovative ICT systems. Government agencies would then help IT firms sell these solutions to overseas governments by allowing their agencies to be used as reference sites - possibly in return for a share of royalties, free upgrades or support. Associate IT Minister David Cunliffe says there are "some big numbers" in the report, and he expects officials to look at what lies behind them. "I'm very glad to receive the proposal and it looks like a well-researched and thought-out document." He says the Government will give the proposal serious consideration as part of a review "of a full range of IT strategy issues" and expects to publish a public discussion document by the middle of the year. Itanz estimates governments spend more than $US120 billion ($NZ174 billion) on IT worldwide. "Successful implementations in New Zealand of state-of-the-art, world-first solutions to difficult problems are likely to be attractive to other governments globally." In its long-awaited study, Itanz estimates the centre would create 390-585 new jobs in five years - 106 to 159 of them in Wellington - and generate $378-$567 million in export sales. By its fifth year, the centre would be adding $64-$96 million to the Wellington economy, the association believes. Itanz chief executive Jim O'Neill says existing government procurement practices mean that departments may not know what ICT systems are available that could help them, tilltill or unless they decide to go out to formal tender. "Government is paranoid about being seen to be even-handed. This normally manifests itself in normal conditions in no communication with vendors - government departments `don't know what they don't know'." Mr O'Neill says there is a new realisation within government that its purchasing practices can help shape the future of the indigenous IT industry. Itanz estimates government procurement accounts for 40 per cent of the total New Zealand ICT market. The study could have been released four or five months ago, but Mr O'Neill says the timing is now better. "Politically, it is better because the Government is looking to the next 15 months or so (to decide) what are they going to go to the electorate with to say `we are a smart government and we are doing things in a different way'." Itanz suggests the Centre for Advanced Government Applications could be structured as an incorporated society. When a department came to the centre with a business requirement, the centre would help define the agency's needs and then member companies would work together - possibly in rival consortia - to propose alternative solutions. "We'd like to be able to say that every project must have a local company and a multinational combined." He says the centre should be self-funding within three or four years through membership fees and success fees on completed projects. It may need $1 million in its first year, and Itanz is considering applying for a variety of grants. The report says there is potential to consider the centre as a candidate for Investment New Zealand Major Regional Initiative Funding, as its likely location in Wellington will produce "extensive economic benefits and employment growth opportunities". The association estimates multinational IT firms have cut their investment in New Zealand by up to 40 per cent since 2000, which it describes as a "disturbing trend". "This reduced investment shows itself most clearly in fewer jobs for New Zealanders, reduced property rentals and reduced spending on infrastructure and supporting functions." Mr O'Neill says the next step in establishing the centre would be for the Government to establish a team to investigate whether it could proceed. He says Itanz has not formed a view as to who that investigation team should report to. (by Tom Pullar-Strecker)

From http://www.stuff.co.nz/ 02/16/2004

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Broadband Boost for Schools

Three more rural schools will log onto OtagoNet, a broadband network, following a $330,000 cash injection from the Government's Collaborative Innovations Fund. The money will give rural kids at Blue Mountain College in Tapanui, South Otago High School in Balclutha and Tokomairiro High School in Milton better access to resources, said Tony Jenkins, principal of East Otago High School in Palmerston. They will join students at East Otago High School, Dunstan High School, Cromwell College, the Catlins Area School, Mount Aspiring College, Roxburgh Area School, Maniototo Area School, Lawrence Area School and Waitaki Valley School. Until the grant was secured the three schools were excluded from OtagoNet, a broadband network cluster that shares resources through video conferencing. In practical terms, said Jenkins, it meant students could still take a subject if there was no teacher for it at their school, because they could video-conference into a school that offered the subject. All the schools on OtagoNet are small, with the largest having just over 500 students. "This means we have a virtual school." Jenkins said more than one school could hook into a video conference with classes starting on the hour. Links have been set up to the Correspondence School and other networks round the country. About 65 students are currently benefiting from classes managed through OtagoNet and the fund provides an annual sum of $1 million to support consortiums of schools or early childhood education services which want to develop new styles of teaching and learning that improve student achievement. Subjects taught over OtagoNet include physical education, agriculture, hospitality, history, and maths with calculus, maths with statistics, physics, electronics, computing and graphics. There are about 14 video conference clusters in New Zealand. The service is available to 72 schools throughout the country and a further 17 will be added this year. While the video conferencing service is free, schools pay for access. (by Richard Pamatatau)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/02/2004

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NZ Lagging Behind in Broadband Uptake

New statistics on fast internet takeup show New Zealand falling further behind Australia in the race to get broadband telecommunications. Both countries are laggards in broadband uptake compared to the powerhouses of South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, but growth figures from the DSL Forum show Australia is about to leave New Zealand in its wake. Australia's growth from the second to fourth quarter of last year in DSL broadband (fast internet over existing copper lines) was 62 per cent compared to New Zealand's 21 per cent. For the year, Australia's DSL line numbers surged 174 per cent while in New Zealand growth was 55 per cent. The difference is illustrated in the accompanying graph, which shows close to exponential growth in DSL line usage over a two-year period in Australia compared to steady but unspectacular growth in New Zealand. One explanation is that Australia's growth in DSL is due to increased competition and a result of the decision in 2000 to open up (unbundle) Telstra's lines monopoly. However, Telecom enjoys monopoly control and can afford a more managed approach to DSL demand. Looking at the global picture on broadband uptake, neither country is a stand-out performer. At the end of last September, Australia had 610, 800 broadband connections with just over half of those (333,000) as DSL lines and the rest mainly cable services. That gives just 3.1 broadband connections for every 100 Australians. The New Zealand numbers are worse. At the end of last year there were 87,000 Telecom DSL lines and an estimated 8000 additional broadband connections - the bulk of which are TelstraClear cable customers. That means only 2.4 broadband connections for every 100 New Zealanders. Japan, which fast-tracked unbundling, has 8 per cent penetration per head of population for DSL lines alone. Taiwan is at 12 per cent and South Korea 13 per cent, not counting cable services. For DSL connections, Telecom fares slightly better than Telstra with 4.9 per cent of its 1.765 million available lines used for DSL compared to 4.4 per cent (466,700) of Australia's 10.59 million. But the Telecom figure includes at least 30,000 Jetstart customers which operate at a sub-broadband speed of 128Kbps over DSL lines. Other factors that may explain the low adoption of broadband Downunder are the relatively high costs of the services in both countries - although both Telecom and Telstra have in the past month introduced price reductions. Both include monthly download caps on most of their services, which is likely to have a chilling effect on consumer uptake. Graeme Samuel, chairman of Australian consumer watchdog ACCC, said he was concerned about internet providers advertising "unlimited" broadband services. " The ACCC wants to ensure that consumers are not misled by claims that services are 'unlimited' when in fact there are limitations, such as time limits, download limits and excess download costs," he said. (by Chris Barton)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/09/2004

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Telecom Rivals Urge Government to Open Local Line Access

Telecom's rival companies today urged the Government to give consumers greater choice, which they say will lead to cheaper phone services. Five of Telecom's rivals today presented Communications Minister Paul Swain with 61,000 responses to a campaign calling on the Government to open up access to Telecom's local line network. The companies TelstraClear, Slingshot, ihug, Compass and CallPlus say such a move will cut local phone costs by $84 a year per household. Telecom charges about $33 per month for phone line rental in parts of Wellington and Christchurch where there is competition, but charges about $40 over the rest of the country leading to accusations of price gouging. TelstraClear chief executive Rosemary Howard said today it would be a blow for consumers if Mr Swain accepted Telecommunications Commissioner Douglas Webb's report to retain the status quo. Telecom presently held a monopoly over local lines allowing it to charge higher prices, she said. "These (61,000) letters show New Zealanders want change. They don't want to keep paying more than they have to," she told reporters. "Research... shows there is widespread concern about Telecom's double standards." Slingshot founder Annette Presley, also director of CallPlus, said it was hard to fathom why the commissioner had reversed his earlier draft report which recommended opening up access to the local lines. "If someone could tell us why we don't have freedom of choice in New Zealand... then maybe there would be something to go forward with and debate, " she said. "By picking one simple issue and pointing out one example of how Telecom behaves where it had no competition, people have been able to see just how far Telecom will go to protect its monopoly position." Mr Swain said he was currently considering final submissions on the commissioner's report and investigating why its finding was so different from the draft report. He will make a decision in May. Mr Swain has three options -- he can accept or reject the report in full or send it back to the commissioner and instruct him to do more work on specific points. Mr Swain said the decision on access to local lines was probably the most "critical" decision the industry faced in the next decade. Telecom spokesman John Goulter told NZPA the telecommunications commissioner's report was primarily in relation to broadband internet access and it had addressed that by ordering Telecom to provide access to rival companies to its broadband access technology. The campaign by the rival companies in relation to local calls was a "red herring", he said.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/16/2004

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Slip of the Tongue Launches Treaty Website

The Government's PC antidote, Trevor Mallard, went to great pains to stress how balanced its new treaty information programme was yesterday - before accidentally referring to its "activist" sponsorship component. Launching the programme's website, the State Services Minister meant to note that an "active sponsorship scheme offering assistance to community-based organisations wanting to hold treaty seminars, workshops and hui" was already in place. But in something of a Freudian slip, Mr Mallard, who promised there was nothing for extremists of any ilk on the website, said "activist" instead of "active". The ironic twist brought a polite titter from the politically neutral public servants charged with developing the programme. But it highlighted the sensitivities around the launch of the website , which describes the treaty as an exchange of promises. About an hour before the site went live, National leader Don Brash slammed the $6.5 million programme as "taxpayer-funded propaganda" that his party would scrap. "This is an unadulterated sop to Helen Clark's Maori caucus. It was first floated in 1999 and it's only now surfacing as part of a bid to help repair the divisions within the Government over the foreshore and seabed." Mr Mallard hit back at the launch, promising repeatedly that there was nothing PC about the site, which has been carefully vetted. He later accused Dr Brash of criticising the site before having seen it. In fact, both politicians had their facts wrong. National had seen the site when it was given a practice run yesterday morning, and the Government finally committed to the programme last May, a month before the Court of Appeal's foreshore decision. Labour promised before the 1999 election to establish a treaty education programme, but dragged its heels, worried that it would be accused of wanting to tell New Zealanders how to think. Late yesterday, National MP Murray McCully said he could not see "much in the way of political correctness [on the site] thus far". But he said if Mr Mallard wanted to "cause offence" by forcing it down people's throats, he could. Mr Mallard said the $110,000 site provided an easily accessible way of bridging the obvious information gap around the treaty. Television and radio programmes are also planned, and an advertising campaign will start this week. Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres welcomed the site. "Although there's heaps of information, there's actually very few places in which it is really accessible and well-ordered and well-edited." Voices from history * Tamati Waka Nene, Ngapuhi, to Lieutenant-Governor Hobson, at Waitangi on February 5, 1840. "O Governor! Sit. Do not thou go away from us; remain for us a father, a judge, a peacemaker. Sit thou here; dwell in our midst. Do not listen to what Ngapuhi say. Stay thou, our friend, our father, our Governor." * Rewa Ngai Tawake, Ngapuhi, to Hobson at Waitangi on February 5, 1840. "What do Native men want of a Governor? We are not whites, nor foreigners. [We] are the Governor, we, the chiefs of this our fathers' land. I will not say 'yes' to the Governors remaining. No, no, no; return." (by Ruth Berry)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/02/2004

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BCL Covers the Rugged Bits to Finish Its Digital Upgrade

Broadcast Communications says its national network of transmission towers is ready to supply digital terrestrial television, as it completes the last piece of a $40 million equipment upgrade. The state-owned company is also on a recruitment drive as it seeks to pick up cell-site planning and building as part of Vodafone's 3G network project. BCL has just finished putting digital microwave radio equipment into its sites on the West Coast of the South Island, plugging the last major gap in digital coverage. The upgrade from analogue covers a 250km stretch from Nelson to Greymouth. It adds capacity, allowing more TV and radio services to be delivered and giving extra bandwidth for BCL's wireless broadband service, Extend. "It's where the most hospitable people in the country are, but it's the most inhospitable terrain," said BCL's managing director, Geoff Lawson. About 150Mbps (megabits per second) of capacity now feeds that part of the network, quadrupling the analogue capacity. That ends a major programme of capital expenditure for BCL, but more investment is likely to replace analogue microwave radio in Queenstown and Gisborne. "That's a little more discretionary, but there are some business opportunities there," said Lawson. The West Coast network is supplying backhaul for Vodafone and TelstraClear. Lawson said demand for Extend broadband services, which are wholesaled through the likes of Telecom, ihug and Iconz, had been slow. The network was still in a quasi-trial phase and did not have commercially available voice services. He expected his retail partners to increase their wireless broadband marketing efforts soon. The Government's plans for digital television remain in consultation phase, but Lawson said BCL was now able to deliver digital TV signals nationally. "It makes us almost completely ready in the context of digital terrestrial TV," he said. But the Government is making no strong moves to speed digital TV's implementation. Michael Gibbs, spokesman for Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey, said the Government was still receiving replies to its request late last year for candidates to be in an "industry working party" looking at digital TV. "It's not something that has to be sorted immediately," he said. BCL advertised in weekend newspapers for people to fill several positions including project director for network build, radio frequency technicians and engineers and communications riggers. BCL is negotiating with Vodafone to collect cell site planning work as it looks to install Vodafone's 3G equipment on its towers. (by Peter Griffin)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/06/2004

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AFGHANISTAN: UN Targets Afghan Drug Networks

A United Nations' official has called on Afghanistan to tackle collusion between drug traffickers and local authorities. In Kabul, to attend an international conference on drugs in Afghanistan, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa, says the more corruption is tolerated, the more dangerous the situation becomes. He says there are a number of people in authority in Afghanistan who allow trafficking and cultivation.

From http://www.myafghan.com/ 02/10/2004

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AZERBAIJAN: The Regional Information Center in Shamakhy Has Been Opened Within the Framework of the NICTS Project

On February 14, 2004 in Shamakhy was held the opening ceremony of the regional information center (RIC). The Center has been established within the framework of the "National Information Communication Technologies Strategy" (NICTS) Project - joint initiative of UNDP and Government of Azerbaijan. The executive power of Shamakhy district provided its organizational support to the process. This Center is ninth of all eleven planned to be established in various regions of the country. Similar Centers in Kurdamir, Sumgait, Yevlakh, Sheki, Ali-Bayramly, Imishli, Guba and Lenkaran are already functioning. At the opening ceremony participated the National Coordinator of NICTS Project Ms. Maleyka Abbaszadeh, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Azerbaijan Mr. David Eizenberg, Head of the executive power of Shamakhy Mr. Akif Aliyev and others. Speaking at the opening ceremony the Head of the executive power of Shamakhy Mr. Akif Aliyev noted the great importance of the Center for the capacity building of the region's population. According to him, the Center will play an important role for ICT trainings in the region. Azerbaijan's National Coordinator of ICT activities Ms. Maleyka Abbaszadeh informed participants on the National ICT Strategy for Development as a key in implementation of state ICT policy. She checked that, this document was approved by the National Leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev on February 17, 2003. Despite short time past after its approval, number of significant steps towards realization of some principles reflected in the Strategy has been made. M. Abbaszadeh also noted that, the official delegation of the Azerbaijan Republic had highly participated at the World Summit on Information Society held in Geneva, in December of the last year. In his speech at the Summit the president of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev declared one of the main goals of our state policy as converting black gold - oil resources - into the human gold - real potential of every citizen of the country. From this point of view, establishment of regional information centers is of a great importance. Such Centers have already been opened in Kurdamir, Sumgait, Yevlakh, Sheki, Ali-Bayramly, Imishli, Guba and Lenkaran. The openings of remaining two in Ganja and Khanlar are expected in the nearest future. Regional information centers provide direct practical assistance to the members of diffrent generations in acquiring new knowledge and effectively using technologies. Moreover, in Centers are provided training courses for teachers of informatics of secondary schools. Acquiring proper knowledge in courses teachers will be able to share it with their students. M. Abbaszadeh also brought to the attention of participants the approval of the State Programme for Development of Regions by Head of State Mr. I.Aliyev on February 11, 2004. She underlined that, for more effective fulfillment of clauses of this Programme concerning Shamakhy high quality human potential is one of the nost necessary elements. This also underscores the high significance and possible important role of opened regional center. The Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Azerbaijan Mr. David Eizenberg also made a speech at the ceremony. He noted that, as a pilot step within the framework of the NICTS Project it was planned to create eleven regional information centers in Azerbaijan. According to him, the Center in Shamakhy is ninth of eleven Centers to be established. Mr. Eizenberg enumerated access to the global information space through Internet, possibility of communicating with desired persons within or outside of the country by e-mail, enriching the intellectual capacity with knowledge on new technologies, and gaining opportunity of acquiring jobs nad improving live standards as possible benefits of the Center for the local population. According to the words of Mr. Eeizenberg, all incentives for the development of ICT in Azerbaijan are present. The high level attention of the government to this sphere, as well as high literacy of the population are occupying main places in this regard. There are such equipment as 13 PC's and one server, printer and scanner installed in the Center. Expenses for the equipment, as well as for one year-long internet connection and staff salary will be met by NICTS Project. It is worth to note that, establishment of these centers fully conforms with the State Programme for Development of Regions. Main goals in creation of these Centers within the framework of the NICTS Project are acceleration of activities towards bridging "digital divide" within the country in accordance with main directions of the National ICT Strategy, to provide local population with the easy access to the Internet, intensification of application of ICT in various fields of human activity. As an outcome of the creation of RICs, local residents will gain an oppurtunity of accessing and using the global information resources through Internet.

From http://www.nicts.az:8101/ 02/14/2004

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CHINA: Beijing - Int'l Digital Industrial Park Under Construction

A signing and foundation laying ceremony was held on Jan.16 for residential enterprises in China's largest electronics industrial park, DTVIA International Digital Industrial Park. It will take three years to complete the construction of the project, DTVIA International Digital Industrial Park, with a total investment estimated more than 1b. yuan. It covers a land area of 158.8thousand sm. and the construction area is 230 thousand sm. 130 thousand sm. of it is for digital hi-tech projects. The volumetric rate is 1 and 40 percent of the land is green area. The Park, when it erected, will be another choice of offices for hi-tech businesses from home and abroad, in addition to Shangdi Information Industrial Base and Fengtai Headquarters Base. COFCO International Ltd., Skyworth, Gehua CATV Network Co., Ltd., SOHU.com, and Beijing Wall International Information Technology Co. Ltd. are among the 20-plus businesses attending the signing and foundation ceremony. About 10 of them signed the contract of settling in the DTVIA International Digital Industrial Park and several others expressed their interest in residing there.

From http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn 01/19/2004

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Hong Kong-Top IT Company Opens New Regional Headquarters

EMC Corporation, a world leader in information storage and management, today (February 13) announced the opening of its new regional headquarters in Hong Kong for its Asia Pacific/Japan operations. "We are very confident in our choice of Hong Kong as our new regional headquarters," said the President for Asia Pacific and Japan of EMC, Mr Steve Fitz. "The economy is rebounding strongly. The strategic location of Hong Kong in the heart of the region and the infrastructure available here -- including telecommunications and a first class international airport -- will help us to stay close to the rest of the region, particularly China, one of our fastest growing markets." The opening of the new regional headquarters boosts the number of EMC employees in Hong Kong to nearly 100 people. "The developed infrastructure of Hong Kong, particularly in the area of telecommunications, provides IT companies like us a solid foundation to operate sophisticated business solutions. Also, Hong Kong's skilled workforce, with its international exposure, is essential to our knowledge-based business," Fitz commented. The Director-General of Investment Promotion at Invest Hong Kong, Mr Mike Rowse, said, "We have just finished our most successful year ever for investment promotion in Hong Kong, so this is a really great start to the Year of the Monkey. Having such a major player in the IT sector choose to set up its regional base in Hong Kong highlights how the city continues to move up the technology ladder. EMC's strategic move is a strong endorsement of the role Hong Kong can play as a regional business hub." Mr Rowse added, "Hong Kong's proximity and the close ties with the Mainland make it the most attractive location for overseas companies to set up their regional bases to access the Mainland market. With the implementation of the 'Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement' (CEPA) in January, we believe businesses in different sectors can capture new opportunities. And we look forward to seeing the continuous growth of information technology companies in Hong Kong in supporting the sustainable development of the other sectors." Invest Hong Kong is the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government's one-stop shop for overseas companies who are interested in establishing or expanding their presence here.

From http://www.info.gov.hk 02/13/2004

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Chinese Software Challenges Microsoft's Office Monopoly

China's software startup Evermore Software LLC launched a daring challenge on February 16 to US software powerhouse Microsoft monopoly on Office software by introducing an English version of Evermore Integrated Office (EIOffice). Evermore, a Sino-US joint venture set up in 2000 in Wuxi City of southern China, demonstrated its innovative suite of desktop software at the DEMO 2004 conference, a two-day showcase of latest IT innovations and products that challenge the status quo of the high-tech market. The English-version of EIOffice was the result of three-year intensive development by Evermore, which had already tested the sweet fruit of success in the fastest-growing Chinese market with its Chinese version of Office desktop software. Dubbed as the "first real Office," EIOffice is a unique and more user-friendly alternative to the Microsoft Office, by combining all the components of a conventional Office suite into one application. The integrated EIOffice is not only a word processor, but also a spreadsheet, and a business graphics application at the same time. It stores all text, worksheets, graphics, audio, video and slides in one file format, saving the users the trouble to switch from Word processor to Excel or Powerpoint while working on financial spreadsheets or doing documents containing complicated graphics. Written in Java, EIOffice works on all operating systems that support Java, including Windows, Linux and Macintosh OS X. "EIOffice is the first real Office because it is the first truly integrated Office," said Gus Tsao, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Evermore said. "It is one program, one menu system, one user interface, programed under one roof by one team, with one design, one file format for all data -- and it introduces the Paste Link command, one tool that enables users to exploit the integration built into EIOffice." By introducing EIOffice at the DEMO conference, Evermore hoped to get the exposure of its new product in the US market and establish contacts with corporate software buyers, venture capitalists, potential marketing partners and distributors. Tsao said that although there are many skeptics for Everemore's challenge to the software Microsoft, he is confident about his success with the backing of the Chinese government and the huge market there. Chris Shipley, executive producer of DEMO, lauded Evermore's participation as the first Chinese company, saying it refuted "preconceptions about the technology industry and the domination of the desktop by Microsoft." She said that China is not just a huge consumer market for US companies to explore, but also "a country of entrepreneurs taking on rivals in overseas markets, including the US." "It's very important for us to recognize that the technology market is a global market, and China is a huge player in that market, not just a consumer products producer but also an innovator itself," Shipley told Xinhua. Explaining his motivation for developing the integrated Office software, Tsao noted that Microsoft's inflexibility, high prices and security flaws "are driving computer users worldwide to look for Office alternatives." He said that while no US software publisher is unwilling to invest huge amount of money in developing an alternative to Microsoft Office, China can do it because it "is a test bed for new data integration technologies" with the fastest-growing number of new computer users as a result of its robust economy. Tsao gained fame in China's software industry in the mid-1980s, when he founded software publisher Daybreak Technologies Inc., developer of "Silk," a spreadsheet that challenged then-market leader Lotus 123 and won the Editor's Choice award from PC Magazine over Lotus in 1987. A confident Tsao said he has broader goal in developing software products with an aim to set future standard in the Office software with more innovative products. "'Made in Japan' was once synonymous with shoddy products and cheap prices," said Tsao. "That was past. Look at Japan today, (it is) setting standards against which companies around the world must compete. China is making the same journey -- and Evermore is simply the head of a long Chinese software dragon." About 550 company leaders, engineers, venture capitalists and bankers from all over the world are gathering here for the DEMO 2004, which features 67 companies that will demonstrate their latest innovations in the IT industry.

From People's Daily 02/18/2004

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Hong Kong Public Libraries Website Selected in "Ten Healthy Websites 2003 Awards"

With the aim to "enrich knowledge and support lifelong learning", the Hong Kong Public Libraries (HKPL) website (www.hkpl.gov.hk) has been selected as one of the winning websites in the Ten Healthy Websites 2003 Awards today (February 21). Senior Librarian of the HKPL, Mr Yam Kin-pang who is in charge of the website said that the website had 5.8 million visitors, 70 million hit rates in 2003. It was ranked the third in the most popular government websites last year. "Moreover, more than 800,000 library materials are renewed and reserved via our website every month," Mr Yam said. "To strive for excellence and meet the increasing needs of the public, the HKPL's website will soon be upgraded to better serve the public," he added. The website provides a 24-hour service for readers, giving them access to a wide range of electronic information and services. This includes readers' personal information and records; free-of-charge library electronic notices; renewing and reserving library materials; searching reference databases; browsing e-Books and the "Hong Kong Public Libraries Newsletter"; and obtaining information about HKPL's upcoming events and new services. The website also gives quick access to the Multimedia Information System (MMIS). Users can search for more than 90,000 audio-visual titles and 1.9 million pages of digital images and documents, including back issues of Hong Kong newspapers, house programmes, posters, maps, photos, news clippings, books and manuscripts. The system also has over 80 online reference resources in different subject areas and allows users to reserve the use of audio and video materials, CD-ROMs, CD-ROM databases, CD-ROMs for children and libraries' MMIS workstations in a total of 25 public libraries. The Ten Healthy Websites Contest 2003 is jointly organised by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority and Tung Wah Group of Hospitals. Its aim is to promote a healthy Internet culture by encouraging youngsters to visit websites with healthy contents and webmasters to produce more wholesome websites. This year's theme is "To Promote Healthy Culture; To Award Healthy Websites".

From http://www.info.gov.hk 02/21/2004

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Shanghai Tops in Development Capacity

Important as Beijing is as China's capital and seat of government, it does not stand alone in terms of potential for development, researchers said yesterday. The capital largely lags behind the country's economic hub of Shanghai when it comes to its capacity for urban development. Even the southern city of Shenzhen matches Beijing in this regard. Niu Wenyuan, head of the 100-plus experts who prepared an in-depth urban development report for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), announced the findings yesterday. The results were similar to a separate report from a team led by Ni Pengfei, of the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics, which is also under the CASS. After analyzing the comprehensive competitiveness of 200 sample cities at or above the prefectural level, Ni's team found that China's top 10 competitive cities were Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Ningbo, Nanjing and Wenzhou. The findings were exclusively released by Hunan Satellite TV Station yesterday. A year ago, Beijing ranked first among 200 cities for its competitive power in terms of its workforce, and science and technology. According to Niu's team, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Qingdao, Chengdu also rank in the top 10 of China's 50 biggest cities. The Chinese mainland has 668 cities and more than 20,000 towns, where more than 39 percent of the nation's 1.3 billion people live. Shanghai leads in overall economic output, urban infrastructure, basic resources, level of industrialization and many other indicators. Some Beijing citizens concede that Shanghai is the nation's top city. "I've heard a lot of comments from people all around the country about Shanghai's impressive economic performance and its potential," said Xiao Yu, an office worker in Beijing's Chaoyang District, after seeing the reports. But Shanghai is not the clear-cut leader, according to the Niu report. In terms of education capability, Beijing beats Shanghai because of its of renowned universities, research institutions, think tanks and international research and development centers. Beijing has the most landline phones, mobile phones and Internet users. Shenzhen also beats Shanghai in this regard. Shenzhen leads the pack when it comes to social security measures. Niu announced that his team has drawn up a framework involving a trio of "metroplexes," seven economic belts and a number of central cities with common features to cope with urban China's sprawl. The metroplexes are the groups of cities around Bohai Bay, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. They will serve as economic centers boosting the development of their surrounding areas. The areas will contain more than half of China's population while accounting for 80 percent of the national economy and 90 percent of China's industrial output value. About 95 percent of the nation's trade volume will be produced there. National People's Congress Standing Committee Vice Chairman Jiang Zhenghua said yesterday that China's current low degree of urbanization, in addition to an insufficient urban population and economic scale in many large cities, has limited its development and negatively affected its competitiveness.

From China Daily 03/02/2004

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New-Generation Communication Satellite to Blast Off in 2005

BEIJING,-- Sinosat-2, a new-generation communication satellite, is to be launched at Xichang space launch center in 2005, according to sources with the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology. The new satellite, which is being assembled, had a bigger capacity and longer service duration, said Zhou Zhicheng, chief designer of the satellite. The institute will start a month-long test for the launch in a few days, Zhou said. The satellite will be carried by Long March 3B rocket. The satellite under development will feature nearly 10,000 kilowatts of output power, 5,100 kilograms of takeoff weight and adesigned service life of 15 years, the largest satellite China hasever developed and the first anti-jamming communications satellite. The institute and China's Sino-Satellite Communications CompanyLtd. signed the contract to develop the Sinosat-2, in May 2002. Under the contract, Sinosat-2 will be based on the Dongfanghong-4 common platform developed by the institute for large-scale geostationary orbit communications satellites.

