Summer 2005 Issue 10
Contact Us:  apcib@apcity.org
  Geneva Launch for Fund to Cut Digital Divide
Asia Needs Trillion Dollars over Five Years to Boost Infrastructure
New APEC Guidelines for Secure International E-Commerce Transactions
More ASEAN IT Cooperation Hoped for
Beijing Declaration on ASEAN-China ICT Cooperation Approved
The Prospect Report on IT Application in the Asia-Pacific Region Be Published
Singapore Among the List of Winners for the 2005 United Nations Public Service Awards
Korea Discussing E-Trade System with Taiwan, Singapore
IDC Sees Strong IPTV Growth in Asia-Pacific
'Asia Will Lead the Digital Revolution': Samsung's Yun
ITU Highlights Progress Towards Bridging the Digital Divide
Enterprise IT 2005
Enterpriseit-Related Conferences at Communicasia Summit
Int'l Computing Contest Held in Shanghai
Shanghai: International Programming Finals Held
International Conference on Information Technology and Applications
Exhibition to Show Latest ICT Trend
First 3G Mobile Drama in Asia to Be Released in Singapore
Emergency Communications Asia 2005
ITU Telecom World 2006
Website Opens for ILO Asia-Pacific Meeting in Busan
Tunisia to Host Arabcom 2005
The 5th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia Pacific Region (CIAPR V)
E-Procurement Conference
 
  AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan to Auction Off Mobile-Phone Licenses
CHINA: Government Approved Chinese Character Internet Domain Names
TVCC Project Launched
E-commerce Legislation Comes into Effect
China to Upgrade Mechanism for Safer Internet
Hong Kong: New Initiatives to Support the Digital Entertainment and Wireless Industries Endorsed
Hong Kong: Anti-spam Legislation Will Help Fight Spammers
Policies Designed to Promote China's Bank Card Industry
New Law to Protect Online Copyright
JAPAN: 'IT Policy Package 2005: Towards the Realization of the World's Most Advanced IT Nation' Was Announced
MIC Issues Order to NHK on Implementation of International Broadcasting in FY 2005
MIC Announces Results of Invitation to Comments on Partial Amendment of Examination Standards for the Broadcast Law
MIC Approves Fiscal Year 2005 Business Plans for NTT Companies
SOUTH KOREA: Portable Internet Service to Start by June 2006
KT Seeks Usage-Based Internet Pricing
Crackdown Starts on Mobile Spammers
Cutting-Edge Services Key to IT Growth: Minister
Police Probing Anti-Roh Web Site
Task Force