From www.chinaview.cn 03/04/2004

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Shanghai-Examination Evaluation Goes Online

Exams for Chinese literature will for the first time be graded online at this year's college entrance examination, according to the Shanghai Education Examination Authority. All local high school graduates' exam papers will go through the online system, which was tested in limited numbers last June. But the new practice is not ready for other subjects including maths, English, physics, chemistry, history, politics, biology and geography, officials said. "The new system proved to be more effective and efficient last year," said Shen Benliang, deputy director with the authority. "That prompted us to expand it this year." With the new practice, all answers will be scanned and transmitted into the authority's online evaluation system. Answers to objective questions, such as multiple choices, will automatically be corrected by this evaluation system. For subjective questions including discussion and composition, two teachers will read through the answers independently and enter marks in the computer system, officials said. "This can avoid possible mistakes in recording grades," Shen said. Previously, marks were usually indicated on exam papers before getting typed into computers. Nearly 100 students were given incorrect grades each year. Not one false grade was recorded using the online evaluation last year, officials said. The new practice could also prevent marks given by the first instructor to influence the next. Shen said it would be more fair for students. Students, however, said the new practice has no direct impact. "It means nothing for me," said Ge Liumin, a local student who is to sit the exam this June. "I'm still answering questions in the same way as before."

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn 03/08/2004

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Chinese Websites Focus on Games After First Year of Profits

Three leading Chinese gateway websites, Sina, Sohu and Netease, have ambitious plans for online games after they ending 2003 in the black. "Online games will continue to be the engine of our business in 2004 after they contributed much to the profit growth of the fourth quarter last year," said Sun Deli, deputy CEO of Netease. The number of online game players would continue growing as the website promoted new services, he said. Last year Netease saw surprising success with its "Chinese Odyssey Online II," and in January it launched "Chinese Odyssey Magic". Sina pledged to invest more in online games. It has just founded a joint venture with Korean gaming maker NCSoft and plans to set up a strategic alliance with Internet bars, hardware producers and telecommunications firms to promote the Korean game "Heaven II." Sohu is to promote its online game "Sword on line" in the latter half of this year after it bought the online gaming website 17173.com, the Beijing News reported. The three leading Chinese websites reported profits for the first time in 2003. Sina earned 31.4 million US dollars in net profits, while Sohu reported 26.4 million US dollars and Netease 39.5 million US dollars. Advertising became a fast growing business for the three gateway websites. Sina reported a revenue of 41.15 million US dollars from advertising, a year-on-year rise of 67 percent while Sohu's advertising revenue doubled from 2002 to 29.5 million US dollars. Netease earned the least among the three at 10.4 million dollars. "The website is also a medium. We will never stop improving the content to attract advertising," said Charles Zhang, chief executive of Sohu. The company said its operating revenue in the first quarter of 2004 was likely to range from 25.6 million to 26.6 million US dollars, of which 10.2 to 10.6 million would come from advertising. Sina said it expected 12.5 million to 13 million US dollars from advertising in the first quarter of this year when the operating revenue would total 39 million to 40 million.

From chinaview.cn 03/09/2004

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Digital R&D Base to Be Built in Beijing

BEIJING (Xinhuanet) -- Dubbed China's silicon valley, Beijing's Zhongguancun hi-tech park plans to invest 30 million yuan (3.62 million US dollars) to build a base for digital research and development, according to the park's administration committee. Promoting digital industry and aiding related enterprises are listed as key projects in the development schedule of the government-run hi-tech park. "In recent years, digital appliances such as palmtop computers,cellphones and digital cameras have gained popularity in China," said Xu Feng, a technical supervisor of the base. "One of our plans to promote digital products is to encourage the use of High Definition Television (HDTV)," Xu said. "However, HDTV works to its full potential only if it is showedwith high definition TV programs tailored for it. And China has very limited such programs, " Xu said. Therefore, the base plans to distribute some 2,000 discs of high definition TV programs and films for free to promote the technology.

From www.chinaview.cn 03/09/2004

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Hong Kong: Hang Seng Bank Launches Lifestyle Banking Website

Hang Seng Bank has enhanced its lifestyle banking services with the launch of a dedicated lifestyle banking website (www.hangseng.com/lifestyle) Monday. To cater for the needs of different customer segments, the Bankoffers Prestige Banking for affluent customers, Leisure Class for retirees, Stamina Banking for the sporty as well as Femina Bankingfor ladies. In addition to financial services, customers can enjoy a wide array of value-added activities and benefits that meet the lifestyle needs of these different customer segments. Mok Wai-kin, managing director and general manager of the Bank,said: "The launch of the website is a step forward in our continuous endeavors to provide lifestyle banking to different customer segments. It also signifies our strategy to leverage technology to deepen customer relationships and reach out to more customers." The lifestyle banking website provides a convenient channel forcustomers to access updated information on wealth management services as well as exclusive privileges and news on lifestyle activities. Customers can also experience a relaxing banking environment via a virtual Prestige Banking Center. The Femina Beauty Game allows customers to mix and match different colors of cosmetics with various face shapes and hairstyles. The Chinese medicine library provides essential information on Chinese herbs. An online resource center, which comprises a collection of financial calculators for mortgage loans, deposits, the mandatory provident fund, foreign exchange (forex) margin trading and personal loans, helps customers to plan and manage their finances with ease. An exclusive section is available for customers of Prestige Banking, Leisure Class, Stamina Banking and Femina Banking. It includes online enrollment for upcoming lifestyle activities and events, the latest issue and archives of the various customer newsletters and the sharing corner which provides an interactive platform for customers to share book reviews and recommendations, special recipes, golfing tips and insights on retirement planning. Founded in 1933, Hang Seng Bank is a principal member of the HSBC Group and the second largest listed bank in Hong Kong in terms of market capitalization. It operates 160 branches and automated banking centers in Hong Kong; and a network of five branches (in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Fuzhou and Nanjing), asub-branch (in Shanghai) and two representative offices (in Beijing and Xiamen) in the Chinese mainland. The Bank also has a representative office in Taipei.

From Xinhua News Agency 03/09/2004

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Hong Kong: Smart Id Card Holders Embrace E-Cert

The future of e-commerce in Hong Kong looks bright, with over 210,000 Smart ID Card holders already embedding Hongkong Post's e-Cert in their cards. Hongkong Post today (March 11) conducted a briefing for the public about the security features of e-Cert and its applications to facilitate online transactions, in particular in e-banking. Mr Allen Mok, Hongkong Post's General Manager (Electronic Services), hosted the briefing together with two guest speakers Mr Li Shu-pui, Head of Banking Development Department from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA), and Mr Vincent Hui, Head of the e-Distribution Department of the Bank of East Asia (BEA). All three provided updates on the latest e-banking developments, and the safety measures recently introduced - including e-Cert - to protect the interests of online banking service providers as well as their customers. Mr Li said it was a worldwide trend that more and more banking transactions were conducted online, and Hong Kong was no exception. "Currently, there are around 38 authorised institutions offering Internet banking services in Hong Kong. At the end of 2003, there were around 2.2 million personal Internet banking accounts (compared with 1.6 million in 2002 or an increase of 37%) and 67,000 business Internet banking accounts (compared with 31,000 in 2002 or an increase of 116%)," he said " In addition, the total number of financial transactions of personal and business Internet banking services have increased encouragingly by 38% and 440% respectively during 2003. While enjoying the benefits of increasing use of online transactions and the greater convenience that comes with it, consumers should also take every precaution over security to protect their own interests," Mr Li said. Mr Mok agreed that, "with more and more banks in Hong Kong offering online banking services to their customers and with the increasing number of Internet banking transactions, enhancing security has become a priority". He said the recent fraudulent website cases had aroused a lot of concern in the market. "In this aspect, the e-Cert of Hongkong Post is recognised as the most secure means that can protect online users from exposing their secrets or passwords to unauthorised third parties. The identity verification by e-Cert is based on users' digital signature rather than shared secret or password transmitted over the Internet. In addition, e-Cert gives users peace of mind by protecting the online transactions from being tampered with, either deliberately or accidentally," Mr Mok said. "The Government has been striving to promote Hong Kong's international image as a dynamic digital city and one of the initiatives is to encourage people to apply for e-Cert embedded Smart ID Cards. We already have more than 210,000 e-Cert subscribers through the Smart ID Card bulk replacement exercise and the number is ever increasing. With the ease of accessibility of the e-Cert embedded Smart ID Card, it creates a very favourable and convenient environment for conducting secure e-commerce, be it e-banking, online securities trading, shopping or betting," continued Mr Mok. BEA is one of the leaders among Hong Kong banks to apply the e-Cert technology. Mr Hui said that to offer a more secure means of online banking services to its customers, the bank has adopted Hongkong Post e-Cert as it is the most popular digital certificate in Hong Kong. With improved security, the transaction limit of our online banking services will be increased to provide greater flexibility and even more valued-added solutions to our customers." For more details about Hongkong Post e-Cert, check the website, www.hongkongpost.gov.hk.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 03/11/2004

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Shanghai Plans E-Business Zones

Shanghai plans to build several special zones for people wanting to start a business online, officials with the Shanghai Labor and Social Security Department said. Online store owners, regardless of whether they own a bricks and mortar shop, could apply for a business license by registering in the special zone. Incentives offered in the zone would include logistics upport, storage and delivery services. Bureau officials also hinted at possible tax breaks. "The planned special zone is designed to help residents, especially laid-off workers, start an e-business," said Sheng Zuhuan, a bureau official. "It could also ease the city's unemployment problem." Officials are still deciding the zone's exact location and when it would open. The first pilot zone is planned to be launched in downtown Jing'an District. "It will be a good idea to have a place in which I can register and apply for a business license," said Zhou Wan, an e-store owner selling household decorative items, who got a business license after renting a small shop. Before the special zone opens, only businesses with a fixed office would qualify for a business license issued by the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Bureau. A common business license is almost impossible for individual e-store owners to get due to the small sales volume from home-based operations. "Since our business volume is not large, it's not necessary for us to rent a shop," said an e-business owner who sells food products and asked to be identified by the surname Mai. "We can handle it with a computer at home." Zhou said it would be very inconvenient for a business to operate without a license. Unlicensed stores are not authorized to issue an invoice. This inevitably leads to disputes between shops and customers. Neighbors could also complain about noise made during deliveries and frequent visits by buyers to their home-based businesses in residential areas, shop owners said. Another e-business practice was to own a real streetside shop and open an online business to help support it, said Tang Lei, PR manager at Eachnet.com, the largest e-business Website in the country. Eachnet now hosts more than 120,000 online stores on its Website.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn 03/11/2004

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China Ranks No. 1 in DSL

China's digital subscriber line population, an index of a country's broadband diffusion level, has zipped past Japan's as No. 1 in the world, thanks to a booming online entertainment industry. DSL users in China hit 19.2 million last year, five times previous year's level, according to a recent industry report from the United States. Japan had the world's second-biggest DSL population with 10.3 million by the end of the year, followed by the United States with 9.1 million. DSL systems based on the fixed-line phone network are the standard of broadband Internet access in China. The country's largest fixed-line phone company, China Telecom Corp., is the main service provider. "The surging broadband population in China came from the development of the domestic online entertainment industry," said Zou Lei, an analyst at IResearch Inc., a local Internet consulting firm. "Currently, Chinese Internet users can choose many more kinds of services and games online, so they are eager to have a higher Internet access speed to enjoy the various services." Broadband service offers users a download speed of 50 kilobits to 100 kilobits a second -- 10 and 20 times the speed of a dial-up connection. Thus, users can quickly download music, films and large data files. Internet game fans have boosted the revenues of online game operators such as Shanghai Shanda Internet Development Corp. and 9com Computer Technology Consulting Co. Ltd. Previously, users were limited to dial-up connections and could only perform simpler tasks online, such as reading news and receiving e-mails, because of the limited Internet access speed. China Telecom sold 7 million DSL sets last year, a 337-percent leap from the 2002 figure. Shanghai Telecom, a local branch of the company, charged users 130 yuan (US$15.66) as a monthly flat rate. "We have provided a variety of online content specifically for our ADSL users, including music, news, film and financial services. That will help us attract more users this year," said Ye Lisheng, marketing director of the online content department.

From http://www.eastday.com 03/16/2004

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China Becomes World's Second Most Popular Destination for Spam

BEIJING (AFP) - China has become the world's second most popular destination for spammers after the United States, receiving 46 billion junk emails last year, a report said. The Internet Society of China (ISC) said that as of November, China's Internet servers had received 150 billion spam emails since Internet first became available in 1994, accounting for 30 percent of the country's total emails, according to the Xinhua news agency. "It's a great waste of resources," said Gong Shaohui, a member of an anti-spam association. The ISC has recently published a blacklist of 656 spam servers across the world, setting a March 20 deadline for them to stop sending junk mail or be blocked, Xinhua reported earlier.The blacklist, resulting from months of monitoring, includes 62 Chinese servers, 65 Taiwanese, six in Hong Kong and 523 in the rest of the world, according to Xinhua. But the situation has not improved since the ISC's move. "There are two major reasons for this," said Huang Mingsheng, the president of 263 Group, a well-known Internet service provider in China. "One is the lack of legal punishment for spammers and the other is that many email service providers are reluctant to invest in anti-spam technology." In September last year, China blocked 127 Chinese and local spam servers, causing email messages to be automatically refused by recipient servers. Chinese Internet users have been complaining their email in-boxes are plagued by junk mail, forcing some users to give up email addresses they have used for years. Despite government restrictions, China is second only to the United States for the number of people online, with 79.5 million users by December 2003, up from 59.1 million in December 2002. Worldwide, an estimated 50 percent of all email messages in circulation by the end of 2003 could have been unsolicited spam. This may have cost as much as 20.5 billion dollars in wasted technical resources, according to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

From AFP 03/18/2004

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Hong Kong: HKSAR and Japan Forge Closer Ties on ICT Co-Operation

The Hong Kong SAR Government today (March 23) signed the first Arrangement on Co-operation with Japan to forge closer ties in the development and co-operation of information and communications technology (ICT). The Arrangement was signed by the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, and the Vice-Minister for Policy Co-ordination, Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications of Japan, Mr Kozo Takahara. Mr Tsang said that the signing of the ICT co-operative arrangement marked another important milestone in forging the partnership between Japan and Hong Kong. "This Arrangement provides a framework for co-operation in a wide range of ICT areas covering broadband and wireless communications, multimedia, e-commerce, e-government, manpower development and measures to bridge the digital divide. "With the full implementation of the Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) this year and our vast experience and connection with the Mainland, Hong Kong can play a highly useful role in facilitating the Japanese ICT industry in exploring the Mainland market, especially the consumer market in the affluent Pearl River Delta region. "I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Japanese companies, especially small and medium sized enterprises, to partner with Hong Kong companies to grasp the enormous business opportunities offered by the Mainland market," Mr Tsang said. Mr Takahara said: "I believe it is very significant to enter into the Arrangement on Co-operation with Hong Kong where the world's foremost infrastructures in information and communication have been in place. For example, the penetration rate of broadband is 52% of households and the penetration rate of mobile phone is 106% of the population. "I hope all of you will give us your co-operation and assistance so that through this Arrangement on Co-operation in the ICT field, people in the Asian countries and territories will benefit from ICT and both Hong Kong and Japan can join together to promote the Asian Broadband Programme. "From April 1, HKSAR and BNO passport holders will be exempt from the requirement of visa for short-term stay in Japan. I hope that this Arrangement in conjunction with the visa-free access will further promote not only the exchange in the ICT field, but also will broaden the exchange in human interaction," Mr Takahara said. According to the Arrangement, Hong Kong and Japan will foster their ICT co-operation through the following activities: Exchange of information and materials on ICT, and establishment of channels for exchange of information as appropriate. Exchange of officials, experts and students in the field of ICT. Facilitation and organisation of joint programmes including ICT seminars, symposiums and missions. Facilitation and promotion of joint business events, activities and opportunities to encourage commercial ventures.

From http://www.info.gov.hk 03/23/2004

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The Formal Opening of APIRA Website

A few days ago, CNNIC formally opened the official website of Asia Pacific Internet Research Alliance (APIRA). People may inquire about the organization and the statistical information about the Internet development of Asia Pacific region and even that of the whole world. APIRA was launched by CNNIC and was founded on September 27, 2003. APRIA is a spontaneously organized and non-profit organization. It is a regional academic organization that focuses on enhancing communication and comparison in Asia-Pacific region on the Internet information, deepening the research on statistical techniques of the Internet information, facilitating the cooperation among Asia-Pacific countries and regions on the Internet information survey and boosting the regional development of the Internet researches. The initial member organizations of APIRA are China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), Korea Network Information Center (KRNIC), City University of Hong Kong, University of Macao and Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC). At the end of each year, all the APIRA members will conduct a statistical survey on local Internet development situation in a same period of time, using comparable survey method and questionnaire. APIRA member meeting will be held once a year, on which member organizations will make presentations, sharing their new techniques and research achievements, discussing on newly emerged technologies and phenomenon. Participants will also jointly research on methodologies of Internet information statistics and layout working plans of the coming year. The APIRA 2004 Member Meeting will be held in Hong Kong and Macao from August 19 to 20, 2004. City University of Hong Kong and University of Macao will jointly host the two days' meeting. APIRA member meeting is an open-to-public symposium and is free to attend. The APIRA secretariat is now calling for papers. APIRA will continuously put efforts to encourage other countries and regions in AP region to join the alliance, expanding the team and promoting its impact in the global statistics community. The alliance is devoted to decrease differences of statistical technique and information among countries and regions in AP region. The APIRA website will become a favorable communication platform for Asia Pacific statistic community.

From http://www.cnnic.net.cn/ 03/24/2004

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Chinese Websites Up 60.3% in 2003

China had approximately 600,000 approved websites by the end of 2003, up 60.3 percent over 2002, said a report issued by the State Council Informatization Office Thursday. The report on Internet resources in China in 2003 was made by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the third of this kind. However, about 90 percent of the websites were in East, North and South China provinces, showing a growing gap between rich regions and less developed regions, the report said. The national capital city Beijing, South China's Guangdong Province, East China's Zhejiang Province and Chinese economic hub Shanghai ranked in the top four for numbers of websites, accounting for 56.8 percent of the total, the report said. Internet resources were attracted to more developed regions and this will intensify the imbalanced development between East and West China, and between cities and the countryside, the report added. By 2003, China also saw nearly 17,000 on-line data banks, double the previous year. The report warned people against blind pursuit of quantity of information, but urged an improvement in the quality of data banks.

From Xinhua 04/02/2004

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"China City Series" Published

China Intercontinental Press (CIP) published Friday eight magazines of the "China City Series" in three languages to cater to foreigners' need to know more about China. Li Xiangping, editor-in-chief of CIP, said at a press briefing that 90 million overseas tourists traveled to China in 2003, and there are more than three million foreign residents and over 700, 000 foreign students in China. The foreigners are eager to know more about China and seek magazines and books to suit their reading habits. Li said the "China City Series", including eight magazines in English, Japanese and Korean, were published simultaneously in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Yuan Bao'an, chief editor of the "China City Series", said that thanks to China's fast development and the appeal of the Chinese culture, more people are focusing on China from all over the world. These magazines will introduce traditional China, modern China and colorful, graceful China to foreigners, and help make their lives here convenient and comfortable, Yuan said. The monthly magazines, mainly composed and edited by native speakers, introduce Chinese culture as well as provide vital information about enjoying the rich cultural offerings of China's cities. CIP, founded in 1993, belongs to the Information Office of the State Council, which is a comprehensive cultural and communication organization that deals with press, film and television production, electronic video, international media and international cultural exchange.

From Xinhua 04/04/2004

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Hong Kong Observatory Launches Personal Digital Assistant Website

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) has launched a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) Website today (April 8). This PDA website enables the public to obtain weather information such as weather radar images, rainfall distribution maps and regional weather data anytime anywhere. HKO has developed the PDA website to meet the increasing public demand for weather information. The website's contents include updated weather warnings, weather reports and forecasts. The public can also view the latest satellite and radar imageries, weather charts, rainfall maps and regional weather information from the PDA. For the convenience of tourists, weather information of a large number of world cities is also available on the website. Most PDAs can access the Internet wirelessly if fitted with suitable accessories. In rapidly changing weather situations, especially during severe weather, hikers, for example, can use the PDA to obtain the most recent weather information and decide on suitable precautionary actions such as altering the hiking route or seeking temporary shelter. Many shopping malls are now equipped with high-speed wireless internet connections. This allows shoppers to make use of their PDAs for obtaining updated weather information such as rainstorm warnings to consider their next activity. The public are welcome to browse the PDA websites: http://pda.weather.gov.hk or http://pda.hko.gov.hk.

From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 04/08/2004

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Guangdong: Internet Service Booms

GUANGZHOU: Chen Guangjun, a business executive from a local State-owned foreign trade company, spent less than an hour yesterday morning to surf the Internet and clinched a deal worth almost US$100,000. One of his Taiwan trade partners wanted to purchase a bunch of computer desks. Chen then immediately sat down in front of his computer in his office and began searching for furniture manufacturers via the Internet. Chen offered a price to his Taiwan client after he had reached an agreement with the manufacturer. One hour later, Chen received an e-mail from his client and the deal was clinched. Chen is just one of myriad people who are now using Internet services to do business in South China's Guangdong Province. According to a report jointly released on Tuesday by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) and Guangdong Provincial Association of Internet Services, Guangdong registered more than 9.5 million Internet users by the end of last year. It now tops the nation in this regard. Guangdong's Internet users represent more than 12 per cent of the country's total and account for 12.1 per cent of the province's total population. Shanghai and Beijing are the two other Chinese cities in registering Internet users. Shanghai and Beijing have about 7.5 million and 6.5 million Internet users, respectively. An official from the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Information Industry predicts the number of users in Guangdong will number more than 10 million by year's end. "Internet service has become the fastest growing and has the most growth potential of any industry in Guangdong," the official who did not give his name told China Daily. About 60 per cent of the province's Internet users are business people. Most are university graduates under 35. About 30 per cent of Guangdong's computer savvy people surf the Net for entertainment while the rest use computers to study and for other purposes. Guangdong has registered more than 4.38 million computers which have been connected to the Internet, accounting for 14.1 per cent of the country's total. Families are estimated to spend about 150 yuan (US$18) on Internet service per month. The province's rapid growth in this field has come with government's efforts in promoting information technology, e-government, and e-commerce. Most of the provincial government departments, bureaux and organizations have opened online services. These government departments and organizations have included customs, industrial and commercial administrations, education and public health. And starting last month, Guangdong residents were able to apply for their passports, travel documents, identity cards via Internet service after Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Public Security introduced an online service. (by Zheng Caixiong)

From China Daily 04/08/2004

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Chongqing: It's All in The Cards

You thought only teenagers get addicted to games. But in the city of Chongqing, almost everybody is said to be hooked on one particular card game. The game is called "doudizhu," or literally "battling the landlord," and it is more than just a pastime in the hilly city, situated on the triangle of land where the Jialing River empties into the mighty Yangtze River. It is an obsession that grips most residents regardless of age, profession or social status.

Preferred game
Card games are popular everywhere, and there is nothing unique about doudizhu, which is a variation of a game played throughout China. The rule is: whoever gets rid of all the cards in his or her hand first is the winner. What distinguishes the Chongqing phenomenon is its ferocity. A random browse at any newsstand will get you in touch with the reality: Zhang Xuan, a female fan of the game, because of the lack of human beings to play against, likes to sharpen her skills online. One time she went at it for 72 hours straight, with no sleep and only water and bread to sustain her. By the fourth day, when she got up to use the bathroom, she fainted and had to be taken to hospital. On February, a doudizhu competition was sponsored by an online gaming firm. As many as 100,000 people participate. There are 17 levels of "wealth," and players can fight all the way up from "dire poverty" to "Bill Gates rich." Members, reminiscent of those in cults, have evolved into 197 categories, crusading against one another in the spirit of having a jolly good time. In Wushan, one of the outlying towns of Chongqing, some officials were caught playing the game during office hours. They were disciplined by authorities. No one knows exactly where or when this game originated. Some say it started in the neighboring provinces of Hubei and Anhui. But Chongqingers claim that nowadays their city boasts the largest number of loyal players. No data is available as to the exact number of die-hards in the municipality, but in addition to the games in living rooms and on the sidewalks, there are more than 300 teahouses in the urban center, by one estimate, that feature the game as their staple entertainment.

Rationale
When asked to explain the craze, most locals cite the unemployment rate. The city with its economy based on old-style machinery manufacturing is going through growing pains, with factories either being shut down or restructured to meet market needs. In the process many have been laid off. However, the abundance of leisure time goes way beyond the underemployed. When Xinzhoukan, a Guangzhou-based lifestyle magazine, did a survey of a dozen Chinese cities, it found that Chongqing is not a city noted for its sophisticated pastimes. It is not teeming with "party animals," according to the magazine. Chongqingers enjoy what the magazine called "grassroots recreations": simple joys like drinking the local baba tea or playing doudizhu. Although the article tries hard not to sound critical, it has offended some local people. Luo Jinghong is one of them. A woman with impeccable taste, she enjoys classical music and impressionist paintings. She is also a municipal official who has a firm grasp on the cultural pulse of the city. "I used to hate it when my husband played doudizhu for long stretches of time. I thought it crass, but now I know better," she confided to China Daily. Culture should not be divided into high and low class, she says. Whenever a mass hobby takes shape, there must be something meaningful behind it. doudizhu is part of our local culture and we should study the reasons behind it rather than denounce it outright. According to Luo, the game is first and foremost a way of relaxing. After a day's hard work and tension, one needs to unwind. More important than that is the significance of human interaction. Luo contends that many friendships are maintained through the game. "It is a form of communication. It is like Cantonese having dim-sum, Germans drinking beer or Parisians hanging out in sidewalk cafes. You don't usually do it alone. You always have someone you can talk to or even confide in. I guess it saves us a psychiatrist's bill," she quips. As a means of communication, doudizhu is prone to abuse just as is any other means of communication. When business associates play it, it can evolve into an informal business meeting where deals are made. When people of disparate ranks engage in it, it can turn into a mini drama where a subordinate may strategically lose in order to appease the ego of a superior. When large sums of money are "lost" in this way, it constitutes virtual bribery, not by any means unheard of. Most people bet five or 10 yuan (US$0.60-1.20) on a game, which may be a bargain for the amount of fun it brings to them. However, when it gets out of hand, it can also have serious consequences. There are sporadic reports of people losing thousands in one night and resorting to violence to settle disputes. But authentic players thumb their noses at such behavior, saying it spoils the true spirit of the game.

Looking for identity
When Chongqing residents talk about their own city, they usually make comparisons with Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Before 1997, Chongqing was part of Sichuan. The two cities have always had a lot in common, such as the penchant for hot and spicy food, but Chongqingers felt they were number two, since Chengdu was the provincial capital. The elevation of the city's status to zhixiashi, or municipality directly under the central government, in 1997, gave the local economy a shot in the arm and a boost to the residents' egos. Investment has been pouring in. Infrastructure is being developed on a massive scale. Gleaming towers stand side by side with old houses. It offers an image of change and promise. However, Chongqingers pride themselves on their old ways as well. Many would cite the restaurant business as the case in point. When coastal cities started booming, outside cuisines were introduced and voraciously gobbled up by locals who will try anything different for a change. Not Chongqingers. Restaurants of other regional cuisines are opened but quickly fold. "We simply won't touch anything that's not numbingly spicy," said Luo Jinghong. Xinzhoukan magazine considers Chengdu the cultured city with swarms of artist types. "People in Chengdu are more laid-back," concurred Luo. "But we in Chongqing are more intense. We are like the northern people. We work hard and play hard." But that doesn't take into account the widespread love for mahjong in Chengdu. The passion with which Chengduers play mahjong easily rivals, if not surpasses, Chongqinger's doudizhu fad. There is one gag that alleges, exaggeratedly of course, that the only sound one can hear on a plane passing over Chengdu is the clatter of mahjong tiles. Chongqingers have an explanation. "A few years ago, the mahjong mania was present here, too, but we outgrew it. We wanted to play something different, different from what Chengdu people love. We do not have to be like them in every way," said a local resident. For one thing, mahjong is more structured. You have to have four players and a square table whereas doudizhu is freer in form. Three people are enough, and any venue will do. Another difference is that Chongqingers tend to play their game for serious fun, while Chengduers do it strictly for fun. "You may say that our way of playing cards is not the most refined, but you cannot doubt our sincerity and our goodwill. We want to make sure our friends truly enjoy themselves," said Luo.

From China Daily 04/10/2004

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Dalian Develops Software Industry

DALIAN: Promoting the rapid development of the software industry will be a priority for the port city in the coming years, said its mayor. "We will provide a better environment and qualified professionals to IT vendors and external service providers (ESPs)," Mayor Xia Deren said on Monday at a seminar on Software & Information Services Outsourcing, co-sponsored by the Dalian Software Park and US-based Gartner, a global IT research and consulting company. Since the establishment of the Dalian Software Park, Dalian has been targeting the world market, trying to attract the world's top 500 enterprises to establish their data and service centres in the city. So far more than 20 of them, including GE, Accenture and Nokia, have offices in the park, with business covering Japan, Republic of Korea and Russia. Xia said the municipal government says developing the IT industry is one way to upgrade its traditional industries in the country's drive to revitalize the economy in Northeast China. According to the country's blueprint, Dalian will be built into an international navigation centre, featuring petrochemicals, shipbuilding, equipment manufacturing and an IT industry. Last year the city planned a 15-square-kilometre project to enlarge the software park along its South Lushun Road, a scenic area in the city. "We present the best environment for the software industry, especially for offshore business process outsourcing (BPO) in our city," Xia said. A training programme to provide a lower-cost, yet qualified, workforce for ESPs is being offered to thousands of IT professionals in several institutes throughout the city. (Zhu Chengpei)

From China Daily 04/13/2004

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Beijing Netizens Nation's 'Most Wired'

The Chinese capital has the highest rate of Internet use in the nation, with 28 per cent of Beijingers going online last year. But the number of total Chinese Internet users, known as netizens, was only 6.2 per cent at the end of 2003, the China Internet Network Information Centre's latest report (CNNIC) reveals. Following Beijing in terms of netizen proportions is Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangdong, with rates of 26.6 per cent, 14.4 per cent, 12.1 per cent, respectively. In January, the government-funded CNNIC made public its 13th semiannual report, the most authoritative data on the Chinese Internet industry. The release yesterday was the first time that the centre has unveiled a province-based report. China's Internet community has increased 128-fold in a little more than six years. There were about 80 million netizens in the country by the end of 2003, a drastic jump from the 620,000 users recorded in 1997. About 11.5 million new users were recorded in the second half of last year, well about the growth of 8.9 million recorded in the first six months of 2003. Despite the growth, analysts fear the development of information technology and its applications in China are hugely disproportionate. About one-third of the population in Beijing and Shanghai are netizens, but in poorer areas such as Henan, Guizhou and Inner Mongolia, it is only around the 3 or 4 per cent mark. The gap between rich and poor is also reflected in the figures. Farmers, for example, account for only 0.8 per cent of the country's online users. According to yesterday's report, Beijing had more than 3.8 million Internet users by the end of last year, which was more than 5 per cent of the Chinese total. Guangdong Province and Shanghai have about 9.5 million and 4.3 million Internet users, respectively. Earlier reports said that the number of users in Guangdong will be in excess of 10 million by the end of December. "Internet service has become the fastest growing industry and has the most growth potential in cities like Beijing and Shanghai," said CNNIC official Wang Enhai. About 60 per cent of the Chinese capital's Internet users are students, technicians and business and governmental staff. Most are under 35 years of age. About 30 per cent of Beijing's computer savvy citizens surf the Net for information, while the remainder use computers for study and other purposes. Beijing has about 2 million computers connected to the Internet, accounting for 6.4 per cent of the country's total. Families on average spend about 150 yuan (US$18) on Internet services per month. The capital's rapid growth in the field has come though government efforts to promote information technology, e-government and e-commerce. Meanwhile, a Xinhua report says that the number of Internet users is increasing rapidly in East China.Besides Shanghai, there were 6.27 million Internet users in Shandong Province last year. On-line users aged from 18 to 24 account for 33.2 per cent of Internet users in Shanghai.

From China Daily 04/14/2004

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IRAN: Children's Internet Center Launched

The Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) has launched the first Internet Center for the six to 16-year old age group. The IIDCYA said in a press release that the center provides visitors with services compatible with needs of the age group. Experts believe that Internet which is designed for the elderly is harmful for children. Some 80 percent of the information available for children and young adults on the Internet may also be detrimental. The institute will present the web sites for children and will offer discount for the visitors. The institute is located on Hejab Street.

From http://iran.ru/ 02/10/2004

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Astan-E Qods Library Linked to Internet

Documents and research works maintained at the specialized geographical library, library organizations, museums and documents center of Astane Qods Razavi are currently available online. According to the head of the Iranian Public Library Administration, the website will provide researchers, university and high school students with access to various library sources. Khosh-Yad Tousi told ILNA that both domestic and foreign researchers can also gain access to Astan-e Qods Library via the Internet. He pointed out that a large collection of reference works, including encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, analyses and geographical books, as well as educational software, are available at the research library of Astan-e Qods Razavi Foundation. 'Astan-e Qods Razavi Foundation maintains 32 libraries in Iran and one abroad, a document management center containing six million documents as well as 11 museums,' Tousi added.

From http://iran.ru/ 03/16/2004

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Alcatel Provides First DSL Network in Iran to Asre Danesh Afzar

Alcatel (Paris: CGEP.PA and NYSE: ALA) today announced that it will supply the first DSL network in Iran. This contract has been signed with ADA (Asre Danesh Afzar), an Iranian Private Operator, as part of the Private Access Provider (PAP) governmental plan for DSL privatisation in Iran.

From http://www.payvand.com/ 03/23/2004

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JAPAN: Serious Crimes Linked to Online Dating up 37%

Serious crimes, including murder, robbery and rape, linked to online dating sites rose 37 percent in 2003 from the year before to 137 cases, the National Police Agency said in a report Thursday. Rapes accounted for 72 cases, up 19 from the year before. This was followed by robberies at 37, up 13, and indecent assaults at 18, up four. There were six cases of kidnapping and abduction, up by three, and four cases of murder, down two. The number of all crimes related to online dating sites came to 1,746 cases, up 15 from 2002, while there were 1,510 victims, down seven. Eighty-four percent of the victims, or 1,262, were girls under the age of 18. Of these, 597 were high school students, 397 junior high students and four elementary school students. The NPA said a law enacted in September to fight rising crime tied to online dating appears to have had some effect on curbing the problem, as the number of cases did not grow as fast as in 2002, when they more than doubled from the previous year. The agency said 95 percent of the victims accessed the dating sites via mobile phones and 5 percent through personal computers. Child prostitution topped the list of cases at 791. Police forces nationwide punished 433 officers and other employees for misconduct, criminal acts and other reasons in 2003, down 135 from the previous year, the National Police Agency said in a report Thursday. The agency said 36 people were fired, down 23 from the previous year; 87 were suspended, an increase of eight; 177 received pay cuts, down by 52; and 133 were reprimanded, down 68.

From The Japan Times 02/06/2004

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Japan's DSL Subscribers Exceed 10.6 Million in January

(TOKYO) -- The number of subscribers of xDSL services in Japan reached 10,612,671 at the end of January, up 34,0619 from the figure recorded in December 2003, when it surpassed 10 million, according to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. The ministry released the primary report on Feb 13. Although the monthly gain was slightly lower than the previous month's 360,000, the subscribers still kept growing around 350,000 per month. By service provider, Softbank BB Corp's "Yahoo! BB" has gained 122,000 since the end of December 2003 to 3,817,000. It has a market share of 36%, the same figure the company had in December. NTT regional companies, NTT East Corp and NTT West Corp's "Flet's ADSL" gained 97,772 subscribers for a total of 3,871,895 (2,159,202 subscribers for NTT East and 1,712,693 for NTT West), with a combined market share of 36.5%, which was dropped 0.2 point from the previous month. The gap between the market shares of Softbank and the NTT camp has narrowed to 0.5 point.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 02/20/2004

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Gov't Wants to Adopt Cell Phone Number Portability

TOKYO - A telecom ministry study panel adopted a draft proposal on Thursday that the ministry introduce a system to enable cell phone users to retain their numbers when they switch from one service provider to another. The proposed "number portability system" could be put into practice in fiscal 2005 at the earliest, ministry officials said. Industry analysts said the new system will benefit users but may intensify competition between cell phone companies to prevent their subscribers switching over to rivals.

From Kyodo News 02/26/2004

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New System of Labeling Stations and Lines Using the Alphabet and Numbers in Tokyo

The Bureau of Transportation of The Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Teito Rapid Transit Authority have been working on a new system of labeling subway stations, scheduled to begin in April 2004. This new system for the Tokyo subway uses the alphabet and numbers to denote the name of subway Lines and stations. It aims to enable foreign and domestic visitors to use the Tokyo subway more easily. The system os due to start on Thursday April 1, 2004.

From http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ 02/27/2004

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Info on Thousands of Customers Leaked from Major Mail Order Firm

SASEBO, Nagasaki -- Personal information on hundreds of thousands of customers of a major mail order sales company was leaked in 1998, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned. The company, Japanet Takata Co. based in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, has launched an in-house probe, and may file a criminal complaint with law enforcers, suspecting that the data was stolen. "We've strictly managed our customer data. However, six years ago, when the lists are believed to have leaked outside, we were changing our computer system because we were shifting from radio shopping to TV shopping. At the time, the management may have become temporarily sloppy," said Japanet Takata President Akira Takata. "We'll step up our in-house probe and tighten our management on customers' personal information," he added. Personal information on up to hundreds of thousands of customers was printed from CD ROMs kept at the company's office and taken off the premises, according to company officials. The Mainichi has recently obtained four hardcopies containing personal information on some 150 customers, such as their names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates and ages. Contacted by the Mainichi, the company checked the copies against their originals on the CD ROMs and confirmed that the information is that of its customers. Data was apparently altered to conceal the identity of the person who removed it from the company's office, company officials said. Officials said only a handful of employees in charge of managing customers' information had access to the data. Japanet Takata's sales have sharply increased in recent years due partly to TV commercials in which its president appears and provides detailed explanations about the products the company is selling. The firm's annual sales, which stood at 1.45 billion yen in fiscal 1992, sharply increased to 70.54 billion yen last fiscal year.

From Mainichi Shimbun, Japan 03/09/2004

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4 Firms Develop New Smart Card

TOKYO - Sony Corp has developed a new-generation smart card with the dual functions of contact and "contactless" integrated circuit (IC) card technologies in a tie-up with three other companies, Sony officials said Wednesday. Dai Nippon Printing Co, U.S. credit card giant Visa International, and German memory chip maker Infineon Technologies AG joined in the development of the new card, which is expected to lure a range of financial services companies.

From Kyodo News 03/10/2004

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Web Site Set Up to Support Socially Isolated People

In a bid to help people who have withdrawn from society or stopped attending school, support groups have set up a Web site offering professional advice. The site, titled Hikikomori Sapoto Nabi (Social withdrawal support navigation), was designed by Think Project, an organization devoted to helping people with mental disorders or problems, through an Internet support system. It is jointly run by the Zenkoku Hikikomori KHJ Oya no Kai organization. Officials from the organizations decided to create the site in response to the large number of socially withdrawn people trying to make a connection with society through the Internet. Yuji Sakano, a professor at Waseda University's School of Human Sciences, offered support for the creation of the system through his research office. In the project, cases of isolation were categorized, enabling counselors to offer advice to those who "avoid families" or those with "obsessive behavior," etc. Classification using check sheets on the site is free, while e-mail counseling is member-based at a price of 1,000 yen a month. The site can be accessed at: http://www.hikikomori-navi.com.

From Mainichi Shimbun, Japan 03/23/2004

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Broadcasters Set to Offer Digital Services for Mobile Phones

Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) and five private broadcasters said Wednesday they will start offering terrestrial digital broadcasting services for mobile phones by the end of fiscal 2005, marking the first such venture in history. The announcement followed an agreement earlier in the day between the six Japanese broadcasters and MPEG LA -- a U.S.-based organization that manages rights to image-data compressing technologies -- over licensing fee payments. Analog broadcasts can already be seen via mobile handsets but tend to suffer from image distortions. While digital broadcasts can offer sharper images, the broadcasters needed to conclude an agreement with MPEG LA on what licensing fees they should pay, as digital image data must be compressed by one of the available technologies. The five private broadcasters are Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., Nippon Television Network Corp., TV Asahi Corp., Fuji Television Network Inc. and Television Tokyo Channel 12 Ltd. Now that the agreement with MPEG LA has been concluded, mobile phone makers will step up efforts to develop cell phones capable of receiving terrestrial digital broadcasts. Mobile phone operators are also ready for the new service. Keiji Tachikawa, president of NTT DoCoMo Inc., said the biggest Japanese cell phone operator will "positively cooperate" in receiving terrestrial digital broadcasts. Taro Aso, minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications, issued a statement saying the new service will "revolutionize the pattern of viewing broadcasts and greatly contribute to the spread of terrestrial digital broadcasting as a whole." Terrestrial digital broadcasting services were launched in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya in December.

From The Japan Times 03/25/2004

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Digital Broadcasts to Be Seen on Cell Phones from 2005

TOKYO - Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) and five private broadcasters said Wednesday they will start offering terrestrial digital broadcasting services for mobile phones in fiscal 2005, beginning in April that year, for the first time in the world. The announcement follows an agreement earlier in the day between the six Japanese broadcasters and the MPEG LA, a U.S.-based organization managing rights to image-data compressing technologies, over licensing fee payments.

From Kyodo News 03/25/2004

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Launch of 24-Hour National ATM Network Delayed

TOKYO - Round-the-clock automated teller machine (ATM) services linking financial institutions across Japan will not start in May as scheduled due to technical woes that occurred this year, industry sources said Friday. An integrated ATM network linking major commercial banks, regional banks and shinkin banks was inaugurated Jan 4. But the network developed a series of malfunctions. Some cardholders could not use their cards at financial institutions other than those that issued the cards and others could not check their balances at member financial institutions.

Fom Kyodo News 04/03/2004

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Matsushita to Invest Y120 bil in IT

OSAKA - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co plans to invest around 120 billion yen in the field of information technology (IT) over a three-year period through March 31, 2007, officials at the consumer electronics giant said Monday. The planned investment will focus on overseas operations, particularly in China, the officials said.

From Kyodo News 04/06/2004

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Kobe Protests E-Snitching on Immigrants

The Kobe municipal government submitted a petition Tuesday asking immigration authorities to discontinue an e-mail system requesting information from the public about non-Japanese living in the nation illegally. The municipal government said in the petition submitted to Justice Minister Daizo Ozawa that the e-mail system encouraged people to discriminate against non-Japanese. It is the first petition of its kind submitted by a local government. The Hyogo prefectural government also submitted a petition Wednesday to the ministry requesting a halt to the system, saying it seemed to encourage the monitoring of non-Japanese. As of Dec. 31, 103,000 non-Japanese were living in the prefecture. The developments are likely to cause controversy as the ministry has shown a desire to continue using the e-mail system. The system was launched in February to halve within five years the estimated 250,000 non-Japanese illegally living in the nation. People who wish to make a report to the ministry fill in an on-line form about the suspected illegal non-Japanese and e-mail it. The Web site states that the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Law allows people who have information about illegal immigrants or overstayers to report it to immigration authorities. The municipal government said it was easy to notify the bureau about illegal immigrants or overstayers by e-mail. It also said the e-mail system was used to defame non-Japanese in general without reasonable grounds as the bureau accepted anonymous e-mail messages, adding that it was concerned that people might promote misconceptions about non-Japanese or inflame prejudice against them. However, an Immigration Bureau official countered that charge, saying the bureau refused to accept slanderous messages about non-Japanese staying legally in the nation based on humanitarian considerations.

From http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/ 04/15/2004

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Net User Population Tops 60%

TOKYO - The percentage of Internet users in Japan topped 60% for the first time in 2003, with the number of such people in their 40s and 50s notably growing, a government report showed Wednesday. The total number of Japanese Internet users came to an estimated 77.3 million as of Dec 31, or 60.6% of the total Japanese population, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said in the report.

From Kyodo News 04/15/2004

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Okinawa Slated to Get High-Speed Internet

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa - High-speed broadband cable Internet soon may be coming to an Okinawa base near you. Mediatti Communications Inc. is poised to take over the cable television system serving all the bases at the stroke of midnight April 15. After a shakeout period of 90 days there will be some notable changes in service, said Blake Williams, the company's senior vice president and chief operations officer. "We'll take over the system on April 15th," Williams said in a recent telephone interview from his Tokyo office. "There'll be a 90-day transition period, during which we'll get some new programming and start up high-speed Internet in some areas." He was not sure which family housing areas would be the first to be hooked into the cable broadband service. Eventually it will be offered to all 11,000 potential customers. Mediatti was awarded a 15-year franchise agreement from the 18th Contracting Squadron on Kadena Air Base. The firm will take over operation of the system from Americable of Japan International, which built it about 10 years ago and will continue to operate cable systems on bases on the Japanese mainland. The Air Force, which maintains all military family housing on Okinawa, handles the cable television contract. "We'll start taking out local ads explaining the coming changes," Williams said. "At first the programming will stay the same, with new channels added as we get our new programming in order. We're finalizing contracts now that will bring the number of channels being offered up to about 70." Some of the new channels that may be offered are the new "We" women's channel, Home & Garden Television, Country Music Television, the Food Network and Turner Classic Movies, Williams said. Among the new premium channels will be HBO and Cinemax. Williams thinks the Internet service alone will be a big draw. "It means you'll be connected to a system faster than anything else available on the bases now," he said. "This will be six to 10 times faster than regular dial-up connections." According to the contract, the basic monthly fee for the full package of regular channels will be about $47.90, with premium channels extra. The Internet connection will cost an additional $39.95. However, discounts of up to 35 percent are planned for customers who pay a year in advance, bringing the package of basic channel lineup and Internet to about $55 a month. The quality of the channels now being videotaped by Americable in Florida and aired here two weeks later also will improve, Williams said. He said Mediatti will record the stations not available on the Far East Satellite Service in California and rebroadcast them from higher-quality DVDs. (by David Allen)

From http://www.estripes.com/ 04/19/2004

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SOUTH KOREA: Electronics Makers Boost R&D

Korea's major electronics makers plan to increase their research and development spending sharply this year to stay ahead in the race for more powerful high-tech products. Samsung Electronics Co., the country's largest electronics maker, said it has set aside 3.9 trillion won for its 2004 R&D investment, up 14.7 percent from 3.44 trillion won in 2003. The company invested 2.9 trillion won in R&D in 2002. The budget accounts for 8.5 percent of Samsung's 2004 revenue target set at 46.3 trillion won. Samsung, widely tracked by analysts and investors for its dominant position in the memory chip, mobile phone and flat-panel display sectors, is competing with global giants like Sony Corp. of Japan in overseas electronics markets. But competition is getting tough as key players continue to churn out new technologies in the liquid crystal display and mobile phone industries amid growing signs of convergence among different standards and solutions. Samsung said its R&D investment will focus on developing new technologies and hiring seasoned engineers in "next-generation fields," such as flat-panel displays and mobile phones. In particular, the company earmarked some 2 trillion won for the LCD division, which was recently separated from the chip division in pursuit of more aggressive marketing and product development. Although plasma display panel, or PDP, technology is currently leading the next-generation TV market, LCD models are catching up quickly in terms of screen size and prices. LG Group's electronics and telecom units - LG Electronics Inc., LG.Philips LCD, LG Innotek and LG Telecom Co. - set their combined 2004 R&D budget at 2.3 trillion won, up 21 percent from last year. The figure represents 88 percent of the conglomerate's total R&D budget for 2004. LG affiliates are funneling a large chunk of its investment to developing new technologies and products in digital TV, PDP, LCD, mobile phones, and home network. Samsung SDI, a major PDP panel maker affiliated with Samsung Group, raised its R&D budget by 30 percent to 400 billion won. The company, which posted solid earnings last year, said it aims to strengthen its competitiveness in PDP, batteries, organic electro luminescence panels and field emission display. Hynix Semiconductor Inc., the world's third-largest chipmaker, is expected to double its R&D budget for this year amid a positive outlook for the global IT industry. Daewoo Electronics said its R&D budget will go up 10 percent this year, with the focus placed on digital TV and display products.

From http://www.korea.net/ 02/06/2004

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Korean Online Population Approaches 30 Mil.

The number of Koreans who use the Internet approached 30 million as of last December, the Ministry of Information and Communication said yesterday. Announcing the results of an annual survey of 20,962 residents from 7,685 households, the ministry said that 29.2 million Koreans aged six or older, or 65.5 percent of the population, use the Internet at least once a month. The figure is a 6.1-percent rise year-on-year. According to the survey, Internet user numbers increased for all age groups, although teens and those in their 20s are still the predominant users at 94 percent. This compares with 80.7 percent for those in their 30s and 51.6 percent for those in their 40s. At 71.7 percent, men are more likely to go online than women at 59.2 percent. However, the survey also showed that housemakers are eagerly embracing the Web, marking a 13.1-percent increase in usage among the group over the previous year to 50.3 percent. Survey respondents said accessing information was the primary reason for using the Internet but depending on age, they frequently go online as an aid to various activities including shopping, banking, chatting, leisure and education. The average Internet user spent 12 hours and 30 minutes a week on the Web and 85.3 percent have an average of 1.7 e-mail accounts. About 40 percent of Internet users shopped online in the last six months, while 25 percent have accessed paid content. (by Kim Min-hee)

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 02/12/2004

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IT Cluster to Be Formed in Gyeonggi

A large-scale information technology cluster will be formed in a region near Seoul in line with the Korean government's plan to turn the nation into the IT hub of Northeast Asia, the region's governor said on Thursday (Feb. 12). Attending an investment seminar at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in central Seoul, Governor Sohn Hak-kyu said Gyeonggi Province, the region surrounding the capital city, has a strong IT industry which will provide the groundwork for the nation to become the hub of Northeast Asia. "Gyeonggi Province is the fastest-growing region in the nation because of its strength in the high-tech industry, accounting for 23.9 percent of the nation's total gross domestic product in 2002," he said. LG.Philips LCD, a 50-50 venture between Europe's biggest and South Korea's No. 2 electronics maker, has already agreed on a $10 billion deal to invest in the construction of a liquid crystal display industrial complex in the region. The ground will be broken for the complex, with a land area of 1.7 million square meters, next Sunday, with the first phase of construction to be completed by June 2005, the governor said.

From http://www.korea.net/ 02/13/2004

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Korea Adopts Mobile Internet Platform

The Korea Wireless Internet Standardization Forum said that it has adopted the wireless Internet platform for interoperability 2.0 version as the formal standard for Korea's mobile Internet technology. The wireless Internet platform is middleware that allows mobile phone users to access the Internet with their handsets and download multimedia data. With the formal endorsement of the platform by KWISF, handset makers like Samsung Electronics Co. are set to launch version 2.0-enabled phones in the second half of this year. Korean mobile carriers are promoting WIPI as a single standard to promote mobile Internet data services, but U.S.-based wireless technology developer Qualcomm Inc. is opposing the standard, saying it could become a trade barrier. Qualcomm, whose code division multiple access technology is used in Korea as the dominant mobile phone standard, is keen to promote its own platform called BREW. KTF Co., Korea's second-largest mobile carrier, has adopted BREW, but Qualcomm fears the joint move by Korean carriers could derail its efforts to spread the platform. KTF, is the first mobile carrier in the world to have adopted BREW as its formal platform and use it as a full commercial version. Information Ministry officials also said BREW and other platforms will be compatible with the WIPI standard as the country's policy is not to block foreign technologies but to streamline the complicated and conflicting standards. The ministry emphasized that local mobile carriers are jointly promoting WIPI in order to kick-start the fledgling wireless Internet content market on their own initiatives, so the platform is not a government-set standard. There are about 140,000 phones featuring WIPI 1.0 since its debut in June 2003. Not only local carriers but multinationals like IBM Korea, Microsoft Corp., Sun Microsystems and Motorola joined the development of WIPI 2.0. Other partners include handset manufacturers, mobile content providers and software developers. According to industry estimates, Korea has paid upward of 500 billion won in CDMA technology royalties to Qualcomm between 1995 and 2002. Despite the huge amount of money contributed by Korean carriers and handset makers, Qualcomm allegedly offered more favorable royalty conditions to Chinese carriers, sparking an uproar here. Qualcomm, however, declined to reveal the specific terms reached with Chinese partners.

From http://www.korea.net/ 02/16/2004

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Internet Use Low for Disabled

A growing number of disabled and elderly Koreans are benefiting from computers and the Internet, but the user rates for the groups are still low compared with the national average. The Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO) on Thursday said the Internet usage rate for the disabled stood at 27 percent as of June, up 5.2 percent points, while just 14 percent of people over 50 used the Web, up 4.9 percent points. However, the figures are still far lower than the nation's average user rate of 65.5 percent, the world's highest level. Computer usage rates for the handicapped and elderly reached 29.2 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively, in June. South Korea's average is 66.7 percent. In an attempt to help bridge the digital divide, the KADO will spend 54 billion won this year focusing on providing digital opportunities to the groups. The state-backed institute will give out 180,000 secondhand computers to the information-deprived people as well as spending 2.6 billion won in developing software for the disabled. To narrow the international information gap, the institute said it will continue its global charity offerings of PCs to less developed countries. South Korea has sent a total of 3,036 secondhand PCs to 15 developing nations including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Mongolia since 1998. (by Kim Tae-gyu)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 02/19/2004

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South Korean Robot to Guard Houses

A new household robot soon on sale in South Korea won't do the laundry or fix dinner -- but it will instantly notify its master via cell phone of burglars, fires and gas leaks. And the three-wheeled gizmo costs only a fraction as much as its Japanese-made rival, according to its maker, the new Seoul-based company MOSTiTECH. MOSTiTECH's robot wheels around the house with its motion sensors and heat detectors, snapping shots of anything that moves and keeping a lookout for fires and gas leaks. If anything's amiss, it sends images or text messages to the owner's mobile phone. The yet-to-be-named robot can be remotely controlled by cell phone or the Internet, said MOSTiTECH president Park Sang-hoon. South Korea's biggest mobile phone carrier, SK Telecom, plans to put the robots on the market by July. They'll cost about $854, Park said. That compares with about $17,800 for the Banryu, a rival home robot already being sold by Japan's Sanyo Electric Co. and joint venture partner tmsuk Co. Park said his firm kept the price lower by using cheaper, simpler mechanisms -- such as wheels instead of the walking mechanical legs used by Banryu. MOSTiTECH built the vacuum-cleaner-sized robot after 2 1/2 years of research and $2.56 million in investment. Park plans to add functions that let the robot distinguish between unwanted visitors and pets. ``For now, users will need to keep their pets locked up when leaving home with the robot on security mode,'' he said.

From The New York Times 03/10/2004

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Korea Evolving Into Genuine IT Hotbed

Korea is aiming to become a global centerpiece of the information technology era by launching next-generation services well ahead of its high-tech competitors. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has been at the forefront of such efforts, with the ministry setting its sights on new growth engines for Korea. "We are definitely a pioneer in deploying futuristic applications. With advanced technological prowess in IT sectors, we will be able to stay ahead of the game and outpace China," MIC head Chin Dae-je told the reporters on March 18. So far, the nation has already earned the name tag of the test bed of the world's newest IT technologies in such sectors as code division multiple access (CDMA) and broadband infrastructure. In 2000, Korea's largest mobile operator SK Telecom became the first outfit to start commercial CDMA2000 1x services in the world, enabling people to gain access to their e-mail or check train and subway timetables on the move. Two years later, the nation also ushered in a new era of multi-media content on mobile handsets by embarking on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO (evolution data optimized) offerings. The third-generation features, called killer applications, facilitated a rapid transmission of multimedia data like streaming video or large file downloading. Also wireless video conferencing and video on demand (VOD) has become a reality under the EV-DO, which pumps data up to 2 Mbps with an average throughout of over 700 kbps. As far as the high-speed Internet penetration ratio is concerned, Korea maintains an astronomical lead against rivals with over 70 percent of the nation's 48 million population hooked into the broadband Internet. However, the MIC said such success only gives a glimpse at what lies ahead in the future path of the country. "Korea's achievements up to now only show what is in reserve. I bet what Korea makes and decides in the IT fields will be the standard of the world in the not-so-distant future," an MIC official predicted. Among other segments, the official picked home networking, mobile technology, digital broadcasting and telematics to help Korea progress in leaps and bounds.

New Offerings on the Line
As soon as this July, for the first in the world again, the satellite digital multimedia broadcasting (DMB) will break into our everyday lives and is expected to change consumer patterns markedly. The satellite DMB service enables people to enjoy crystalclear broadcasting with CDquality sound anywhere at anytime through mobile terminals like cell phones or automotive devices. Also waiting on the line is ultra-fast wireless Internet, which the government looks to kick-start in 2006 based on the frequency of around 2.3 GHz. The portable Internet will galvanize cordless renovation, allowing Internet access on the move at the speed of current fixed-line broadband connections. Home networking and telematics, the two services which will be interconnected through incar devices, are other compelling applications of the future. Taking advantage of the Internet protocol revolution based on the IPv6 (version 6), people can control securities and all electronic appliances at home, on the street or in a vehicle. Chin said the MIC aims to install the home network into 10 million households by 2007, thus helping local companies to take the initiative in the global market using Korea as a test bed. With the facilities of telematics, the jargon originally coined in France, one can enjoy automatic navigation, real-time traffic reports, safety and emergency services, remote diagnostics and mobile Internet. To show off all the attractive features in one place, the MIC opened the "Ubiquitous Dream Exhibition Hall", which is located on the first floor of the MIC building in Seoul. At the opening ceremony of the hall on March 18, Chin said all the applications in the facility including home networking and telematics will be fully commercialized in four or five years.

IT's Immediate Contribution to Korea
On an more immediate basis, IT is also a driving force of Corporate Korea, especially in terms of its huge contribution to exports. Chin predicted earlier in January Korea would reach $70 billion in IT exports this year, up 22 percent from a year ago. Chin picked mobile phones, memory chips and computerrelated items as the main engines to spark the nation to the bullish target. Some experts cast doubts, saying the number is too optimistic as that amounts to one-third of Korea's total exports of $200 billion in 2004, the projection of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. But the nay-sayers were muted as high-tech exports soared from day one into this year on the back of strong demands for dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and cell phones, the flagship items forecast by Chin. Outbound IT shipments jumped 39.9 percent during the first two months to $11.17 billion. Last month, exports stood at $5.72 billion, up as much as 51.4 percent on a yearly basis and a record-high tally for February. The strong pace continued into this month, as the offshore shipment of the high-tech gear rocketed by 45.6 percent during the first 15 days of March. "IT industry took off globally from the latter part of 2003. If this trend continues, we will be able to easily top $70 billion this year," said Kang Hoe-il, senior researcher of the state-backed Institute of Information Technology Assessment (IITA). Kang was one of those who were not sure of Korea's ability to attain the $70 billion plateau as the number is almost twice that compared to just three years ago. The nation's IT exports topped $50 billion in 2000 but the figure plunged to $38.5 billion in the following year due to the bursting of the technology bubble. After recovering somewhat in 2002 with $46.3 billion, last year's outbound shipment of IT products amounted $57.58 billion. An analyst from a private research institute also echoed such bullish prospects on Korea's future path in IT segment. "Korea will be able to savor solid exports this year on the strength of its technical prowess, accumulated down the years. Plus, the global economic recovery will accelerate the upturn," said Min Byung-suk, an economist of Samsung Economic Research Institute. (by Kim Tae-gyu)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 03/22/2004

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Internet Service Via Power Lines Set for October

Starting this October, high-speed Internet access will be available to homes and offices through the nation's power lines. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) announced Tuesday that the lightening of regulations would allow the broadband Internet to be accessed through electric power lines, without having to install a separate device. Power Line Communication (PLC) is a technology that enables homes to exchange data through power lines, and connects electronic devices such as refrigerators, televisions and personal computers to the Internet without the need to install extra equipment. Until now, the MIC has required individual authorization for connecting to the Internet through power lines for fear of interference of electric waves from other electronic devices. However, the MIC replied "We have decided to ease regulations on PLC for the technological development of home networking." On the same day of the ministry's announcement, corporations introduced related products on the market. LGIBM displayed the "Multinet X 900," a PC with a remote control function that can be used in a connected network with other digital home appliances. The "Multinet X 900" can control other appliances through power lines, as well as perform the basic functions of a PC.

From http://english.chosun.com/ 04/13/2004

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Can Korea Be Kingpin of Online Games?

If NCsoft Corp. ever had a question about the popularity of its new online games beyond South Korea's shores, it got a resounding answer at the Taipei Game Show in February. There, tens of thousands of enthusiasts thronged the company's booth to get a glimpse on a giant screen of Lineage II, its latest Internet-based, three-dimensional, fantasy-role-playing game. Some 75,000 additional Taiwanese are now playing Lineage II -- a successor to a hugely successful online game of the same name -- in a test run. Given the reaction in Taiwan, NCsoft can stride confidently into other markets. "We think we are ready to go global," crows Kim Yong Kon, head of NCsoft's international business unit. Indeed, NCsoft is in the vanguard of a bid by Korean companies to revolutionize digital games worldwide. The industry is now dominated by Japanese and U.S. giants such as Sony (SNE), Microsoft (MSFT), and Electronic Arts (ERTS) that sell games played on proprietary consoles and disks. But the Koreans are betting that their network games, in which thousands of gamers compete in real time over the Net using personal computers at home or in Internet caf¨¦s, will become the industry standard once high-speed Internet becomes more widespread. "Online games have the potential to emerge as the most innovative brainchild Korea has ever produced," says John H. Wi, a business professor at Chung-Ang University. "This will create a whole new culture." It's already happening in Korea, where online games are far more popular than the console variety, in part because three-quarters of all households have broadband access to the Net. The companies are projecting sales of $640 million this year -- nearly triple 2001 revenues of $233 million. The money comes in through monthly subscriptions of about $25 from game players. When a dragon called Antaris unexpectedly appeared in Lineage II in January to wreak havoc, "it was as important for the players as a political scandal rocking the country," says Wi. Now, hundreds of thousands of players are logging on in China, Japan, and Thailand, as broadband access spreads in those countries. The state-funded Korea Game Development & Promotion Institute estimates the foreign revenue of Korean online-game companies -- mostly in the form of royalties -- will jump to $143 million this year, up from $15 million three years ago. That's becoming important to companies such as NASDAQ-listed Webzen (WZEN ) Inc., which earned $29 million on sales of $49.5 million in 2003 -- 15.5% of it from China and Taiwan. TARGETING TAIWAN. NCsoft, Korea's biggest online game company, is leading the overseas push. In Lineage II games, players create 11th century characters representing themselves -- a concept that has proved highly exportable. This year, the company pro-jects that overseas revenue will jump 70%, to $41.5 million, and that overall sales will be up 52%, to $221 million. In Taiwan last year, NCsoft earned $21 million in royalties from its local partner, Gamania Digital Entertainment Co. In China, Korean games currently account for well over 50% of the market. In Japan, NHN Corp. of Korea in mid-2003 overtook Yahoo! Japan Corp. as the country's largest game portal. On Apr. 28, NCsoft will face its biggest test yet when it launches its Lineage II and City of Hero online games in English in the U.S. NCsoft has been building up to this ever since it recruited veteran American programmer Richard Garriott in 2001 and acquired Seattle game development studio ArenaNet for $16 million in 2002. "The challenge is to tailor games to the unique tastes and preferences of the West," says NCsoft's Kim. Look out, PlayStation and Xbox: Those Lineage dragons are out to singe your profits. (by Moon Ihlwan)

From http://www.businessweek.com/ 04/16/2004

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Samsung Electronics Pushing to Build Nation's First "Corporate City"

Samsung Electronics wants to build a business town in Asan city in North Chungcheong Province. A company official said Tuesday that Samsung recently submitted to city authorities a blueprint for the establishment of the envisaged business town, which would be the first such entity in South Korea. The electronics giant hopes to invest around 1.4 trillion won over the next five years to build a self-sufficient business town that would accommodate residential and commercial complexes on an area of 32,000 square kilometers.

From http://rki.kbs.co.kr/ 04/21/2004

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IT Trade Surplus Soars 60% in First Quarter

South Korea's trade surplus in the information technology (IT) industry jumped by more than 60 percent in the first quarter of the year, on the back of robust export growth. The Korea Customs Service (KCS) reported on Tuesday that the trade surplus in the IT sector came to $8.7 billion between January and March, up 60.9 percent or $3.2 billion from a year ago. The amount is well above the nation's overall trade surplus of $6.8 billion during the cited period, meaning that the IT sector is the main driving force for export growth. The exported IT products totaled $11.06 billion for the first three months of the year, up 50 percent from the same period last year. By product, the exports of cellular phones surged by 43 percent to $4.13 billion in the first half, leading the IT export growth, while that of computers fell by 37 percent to $898 million. High-tech goods imports increased 22 percent to $2.4 billion during the first half. By region, China emerged as the nation's top IT shipment destination for the first time in history. IT exports to the world's fastest growing economy reached $2.23 billion in the first half, up 53 percent from a year before, surpassing $2.13 billion in exports to the United States. Hong Kong ranked third with $1.04 billion, followed by Britain with $539 million, Japan with $500 million and Germany with $414 million. (by Kim Jae-kyoung)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 04/22/2004

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KT to Launch Advanced Search System

The country's largest fixed-line and broadband carrier KT Corp. plans to launch a news search feature that provides subscribers customized information from more than 260 domestic news Web sites. The service, called Bizmeka Eyesurfer, can sort news by subject and medium and provide a report-type printout version. KT is expected to charge a monthly fee of 90,000 won for individual users and 270,000 to 450,000 won for corporate clients, depending on the selected number of search options. Because the system basically links news Web sites to the subscribers instead of actually taking the information and rearranging them, copyrights infringements will not be an issue, according to KT.

From http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/ 04/23/2004

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Woman Power Grows in Telecom Business

The typically male-dominated telecommunications business of Korea is starting to embrace the enhanced role and leadership of women. Late last week, Hanaro Telecom announced it appointed Janice Lee as the top financial officer of the nation's second-largest broadband operator. The move attracts much attention as it was the first time ever that Korea's telecom outfits, which are widely regarded as conservative, named a female CFO. Korea's top wireless operator SK Telecom also caught the industry by surprise in February when it named 28-year-old Yoon Song-yee as executive member. Seoul analysts said the recent wave of female appointments stems from the intensifying competition to recruit the cream of the crop in the telecom business regardless of gender or age. ''Traditionally, the complicated regulation-laden telecom industry has been dominated by a male-oriented culture. But now the firms don't have the luxury of turning their back on female standouts at the expense of their bottom lines,'' said Stan Jung, an analyst from LG Securities. Hanaro's Lee proved her expertise in dealing with cash flow as vice president of Volvo Construction Equipment Korea and Hanaro made the revolutionary recruitment in recognition of her ability. ''We selected Lee in consideration of her management knack in the financial sector. We hope she can maximize our revenue,'' the company said. But the eventual target of Lee, who will join Hanaro from May 10, seemed higher than just taking the helm of the struggling outfit's finances. ''I learned Hanaro Telecom has been in reform mode for a business turnaround and I might be the right person toward that end because as a maverick I can do my job with personality,'' the 43-year-old said. The Ehwa Womans University graduate obtained her MBA at Cleveland State University and has worked for Volvo Korea since 1998. Yoon's hiring as vice president of SK Telecom in February made her the youngest-ever executive member of the company and the overall telecom industry. Yoon, the former executive of mobile solution developer WiderThan.com, currently heads SK Telecom's communication and intelligence task force team. Even before joining the mobile giant, Yoon already stole the show several times especially in 2000 when the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) graduate became the youngest female to obtain a PH.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yoon added such brilliant titles as outside director of online game developer NCSoft afterwards and also accepted to co-lead the nation's science campaign, named Science Korea Movements. Motorola Korea, the world's second-largest cell phone makers' affiliate here, is by no means lagging behind in bringing top female talent to the front line as manifest by Melanie Joh. As the firm's sole executive member again, Joh is taking charge of the sales division in Motorola Korea with great impact already. Promoted to the spot last year, Joh hit the ball out of the park through attention-grabbing advertisements, defying the somewhat conservative firm's time-honored tradition of not using well-known persons in TV ads. By casting a famous actor in a series of ads, Motorola successfully enhanced brand images of its WIDEMOTO or STARTAC models, boosting sales numbers. A company insider said the 35-year-old Joh, who obtained her design PH.D. at Illinois Institute of Technology, is redesigning Motorola Korea. (by Kim Tae-gyu)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 04/23/2004

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TURKEY: European Information Center Opens in Bursa

The Bursa Trade and Industrial Chamber (BTSO), which was awarded a contract by the European Commission Enterprise General Directorate in 2003, opened a European Information Center (EIC) in Bursa on March 18, 2004. The opening ceremony was attended by BTSO Executive Board Chairman Celal Sonmez, Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD) Brussels Representative Bahadir Kaleagasi and EU General Secretariat Group Programs General Coordinator Sevinc Atabay. At the meeting organized following the opening ceremony, Kaleagasi provided information on EU-Turkey relations and Sevinc Atabay talked about the EU's small and medium enterprise support policies. BTSO, which represents trade and industrial circles under the same roof, is one of the largest trade and industrial chambers in Turkey thanks to a number of its members. These information centers were established to provide information exchange by strengthening the communication network in candidate countries, to contribute to the adoption of EU norms, to suppport businesses in finding trade partners and providing technological transfer. The information centers were also established to enable businesses to take advantage of international business opportunities and reach information easily. In the scope of "EIC Network Project," 325 EICs have been so far established in 35 countries. EICs have been established in eight towns in Turkey. The center in Bursa is the third one, following Konya and Adana. Businesses in Bursa will be offered the following services through the EIC: To promote business in Bursa to foreign companies and to provide the development of investment opportunities; to organize activities to inform businesses about EU regulations; to meet the information demand of companies in Bursa by using international programs, information banks and compact discs; to enable businesses to reach information through its international and to announce European market information and development opportunities.

From http://www.turkishdailynews.com/ 03/19/2004

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UZBEKISTAN: Completion of a Project "Reconstruction of Namanghan City Telephone Network"

A presentation devoted to the completion of the project "Reconstruction of Namanghan city telephone network" was held on February 21, 2004. Due to this project the following works have been done: reconstruction of analogue switching systems with a total capacity of 9645 telephone numbers, laying 42,7 kilometers of fiber-optical cable, installation of digital transmitting systems amounting to 12sets, and organization of transport ring based on SDH technology. This project will provide significant increase in quality of services and in number of subscribers for Namanghan city telephone network, increase of long-distance and international traffic and also creation of a base to develop cellular, data transmission and Internet services.

From http://www.uztelecom.uz/ 02/24/2004

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Leading Uzbek Internet Providers Pool Informational Channels

Amaliy Biznesi Axborot Markazi, Naytov, Sarkor Telekom, Sharq Telekom, and Tehnoprosistem (five leading Internet providers in Uzbekistan) founded a new organization TAS-IX Network Cooperation Center. The organization was recently registered by the republican Justice Ministry. The new structure is out to organize a proper exchange between all subjects of the Internet market in Uzbekistan so as to up the quality of services provided and make them less expensive and more widely available. Spokesmen for the Internet providers say that the idea itself originated long ago but nothing could be done about it while Uzpak remained the sole operator in Uzbekistan. TAS-IX founders urge all providers registered in the republic to join the new structure. Shukhrat Akhundzhanov, Business Communication Center General Director: We expect continuation of expansion of local Internet resources. Every company, enterprise, organization, or newspaper should have its own website. The number of individual users is growing too. We should optimize the work of channels in the country so as not to send the information half across the world. We want to facilitate speed and quality of transmission and make all resources our customers may be interested in available. All of that will also enable us to cut the prices as well. As for the future, we want an open society where every household and work station is outfitted with a computer linked to the world net. The user will be able to pay his bills, make purchases, settle all sorts of problems, study for and pass exams, and even vote right in front of his computer. In Estonia, for example, websites of ministries and departments, municipal and state bodies already include e-mails of their employees and state officials. It is very convenient because every citizen may approach state officials by e-mail and the latter are supposed to respond within five days. "Open society" and "electronic government" are things of the distant future yet. We can only believe for the time being that the first step in this direction has been made. TAS-IX plans include organization of informational exchange between local providers, higher professionalism of system administrators, attraction of popular resources to local networks, popularization of Internet, and many other things involving introduction of new technologies into all spheres of life in Uzbekistan. All TAS-IX founders will serve as its coordinators, replacing one another once a year. Amaliy Biznesi Axborot Markazi is this year coordinator.

From http://enews.ferghana.ru/ 03/19/2004

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Uzbek Telecom Selects Lucent, Marubeni Equipment

Lucent Technologies on 22 March announced that Uzbek telecom, the national telecommunications service provider of Uzbekistan, has selected Lucent and Marubeni Corporation - a leading Japanese trading house - to deploy an advanced wireless network to provide voice and high-speed data services throughout the western part of the republic.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 03/23/2004

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Telecom Inc. Opens Samarkand Branch

Uzbek American JV Telecom Inc opened its Samarkand branch to present CDMA-450 mobile service under the trademark of SkyTel. The company began its activity in Samarkand by launching pilot project in Samarkand region. Telecom Inc. was founded by Uzbektelecom and NCI Projects International Inc of the US within the framework of governmental program to draw direct foreign investments to mobile connection in CDMA-450 standard. Compared to fixed connection equipment, CDMA-450 standard service more effectively covers the barely accessible areas. Two major government concerns are being resolved with installation of CDMA-450 standard service: providing mobile services and developing Internet Connection within the territory of the country. By the end of 2004, it is planned to invest over 25 million US dollars for that purpose.

From http://www.uza.uz/ 04/12/2004

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INDONESIA: Better Technology Needed for E-Business

E-commerce businesspeople hope improved technology and a payment system will lure the public back to the cyber marketplace. Deputy manager of Visa International Hariyanto Gunawan, however, said that customers must first make sure that the portal has a security system to protect credit cards from hackers. "Today, people should enjoy the benefit of more convenience in carrying out e-commerce transactions because many reliable portals are providing standard security systems to ensure the privacy of their data," said Hariyanto over the weekend. Many e-commerce portals now use standard security systems, such as Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which will protect the safety, privacy and reliability of payment data traveling over the Internet by scrambling and unscrambling information so that it can be read only by authorized parties. However, a recent survey by Texas-based security company ClearCommerce (Clearcommerce.com) reported that about 20 percent of total transactions using credit cards from Indonesia were fraudulent. This indicates that widespread fraud in electronic transactions has made both e-commerce entrepreneurs and buyers reluctant to use credit cards as a payment tool via the Internet. Budiono Darsono, the owner of detik.com, said that the portal did not use credit cards for payment due to concern at poor data security via the Internet. "Since our target is the domestic market, it is more convenient to use money transfers via banks," said Budiono. Local portal detik.com, which was established in 1998, currently provides online ticketing services for its customers. During 2002, the portal managed to reap about Rp 100 million (about US$12,000) per month from the sale of tickets. "From January through February this year alone, we have managed to reach a turnover of up to Rp 400 million from selling music concert tickets via the 'Net," Budiono added. With a better online banking infrastructure, he felt optimistic that by April this year his portal would be able to turn over up to Rp 2 billion in online ticketing business. Online shopping guidance 1. Look for an "s" after the "http" in the web page address or URL as an indicator that the web uses SSL. 2. Compare shops before buying online. 3. Protect your card details: never send payment information via e-mail because it might be read by outside parties. 4. Read the delivery and return policies of the online store. 5. Keep a record of your transactions by saving the online confirmation order. 6. Always look for privacy statements before ordering.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 03/01/2004

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BURMA: FAO to Disseminate Advanced Technologies on Dairy Products Production in Myanmar

A ceremony to sign an agreement on Small-scale dairy technology transfer and training- TCP/MYA/3001(T), which will be conducted under the sponsorship of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, took place at the meeting hall of the office of the director-general of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department this morning. Present on the occasion were Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Brig-Gen Maung Maung Thein, Deputy Minister U Aung Thein, Resident Representative of FAO in Myanmar Mr Tang Zhengping, heads of departments under the ministry, the general secretary of the Myanmar Livestock Breeding Federation, and officials. U Maung Maung Nyunt, Director-General of the LBVD, and Mr Tang Zhengping made speeches on the occasion. Next, they signed the agreement and exchanged the documents. The programme will be launched for two years from 2004 to 2005 with US$ 0.356 million funded by the FAO under the technological cooperation. The programme will provide breeders with such advanced techniques as the preservation of the quality of cattle milk for long-term consumption, and the manufacturing of value-added milk-based products. The programme will also help the breeders manufacture standard and wholesome milk products on a greater scale and introduce new lines of milk products as import-substitute goods.

From http://www.myanmar.com/ 03/08/2004

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MALAYSIA: Scientists Unveil Electronic Tongues

A group of researchers here have created a breakthrough in virtual sensing with the invention of disposable electronic tongue strips that can be used to verify complex cocktails of chemicals, including herbal substances. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) School of Chemical Sciences lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Noor Ahmad said the Nutra-Biostrip was designed using bio-mimetic sensor technology that mimicked the human sensing mechanism. In conducting an analysis, the strip is dipped into the test solution and the signals collected are transmitted to a computer, which then processes the data. "This sensing device is user-friendly. The quality and quantity of the material being tested can be ascertained almost immediately by comparing the results to standardised data," said Dr Mohd Noor. The method, he added, was cost-effective and yielded fast and accurate results. "We can use it for quality control and quantitative analysis of food and beverages as well as traditional and complementary medicines. "It can also be used in aquaculture industry to monitor the crucial parameters needed for optimum production," he said. Dr Mohd Noor said the team had also invented Akuasens, a disposable electronic tongue for easy qualitative and quantitative analysis of mineral water. "We can also use this portable device to monitor water quality," he said. The two other core researchers in the team were USM School of Pharmaceutical Sciences' Prof Zhari Ismail and Universiti Utara Malaysia College of Engineering's Assoc Prof Dr Ali Yeon Md Shakaff.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/02/2004

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The Star to Launch E-paper

You will soon be able to read the full version of The Star on the Internet ?complete with stories, pictures, illustrations and even advertisements. The Star will be the first national newspaper in South-East Asia to use the ActivePaper Daily technology for its electronic version, currently adopted by major publications in the West. Star Publications (M) Bhd Group Managing Director/CEO Datuk Steven Tan, who made the announcement yesterday, said subscribers would have access to an exact replica of the print edition. He said the e-paper would be available to the first batch of subscribers sometime next month. The e-paper can be accessed from any computer at any location, on any type of Internet connection. There is no need for any separate software or plug-in, just a standard Web browser, he said. The technology by Olive Software enables readers to view and interact with publications they know and trust in a familiar format. To the subscriber, it will be just like reading the print edition ?with additional features, including full-text search on the articles and advertisements, e-mail and print capabilities. ActivePaper is by far the most integrated and seamless publishing platform available in the market, said Francis Armstrong, the managing director of Smedia Pty Ltd which is the regional distributor of Olive Software products. Olive Software executive vice-president Shaun Dail said his company was proud to work with one of Asia's leading newspapers. The e-paper will complement The Star’s award-winning web edition, The Star Online (at http://thestar.com.my) which was launched in June 1995. The online edition, which has 35 million page views monthly, offers readers selected content from the newspaper.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 02/05/2004

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Local Banking System Goes Global

Infopro Sdn Bhd (www.infopro.com.my) has been appointed to fully computerise ICB Global Management Sdn Bhd's banking operations in eight countries with its locally-developed ICBA Integrated Banking System, which was built on the Oracle 9i platform. Infopro and ICB Global have signed an agreement which would pave the way for the homegrown banking solution to power the banking operations of ICB Global in countries like the Republic of Guinea, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Mozambique, Oracle said in a statement. ICB Global (www.icbglobal.com.my) was investing RM10mil in the initial computerisation phase of its operations in eight countries, said its general manager Harith Harun. He said that a similar investment will be made in the next phase, which would involve the creation of an electronic banking channel using Infopro's e-banking modules. The ICBA System, which Infopro claimed involved 1,000 man-years of research and development, consists of both conventional and Islamic banking modules complementing ATM, telebanking and Internet banking capabilities. It covers the full operations of a financial institution -- retail banking, remittances, trade finance, treasury and electronic banking, the company claimed. It was developed on the latest J2EE framework, Oracle JDeveloper and Oracle9i Database. Oracle Corporation Malaysia managing director V.R. Srivatsan said that ICBA System's penetration into several emerging economies in the world was a strong endorsement of this made-in-Malaysia integrated banking solution. "Oracle will continue to work with Infopro to market this solution to other parts of the world to help expand this into a truly global partnership," he said.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/04/2004

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Challenges in Implementing Enterprise Security Management

Continuing from last month's article on the 3Ps of complete enterprise security, this month we will discuss the challenges of executing an Enterprise Security Management (ESM) plan. Implementing a holistic enterprise security management encompasses a total end-to-end approach that requires not only protection but also detection and response by adopting the 3Ps (Product, People and Processes). So, what are the hindrances ahead? Many would agree that security budgets often get approved more easily after a security breach has occurred ?for example, a virus attack. On the other hand, we also know that doing it up front makes more sense but why aren't we practising it? IT/information security managers are often pressured to provide a Return of Security Investment before their security budget can be approved, not knowing there is just no simple translation for it. As a result, their spending is often reduced as most enterprises still see information security as optional spending and too often give themselves a false sense of security. An obvious example of the kind of damage enterprises are subject to for being ignorant of security threats is the annual CSI/FBI survey. Each year, the report is laid out in plain, stark figures. Last year, it was no exception. CSI/FBI 2003 reported a total loss of US$201.79mil (RM766.8mil) for 2003 alone, and an accumulated amount of US$1.306bil (RM4.96bil) for a four-year period from 2000 to 2003. Although we see a surge in the cost of crime each year, that doesn't necessary translate to a bonanza for security solutions. While the need for information security is well established, companies often pay mere lip service to the need to invest and drag their feet when it comes to actual security spending. But spending more may not necessarily help an organisation minimise its information security risk. It is all a matter of striking an appropriate balance between the security budget and risk. Information security, when you get down to it, is really about risk management. The cost of maintaining a good Information Security Management System (ISMS) is not low; it covers technology, staff training, auditing and upgrades. Before you can make any decisions about security spending, policy or management, the first thing you have to do is make a hardheaded risk assessment. Spend wisely is the advice to all enterprises. Information security is more than just technological fixes. At the end of the day, the weakest link is always about people. A good ESM to protect confidentiality, integrity and availability of an organisation's information and information assets requires responsibility and support from the people in your organisation. That covers not only staff but also requires support from all levels of management, customers and partners. Once, I visited a close associate of mine at a large multinational company. As soon as I sat down in the cosy meeting room, my friend came in with five yellow Post-it notes in hand, shaking his head. Amazingly these notes, which contained employees user logins and passwords, were picked up on the short trip from his room to the meeting room where I was. The employees concerned had simply pasted them as reminders to themselves, but out in the open for all to see. My friend lamented the lack of appreciation for all the effort and expenditure the company had invested in security. All levels of management should be encouraged to familiarise themselves with the organisation's information security policies in their business operations and with their own responsibilities. They should also be educated about bad habits ?such as writing their usernames and passwords on pieces of paper. Information security policies should be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they fit in with the organisation's business directions and technology risk. Stringent policies may not necessarily translate to a good ISMS. Information security awareness is essential to a sound overall ISMS, both internal and external. It is everyone's responsibility, not just the IT department. Users should be taught to not only protect the organisation's information, they should also be shown why it is important to do so. Technology and threats are evolving at an alarming pace and most of the time IT/information security managers are simply overwhelmed by the vast range of solutions out there. As a result, chances are these managers might just end up implementing solutions haphazardly thanks to the hype built up by both the media and IT security vendors alike. They may have purchased firewalls, antivirus solutions and intrusion detection systems just because they think they should. It has become more difficult for information security teams to be efficient given the growing complexity of technology and threats. Maintaining access policies, investigating false alarms, cleaning up after attacks and detecting zero-day attacks or unauthorised accesses have become extremely taxing for such teams. According to the Asia Computer Crime Survey 2003, 38.3% of respondents said they experienced one to five incidents; 9.1% experienced between six and 10 incidents, 10% had more than 10 incidents in the last 12 months; and an alarming 46.2% indicated they did not even know if they had been attacked. A more proactive strategy needs to be adopted to allow an organisation to keep its current practices and procedures while simultaneously improving its ability to detect valid threats. Next month we will discuss how to implement a holistic enterprise security management by adopting the 3Ps approach.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/05/2004

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Business Ideas Bank Now Online

Venture capital firms from around the world will be able to assess some of Malaysia's brightest business ideas with the launch of the Cradle Investment Programme's Ideas Bank recently. The "Ideas Bank" will allow successful Cradle (www.cradle.com.my) grant recipients to "sell" their wining technology-related ideas to potential investors. "Malaysia's top technopreneurs have managed to come up with world-class ideas and the Ideas Bank is the best way of exposing them to seed and later-stage funding from local or international VC funds," said Azwar Mahmud, chief executive of Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (Mavcap), the body that manages Cradle. Executive summaries of original business ideas will be deposited at the Ideas Bank to give VCs an opportunity to assess and later follow up with the originators should they see a potential investment opportunity, Mavcap said in a statement. To ensure security and confidentiality of the ideas, potential investors and strategic partners need to apply for membership for access to the Ideas Bank. Access is free. Cradle is Malaysia's first "pre-seed" fund that assists individuals and companies in getting their original ideas off the ground by providing grants and entrepreneurial support. The Finance Ministry has allocated RM100mil for it. More than 4,000 members have registered at the Cradle website, Mavcap said. Cradle has disbursed grants worth RM4.35mil and aims to disburse a further RM25mil by year end.

From http://star-techcentral.com 03/08/2004

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Legal Services Competition Coming From the Web

Malaysian lawyers are gearing up as globalisation threatens to allow lawyers from abroad to offer their services locally, but the foreign invasion has already begun thanks to the Internet, some experts said. Foreign lawyers do not have to actually come here to compete with local lawyers. Instead they can provide their services virtually through their websites, said Simon Lewis of Sinch Software Pty Ltd. "Many law firms in Britain already provide their services through websites like Linklaters Blue Flag," he told In.Tech at the Kuala Lumpur Bar's IT Fair, held here recently in conjunction with the professional association's annual general meeting. "It's estimated that such firms currently earn up to 40% of their revenue this way," he said. Linklaters Blue Flag (www.blueflag.com/asia/index.html) already provides legal services online to registered clients in 12 Asia Pacific countries, including Malaysia. The London-based Blue Flag (www.blueflag.com) provides its services online in 20 European and three Latin American countries. No clever Perry Mason-style legal manoeuvres here: Blue Flag provides rather humdrum fare like online legal advice on regulatory issues, derivatives, shareholding, fund management, pensions, employee share plans, directors' duties, domain name registration and management, and so on. However, such "bread-and-butter" online services can potentially eat into the main market of many local law firms, whose rice bowls are filled with legal work like conveyancing and writing sales and purchase agreements, contracts, wills and so on. Lewis urged local law firms to look at the business models of these foreign websites. "Like bankers have already done with automated teller and other customer self-service machines, lawyers are going to have to leave the mundane and routine legal tasks to lower-level staff or self-service websites. "They should then move up the 'value-chain' and handle more complex tasks like offering in-depth analyses and arguing cases in court," said Lewis. Local law firms could also charge lower prices for their low-value online services, and charge more for their more complex, challenging and personalised work, he added. Sinch Software (www.sinch.com.au) joined six other solutions vendors to showcase their range of solutions aimed at legal firms at the KL Bar's IT Fair. For example, Sinch's Amicus Attorney is a sophisticated personal information manager (PIM) that automatically manages lawyers' workflow; while PCLaw is an accounts software specifically designed for legal firms. Business Network Solutions Sdn Bhd's Softlog suite helps law firms monitor and manage telephone, fax, printing and photocopying costs per case or per client. About 20 local law firms are using Softlog, claimed Business Network (www.bns.com.my) chief executive officer and business development manager Mark Leow. His company also sells the iManage document management system. TechnoNet Sdn Bhd (www.work-to-win.com) began selling the Hummingbird DM document management system by Canada's Hummingbird Ltd to local law firms this year, after spending the last seven years aiming it at the government sector. Commerce Clearing House (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd (www.cch.com.my) offered its LAWbase legal accounting and management system that includes office automation, accounting, fee recording, task billing, document management and other features. Its Ringtail Casebook document management solution lets lawyers involved in conflict resolution to categorise, search, perform data entry and subjective analyses to find documents and other information related to the matter. The company typically charges RM20,000 for a five-user LAWbase licence and up to RM100,000 for an 80-user licence. Locus Pty Ltd from Australia (www.locus.com.au) and its local representative LPM Consulting showcased its range of integrated practice management, document production, case and workflow management systems. The two other exhibitors at the IT Fair were CrimsonLogic Malaysia Sdn Bhd and RQ Net MSC Sdn Bhd.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/10/2004

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Health Informatics Ready for Next Stage

Three years ago, few local doctors had even heard of the term "health informatics." Efforts to create an awareness of it has been successful enough that Malaysia is now ready for the next stage, said an expert in the field. Health informatics is a relatively new sub-speciality of medicine which uses information technology to manage clinical information. Now that there is greater awareness of it in Malaysia, the next stage would be to develop collaboration between doctors, said Dr H.M. Goh, council secretary of the Malaysian Health Informatics Association or MHIA (www.ehealth.org.my). This would allow them to share their knowledge and standardise workflow processes and document flow across different computing platforms and hospitals, he told In.Tech on the sidelines of the three-day eHealth Asia 2004 conference here earlier this week. And there is space for growth in the local health informatics scene since few public and private hospitals have significant health management systems in place. "Only 10 of the 120 government hospitals are computerised, and only the Putrajaya and Selayang hospitals have been fully-enabled with health informatics," said MHIA council project management working group consultant Dr Mohd. Azrin Zubir. Private hospitals which are computerised mainly have financial systems for accounting, but no real health informatics systems, he added. "We also would like to see the 14 local medical schools and colleges offer health informatics as part of their curriculum," said Dr Azrin. Globally, health informatics includes change management, artificial intelligence, messaging, mobile technology and so on. However in Malaysia it mainly involves hospital management. MHIA organised eHealth 2004 with two primary objectives. The first focused on managing medical errors and the second on improving the outcome of medical treatment through combining best medical practices with IT as an enabler. "The first aim was to encourage the use of IT to minimise problems caused by improper prescription of drugs," said MHIA council vice-president Datuk Dr A. Jai Mohan. In this case, a decision support system could alert doctors to a patient's known allergies, or that a particular combination of drugs could result in adverse reactions in the patient based on his past medical history. It could also alert doctors if the patient's blood sugar level is either too high or too low. "Since doctors key in their prescriptions and reports into the system, it helps avoid mistakes due to any misreading of doctors' legendarily illegible handwriting," said Dr Jai. The second objective was to capture the knowledge and methodologies of local and foreign medical experts and incorporate them into the workflow in medical diagnostic and decision support systems. eHealth Asia 2004 was attended by 350 participants, compared to 250 participants in 2001. The conference featured 54 speakers from over 20 countries around the world.

From http://star-techcentral.com 04/09/2004

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SINGAPORE: Marriage Services in Singapore Fully Online

SINGAPORE : Couples can now access a full suite of marriage services online from the comfort and convenience of their homes. The services of the Registry of Marriages (ROM) and the Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) have become fully online. Although Singaporean couples have been able to e-file their notice of marriage (register their marriage) at ROM online since 2001, the new system will allow them to carry out other functions as well. Effective 4 February this year, couples can also change solemnisation details (such as date and venue), conduct searches of marital records and extract copies of marriage certificates, online. And, for the first time, non-Singaporeans wishing to marry in Singapore, either at the ROM or ROMM, will also enjoy this convenience. In accordance with Muslim practice, Muslim couples have to provide their solemnisation details such as witnesses' names and identification card numbers, marriage dowry and expenses, solemnisation date and venue. While previously this information was submitted only on the day of solemnisation, with the e-filing system, couples must now submit this information when they submit their marriage application. This is to enable immediate issuance of the marriage certificates after the solemnisation ceremony, thus saving newly-weds an additional trip to the Registry to collect the certificates if the marriages are solemnised outside of the Registry.The online service is available on the ROM's homepage and ROMM's homepage .

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 02/04/2004

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Starhub Launches Flexible Broadband Internet Payments Package

StarHub is coming out with a new payments package for broadband Internet users. Subscribers are now given the choice of paying for unlimited access as and when they need to surf instead of paying a fixed monthly fee. Its MaxOnline Flexisurf 1500 service will be available at a daily rate of S$2.50 for a minimum of five and a maximum of 25 consecutive days of Net usage. This is a pre-paid service and to get started new customers simply need to purchase a cable modem from StarHub or any of its approved partners.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 03/08/2004

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High-Tech Manufacturing Sector Set to Become More Competitive Through Use of Infocomm Technology

Manufacturing companies in Singapore supplying electronics and precision engineering products can compete more effectively under the Collaborative High-Tech Manufacturing Plan conceptualized by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). The plan was unveiled by Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, at the opening of E-Business Connections 2004. When fully implemented, this plan is expected to help the high-tech manufacturing industry save up to S$700 million a year from increased efficiency, and generate additional revenues of S$2 billion from higher value-add activities. In addition, it will spur S$40 million worth of spending in Infocomm technology (ICT). The Plan aims to build, within 5 years, 10 Infocomm-enabled, integrated, supply chains to automate the exchange of business process information which will strengthen the linkages between companies in the supply chain. As each company becomes more agile and responsive to changes in the external environment, they are able to collaborate and compete more effectively as a supply chain. The Plan was developed in response to global trends and challenges faced by Singapore's high-tech manufacturing sectors. Outsourcing, the emergence of low-cost manufacturing bases in North Asia as well as the growing need to bring products to market quickly are some of the issues the sector has to address. Speaking at E-Business Connections 2004, Dr Lee Boon Yang said, "To remain relevant in this new high-tech manufacturing landscape, Singapore has to position itself as a location for high-end manufacturing activities, as well as a nerve centre for coordinating regional supply chains that offer the whole spectrum of manufacturing services". He added, "I would like to encourage high-tech companies and their suppliers, whether they are global multinational corporations or local SMEs, to take up the challenge of linking up with business partners to form strong and responsive supply chains". The Collaborative High-tech Manufacturing Plan presents a concerted strategy to help the industry address these challenges. One idea is for hi-tech manufacturers to adopt RosettaNet1, an open, e-business standard to link up their supply chains so that they can offer a more complete suite of high value-add services such as product design. The 10 supply chains will involve large MNCs with operations in Singapore, such as Hewlett-Packard, Maxtor, Motorola and Seagate; and electronic manufacturing service providers such as Venture Corporation and MMI. The IDA will co-fund projects that can enhance integration within each supply chain. Under the Plan, IDA will also encourage the test-bedding of new RosettaNet processes and standards in Singapore to enable new supply chain capabilities such as e-payment, collaborative design and e-logistics. Several such industry partnerships are already in progress including one on e-payment by Seagate and ST Microelectronics with their banks in Singapore. In addition, the Plan will also promote the use of emerging Infocomm technologies like Web Services and innovative IT applications in collaborative product design and development such as product lifecycle management systems. Many high-tech manufacturing companies in Singapore are leveraging RosettaNet to increase competitiveness. One of them is ST Assembly and Test Services or STATS which has integrated its IT data systems with those of its customers so that critical information can be delivered in real-time. "RosettaNet has brought about reduction in human errors and quicker turnaround time, which enables ourselves and our customers to obtain more accurate and timely data for analysis. Customer service has improved as a result and we have more effective use of resources. In the fast-paced semiconductor world, we will be out of the game if we don't have this capability", commented Dr Justin Lim, Vice-President of IT at STATS. Disk-drive manufacturer Maxtor is another company that has taken advantage of RosettaNet to streamline its transactions and communications with its suppliers. Mr C S Tiong, Maxtor's Vice President of Finance said, "For us to satisfy our customers' demands and remain flexible to changes, we need clear visibility of the inventory levels held by our suppliers. End-to-end system integration gives us access to that data quickly and accurately, thus allowing us to better serve our customers. Through implementation of the RosettaNet B2B platform, we expect to save about several millions in the form of reduced inventory holding. This improves competitiveness not only for Maxtor alone, but for the entire supply chain". At the same occasion, Dr Lee also launched the RosettaNet Global Logistics Council, a partnership between IDA and RosettaNet to standardise communications and business processes among the various players in the logistics supply chain. High-tech manufacturers Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and Texas Instruments together with logistics players, DHL, Exel, Federal Express, Menlo Worldwide, Portnet Singapore, and UPS are some of the industry participants of this Council. Please refer to the Annex A for more details on the Collaborative High-Tech Manufacturing Plan and the RosettaNet Press Release on Global Logistics Council online, at www.idanews.gov.sg under "Newsroom".

From http://www.ida.gov.sg/ 03/30/2004

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E-bay Launches Dedicated Singapore Trading Portal

Global online marketplace eBay is opening shop in Singapore with its own dedicated trading portal. Its Singapore chief Frederic de Bure arrived in style on Thursday, coming ashore on a bumboat along the Singapore river. eBay's Singapore office at UOB Plaza One is its first in South East Asia and will serve as a base to reach out into the region. The eBay Singapore website, which won't charge for listings, offers consumers and businesses a local platform on which to trade in Singapore dollars. Previously Singaporeans had to log on to the US version. Globally, eBay has some 104 million registered users buying, selling or exchanging almost anything through Internet match-making. Global sales hit US$24 billion last year. This means that each second, eBay users trade more than US$684 of goods on the site. "The Internet market here in Asia is an extremely vibrant one. Furthermore we already have a very big business in Singapore," said Mr de Bure. "Our goal is to create the best platform for customers in Singapore to buy and sell from each other," he said.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 04/22/2004

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THAILAND: EMC Rolls Out Storage Line Refresh

EMC last week rolled out a complete refresh of its high-end, mid-tier and network addressable storage (NAS) systems and announced enhancements to its content addressable storage platform and new mainframe functionality. "A year ago, EMC introduced the highest, fastest storage systems in the market; now we are offering double the performance before our competitors have responded," said EMC product manager for South Asia Ajaz Munsiff, who noted that EMC would continue with this aggressive 12-month product release cycle. EMC announced that it had added two new Symmetrix DMX-2 models that incorporate 1GHz PowerPC channel and disk directors to raise the top-end systems performance of the Symmetrix DMX series by up to 30 percent. The company also said it had widened its mid-tier storage lead with the introduction of more powerful CLARiiON CX models, offered at the same price as previous models. The leader in storage systems and management also expanded its network attached storage product family to offer gateway-enabled products, including the Celerra NS700G Gateway and NS700 Integrated NAS. Mr Ajaz characterised gateways as the future of NAS, and EMC believes that they will enable customers to pool existing SAN and NAS storage resources for better use, flexibility and scale, while being able to leverage existing SAN investments. EMC South Asia program manager for business continuity Jon Murray stressed that management was now the key criteria in making a storage decision, and in an interview he said that EMC's customers in Thailand now appreciated this distinction, noting that purchase criteria had changed here. Price was no longer a factor with customers buying storage in Thailand, with manageability and data protection issues becoming the key differentiators and this, he said, had led to accelerated growth in EMC's sales here last year, growing ahead of other countries in the region. EMC has been undergoing a transformation over the past 18 months or so, its strategy being built around the concept of information lifestyle management (ILM), while its customer-focus has expanded from large enterprises to medium-sized businesses, for which it has mid-tier solutions. Mr Murray characterised ILM as a proactive strategy to manage information, one that aligned the storage media to the data value in a unified, heterogeneous way that was business-centric. He also noted that there were many entry points to ILM, and that there were also many layers while organisations did not need all the tiers to embrace ILM's multi-tiered approach to managing information. EMC also believes that NAS gateways are "the future of NAS," while analysts at The Sageza Group observe in a white paper that converging SAN and NAS represents "a fundamental improvement in business efficiency, and hence cost of storage operations." Last week, EMC also announced major enhancements to its Centera range of content addressed storage (CAS) systems and is now offering API support for IBM's z/OS mainframe environments. Mr Ajaz noted how Centera had been EMC's fastest-growing product since its introduction two years ago. There are now over 100 integrated Centera solutions from ISVs, with a further 300 under development, including by the CDG Group here, according to EMC South Asia general manager Steven Coad. Boosting the Centera capabilities, last week's announcement included new modules with faster processors, 320 GB ATA Drives, 1Gb Ethernet connectivity and software enhancements, resulting in a 3-5 times objects per second performance improvement. EMC also announced that all EMC Symmetrix and Symmetrix DMX systems shipped since 1997 and all CLARiiON and CLARiiON CX systems shipped since 2000 are now capable of being managed by applications implementing the SNIA Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S). Mr Ajaz noted that this would enable customers to preserve their investments in both hardware and management software, and he noted that EMC offered industry-leading interoperability with 386 server types tested from 21 server vendors and 40 operating systems and 81 storage software products supported. EMC is also putting a strong emphasis on its services component, with Mr Coad explaining how, in 2000, hardware systems had accounted for 76 percent of revenue, software 17 percent and services just 7 percent. However, by the fourth quarter of last year, systems accounted for 51 percent, while software and services both accounted for 24 percent of overall revenues, which were up in that quarter by 25 percent over the same period for the previous year. EMC aims to further grow the services component to 25 percent, software around open solutions to 28 percent, with hardware being 47 percent for the same period this year.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com 02/25/2004

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E-Shopping: Gearing Up for Broadband

Are you tempted to join the ADSL broadband Internet-connection bandwagon, given that local usage is expected to take off big time this year? If so, you should start by considering the brand and model to be bought. ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) connection service providers such as TelecomAsia used to force you to buy a modem distributed by them, but that's all changed now and there is a much wider choice available. But before buying one, it is highly recommended that you visit the message board at AdslThailand.com - www.adslthailand.com - a community site for local ADSL users. On the board, users share their experiences with ADSL connections and the problems they have faced with their modem. You can post questions about prices and the best places to buy, and will find that Web board members are only too happy to offer advice. From the information shared online, I came to the conclusion that you shouldn't buy a USB-based ADSL modem. It seems the general opinion is that such modems hog a computer's workings, slowing it down considerably. The Web board's recommendation was to go for a combo ADSL modem/router with an Ethernet LAN port as a minimum. A router is a device that forwards data packets along networks and helps you to share Internet connections with another PC. Ethernet is a LAN (local area network) specification with data transfer rates ranging from 10 to 100 megabits per second. From the experience noted from the Web board, you need to buy an ADSL modem/router with at least one Ethernet port to connect to an Ethernet LAN card at your computer. If you don't have such a card, you should get one. And these days that is no problem as they cost less than Bt300.If you decide that you want to set up a home network with at least two computers in the future, you can buy a switching hub with several Ethernet ports and connect the ADSL modem/router to the hub. Such a switching hub retails for between Bt900 to Bt1,000. But if you already have two computers at home and want to set up an Internet sharing system right away, you should go for an ADSL modem/router with four Ethernet switching ports. There are several brands and models of ADSL modem/routers available. Those that seem popular among today's users are ZyXel, Mincronet and D-Link. ZyXel appears to lead the way, but it does cost the most. IT City, which has several branches, offers the ZyXel 645 ADSL modem/router with one Ethernet port for Bt3,200. But some members at the Web board said they could get the same model for Bt2,700 by shopping around at Pantip Plaza and Fortune Tower. As for Micronet, you can get the SP3351 for Bt2,800 at Plaworth in Pantip Plaza, but they have been bought for Bt2,600 at shops in Fortune Tower with a little bargaining skill. The Micronet SP3354 is also popular because it has four Ethernet ports built in. It has the same features as the SP3352 but uses a different chipset. The 3352 comes with the Alcatel chipset, while the 3354 uses Connexant.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 03/01/2004

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High-Speed Surfing in the Lap of Luxury

High-speed Internet access is increasingly becoming a key utility at luxury housing projects, said telecom and property executives. Dr Teerachon Manomaiphibul, assistant managing director for Property Perfect, said yesterday that high-speed Internet access was becoming a standard utility at up-market housing projects along with electricity and water. The company yesterday signed a Bt30-million deal with metropolitan fixed-line carrier TelecomAsia Corp (TA) to wire its eight luxury housing projects with TA's high-speed Internet-access and fixed-line services. Teerachon said the project - under TA's Cyber Village concept - would start this year and covered more than 1,600 housing units. "The service will provide more convenience to trendy residents who prefer to surf the Net at home for stock information or send work to the office," said Chitchai Nantapat, TA home-consumer solution and high-speed access managing director. The TA service includes a handset-based home-monitoring system ensuring security and home-wireless Internet access. TA and TOT Corp Plc have pushed hard for the entry of the high-speed Internet service into homes as part of their strategies to boost revenue. The move is in line with the current real-estate boom, Teerachon said. Besides Property Perfect, TA has clinched similar deals with four other major property firms this year: Noble Development, Sansiri, Supalai and market leader Land & House. "All four combined represent 70 per cent of the property-development market," said Phaibul T Sirivanich, TA director in charge of consumer products. "Our broadband Internet-service business will grow along with the Cyber Village project,'' he added. He said TA was considering making its high-speed Net service available for the townhouse segment by the middle of the year. TOT tied up with major property developer SC Asset last year to connect the latter's luxury-home project Bangkok Boulevard with the broadband Internet service at a cost of Bt20 million. Waraporn Siriboonma, SC Asset assistant vice president - property development, said the project was in line with its survey, which showed that 50 per cent of people planning to buy a new home already use the Internet at home. She added that the integration of high-speed access with high-end homes was expected to grow continuously in the inner-city part of Bangkok.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com 03/19/2004

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Broadband Boost for Northeast

Khon Kaen, one of the three IT cities along with Phuket and Chiang Mai, will benefit from a 100 million baht investement from TOT Corp to boost its telecom infrastructure this year. Speaking at a seminar on the E-Saan Software Park recently, TOT general manager for Khon Kaen Niphon Muntayanont said the existing infrastructure in the city was limited. There are only 48 ports for ADSL service and 22,528 numbers for telephone service available to TOT. Although there is an ISDN service available for 1,600 customers, only 293 people used the service, he said, adding that TOT's investment will focus on a few key projects. The first is to provide 50 kilometres of fibre optic cable to serve business areas and the university and increase ADSL ports to 7,000.Around 520 of these will be dedicated to Khon Kaen University, where the E-Saan Software Park is located. TOT will also provide a broadband wireless LAN network to outlying areas, Mr Niphon said, adding that the wireless technology will complement service where land lines are not available. ``The technology will allow people living on the outskirts of the city to access the Internet. If the service is popular, we will increase the service availability,'' he noted. All of the work is due to be finished this year. Meanwhile, E-Saan Software Park will focus on producing skilled people for the local software industry via its incubation and training programmes. Dr Thanachart Numnonda, acting project director for the software park, said it would aim to team up with global IT companies to set up centres of excellence in the park. ``We will have at least three excellence centres in addition to Nokia's existing mobile testing centre,'' he said. The three centres will cover Microsoft's .NET, Sun with its Java and database technology from Sybase. Board director Dr Arom Tattawasart pointed out that at least 1,000 students graduated each year in the fields of computer engineering, computer science and IT management from Khon Kaen University and local technical colleges. Most of them headed to Bangkok to find jobs, so the Northeast region's software park would aim to find jobs for them locally. ``We will be a matchmaker to bring jobs to local people as well as increase their skills,'' he noted.The software park would also work with local software houses such as Softsquare 1999, which has already established its presence in the park. SoftSquare 1999 managing director Ramade Silapapom said the company would work with Microsoft to train both lecturers and third-year university students.` `We will also work with local independent software developers in order to outsource our projects here using a clustering concept,'' he said. Chairman of the Khon Kaen chapter of the Federation of Thai Industries, Thawatchai Hengprasert, said there were currently many IT projects in Khon Kaen and nearby provinces including Roi Et and Mahasarakham. ``We had an initial agreement among members to encourage government agencies to choose local companies in order to push economic growth in the Northeast,'' he noted. The E-Saan Software Park project is also creating an opportunity for property developers, with plans to develop another 1500 sq metres of software facilities.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 04/14/2004

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VIET NAM: Hi-Techniques in Health Treatment Expected for Provincial Hospitals

The Ministry of Public Health (MPH) is expected to accelerate the transfer of medical technology and training in advanced techniques to provincial, district and private hospitals in a bid to raise their capacities, MPH Deputy Minister Le Ngoc Trong said. The move aims to ease the workload at central hospitals, which have in recent years gained outstanding achievements in treating patients due to the application of technology, Trong said. He stressed that the MPH will not only raise investment in infrastructure and equipment but also improve the expertise of doctors and health workers as well. Since 1998, many advanced techniques in health treatment, including coronary artery dilatation, celioscopy, and the discovery of points causing cardiac rhythm disorders, have been widely applied at central hospitals. Kidney and liver transplants and open heart operation are now conducted in Viet Nam. Viet Nam conducted its first liver transplant last month and the health condition of both liver donor and recipient is progressing well. Other sophisticated operations such as the separation of conjoined twins, kidney transplants, and in vitro insemination have been successfully conducted at Vietnamese hospitals.

From http://www.vnagency.com.vn/ 02/28/2004

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BANGLADESH: New Website of Real Estate Sector

University Campus, an education and youth development organisation, launched a website on real estate and housing sector in the city Saturday, said a press release. State Minister for Housing and Public Works Alamgir Kabir inaugurated the database website on real estate and housing sector. The database is connected to the web-portal on education and daily needs. From now on anyone from any corner of world, particularly Bangladeshi emigrants, who are eager to purchase plot, flat, office-space, shop, construction material, etc. in the country will have access to information on-line immediately. The real estate and housing companies will get an opportunity to incorporate various news and activities of their plans into this database website by sending those through e-mail or by post (University Campus, 33 Topkhana Road, Dhaka-1000). As this database is being updated regularly, the information get immediate publicity. Opening the database website Alamgir Kabir said the real estate and housing is a very important sector in Bangladesh. The special guest, Iqbal Uddin Chowdhury, Chairman, RAJUK, noted that this database would bring in new motion in the activities of RAJUK. He also mentioned that RAJUK has already incorporated various information of their activities into the website. Presiding over by Editor of the University Campus M Helal, the launching ceremony was addressing, among others, by ATM Ataur Rahman, Additional Secretary and Chairman, National Housing Authority, Rabiul Haque, Executive Member, REHAB, SD Faiz, Member of RAJUK and Dewan Rashedul Hassan, GM, Partex Group.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 02/16/2004

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Speed Cameras for City Roads in Two Weeks

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police is going to introduce mobile speed cameras at different city places in about two weeks. The Dhaka Transport Coordination Board has already handed over 20 such cameras to the traffic wing of the metropolitan police. The board procured the cameras as part of its Tk 1.5-crore equipment project for the metropolitan police, a component of the Dhaka Urban Transport Project. The transport coordination board will also hand over 10 smoke analysers and 10 breathalysers to the metropolitan police to check vehicle emission and drunk driving. The traffic police will use the mobile speed cameras at different city points to detect the speed of vehicles by using the electronic detectors embedded into the road surface. These detectors deflect slightly when a vehicle is driven over the detectors, which then triggers an electronic device that accurately measures the speed of the vehicle. If the speed of the vehicle exceeds the limit, then a digital picture is taken of the offending vehicle. The cameras are able to measure speed in both directions. "If a vehicle is detected speeding, a digital image of the vehicle is recorded onto a disk from which all the details of the speeding vehicle can be extracted," said a high official of the board. The image will clearly show the colour, type and number plate of the vehicle, the official said. The digital images will also include the date and time of the offence, location details of the camera which took the picture, direction of travel of the offending vehicle, its speed, the speed limit at the location of the road, and the lane the vehicle will be going by. The board officials say the speed cameras will help to reduce road casualties and improve the quality of city life. "Motorists may need to change their driving behaviour, by speeding within the limit for the whole stretch of the road," said another official of the board. The board will train traffic personnel in the use of speed cameras.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 03/30/2004

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Hand-held Computer for the Masses

BANGALORE - Hand-held computers have got cheaper as a new indigenously designed device aimed at helping more of India's one billion population join the Internet revolution is hitting the market. A team of Indian professors at PicoPeta Simputers have come up with the Amida Simputer -- a simple hand-held device designed to provide on-the-go technology to buyers. It is the first Indian-designed hand-held computer and one of its most appealing features is its price. The Simputer's three versions cost between 9,950 rupees (216 dollars) and 19,950 rupees. Competitors' models cost upwards of 300 dollars. "The aim is to bridge the digipal divide and the divide between the rich and poor," said Swami Manohar, chief executive officer of Bangalore-based PicoPeta. The team first dreamed up the idea for the Simputer three years ago to help low-income Indians join the Internet age. But development was hampered by lack of investment and by a dearth of interest from computer manufacturers. Then state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a firm that specialises in making military electronic equipment, stepped into the breach. "The current plan is to produce 10,000 units a month," said BEL chairman and managing director Y. Gopala Rao. "Next year, if the sales go up to 50,000 (a month), we'll increase the capacity of the plant." Manohar, a professor at the Indian Institute of Science, said the firm had spent "considerable time" determining the device's price, adding designers were afraid to make it too cheap for fear people would think it was of poor quality. "The poor think when it's priced cheaply it's of inferior quality and the people who are better off do not want to buy what is meant for the poor," Manohar said. The makers came up with the name "Simputer" as an amalgamation of "simple computer", while "Amida" is derived from the Sanskrit root "amita" meaning unbound. It comes with software to allow users to type notes and letters in English as well as in two other Indian languages, Hindi and Kannada, with more languages to be added soon. Hindi is India's official language while Kannada is spoken in Karnataka state of which technology hub Bangalore is the capital. Manohar said his Simputer was meant for individual applications and "anything one can scribble (on the hand-held device) and then e-mail". "It works with a range of devices such as printers and digital cameras," Manohar said. "If you think words can't capture your emotions then you can record your voice and e-mail it." To cut costs, the device, which goes on sale this month, works on the open source software Linux. The basic model has a monochrome screen, a 206MHz processor and 64MB of memory. It also features an internal microphone, speakers and a battery that runs for six hours. It can be connected to a landline or a wireless phone for Internet browsing. Manohar said future versions would have faster access and more memory. India's President Abdul Kalam, who made his name as a rocket scientist and is a staunch supporter of open-source software, formally launched the product via teleconference from New Delhi last month, saying it could play a role in providing government services to citizens.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 04/11/2004

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Internet Fair Draws Huge Crowd

The four-day Internet Fair 2004 at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium is drawing huge visitors. Yesterday was the third day of the fair. When visited, it was noticed that thousands of visitors came to the fair yesterday and they visited all the stalls. Only hustling and bustling was heard around the fair. According to the organiser, more than 10 thousand visitors visited fair on the first day. Due to weekly holiday, visitor's number increased on the second day (Friday). On the occasion of the fair, most of the participants have reduced the rate of price of their products and the Internet service providers are offering Internet connection with a reduced rate. Taking the opportunity, the customers are taking Internet connection here. Besides, some of the organisations provided gifts items to the buyers and some of them are organising quiz contest to draw the attention of the buyers. Meanwhile, media partner of this fair-- the Computer Bichitra-- published a special issue on the occasion of the fair. The issue is being given to the visitors free of cost. Seminars on different subjects of information technology (IT) were held yesterday. Four seminars will be held today (the last day of the fair). The fair is open for all from 10 AM to 8 PM. Entrance fee of the fair is Tk 10 for each person. A total of 65 stalls of 44 organisations from home and abroad were exhibited in the fair. Internet Service Provider Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) organised it.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 04/17/2004

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INDIA: Now, E-cinema Is in India's Kismat

Here's a tip. Swallow that surprise if you spot a dish antenna sitting pretty atop your friendly neighbourhood multiplex. The fact is that e-cinema - or digital distribution and exhibition of films - has just taken its first step towards Indian theatres. And this satellite-transmitted, direct-to-theatre delivery of Bollywood movies will begin with the Bobby Deol and Priyanka Chopra-starrer Kismat, which is slated for release latter this month. Following a successful trial run at Wave Multimedia in Ghaziabad last week, with a 40-minute screening of Tere Naam, the country's first satellite delivery of digital content to Delhi 's theatres is all set to roll. "With satellite distribution, a film can be simultaneously released in theatres across India," says Rajeev Gupta of Wave Multimedia. Filmwallas, on their part, point to e-cinema being beneficial for the industry in that there will be no time lag between the release of movies in metros and smaller towns. Besides, the economics of trade works in favour of e-cinema. Of course, there's a price to pay for e-cinema. Theatres need to invest in digital projectors, servers and Kuband receivers - a package which costs up to 10 lakh per screen. Says Pranay Panda of the Hong Kong-based GDC Technology, the service provider for digital cinema, " India is likely to have 1,000 digital cinema screens by 2005. This technology allows both distributors and producers to track not only screenings, but also ticket sales." The Mumbai-based Adlabs, in turn, plans to convert Bollywood classics into the digital format. Incidentally, digital distribution of Bollywood films started last year, with hard disks being physically moved to digital cinema halls. While 30-odd Hindi films including Bhoot and Khakee have already gone the digital way, Kismat will be the first movie to be transmitted directly to theatres. Now, it remains to be seen whether Kismat benefits from beginner's luck at the fickle box-office!

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/14/2004

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First Wi-fi City in the World

PUNE is headed towards becoming the first wi-fi city in the world. The powers-that-be are already moving towards making wireless connectivity a reality. The technology, the people, the will, the drive and even the pilot projects are all in place. Now only government will is required. The PMC is already in preliminary talks with the wi-fi technologists of the world to chalk out a roadmap for the same. "Pune can definitely become the first wi-fi city of India," says Sanjay Kumar, commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC). PT also carried out a reality check about the viability of the service and found that Media Lab Asia, the world renowned IT firm, has already tested the wi-fi technology successfully in VIT College, Baramati. Satish Jha, chairman, Digital Partners, India, who was instrumental in the implementation, explains, "We have selected Pune as the first city in the world to get wi-fi status." Pune has been selected because it is smaller compared to Hyderabad and Bangalore. "At the same time, over the last two years, Pune has established itself as a worldclass centre for IT," adds Jha. (by Gaurav Thakur)

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/04/2004

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Healthcare IT Firms in Expansion Mode

BANGALORE - After the healthcare IT services majors, several product firms specialising in IT healthcare are now flocking to the country in droves. Pumping in multi-billion dollars investments here, they are scaling up their operations here by inducting engineers and phrama specialists on board. The product component in the $60 billion IT healthcare market includes patient safety systems, image management tools, electronic medical report tools and Picture archival communications systems (PARC). According to A Srivathsan, head (business development) of MarLabs, a US-based IT healthcare product company, says India is the most preferred destination for the global players due to competitive cost structure and the availability of a large pool of skilled professionals here. He said, "In India, these companies can do the same quality of work at one-fourth of the cost that they spend in the US. This is a compelling business proposition for them." MarLabs that commenced its product development work here six months ago is now pursuing its growth target of scaling up its Bangalore centre to 300 professionals over the next six months. In Bangalore, Marlabs builds Web services products for the hospitals that connects disparate systems and delivers a unified platform. iSOFT Group, the UK-based IT firm with a development centre in Chennai plans to invest $100 million over the next three years in its Indian operations. It would also increase its head count here to 800 from 300 people at present. iSOFT CEO Tim Whiston had said that the investment would go into developing next-generation products based on .Net technology and on applications for digital TVs and mobile devices. Misys, the $1.6-billion software product maker, is ramping up the headcount at its Bangalore centre to 500 over the next few months. The new capacity will be engaged in both healthcare and banking product development activities. The Atlanta-headquartered Surgical Information Systems (SIS), a technology solutions provider for hospitals, is also expanding its India development centre in Hyderabad. The company will increase its manpower from the current 110 to over 200 by December 2004.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/16/2004

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IP Telephony Gaining Momentum

BANGALORE - Despite being confined to closed user groups (CUGs), IP telephony is gaining rapid momentum in India and is expected to cross 1 lakh units mark this year. The industry forecasts a 250 per cent year-on-year sales growth in IP phones. V Pradeep, MD of ABS India, formerly Alcatel Business Group, says most corporates are now embracing IP environment for their new telephone deployments. In most cases, the upgradation is from analogue to IP phones as India has a small base of digital phones. He said once the Indian government allows the interconnection between IP phones and PSTN and mobile phones, the growth would be phenomenal. "TRAI is working on the modalities for interconnection. Globally also, this regulation is going away in most countries," he added. IP telephony penetration is estimated at over 10 per cent globally. Karthik Natarajan, MD of Snom, an IP phone vendor, says, "Besides big enterprises, there are signs now of medium-sized companies going for IP phones because of benefits such as scalability, ease of use, stability and improved productivity." Some reports suggest that IP telephony a $10 million market in 2002, estimated to be $39 million in 2003, will grow up to $270 million by 2008. The vendors like Cisco, Nortel, D-Link and Snom are active in the Indian IP phone market. The market here is dominated by SIP (session initiation protocol)-based phones, while the IP telephony providers like Sify, Net4India and VSNL are sinking big bucks in building SIP platforms. Some observers have dubbed SIP as the protocol of the future for VoIP, saying it is more Web-centric and can support a wide range of voice and communications programmes than other IP telephony protocols such as H.323 and media gateway control protocol (MGCP).

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/27/2004

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NEPAL: NTC for Int'l Roaming Service in Mobile Phones

KATHMANDU - Nepal Telecommunications Corporation has decided to provide International Roaming Services in the post-paid mobile and International SMS services in post paid and pre paid mobile phone to be effective from April 13. Corporation has also decided to make ten-digit number in the post-paid mobile phone from April 13. There will be an additional number " 5 " after 98 in the mobile phone number, the corporation stated in Kathmandu Monday. The other number of the post-paid telephone will remain same, Director of the New Services Directorate Madan Kumar Shakya said. "The new numbering system will be implemented as there is no possibility of providing mobile telephone services to more than 100,000," he said. According to Shakya, the Corporation has so far distributed 135,331 mobile telephone services including 65,831 post paid mobile and 69,500 pre paid mobile across the country.

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 04/05/2004

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Nepal Telecommunication Corporation Becomes Private Limited

KATHMANDU - Nepal Telecommunication Corporation is turning into a company from Tuesday. The corporation has been named Nepal Telecommunication Private Limited but will operate as a government entity until its shares are floated by the year-end. NTC has a total asset of 25 billion rupees and its profit last year was 2 billion rupees.

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 04/13/2004

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PAKISTAN: 50 Universities Linked Up with Fibres

KARACHI - Up to 50 universities in the country have been linked up with the fibre. This was stated by the Minister In-charge for Science and Technology, Professor Dr Atta-ur-Rahman, here on Monday. He said the linking of the universities with the fibre, is being done as part of Pakistan Educational Research Network (PERN), which was launched by President General Pervez Musharraf about an year and a half ago. One tier of this programme is the connectivity of all the universities with fibre. As many as 50 universities in the country are already linked up with the fibre. Video conferencing facilities and infrastructure is now being provided so that the lectures delivered in one part of the country can be listened in the other part of the country in a live and interactive mode. Professor Atta, who is also the Chairman of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), said that through this facility a lecture delivered at the GIK or LUMS would be listened to in Karachi University, Sindh University Jamshoro or at Khuzdar. He further pointed out that this something quite exciting, which is happening. The Minister In-charge Science and Technology said that a nation-wide digital library has also been launched. Professor Atta informed that Pakistan is very well connected in terms of fibre connectivity as well as in terms of the internet access. He said the digital library that has been launched has full text of 11,600 titles of journals and that these include the latest issues.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/16/2004

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AUSTRALIA: Patent Threatens E-health Scheme

THE future of MediConnect is in doubt as advisers warn that the Pharmacy Guild of Australia may own key aspects of the Federal Government's electronic system giving pharmacists direct access to people's medication records and entitlements. This would lead to a bizarre situation where the Guild could impose licensing fees on the Federal Government and other software developers when the publicly funded project is implemented. A secret report, leaked to The Australian, says a patent application lodged two years ago by Pharmacy Guild representatives and a firm called CR Pty Ltd should be challenged "on grounds that the intellectual property is owned by the Commonwealth". In August, Coolong Consulting, of Canberra, reviewed the patent application and implications for MediConnect, apparently in response to a Department of Health and Ageing request. Coolong's report says: "In our opinion the patent application should be denied (by IP Australia, the Australian Patent Office) on the grounds that nothing has been invented. Legal opinion should be sought to determine if this is true. "(But) if the patent is legally justifiable ... there is the possibility that the patent holders will have a claim over future versions of MediConnect and other health systems." A health department spokesman confirmed yesterday that it had sought advice in relation to the guild's patent application "in line with normal procedures". "Part of this process involved the department commissioning specific technical advice, which we are now considering," he said. The prospect of legal action is likely to throw the delicate negotiations between stakeholders, including the Australian Medical Association, Australian Consumers' Association and the Medical Software Industry Association, into disarray and delay progress. The MediConnect project is well advanced, with the 2003-04 plan finalised recently. The original concept, launched as the Better Medication Management System in the 2000 budget, was proposed by the IT in Prescribing and Medication Management advisory group, which was set up in 1999 by then health minister Michael Wooldridge. The guild's economic analyst Vasken Demirian and national councillor Phil Dibben were among the initial body of medical, consumer and government representatives that later formed the BMMS/MediConnect development group. In March 2002, the guild lodged an international patent application for a "Method and system for sharing personal health data", naming as inventors Vasken Demirian, Philip Dibben and Trevor Sinclair, of CR Group, a consultancy firm engaged by the guild. But the wording of the patent application "is very ambiguous" according to the Coolong report. "The details of the actual invention are not described and virtually no reference is made to the technology that would be used to implement the invention." Coolong finds "there is substantial similarity between the intellectual property claimed in the patent application and that contained in the Delivering a Better Medication Management System report delivered to the Commonwealth on December 15, 2000 by the Pharmacy Guild Australia" as part of the Third Community Pharmacy Agreement negotiations. But the Guild's Mr Demirian said the patent application "really has nothing to do" with MediConnect. The patent application relates to a "business process that could have been patented by somebody outside" the industry. "MediConnect is that centralised repository where pharmacists and doctors will get a full picture of a consumer's medication history," he said. "Our patent is all about a methodology of accessing that (repository) -- basically it could support MediConnect, if MediConnect chooses to use it. "We're not suggesting that the Government takes it up. MediConnect can function quite adequately without resorting to the substance of the patent. (But it would) make it easier for the entity that's maintaining the repository, in this case the HIC." Under international rules, the Guild's application has been referred to IP Australia for consideration. A patents spokeswoman confirmed last week that the application had been filed and was publicly notified in March. But the applicants were yet to request that it proceed to examination, where a determination could be made as to its validity. Meanwhile, the results of the first MediConnect field trials in Launceston and Ballarat are expected by June. Testing primarily involved Health Communication Network's Medical Director prescription-writing software, used widely by GPs, and the Guild's own pharmacy prescription-dispensing software, WiniFred. The Health Department paid Guild subsidiary Pharmacy Computers Australia $407,000 for developing, rolling out and supporting WiniFred for the MediConnect trials, and HCN received about $263,000 for the same work with MD. Two smaller players also received trial funding - Tasmania's Phoenix Computers was paid $203,000 for supply of its Rex software, and Global Health received $167,000 for its Locum product. The Guild has been a big beneficiary of public funding for its IT work in recent years - it was awarded $3.7 million for developing the Better e-Dispensing and e-Claiming Standards for Community Pharmacy; a further $1.9 million for the supply of prescription dispensing data and $21 million to fund the nationwide home medication management program. (by Karen Dearne)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/03/2004

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SA Gained $1bn from EDS

GLOBAL information technology company EDS had provided a $1 billion side benefit to the South Australian economy since it opened for business in the state nine years ago, a report has found. The SA Centre for Economic Studies report said the $1b figure did not include direct financial and employment impact from EDS' information technology outsourcing contract with the state government. "These are side benefits of the agreement resulting from EDS' expansion of commercial operations in SA - employing South Australians to provide information technology and and credit processing services to national and international companies from its SA offices," the report said. The centre estimated that EDS' information technology operations had boosted the SA economy by about $750 million since 1995. It said EDS' credit services operations had added more than $250m to the state economy.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 02/18/2004

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Banks Get Good Marks for Basel II

AUSTRALIAN banks have received a big red tick on their progress towards Basel II compliance in a global survey. The KPMG survey of 294 financial institutions in 38 countries found Australian banks were progressing their Basel initiatives faster than banks globally. Over 55 per cent of Australian credit risk projects are currently at the design and build or implementation stages, compared to 38 per cent globally. Similarly, 44 per cent of operational risk projects for Australian banks are at the same stage compared to 29 per cent overall. All banks must comply with the new Basel Accord by 2007. Work on the latest version, which stresses the need for banks to improve their risk management processes, began in late 1990. The survey results for Australian banks also suggest they are using more sophisticated risk management approaches, in both credit and operational risk, than other respondents from around the globe. On credit risk, 36 per cent of local banks are developing an advanced internal ratings based approach, compared to 27 per cent of banks globally. About 40 per cent of Australian banks are targeting the advanced measurement approach in operational risk, versus 23 per cent of global banks. Head of KPMG Australia's financial risk management practice John Somerville said while it was pleasing Australian banks were moving faster than their global counterparts, there was still a lot of work to be done to ensure they were ready by 2007. "It is concerning to see that so many banks are still at relatively early stages of their Basel programs," he said. "The implementation date may be three years away, but many banks really need to be making more progress." The most widely cited concerns by respondents in meeting the deadline were lack of time, lack of data for operational losses, inflexibility of existing IT systems and in the Asia Pacific regional primarily, a shortage of Basel experts.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/03/2004

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Niche Farmers Going Online to Run Their Properties

Niche farmers are increasingly using the internet, leaving behind beef, sheep and crop producers, a report says. The Australian Bureau of Statistics report found 62 per cent of the nation's 135,000 farms have access to a computer. It was a four percent increase over a similar survey conducted in 2000. Farmers are also increasingly using the internet, with the number of farmers going online up 14 percentage points to 48 per cent. But it is the type of farmers using the internet and their computers that shows a difference between agricultural pursuits. Ninety-one per cent of cotton growers use a computer, with 87 per cent going online to help run their business. Other internet-savvy farmers include kiwi fruit growers (73 per cent), plant nurseries (61 per cent), flower growers (56 per cent) and meat poultry farmers (55 per cent). Bigger, and more established farming pursuits, have been slower to use the internet. Just 30 per cent of beef farmers use the internet, while 40 per cent of sheep farmers go online. Grain farmers are more attuned to the technology age, with 58 per cent using the internet to run their businesses. Not surprisingly, one of the most common reasons for using the internet was to find out about the weather. Forty-five per cent of West Australian farmers who go online find out the weather, compared to just 23 per cent of Tasmanian farmers. Thirty-seven per cent of all farmers go online for email, 23 per cent used the internet to find out the cost of goods or services, while 23 per cent wanted to obtain market information. Just one in five of those going online head to a government website, while 19 per cent pay bills via the internet. West Australian and South Australian farmers have the highest rate of access to the internet (57 per cent), while Queensland farmers (45 per cent) lag behind the rest of the country. Forty-eight percent of all farmers have access to the internet, up from just 11 per cent in 1998.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 03/12/2004

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Melbourne IT Buys Cogent

LOCAL domain name seller Melbourne IT has acquired European brand manager Cogent IPC in a deal worth $4.5 million. Cogent "manages brand protection and control for many of the world's most famous brands on the internet," Melbourne IT said in a statement. Cogent IPC recorded revenue of $7 million last year, the company said. The purchase was financed from Melbourne IT's cash reserves. Cogent lists clients including Volvo, HMV and spirit maker Absolut. The company employs 35 people in offices in Stockholm, London, Paris, Amsterdam and New York . Melbourne IT chief executive Theo Hnarakis said the operation would be cash flow positive immediately and become profitable within the next 12 months. Cogent would add to the company's stable of corporate domain name managers in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Spain, Mr Hnarakis said. Melbourne IT recorded an after tax profit of $2.1 million in the 2003 calendar year, turning around from a loss of $5 million the year previous.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/18/2004

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Telstra's Cheaper Broadband Delayed

TELSTRA internet customers, enticed by the cheap broadband prices that have landed the telco in hot water with the competition regulator, are facing average delays of three weeks to have the service turned on. Telstra sources said that the company was unprepared for the surge in interest in the high-speed internet product. Since late February Telstra has offered broadband customers contracts at below the price it wholesales the same service to rival providers. It is understood Telstra signed up close to 40,000 new broadband customers in the first two weeks of advertising the offer at the end of February, a boost of over 100 per cent on sales figures for preceding weeks. "Professional installation for ADSL (copper wire-based broadband) is taking 16 working days - slightly less if it is self-installed," a Telstra spokesman said. Telstra installation teams had already been stretched by bad weather, particularly in Queensland. The situation deteriorated further over the weekend when a strike by workers installing Foxtel's new digital television service spread to Telstra. Observers said the delay added credence to claims that Telstra's BigPond division acted suddenly, catching its wholesale and infrastructure services units unawares. Telstra's price cut provoked the competition watchdog into its toughest warning in over two years. The so-called competition notice for anti-competitive behaviour from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission could result in a fine of $10 million plus ongoing penalties of $1 million for each day that it continues the behaviour. Optus chief executive Chris Anderson said last week his company paid $36 a month for its cheapest service from Telstra. Telstra is offering a slower service for $29.95. One of Telstra's competitors told The Australian yesterday: "They have promised to get back to us by close of business today (Monday). That usually means it will take a week." The competition notice gives the company's competitors the option of proceeding with civil legal action for compensation. Some have claimed Telstra's muscle is too great, but a Telstra spokesman said: "The large foreign-owned companies that are complaining have deep pockets." Telstra is now bunkered down, considering its next move, and declined to make any further comment on the regulator's move yesterday. Telstra shares plunged 16c yesterday to close at $4.66, its lowest since last August, as the market absorbed the effect of the competition notice. Telstra shares were also trading without entitlement to the telco's 13c half-year dividend. (by Michael Sainsbury)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 03/23/2004

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Technology Helps Cut Car Thefts in Vic

Police say technology is to be thanked for fewer car thefts in Victoria. Organised Motor Vehicle Theft Squad Detective Inspector Paul Hollowood said microdot technology, which allowed police to access information contained on car parts, had proved useful in combating car theft. Police are able to access information from microdots, which contain vehicle identification numbers and are sprayed onto car parts, to see if those parts are legitimate or have been stolen and re-used. Detective Inspector Hollowood said the technology known as DataDots made it harder for serial numbers to be removed from stolen car parts. Police also said the recently-established organised motor vehicle theft squad, which was set up to investigate commercial theft, illegal conversion and trade in stolen motor vehicles, had helped combat car theft. The squad seized 212 suspected stolen vehicles and made 43 arrests in 2003 and 2004. Police said reports showed the number of late model vehicles stolen in Victoria was at a six-year low.

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 04/01/2004

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Phishing Scam Targets Citibank Customers

A phishing scam targeting Citibank is circulating by email, attempting to lure users to a domain which was registered just a day ago. The scam will work only if one is using Internet Explorer; browsers which have a Netscape heritage will not display the site. The scam is similar to the numerous ones that arrive in inboxes around Australia every day, with one difference - it contains elaborate advice about scams, apparently in an attempt to convince people that it is the genuine article. The normal bit of social engineering is used: "As a part of our ongoing commitment to provide the "Best Possible" service to all our Members, we are now requiring each Member to validate their accounts once per month." A link is provided for this "validation" and clicking on it takes one to appleo.biz. The domain was registered on April 12. The email apparently itself comes from someone who is a regular in the business - some of the the images used in the email are ones which are on the genuine Westpac site and the person who has created the email has confidently linked to them!Though there are a few cases of incorrect capitalisation here and there, the real carelessness shows through only at the end of the email - a link to apparently allow the user to learn how to protect his or her PC from viruses actually brings up a page from the Westpac site. What would such a link be doing in an email supposedly from Citibank?

From http://www.theage.com.au/ 04/13/2004

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NEW ZEALAND: Auckland's OTL Software in Deal with US Post

Tiny Auckland developer OTL Software and its American business partner BMC Software have achieved a deal with US Post for 4000 licences of its management system. OTL's suite of 10 locally developed software plug-ins is being resold by BMC - a leading provider of business software. These "plug-ins" act as the glue between BMC's business kit and other applications from companies Veritas, Computer Associates, Legato, Tivoli and Hewlett Packard. John Williams, OTL chief executive said the plug-ins take information from a range of places in a computer system and allow systems administrators and network managers to have more control of it from a single window. Following up the deal with US Post, OTL is working on the development of two new knowledge modules for British utility giant Centrica, which uses four other OTL Knowledge Modules. Williams said the four-year-old company, in which BMC Software holds a minority stake, is predicting significant growth as US sales catch up with Europe. The company also developed billing and customer care system TelStream, which Williams said was deployed in 40 per cent of telecommunications companies in the South Pacific as well as a telephony management system Toll-Gate, which has a strong local customer base. (by Richard Pamatatau)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/10/2004

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New Data Service Helps Farmers

A three-person Te Awamutu farm consultancy has teamed up with Hamilton-based database company Reel Two to create an online information collection system for farmers which will eventually form the basis for data mining. AgriNetworks managing director Chris Mulvaney said the AgriGain system meant the firm would be able to service thousands of farms, rather than the 100 it advised now. The company gets its sheep and beef farmer clients to collect data on the physical condition of their animals, soil and climate conditions and financial records. "By analysing this we can identify factors limiting their business. So, for example, if there is a pasture problem we can refer them to other agribusiness organisations with particular expertise there," Mulvaney said. Switching from paper to electronic data collection would reduce the time farmers spent waiting for advice. "By entering their data in the site themselves, the farmers can get an updated report almost immediately, instead of having to wait three or four days for us to get back to them," he said. AgriNetworks found Reel Two after Technology New Zealand turned down an earlier funding proposal involving a multinational software development firm. "They would have been very expensive, and I think in the end we got a better result," Mulvaney said. Technology New Zealand put $195,000 in matching funds into the AgriGain software development. Reel Two managing director Stuart Inglis said AgriGain was written in Java Server Pages on a MySQL database, and would be hosted by Reel Two at the new Waikato Innovation Park in Ruakura, or "silicon paddock". "We took AgriNetworks' spreadsheets and, in effect, distilled the expert information from current employees and put it in the system," Inglis said. "Because we used open-source software, we don't have to pay another $100,000 or more for software licences before we started." The website, which will go live this month, is just the first stage, implementing AgriNetworks' existing system on a web-site, with a little machine learning and some data analysis tools. It incorporates Weka (Waikato environment for knowledge analysis), an open-source data analysis tool developed at Waikato University. (by Adam Gifford)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/10/2004

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Banking on Paper Sticking Around

Printer maker Brother International has spent nearly $500,000 on a demonstration laboratory in Wellington, quashing any notions of a paperless office in the near future. Graham Walshe, the New Zealand executive chairman of Brother International, said any talk of the paperless office was just that, because people were printing material more than ever before. The Wellington facility - its Corporate Solutions Centre - has been designed so any organisation with a "printing need" can replicate its corporate network and trial machines in a work site simulation. Customers see how machines perform in a networked environment and test the versatility of products by running them through different operating systems - such as Microsoft, Windows and Macintosh. The real challenge for business was not the cost of the printer, said Walshe, but consumables such as inks, toner and paper. Brother is challenging for the greatest market share of mono printers in New Zealand and is striving to become a market leader, with its dual consumable technology reducing the total cost of ownership. "We want to provide full and open disclosure of all operating costs to our customers," said Walshe. Josh Bain, an analyst in printer and peripherals for market researcher IDC, said in the fourth quarter of last year Canon was the overall market leader with 37.5 per cent, pipping Hewlett-Packard. Oki is the present winner in the colour market, with Brother leading the monochrome laser market. Bain said market value was not revealed but in the last quarter of last year New Zealanders bought 47,000 printers. Brother has nearly 40 staff in New Zealand and reported revenue of around $40.5 million for its last financial year with profit before tax of more than $3 million. Walshe said the company aimed to raise revenue by between 8 and 10 per cent this year.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 02/24/2004

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Local Net Access on a Shoestring

Community "Wi-Fi" is ready to take off in South Auckland with an old lamp post adorned with cheap antennae forming the basis of a fledgling access network. Convicted hacker Andrew Hooper, who last hit the news in late 2001 when he was found guilty of fraud and forgery charges after obtaining internet access passwords using the "Back Orifice" Trojan virus, is the brains behind the shoestring network. Convicted under the surname Garrett, Hooper did 200 hours of community service which has morphed into a grand plan to set-up a wireless network covering Auckland, where users can connect to access community notice boards, join in chat sessions and surf the internet. The reformed hacker has erected a large tower in the front garden of his Bucklands Beach Rd section, creating the central node of a wireless network based on the general licensed "public park" 2.4 gigahertz spectrum. Hooper and other wireless enthusiasts building their own nodes plan to offer Auckland residents free access to a community network and free email accounts. He estimated that users could also gain internet access through the wireless network for $39 a month for a 256Kbps (kilobits per second), flat rate connection. A Jetstart account was feeding the node for testing purposes when the Herald visited, but Hooper said he was about to to seal an agreement with a bandwidth supplier that would see the node supplied with an 18Mbps (megabit per second) link via another tower which has line of sight with the Sky Tower. The wireless link and backhaul capacity would cost $8000 a year with bandwidth costs on top, said Hooper. "That would allow 70 concurrent client sessions at 256Kbps," said Hooper. Based on tests done in the area he expected users within a 5km radius and equipped with an external antenna to establish a reliable connection. "If you're close enough you should be able to use an internal Wi-Fi laptop card." Hooper said the main telecoms operators were unable to provide bandwidth at economical rates. "We asked what was available and had the door slammed in our face. Telecom wanted just under $2000 a month for a one [megabit] frame relay circuit. Our options are wireless, wireless and wireless." Following models adopted by community networks such as Seattle Wireless, Hooper plans to provide local network services for free and charge only for internet connections. A mail server would deliver free email access for local residents and information could be accessed from a central source. But file sharing would be restricted to prevent illegally downloaded songs and images from being easily swapped between users. "Mail going to an address, within reason, won't be charged for. But there'll be no ftp server on the system." Web cameras near access points could allow users to remotely monitor their homes and streets, extending the Neighbourhood Watch concept to the internet, said Hooper, who planned to offer community groups access to the network to set up services for their members. "There's no reason why we couldn't have multiple internet providers running bandwidth through our nodes," he added. But Hooper plans to make a business out of supplying the network and hardware support for the community network. He has founded the company Borg Wifi, a start-up run out of Hooper's garage, distributing wireless antennas, wireless routers and other equipment to customers around the country. Borg would supply users with an antenna and ethernet cabling to plug directly into a router or PC equipped with ethernet card. A USB version was also available. "I'm not winning on the internet connectivity because no one does, and I'm not winning on the wireless equipment because we're giving it away [at cost price]. Gear installation, site surveys and service is where I'll make money." But the project relies on the goodwill of locals and the Manukau City Council. Hooper did not gain resource consent for the tower to be erected - too costly, he said, with two site surveys at $2500 each plus engineering certification. The octagonal lamp post hosting the wireless equipment had been picked up for $50 and the entire node cost about $3000 to build. The tower slightly exceeds the 10-metre height restriction for structures in Hooper's area, but he said it had been in place for two months without any complaints from neighbours. "Most people are really supportive. They say hurry up and get it working," he said. "We'll cut a metre off the top if we have to but it would dramatically reduce propagation." Similar community networks are meanwhile being established in other parts of the country. Dunedin-based Scarfies.Net has five nodes operational in the Dunedin area, servicing the university student community with free local network access and flat-rate internet connectivity ranging in price from $50 to $75 a month for 512Kbps to 1Mb connections. Scarfies founder Dan Clark said a 2Mb link underpinned the network but that was to be upgraded to a 10Mb link. "Most of the users want internet access for gaming and email. Foreign students are really into it," he said. (by Peter Griffin)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/23/2004

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Wi-Fi High-speed Internet Access Gives Hotel an Edge

Takapuna hotel Spencer on Byron is offering high-speed Wi-Fi wireless internet access to its guests. The hotel's marketing and IT manager Chris Skilton said the move followed research into overseas trends that showed high-speed internet access was a pre-requisite for up to 80 per cent of hotel users in America. "Fast, affordable and reliable internet access will soon become essential to remain competitive in the hospitality industry," said Skilton. Offering Wi-Fi gives the hotel an advantage over its competitors because guests are no longer confined to their rooms using slow dial-up modems. "Instead they'll have the independence of being able to take their laptops anywhere around the hotel - at the bar, in the cafe or by the pool," said Skilton. The service, provided by Reach Wireless, a fast-growing New Zealand Wi-Fi and broadband supplier, means hotel guests can use various "hotspots" or zones offering wireless access via the Reach network. These include some Starbucks coffee outlets, BP Connect centres, the Viaduct Harbour and Ponsonby Rd. Skilton said hotel guests were presented with an automatic pop-up screen which enabled them to log on to the internet. "If a customer already has a Reach Wireless account with credit, they can immediately start their internet session." New customers were able to buy pre-pay vouchers from Spencer on Byron or use their credit card to buy usage top-ups. The price is 50c per megabyte with rewards of free megabytes offered for larger voucher purchases. Broadband access was available in the hotel's deluxe rooms, providing an extra incentive to upgrade from standard rooms, Skilton said. The Hyatt Regency offers Intertouch high-speed internet access in all its rooms and charges $2.02 for every three minutes or $28 for 24 hours. Rydges Hotel offers internet access over the television and charges $5.50 for the first five minutes and 55 cents a minute after that, with a pay-per-minute service at kiosks. The Duxton Hotel has internet access in its rooms and free broadband in its business centre. (by Richard Pamatatau)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/23/2004

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New Zealand Bandwidth Pitiful Says Grid Guru

From his desk at the University of Chicago's computer science department, Professor Ian Foster can move a terabyte of data to Switzerland in 20 minutes. In New Zealand last week to speak at development conferences, it took the ex-pat Kiwi four hours to send a 1 megabyte file out of the country, highlighting the challenges of New Zealand taking a prominent role in the world's knowledge economy. "Even if people want to collaborate on a global space, they can't," said Foster, who left New Zealand 25 years ago with a degree in computer science and is now a world authority on grid computing. His current expertise came out of his interest in working out how advanced technologies can be used for problem-solving in the sciences. Take the amount of data produced in heavy-ion collision experiments at Cern, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Switzerland. By 2005 detectors at the lab will be producing several petabytes of data a year, requiring sustained applications of some 20 teraflops or floating point operations a second to do even rudimentary analysis. The largest contemporary supercomputer is capable of 3 teraflops a second. Rather than build a bigger supercomputer, it is likely the data will be analysed by drawing on the processing power of thousands of computers scattered across the internet. There are already several such projects. Since 1997 the Entropia network, with more than 30,000 computers, has been tackling major scientific problems at 1 teraflop a second, including the search for the largest prime number. The SETI@home project links 500,000 PCs in a search for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence in data from the Arecibo radio telescope. "What we are about in grid computing is to enable collaborative teams to pool resources and apply those resources to challenging problems," Foster said. Just having access to a computer and a network isn't enough. Global collaboration requires relationship building. "The internet allows us to sustain and develop collaborative relationships, but we need the initial human contact," he said. Foster hasn't written New Zealand off as a contributor to such collaborations, despite the distance. The bandwidth is there on the Southern Cross cable, even if current pricing and allocation policies don't allow it to be used to its potential. "Australia now has 10 gigabit links to the United States. That is as good as the Abilene network which provides high-speed connections for US universities," Foster said. He said development work being done in New Zealand on Next Generation Internet proposals showed recognition of what was needed. "Distributed collaboration makes most sense when you are pulling together unique expertise from different locations. In New Zealand, certainly in the sciences, there could be unique human capital, and the fact those people are in the southern oceans will not matter." Large technology companies such as IBM, Sun and Oracle have picked up on grid computing Foster and his colleagues are developing in academia, but there are significant differences. "I think Oracle and Sun are doing some very nice work modifying their software to work on loose clusters, but I would not term that grid computing." Much of the debate about the definition comes down to how centralised a grid should be. Foster believes commercial computing models will focus on big centralised clusters running Linux, until web services technology is developed to tie together computers into grids. Foster is also co-leader of the Globus Project, which is developing standards for grid computing. (by Adam Gifford)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/30/2004

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Local Lab Helped Develop Telco Messaging System

IT giant Unisys has begun pushing locally its telco-orientated product Ensemble, which is drawing interest from telcos globally but in part came out of the company's development lab in Wellington. The lab will be kept busy working on upgrades and new applications for Ensemble, a major open-standards messaging platform that Unisys has developed. Ensemble was designed for existing circuit-switched networks as well as internet protocol networks, to which telcos are increasingly switching as they seek to save money running all of their services - speech recognition, voice messaging, MMS and text messaging - over one network. The system integrates computer and telephony elements, allowing voicemail notifications via the likes of MSN Instant Messenger, voicemail to be sent via email, and calls to be automatically routed to different phones. The system is not tied to a company's switch but is based on a Unisys server within the telco's network. Unisys' 40-strong development team in Wellington spent two years working on elements of Ensemble, from email readers and IMAP4 mail integrators to speech portals. "There's not one bit of Ensemble we haven't touched, whether it be adding two lines of code or the bulk of the code," said Tim Hogan, Unisys practice director. Polish operator Centertel is using Ensemble's speech recognition for voice messaging and British Telecom uses fixed-line text messaging features. In the New Zealand market, Telecom uses Unisys as a voice messaging provider and TelstraClear is also a major customer. (by Peter Griffin)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/13/2004

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Unis Join Forces on Multimillion Dollar Library System

Four New Zealand universities are forming a joint-venture company to manage a multimillion-dollar library computer system which will save taxpayer dollars and allow them to share resources. Sue Pharo, acting chairwoman of Conszulsys, the committee formed by Auckland University of Technology, and Waikato, Victoria and Otago universities to build the new system, said the next step was the creation of a joint-venture company. She said a shareholding company, LCoNZ, would be used to develop the future growth of the system. Other tertiary organisations would be invited to make use of the expertise gained. Any intellectual property developed by the consortium would be owned by it and not the software provider, she said. The move stems from separate searches for new library management systems carried out by the university libraries. They agreed to investigate the joint purchase and operation of an information and resource access management system and formed the consortium to move the project forward as a co-operative venture. The selection project was split into two stages - the library application and the host or service provider. The project has made the group a very important client for the software vendor, Chicago-based Endeavor Information Systems. Pharo said banding together gave the institutions substantial bargaining power, allowing them to negotiate changes to the application with the vendor and favourable terms both for the initial purchase and for adding members to the system in the future. Auckland's Datacom Systems won the bid to manage the project and is using Unicentre software from Computer Associates to manage the seven giant computers and monitor network performance for the library applications. Expansion plans might see up to 12 servers on the network over the next few years if other academic organisations in New Zealand join the company. Pharo said the number of books managed by university libraries was enormous and as the internet developed, online journal management became more important. Waikato has around a million books on its library shelves, but it also has 3000 print journals and 32,000 online journals. The system catalogues and manages links to the content and also speeds up the loan process between libraries. While the system is managed by a consortium, each organisation has a tailored interface to suit its needs, particularly when it comes to networking and hosting. The Auckland University of Technology's system is hosted by Datacom through a fibre optic connection to the hosting systems. Hosting data centres have some shared ATM-based access facilities, designed to make connections to them as quick and inexpensive to implement as possible. Otago's network is also based on Telecom's ATM, which connects it and Datacom on a virtual circuit. Waikato University has some fairly substantial internet connections and has implemented the system solely over the internet, as has Victoria. Tom Jacob, Datacom project manager, said the system was moving into an exciting phase which would allow users to electronically access the digital collections. "This will increase the range of searchable materials available to students, researchers and staff - literally putting a whole new collection at their fingertips," he said. "Researchers and students temporarily at other institutions or from their own universities, remotely, will be able to use the library of the other institutions without difficulty. "Having a familiar system at several libraries means library staff also are able to move from institution to institution without having to worry about retraining." (by Richard Pamatatau)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/13/2004

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Roamad and Reach Fire Up City Wi-Fi

RoamAD has resurrected plans for a wireless internet network in Auckland's inner city, but this time it will supply only the technology, leaving the service to be run by growing "wi-fi" operator Reach Wireless. RoamAD has also received a US$100,000 ($155,000) loan from Silicon Valley-based chip maker Intel, a small amount given the multi-billion-dollar investment arsenal of Intel Capital, but an endorsement of RoamAD's technology nevertheless. Reach Wireless, which is backed by telecoms entrepreneur Chris Jones, will offer wireless internet access in a 3km-square section of the inner city spanning apartment buildings, cafes and offices, using the network built by RoamAD. Previously the plan had been for RoamAD to run the network itself and seek a partner in a large telco to market and service the network. But no deal eventuated and RoamAD has spent the last year focusing on developing its technology. "RoamAD is an equipment vendor and we need to sell our technology to customers like Reach," said RoamAD chairman Martin Levy. This time around, RoamAD and Reach have the advantage of better market understanding and demand for "wi-fi" which operates on the unlicensed 2.4GHz (gigahertz) spectrum and allows users of laptops to connect to the internet at high speed, wirelessly. Most laptops sold today have wi-fi cards built into them. The wireless hotspot model has started to take off overseas, but Reach is talking "hot zones" where a single wireless antenna may service several premises rather than one site. "The [hotspot model] is flawed because communication becomes a destination - people don't want to do that," said Reach Wireless general manager Steve Simms. Reach has wi-fi coverage scattered across a range of cafes and retail outlets in central Auckland and around a dozen more in city centres down the country. "Wellington has been gloating about its use of wi-fi, now our zone is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere," said Simms, who has more than 1000 customers, half of whom use the service regularly. But Simms said he was in talks with Citylink, which runs an extensive network of hotspots under the CafeNet banner, about allowing customers to "roam" between the two networks. Simms said the big advantage over competitors was that wi-fi was a standard feature of laptops and no external modem was needed. "The difference with Woosh is that laptops aren't coming out with Woosh modems built in." Reach's rates are reasonable for casual users, ranging from $5 for a 10 megabyte allowance to $50 for 160MB. RoamAD hopes to sell its technology overseas. Levy would not talk about the Intel loan due to non-disclosure agreements. He said the shape of holding company Nomad Wireless Technology NZ had changed significantly. Property developer Andrew Krukziener was still an investor, but Nomad now had a total of 80 shareholders, 25 per cent of them overseas. Intel has secured pre-emptive rights to subscribe for up to 50 per cent of new shares issued for the term of the loan. Levy said a law suit taken against Nomad by Wayby Investments claiming breach of confidentiality agreements had been thrown out of court. The RoamAD deal follows Reach's abandoned attempts to partner with listed wireless technology specialist Rocom. The deal would have involved Reach taking a shareholding in Rocom. A memorandum of understanding existed between the two companies but the deal fell over in the due-diligence stage. "We've been treading water for the last couple of months while we were distracted with the Rocom stuff," said Simms. A Telecom spokeswoman said the group planned to launch a national wi-fi network in "the next few months". It is testing wi-fi hotspots in Air New Zealand Koru lounges. The company is yet to reveal its business model but said it is open to partnering with operators like Reach.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/15/2004

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CHINA: Shanghai - Elecomm Show to Push it Industry

The city is eager to promote its IT industry by holding the nation's largest-ever telecommunications exhibition with half of the participants in attendance coming from abroad. China Elecomm 2004, scheduled to be held on June 23, will be the first of its kind since China carried out reforms of its telecommunications industry last year, which required joint efforts to hold IT exhibitions. "Before that, the country suffered from disorderly competition in running redundant telecommunications exhibitions, which threw companies into confusion over which one they should participate in," said Shanghai International Exhibition Co Ltd President Chen Xianjin. "These exhibitions are too small in scale to compete with overseas counterparts," Chen said. The June event is the city's initial attempt to join forces with governments, industry associations and telecommunications companies in holding such exhibitions. "Many foreign multinationals are taking a welcome approach toward the practice which, they think, is in accord with their strategies to enlarge their shares in the Chinese market," he said.Zhou Weidong, secretary general of the Shanghai Informatization Commission, said China's IT industry has gained global attention. The world's well-known telecommunications multinationals, such as Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Siemens, Alcatel, Bell, Nokia and Emerson, are all vying for business footholds in the Chinese market. During the exhibition, the Forum on City Informatization in the Asia-Pacific Rim will be held by the United Nations, certain departments within the Chinese Government and the Shanghai municipal government, Zhou said. To date, 82 companies, including those from Canada, Israel, the United States and European countries, have decided to participate in the four-day event. China boasted 532 million phone users last year, ranking tops in the world while IT industry sales reached 1.88 trillion yuan (US$227 billion). Its number of phone users is expected to hit 624 million this year. Shanghai will have 8.3 million phone users and 13 million mobile phone users by the year 2005. Its objective is to establish a citywide digitized pattern by 2007, Zhou said. (byChen Qide)

From China Daily 02/02/2004

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Shanghai Ranks 1st Among Metropolitan Economic Giants

Statistics unveiled by Beijing Statistics Bureau on February 27 showed that in 2003 among the five metropolises including Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou, Beijing got the second place in terms of economic increase but the last in terms of growth speed. The statistics also recorded that the local gross production in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou posted respectively at 361.19b yuan, 238.69b yuan, 625.08b yuan, 225.01b yuan and 346.66b yuan in 2003. The economies of the five cities presented a three-tiered structure. Shanghai, with its over 600b local GDP, stands high at the top, Beijing and Guangzhou, with about 350b yuan of local GDP, swayed in the middle and Tianjin and Chongqing, with about 230b yuan economic increments, were at the bottom stratum. Calculated on the comparable prices, the local gross production rose 10.5 percent, 14.5 percent, 11.8 percent, 11.4 percent and 15 percent respectively in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Guangzhou as against the previous year. In despite of the two-digital growth for all the five, there is still one thing arresting special attention. In the second layer, although Beijing kept high speed development, Guangzhou, with its faster pace of economic growth than Beijing from 2001 to 2003, is catching up with Beijing and even indicates a potential of outrunning Beijing in the next few years. According to findings unveild recently by Niu Wenyuan, head of 100-plus experts who prepared an in-depth urban development report for the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), the capital largely lags behind the country's economic hub of Shanghai when it comes to looking at the capacity for urban development. And even the southern city of Shenzhen has the same capability as Beijing. The findings were similar to a separate report undertaken by a team led by Ni Pengfei from the Institute of Finance and Trade Economics, which is also under the CASS. After analyzing the comprehensive competitiveness of 200 Chinese sample cities at or above the prefectural level, Ni's team found that China's top 10 most competitive cities were Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Ningbo, Nanjing and Wenzhou. But a year before, Beijing ranked first among some 200 cities for its competitive power in terms of its workforce and science and technology. The results of Ni's team were exclusively released by Hunan Satellite TV Station Monday. According to Niu's team, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Qingdao, Chengdu are in the top 10 of China's 50 biggest cities. The Chinese mainland has 668 cities and more than 20,000 towns, where more than 39 percent of the nation's 1.3 billion people live. Shanghai takes leads in overall economic output, urban infrastructure, basic resources, level of industrialization and many other indicators. And some Beijing residents have conceded that Shanghai is the nation's top city. "I've heard a lot of comments from people all around the country about Shanghai's impressive economic performance and its potential," said Xiao Yu, an office worker in Beijing's Chaoyang District, after seeing the reports. But Shanghai is not the clear-cut leader, according to the Niu report. In terms of learning capability, Beijing beats Shanghai because of its group of renowned universities, research institutions, think-tanks and international research and development centres. Beijing also has the most land line phones, mobile phones and Internet users. Shenzhen also beats Shanghai in this regard. Shenzhen leads the pack when it comes to social security measures. At the ceremony to announce the research results held March 1, Niu said his team has drawn up a framework involving a trio of central metropolitan areas, seven economic belts and a number of central cities with common features to cope with urban China's sprawl. The metropolitan areas are the groups of cities around Bohai Bay, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. They will serve as economic centres boosting the development of their surrounding areas. The areas will contain more than half of China's population while accounting for 80 percent of the national economy and 90 percent of China's industry output value. About 95 percent of the nation's trade volume will be produced there. Also at the ceremony, National People's Congress Standing Committee Vice-Chairman Jiang Zhenghua said China's current low degree of urbanization, in addition to an insufficient urban population and economic scale in many large cities, has limited its economic development and impact on its competitiveness China's urbanization rate is expected to rise from the current 39 percent to 75 percent within the next 50 years. Within the next five decades, the population in cities and towns will reach between 1.1 billion and 1.2 billion, while a well-organized and complementary "urban system" will be set up, the Niu report said.

From peopledaily.com.cn 03/04/2004

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Shanghai: Computer Skill Test Center Launched

The Shanghai Public Sanitation Bureau vowed yesterday to improve public toilets service, and more than 3,000 public toilets in downtown will be graded by both local residents and government authorities. According to its two-year work plan, workers at star-grade public toilets should be able to speak English and use sign language. Students take a computer class at Yew Chung International School in Gubei yesterday. The school launched the city's first authorized test center for international computer skills yesterday.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn 03/26/2004

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Shanghai Online Expo Opens

The first China International Online Garden Industry Exposition kicked off on the Internet (www.gardenexpo.cn) on April 5. It will last through the end of the month. Sponsored by the Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture and the Shanghai Landscape Architecture and Gardening Trade Association, the expo is aimed at raising the level of the Chinese gardening industry.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn 04/06/2004

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Hong Kong: E-Business Seminar to Help Explore Business Opportunities

About 200 representatives from local and Mainland enterprises attended a seminar today (April 16) to explore how e-business can help them to enhance operational efficiency and to explore the enormous business opportunities in the Mainland and overseas markets. The seminar, organised by the Ministry of Commerce of the Central People's Government, the Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau of the HKSAR Government, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, is a co-operation initiative in the e-business area under the trade and investment facilitation agenda of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA). The objective is to enhance the understanding of enterprises on how to capitalise on e-business to save costs, improve efficiency, expand market and create more business opportunities. Speaking at the opening of the seminar, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Communications and Technology), Mr Francis Ho, said that under the Digital 21 Strategy, the Hong Kong Government had been actively promoting the adoption of e-business in different industries through a variety of e-Government programmes and support measures. "The CEPA has provided enormous business opportunities for Hong Kong's goods and service industry. Hong Kong is a major international trade and service centre. If we are to maintain the competitiveness of our goods and services in the international market, we must not lose sight of the important role of e-business in today's global economy. "The Mainland has launched various informatisation, e-Government and e-business programmes in recent years. These programmes will not only help drive the long-term development of the information technology industries and the overall economy of the two places, but will also foster greater co-operation between the local and Mainland enterprises on a mutually beneficial basis, so as to make full use of the cross-border potential of e-business to facilitate trade and investment. "The government will continue to encourage enterprises to adopt e-business and to form partnerships with their Mainland counterparts to develop more high value-added products and services and to explore the international market," Mr Ho said. The Director-General of the Department of Information Technology of the Ministry of Commerce, Mr Wang Xinpei, made a presentation at the seminar on the adoption and development of e-business in trade and commerce in the Mainland in 2003. The presentation provided valuable information to those enterprises contemplating to start e-business in the Mainland. The seminar also featured a panel discussion on the development strategies and business models of the local and Mainland enterprises that have successfully adopted e-business in their operations, and to explore how enterprises may exploit the considerable cross-border potential of e-business for expanding markets.

From http://www.info.gov.hk 04/16/ 2004

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JAPAN: Online Conflict-Prevention Symposium Ends on Positive Note

The fourth online symposium on conflict prevention closed last week with a review session that provided an overview of the nine-day Internet-based event. Participants in the e-symposium examined "The Role of NGOs and Other Non-State Actors in Conflict Prevention." The event was hosted by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention, with the cooperation of The Japan Times and the Transatlantic Internet/Multimedia Seminar Southeastern Europe, and supported by the International Communications Foundation. Eighteen panelists, all experts in conflict-prevention issues, and participants from more than 50 countries presented papers and exchanged ideas online in a public-discussion session. Participants discussed such topics as the concept of positive peace, the need for different actors to cooperate in conflict prevention and the importance of different approaches to peace that encompass government, professional conflict resolution specialists, businesses and private citizens. The discussions covered a wide range of aspects, including research and education, peace activism, religion, funding and public opinion. On Friday, the last day of the symposium, three expert reviewers summarized and assessed the achievements and findings of the event. Ross Cottrill, moderator for the session and executive director of the Australian Institute of International Affairs, said: "The diversity of experience discussed during the symposium offers a wider range of possibilities. It is for leaders and individual organizations to draw from these possibilities." Reviewers at the final session included Bishnu Raj Upreti, a conflict-management specialist from Nepal; Andjela Jurisic, a consultant in operations and information in the Iraq Transitional Program for the U.S. Agency for International Development; and Dennis Sandole, a professor at George Mason University in the U.S. Discussing the conflict in Nepal, Upreti noted, "The irrational use of power is fueling conflict and creating a wider gap between rich and poor." Jurisic said there is a need for coordination and complementarity in the efforts of nongovernmental organizations and other nonstate actors in conflict prevention. Sandole commented on the symposium's "multiplicity of responses from presenters, commentators, and the general public in one of the finest examples of the 'democratizing' impact of the Internet." He said that when nonstate actors work in conflict prevention, there is a need for state actors to be involved, and to ensure success and long-lasting peace. The proceedings of the nine-day online event can be viewed at www.dwcw.org/4th_e-symposium.

From The Japan Times 02/04/2004

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"Study Group on Networking of Digital Information Consumer Electronics" Held

With regard to interconnectivity and interoperability, etc. between information consumer electronics (CE) indispensable for realizing a ubiquitous network society, MPHPT held the first meeting of the "Study Group on Networking of Digital Information Consumer Electronics" for deliberating upon i) desirable networking of CEs and ii) promotion measures therefor. The first meeting was held on February 13, 2004, with the participation of opinion leaders, experts from CE manufacturers, telecommunications carriers, software houses, user groups, broadcasters, standardization organizations, etc. The themes to be deliberated upon at this Study Group are as follows: *For digital information CEs; Trends in promotion and needs for digital information Ces, *Trends in R&D/standardization on networking of digital information Ces, *Challenges for realizing networking of digital information Ces, *Desirable networking of digital information CEs and promotion measures therefore. This Study Group will compile its findings as a report by around July 2004.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 02/26/2004

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SOUTH KOREA: Ministry to Offer Workshops for 320 Foreign IT Specialists This Year

The Ministry of Information and Communication reported Monday (March 8) that it plans to conduct a total of 18 IT industry workshops for foreign specialists from March through November this year. Under the program, about 320 IT specialists from developing countries will participate in the workshops to study Korea's advanced IT technologies. In particular, the ministry will offer a special workshop for 14 Iraqi IT experts working at the four core ministries including the Ministry of Information and Communication for a week from March 10 through 16. The workshop program will focus on IT technologies necessary to rehabilitate post-war telecommunication networks. During their stay in Korea, the Iraqi officials will also tour a number of Korea's IT industrial sites. The ministry expects that the program will pave the way for domestic IT companies to join post-war rehabilitation projects in Iraq, as well as demonstrating Korea's humanitarian efforts to assist Iraq. The ministry's IT industry workshops consists of a short-term program lasting seven to ten days and mid-term programs which will run from one to three months.

From http://www.korea.net/ 03/09/2004

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2003 Internet Volunteer Corps Program Concludes Successfully

The Ministry of Information and Communication reported Wednesday (April 14) that it has successfully concluded the annual 2003 Internet Volunteers Corps program for developing countries. Under the annual program, a total of 87 teams of 345 volunteers conducted a two-month Internet course in 42 countries in 2003. They were divided into two groups, one in July-August, last year and the other in January-February this year. The ministry said that the program initiated in 2003 contributed to promoting the image of "Broadband IT Korea" abroad and narrowing the digital divide in the developing countries. Since its inception, a total of 721 volunteers joined the corps to teach computer handling, Internet and Web site designs. They were largely composed of college students, professors, high school teachers and corporate employees. In a bid to provide people with a diverse background with an opportunity to participate in overseas volunteer work, foreign residents in Korea were also allowed to join the corps this year. The volunteers were dispatched to 42 countries in Asia and Eastern Europe. The ministry further noted that the volunteers worked and provided services at a total of 87 institutions such as government agencies, public and educational institutions. The ministry said that it plans to send another contingent of about 300 people to 30 countries in July this year.

From http://www.korea.net/ 04/19/2004

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KAZAKHSTAN: IATP Trainings for Government Employees Result in New Web Resources in Uralsk

On March 31, 18 government employees from the Regional Department of Economics Monitoring completed the last of six stages in their IATP step-by-step training series at the IATP access site in Uralsk, Kazakhstan. The IATP access site administrator led the intense two-week training regimen that started with basic computer applications and ended with advanced information technology courses. On March 17, the participants began learning advanced techniques for keeping electronic spreadsheets. The step-by-step's next course was on computer slideshow presentations. As a result, the participants created an informative and graphic presentation about their department. During the third course, the participants learned how to use e-mail and the Internet in their work. Five of the 18 participants went on to complete the final step, a Web design course. Each participant created his/her first website, while gaining experience for the final goal, the department's website. Included among the five new websites were Svetlana Kudarova's www.geography-kz.freenet.kz, a Web resource on the geography of Kazakhstan that includes statistics on the western Kazakhstan region, and Nurlan Kushenbekov's www.kazhistory.freenet.kz on Kazakhstan's history. Department Chief Svetlana Kudarova noted, "We learned so many new things during the training that will positively affect our everyday work. We express our gratitude to IATP." The Regional Department of Economics Monitoring is the first governmental department to work with IATP in Uralsk, providing an excellent example of the benefits of technology for other departments to follow.

From http://www.irex.org/ 03/31/2004

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UZBEKISTAN: International Financial Institutions Supporting Uzbek IT Sector

At a meeting in Tashkent, managers of Uzbek telecommunication sector and representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) discussed issues of cooperation.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 03/19/2004

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E-document Turnover Issues Discussed in Uzbek Capital

Tashkent hosted a round table on assessment analysis of electronic document turnover system. The representatives of UNDP's Digital Development Initiative (DDI) programme announced the start of the project on assessment and analysis of existing market of e-document turnover in Uzbekistan. According to DDI, the scheme will mainly concentrate its efforts on assisting in introduction of e-governance. Within the framework of the programme, it is planned to assess and analyse the existing system of e-document turnover. It is also planned to hold three large events, in particular, international conference of e-government in May, business forum in July and National ICT Summit in September. It is expected that special glossaries on information and communication technologies (ICT), collections of legislation acts on ICT, analytical reviews and others will be published on the eve of these events. The forum organisers noted that the project is not directed to determine the best or worst system. The main aim is to study all advantages and disadvantages of the existing system and present them in an understandable language to decision makers in ICT sector. Besides, recommendation on e-document turnover requirements will be prepared for the government of Uzbekistan, as well as further strategy and the concept of introduction of e-document turnover system.

From http://www.cascfen.org/ 03/23/2004

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International Seminar on Intellectual Property Starts

Three-day international seminar on the role of the system of protection of intellectual property rights and technology transfer in attracting investments, in particular in information-communication sphere, opened on 30 March in Tashkent.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 03/31/2004

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INDONESIA: Employees, Students Boost Internet Use Total to Eight Million

Corporate employees in the convenience of their cubicles and students killing time between classes sent the number of Internet users in Indonesia rocketing to more than eight million last year, almost doubling the 4.5 million in 2002. The Indonesian Association of Internet Service Providers (APJII) said on Monday that while the number of subscribers in 2003 was modest at 865,706, the number of users reached 8.08 million. For 2004, the association estimates the number of users will reach 12 million. APJII collected data from Internet providers, differentiating subscribers, as anyone or any company registered with one of the providers, from users, as anybody using the Internet. "Many corporations now provide Internet services for their employees," said Heru Nugroho, the association's secretary-general. Employees communicating via cyberspace accounted for 39.5 percent of users in 2003, while the year before it was 19 percent. Another sign of the trend for companies to become more Internet-savvy is the 3,764 new Indonesian domains listed last year -- mostly owned by corporations -- bringing total Indonesian domains to 19,167. "Everyone now has an e-mail address printed on their name card. Otherwise, people will think it's just a kaki lima (streetside) company," said Heru. Schools had also joined the race, he said, for fear of being left behind. Students are forgetting about Internet kiosks and logging on at their schools since the computers and connections are provided just around the corner from their classrooms. "About 32 percent of users are students browsing in schools and universities, while Internet users in kiosks dropped way down to around 3 percent," said Heru. Internet kiosks initially mushroomed around university campuses but declined a couple of years ago as the novelty wore off and personal use spread. The proportion of users connecting to the cyberworld via Internet kiosks has steadily declined, from 42 percent in 2001 to 26.8 percent in 2002 and to 3.2 percent last year. "We need to find an application with wide appeal to revive the Internet kiosk business," said Michael Sunggiardi, a presidium member of the Indonesian Internet Kiosks Association (Awari). Of the Internet kiosks in Indonesia, about 80 percent were now used as networked games centers, he said. "A couple of years ago, chat programs were what lured customers. People stayed for hours (chatting)," he added. Internet kiosks would not be able to survive if people only used them for browsing the Net or e-mailing, he said. APJII estimates that currently there are only 1,700 stalls from the 2,500 to 3,000 in 2002.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 02/03/2004

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MALAYSIA: Demand for Software Engineers to Escalate

Malaysia will need to churn out more software engineers than ever before, said Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) council chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ling Liong Sik. "The demand for key ICT personnel comprising systems engineers, software developers, systems analysts, computer programmers and technical support in Malaysia, is projected to reach 306,600 by the year 2010," he said, citing the government's Third Outline Perspective Plan, 2001-2010. The pool of key ICT personnel in the year 2000 was estimated to be around 108,000 only. Between 2001 and 2010, Malaysia would have to produce an additional 200,000 more workers to sustain its ICT needs, he said earlier today at a signing ceremony between Utar and Microsoft Malaysia. Under the memorandum of understanding between the two parties, Utar's Faculty of Information and Communication Technology will adopt Microsoft's .NET curriculum in its courses. "I am glad to say that there are a number of local universities taking this step to raise the ante on producing more software engineers," said Microsoft Malaysia managing director Butt Wai Choon. "In 2001, there were some 90,000 students enrolled in computer science and IT courses in private higher educational institutions in Malaysia. We can see a big jump from 1998, only six years ago, when there were 37,000 students," he said. Butt said that according to a Multimedia Super Corridor survey done in 2002, software programming is the largest component of ICT employment, and this job category was forecast to have the largest growth. "The total number of software developers at the end of last year was estimated at only 3,278 out of the 12,782-strong technical workforce. That's a meagre 4%," he said. The survey also found that most of the well-trained programmers working in Malaysia were primarily from India. "This means that the real problem solvers are imported, and not Malaysian nationals," said Butt. "No longer can education stay in the hands of government and educators alone. The public and private sectors must form strategic partnerships, if education is going to keep pace with, or serve as a driving force of, socioeconomic change," he said.

From http://star-techcentral.com 02/11/2004

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Comquiz 2004 to Promote Computer Literacy and ICT

It is once again time for secondary school students to put on their thinking caps and show how IT-savvy they really are at The Star's Comquiz 2004. The annual national quiz, themed Today's e-Winners, Tomorrow's e-Leaders, is open to all Form Three to Form Five students, who will be tested on their basic computing skills and knowledge of both software and hardware, the Internet and technology trends. Star Publications (M) Bhd group editorial/education adviser Datuk Ng Poh Tip said its main aim was to promote computer literacy, computer appreciation and information and communication technology (ICT) among students. "Our goal is to help students keep abreast of ICT knowledge and become more techno-savvy," she said yesterday at the launch of The Star's Comquiz 2004 at SMK Damansara Jaya, a finalist last year. Ng said it was important to increase computer literacy in both urban and rural areas. "We hope the quiz will also be a catalyst in narrowing the IT gap between rural and urban students," she added. Also present at the launch was Inti College senior vice-president Dr Lee Fah Onn and Education Ministry Student Affairs Unit assistant director Mohd Fadzil Mohd Jaafar. Ng said this was the first time the ministry was jointly organising the event with The Star and Inti Foundation and hoped the relationship would continue in the years to come. "We have come a long way since 1990, when we first started the quiz. We are growing from strength to strength and we could not have done it without the continuous support of everyone involved," she said. The event's main sponsors are Inti College, Brunsfield, Microsoft, Canon, Digi and Eastpak. All entry forms must be received by May 14. For more information, call The Star's Marketing Services Department at 03-7967 1388 or log on to thestar.com.my or www.inti.edu.my.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 04/09/2004

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PHILIPPINES: The Emergence of Information Technology in Marikina City

Late last year, DigitalFilipino.com launched an Internet history writing competition to encourage individuals from all over the country to write about the Internet history of their city or town.Mayumi "Yumi" E. Canuto heed the call and submitted her titled, "The Emergence of Information technology in Marikina City". Her story got selected and chosen as winner of this year's DigitalFilipino.com Internet History Writing Competition. Yumi's winning story will be included in the Philippine Internet Review: 10 Years of Internet History to be launched this May 2004. In addition, during the publication's launch, Yumi will be formally recognized and be given a prize of fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000).There are no 2nd and 3rd place winners in this contest. All entries will receive a complimentary copy of the Philippine Internet Review and be invited to its major launch.DigitalFilipino.com will be announcing the 2nd Internet History Writing Competition this year. We hope to get more entries in the future.

From http://www.internetreview.ph/ 04/01/2004

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SINGAPORE: Cyber Wellness Programme Aims to Make Internet Safe for Students

Over the past three years, 60,000 students from 11 schools have learnt more about the dos and don'ts in cyberspace. It is all part of a Cyber Wellness initative by the National Internet Advisory Committee to make the Internet safe for the young. There is no escaping it. Singaporeans now spend more time in cyberspace than they do on the roads, and some internet experts are warning that the risks online may be greater. With Internet now an integral feature in schools, the National Internet Advisory Committee is particularly worried about teens, between 13 and 17, who may be more vulnerable. Mr Michael Yap, Chairman of Cyber Wellness Task Force, said: "It is such a powerful medium, sometimes we forget that the action that we take may multiply many fold...people should be careful just like any open and borderless medium. There are dangers out there, one just has to be sensible about it by not giving away your name, addresses so easily. "There is now Cyber Wellness Movement workshops to encourage teens to be more astute when they go online, and also to balance their interactions in cyberspace with those in the real world. Mr Eugene Seow, Touch Community Services, said: "The first one was on safety of knowing how to chat on the net. Our second road show is entitled "porn-no". These roads hows are very interactive, they are done in the form of a skit...many of the schools are encouraged to take it as a package. The road show is one element of the package, then there are about six lessons on Internet safety. "One thing which the National Internet Advisory Committee does not want to prescribe is how much time Singaporeans should or should not be spending on the Internet. But the committee defintely wants people to spend quality time on the Internet. As for Internet spam, the advisory panel welcomed initial efforts by the three main service providers to tackle the problem.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 04/08/2004

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THAILAND: Ministry Plans Hi-Tech Learning Centres

The Information and Communications Technology Ministry will work with the private sector to set up the first National ICT Learning Centre in May. ICT Minister Dr Surapong Suebwonglee claimed the centre would encourage Thai youth and white collar workers to become ICT professionals. "Hundreds of PCs and legal software will be available and that will be contributed by private firms," he said, adding that training and certification for popular platforms such as Java, Microsoft and Oracle software would also be available. The centre will provide cheaper classes for software certification in order to add more skilled knowledge workers, he noted. There will also be a library where specialised ICT books would be available for advanced research, he said. The ICT Ministry would contribute to the investment along with private firms, while a budget and details of the project would be released within the next two weeks, the minister added. "We want to create a learning centre where our youth can spend their time after school or during summer on ICT," he said. The location is being planned for a prime area. "We might set up the centre in the Central World Plaza (former World Trade Centre), whose owner can provide 2,000 square metres for the purpose," he noted. The National ICT Learning Centre is seen as the next step in the ministry's plan to boost ICT human resources after initiating the GoodNet project, a learning centre where youth can learn basic software and PC operations, education programs and access broadband Internet. In addition, the Thailand Knowledge Centre, a portal educational service, was launched recently. When the first National ICT Learning Centre is up, the ICT minister plans to open centres in the ICT cities Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Phuket.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com 02/25/2004

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BANGLADESH: New Internet Protocol Faster than DSL Developed -BIC-TCP, Stands for Binary Increase Congestion Transmission Control Protocol

A new data transfer protocol for the Internet developed by the North Carolina State University 's Department of Computer Science researchers makes even today's high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections seem lethargic. The protocol named BIC-TCP, stands for Binary Increase Congestion Transmission Control Protocol and in a recent comparative study run by the Stanford Linear Accelerator Centre (SLAC). While this major breakthrough might translate into music downloads in the blink of an eye, the true value of such a super-powered protocol is a real eye-opener. BIC consistently topped the rankings in a set of experiments that determined its stability, scalability and fairness in comparison with other protocols. Dr Injong Rhee, associate professor of computer science, said BIC can achieve speeds roughly 6,000 times that of DSL and 150,000 times that of current modems. The key to BIC's speed is that it uses a binary search approach -a fairly common way to search databases, that allows for rapid detection of maximum network capacities with minimal loss of information. "What takes TCP two hours to determine, BIC can do in less than one second," Rhee said. The greatest challenge for the new protocol, he added, was to fill the pipe fast without starving out other protocols. "It's a tough balance," he said. By allowing the rapid transfer of increasingly large packets of information over long distances, the new protocol could boost the efficacy of cutting-edge applications ranging from telemedicine and real-time environmental monitoring to business operations and multi-user gaming. At NC State, researchers could more readily visualize, monitor and control real-time simulations and experiments conducted at remote computing clusters. BIC might even help avoid a national disaster: The recent blackout that affected large areas of the eastern United States and Canada underscored the need to spread data-rich backup systems across hundreds of thousands of miles. With network speeds doubling roughly annually, Rhee said the performances demonstrated by the new protocol could become commonly available in the next few years, setting a new standard for full utilization of the Internet.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 03/18/2004

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'5th Software 2004'Seminar on "WSIS Consultation: Road Map to Tunisia 2005" Held

A seminar on "WSIS consultation: Road Map to Tunisia 2005" held at athe fair premises organised by Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum at Dhaka Sheraton at the day before Yesterday. '5th Software 2004' had start from 25th March and ended yesterday to shake in between students and industries. North South University Computer Club had organized this fair for three days have got huge response from different and famous Universities and ICT industry. Every day a good number of audience and visitors are came to enjoy this fair. "Robotics (The Automated Car Vehicle)", have got a good response which was created by Shofiul Alam of North South University in Computer Science. The main feature of this project is this automated car doesn't need any driver or opearator. It will work automatically and if has any obstruction then changes it's path. Besides the "Online Automated Digital Telescope", has created huge demand among the audience, which was invented by the students of the Computer Department of BUET. There were many such projects in other stalls. Students of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology have brought their "Cyber Cafe Manager Version". The Bangla Dictionary has huge response that was created by 'Bangaliana'. They have released their new product in this fair. The English to Bangla dictonary is hugely selling. In the fair many companies are selling various multi media cd. The students of Peoples University of Bangladesh have brought the "Web Portal", which is based on doctors. We get much information from this web site such as Blood bank, Medical Consultancy, and Address of the Hospital etc. The address of this website is: www.medinetbd.com. On 26th of march Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regilatory Commission, Syed Margub Morshed was present in the seminar about WSIS consultation: Road Map to Tunisia 2005 as Chief Guest. Reza Selim, Secretary, Bangladesh Working Group on WSIS) was present in this seminar as a keynote speaker. Beside this Professor Farruk Ahmed (Computer Science & Engineering Department, NSU) and Abdullah H. Kafi (Member, WISTA Public Policy Committee) as special guest, Ahamedul Islam Babu (President, Bangladesh ICT Journalist forum) as chairperson of the seminar also presents there. Abdul Haque Anu (General Secretary, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum) manage the whole seminar.

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 03/28/2004

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5th Softfair 2004 /Tech Fair- A Gala of Innovations

THE three-day '5th Softfair 2004' started on March 25 at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel to give exposure to innovative projects including robotics, specialised software, animation and many more. Organised by North South University Computer Club (NSUCC), the fair ushered in a hail of compliments and encouragement for the aspiring computer science students. For the first time in five years, NSUCC ventured into ensuring the participation of corporate IT firms in the fair, along with the usual participation of students from the educational institutions. The fair's motto "Download the future tech" became quite appropriate as most stalls were exhibiting futuristic software -- their innovations in robotics, 3D games, application software and so on. Dr M Asaduzzaman, chairman of the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh, inaugurated the fair. The fair sported a list of more than 40 participants that included various public and private universities, software and game developers, IT training institutes and professional IT companies. The participants were competing in two different levels -- universities and corporate level, each consisting of three prizes. The stalls, received huge response throughout the fair. One of the popular stall was the North South University's robotics project -- 'Automated Guided Vehicle'. This contraption is the brainchild of Shofiul Alam, a CSE student. A car that moves automatically and can change its directions, when it senses obstacles. The group from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), with their project 'Online Automated Digital Telescope' received similar response. The fair, also had its share of demos and full version 3D games such as 'Ronn' -- developed by NSU CSC department students, 'Mrittupuri' by Department of Computer Science, University of Dhaka and 'Arunodoyer Agnishikha' by Shom Computers Ltd. Various multimedia software and tutorials were also being sold at some of the stalls. The audience appreciated the cyber caf¨¦ management software -- 'Cyber Caf¨¦ Manager' developed by the students of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology. This software is capable of solving most of the everyday problems faced by cyber caf¨¦ owners to manage their customers and cash flow. The fair also had everyday seminars. The award giving and closing ceremony was held on March 27. Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, minister, Ministry of Science and Information & Communication Technology handed over the awards as chief guest. The minister complimented the efforts and projects of the students. He stressed on the point that the information and communication technology sector of Bangladesh is still not in tune with the business sector of the nation. "We have to market our solutions and ideas before they become extinct in the global IT scene," said Khan. "Hopefully with the cooperation with the business sector, the IT sector of Bangladesh would finally be seeing better days," he added. The minister also promised the aid of concerned authorities for the next '6th Softfair 2005', which is expected to be held at an international level. The first prize was whisked off, by a voice recognition project by University of Asia Pacific. The project had three aspects, which included 'Voice Control Devices', 'Voice controlled Online System' and a 'Voice control PC'. The 'Automated Guided Vehicle' by North South University and 'CryptoPix', an image based steganography project of Independent University won the second and third positions respectively. In the corporate level, The Decode Limited, 4-in-Genius LLC and MAMTech Limited were the award winners. NSU student Shofiul Alam with his award winning project -- 'Automated Guided Vehicle'

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 03/31/2004

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INDIA: Farmers Upbeat About Infothela

SAWAYAJPUR (KANPUR): Head of the Amaur village in Sawayajpur panchayat in Kanpur (City) district, Ganga Prasad Yadav and the co-villagers were upbeat on Thursday. They were convinced of an instant boost to their agricultural ventures. Thanks to the efforts of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) faculty for designing the infothela carrying the digital mandi, which promises to facilitate farmers access information about latest prices, arrivals and market trends through the Internet. Union agriculture minister Rajnath Singh, in presence of thousands of villagers and the IIT-K faculty, launched the project at the village on Thursday. After launching the Infothela, the Union minister claimed that the project would enhance the effectiveness of the recently introduced Kisan Call Centres (KCC) by integrating all the centres with the digital mandi. "I would recommend to adopt the digital mandi to make the KCC more effective," said Rajnath. Digital mandi proposes to provide solvency to the farmers and make the agriculture market more profitable and attractive enterprise for farmers. It offers the farmers all the information they need to enhance farm productivity by using better technology, improve farm produce price and cut the transaction cost, claimed project guide Prof Jayanta Chatterjee of the IIT-K. He said that the mandi provided user-friendly links between farmers and agricultural information sources in a reliable combination. "A rich wealth of information is available with different government and educational institutions. But poor literacy rate among villagers and low use of textual information deprives villagers of such information and the mandi would make it possible in local languages through the voice mail," said Prof Chatterjee. SIRD director RN Tripathi claimed that in first phase the villages living in the Lucknow-Kanpur-Allahabad triangle would be provided with this facility. One infothela would cater to the needs of 10 villages, therefore 700 infothelas would be developed for approximately 7,000 villages. For follow-up activity, the IIT-K will train at least one youth from every village.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 02/13/2004

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IIT Software to Break Language Barriers

KOLKATA - What's better than a software that composes email in your mother-tongue? One that translates it to your friend's - be it Oriya, Hindi, Assamese or any other Indian language. This unique software could well be in you hands within two months, thanks to the whizkids of IIT Kharagpur. But more than a fancy software meant to evoke nostalgia in residents living outside their state, it is expected to bridge the urban "educated elite" with the less-read people of rural India. Top linguists of the country are helping professors and students of the computer science department of IITKgp design the revolutionary software being. The project has been commissioned by the Union ministry of communications and information technology. The institute has been asked to concentrate on the major languages of Eastern India - Bengali, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese - to start with. IIT-Kgp's computer science department is the only one in the IIT chain to have a Communications Empowerment Lab where the Natural Language Processing research is on. The Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, is helping out with institute. "A project of this nature and scale can never be successful without the best linguists," said the department's professor in charge of the laboratory, Anupam Basu. The institute had on Friday invited 60 linguists to deliberate on the science of major eastern regional languages. "The grammar of these languages, and the similarities therein will help us perfect the software," Basu added. "The software will enable a computer to translate, say, an English story downloaded from the internet to Bangla," he explained. "We are studying how verb forms change when we change the tense or mood of an expression." The Union government hit upon the project to bridge the "huge communication gap" that divides the handful of the educated urban populace with rural India. "We have been given the responsibility of bridging this digital divide, so that rural people are also able to make use of the Internet. We have also been asked to focus on the physically challenged, like the blind cerebral palsy patients," said professor Sudeshna Sarkar the department. For the latter, the software will convert computer text into speech output. Among the eminent linguists roped in for the project are educationist Pabitra Sarkar, IIT Kanpur professor B.N. Patnaik, director of IIIT Hyderabad Rajeev Sangal, B.B. Chaudhuri of ISI Kolkata, and Om Vikas, senior director of the ministry of communication and information technology.

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/20/2004

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Saregama Eyes Net Profit in 2004-05

KOLKATA - Saregama India Ltd said on Wednesday it was eyeing a net profit in the next financial year on the back of new tie-ups in music delivery, severe cost cutting initiatives and a greater focus on the home video segment. Better catalogue 'exploitation' and increased concentration on producing low-budget films were the other areas that would be looked at to drive revenues in 2004-05. "RPG Enterprises will also be pumping in Rs 8-9 crore in Saregama either in the form of a loan, bond or equity," Saregama vice-chairman Sanjiv Goenka said on the sidelines of the firm's annual general meeting. Goenka said Saregama was in talks with various companies in the United States to deliver music through digital downloads. Company managing director D R Mehta said negotiations were on with firms like I-tunes and Real Networks, and were likely to be concluded in the next three months. "The US has a large prosperous NRI population whom we would like to target," Mehta said, adding that the revenue model was likely to be replicated in Europe in future. (by Sumali Moitra)

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/24/2004

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Indian IT Giants Too Busy in Foreign Markets

BANGALORE - So near yet so far. Our desi IT giants take those long and arduous journey scouting for big deals in 'key' markets like the UK, USA and Australia, they seem to be alienating from even bigger deals emanating from their home land. Giants like Infosys, Wipro Tech and Satyam remain mute spectators while their global competitors are winning away most of the big deals here. As India Inc unleashed its first phase of mega IT outsourcing deals during the last quarter, the global top 5 grabbed them all, accounting for a cumulative deal size of $1.5 billion. While HP notched up the $150-million Bank of India order, Accenture grabbed the 10-year contract from FMCG major, Dabur. The biggest, however, was IBM bagging $750-million, 10-year outsourcing contract from Bharti Televentures. Moreover, those projects in the pipeline also appears to be in favour of these global IT providers with HDFC reported to be in talks with IBM for a $100-million, 5-year total outsourcing deal. Beyond dispute, these desi deals are bigger than the big orders Indian IT giants have so far clinched overseas. Infosys' biggest deal so far is $50 million Telstra, Wipro has $70 million Lattice and TCS' $100 million GE order. (by Satyaprakash Singh)

From http://www1.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 03/29/2004

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PAKISTAN: Easy Learning Programme Launched

KARACHI - Pakistan State Oil (PSO), in collaboration with the Global Compact and the United Nations International Development Organisation (Unido) launched "Easy Learning Programme" on Tuesday. Besides this countrywide adult literacy campaign the company also launched a 'PSO Early Childhood Education CD-Rom.' Under the programme, the company is sponsoring 10,000 E-learning Cards, offering over 400 certification-level IT and professional development courses. These easy learning scratch cards will be donated to local institutes, universities and NGOs. Users can easily access the courses from any location in the country at any time through PSO website. Speaking on the occasion, Country Representative Unido, Dr Carlos E. Chanduvi-Suarez said that the cards provided an equal opportunity to everyone willing to learn and progress. Anyone could select an E-Learning course and download it after creating an account and entering the PIN code from the scratch card, he added. He observed that this technologically driven, interactive educational programme would not only boost literacy rate but would also promote the much-needed IT awareness among the masses. Introducing the programme, MD PSO, Tariq Kirmani said that the company was offering high-end certification level IT and professional development web-based courseware at affordable costs to the people. He believed that this endeavour would help bridge the digital divide and harness the local human resource for positive long-term results. He explained that the card was designed on four basic themes that included provinces and cities of Pakistan, people of Pakistan, information technology and environment. About the education CD-Rom he mentioned that the idea for the CD-Rom was to improve the early childhood education curriculum initiative by introducing pedagogically sound multimedia application into schools and homes across the country. He pointed out that hand-eye co-ordination skills, logical thinking, shape recognition and extrapolation were areas touched upon.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 02/25/2004

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Workshop Held to Launch Scientific Digital Library

RAWALPINDI - Keeping in view the increasing access to scientific literature for institutions in Pakistan, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has announced to launch the National digital Library programme. To achieve the objective, the HEC has secured inclusion in the Program for Enhancement of Research Information (PERI) of the International Network for Scientific Publications (INASP). To launch the program, the HEC decided to conduct a series of workshops. In this connection, the first of these has been started on Tuesday at HEC Headquarters, Islamabad in co-operation with INASP professionals, who will train Master Trainers on the use of the digital library. While inaugurating the workshop, Professor Dr Sohail H. Naqvi, Member, Human Resources Development (HRD) HEC, stated that this is a beginning of an era, which is being introduced to our institutions of higher learning for the first time. And this should be considered as an historical day for higher education sector in Pakistan. He further stated that this workshop would not only provide the participants with an understanding of what the PERI program is and what resources are available through it but also would provide them detailed training and information on how to use the electronic information resources available through the program. This program aims to support capacity building in the research sector in developing and transitional countries by strengthening the production, access and dissemination of information and knowledge. The main objective of the project include not only to provide a proper building for the University Library but also to facilitate over sixteen hundred undergraduate and postgraduate students for academic & research pursuits. The approval of the project costing about Rs 35.0 million has been made in HEC's Departmental Development Working Party (DDWP) meeting held recently at HEC campus. The HEC has received numerous requests from universities in Pakistan for specific journal titles to be included in the library, and would endeavour to include as many of these as possible to the library resource. Through the inclusion of Pakistan in this program, public sector universities, colleges, research instates and organisations would be able to gain access to over 11,600 peer-reviewed full-text online international academic journals from some of the world's top publishing houses. Meanwhile, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to strengthen the Central Library of University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila. Further more the HEC is conducting further negotiations in collaboration with INASP to secure participation from additional publishing houses, and will strive to continually enhance the size and scope of the library. Eligibility for access to the information resource as prescribed by the HEC would be exclusively for the public and private sector university departments and libraries, non-profit research institutes and professional bodies, organisations, higher education institutes, higher education colleges, schools, polytechnics, teaching hospitals, indigenous non-governmental organisation (NGO's), civil society organisations, health professionals, researchers and agricultural extension workers working within remote areas and any other eligible organisation authorised by the HEC.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 02/25/2004

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Intel and Education Ministry Sign MoU

KARACHI - As many as 20,000 teachers across the country would be trained on ways to incorporate technology in education. In this respect, the Intel Pakistan on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Federal Education Ministry. An Intel statement said that in accordance with the MoU, the Intel will train teachers and provide the training curriculum to all the computerised government schools and colleges in ICT, Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, NWFP, AJK, Fata and Fana. It said the education has been identified as one of the key drivers for Pakistan's economic success, adding various initiatives have been carried out by the present government notably, the programme to provide the latest technology to public sector schools and colleges. The statement also said the Intel has facilitated the government's initiative by training 60,000 teachers from various public and private schools since Intel Teach to the Future Programme which was launched in May 2002. This programme which is now active in more than 56 cities across the country, incorporates the use of the internet and multimedia software into content-focused lesson plans. Teachers lead the workshop with a solid documented unit plan that engages students in the use of technology. The programme is designed to enable teachers to use technology effectively to enhance student learning in this increasingly digital world. Intel Pakistan Country Manager Kamil F. Hasan pointed out that his organisation has invested in funding, equipment, curriculum development and management programme. Federal Education Secretary Shafqat Ezdi Shah remarked that teachers are the critical element in students' success.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 02/27/2004

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NEW ZEALAND: NZ Science on Show to World

New Zealand high-tech companies will get a chance to pitch their attractions to international investors at a major science showcase event in Christchurch this week. More than 400 technology leaders from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) countries will be in the city for parallel meetings of Apec science ministers, research and development managers and high-tech businesses. The Government is spending $2 million to host the meetings and an "innovation showcase" exhibition by 30 New Zealand companies, crown research institutes and universities. Investment New Zealand is bringing in about 20 potential investors, including Brunswick Corporation's George Buckley, who paid $56 million for a 70 per cent stake in Auckland marine navigation company Navman and an undisclosed sum for a stake in boatbuilder Rayglass last year. Buckley said in Saturday's Business Herald that he was looking at a possible stake in another New Zealand company and was negotiating supply orders with a local clothing company and a local marine design and analysis firm. Other potential investors on the guest list include Yoshio Matsumi of the Japanese engineering and trading conglomerate Itochu (formerly C. Itoh), Dr Ki Won Lee of Korea's Samsung Electronics, Soo Boon Koh of Singapore's iGlobe Partners and Patrick Doyle of global pharmaceutical giant Hoffman-La Roche. Two tenants at Auckland University's Icehouse incubator, scheduling software firm Optimal Decision Technologies and Nexus6, which has developed a "Smarthaler" for asthma sufferers, are among six start-up businesses that will get a chance to pitch their wares to the global lineup. Fisher and Paykel Healthcare will outline its work on humidification for hospital patients on ventilators and in the treatment of sleep apnoea. The Auckland and Otago medical schools will talk about their research on cancer, diabetes and other illnesses. Project director Dr Wynn Ingram of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology said the aim was "to position New Zealand in the eyes of the Apec economies as a country that has research and development capabilities". "I don't think anyone will be able to say exactly, 'Debit $2 million, investment credit $6 million,' but the leverage for these things is normally pretty good." The main three-day ministerial meeting starting on Wednesday will consider papers on commercialising science, building human capability, networking and strategic plan-ning. Science Minister Pete Hodgson will chair the meeting. Fourteen of the 21 Apec countries are sending science ministers or vice-ministers, including Australian Science Minister Peter McGauran, Korean Science and Technology Minister Dr Myung Oh and China's Vice-Minister of Science and Technology, Yanhua Liu. The other seven countries, including the United States and Canada, will be represented by officials. (by Simon Collins)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/08/2004

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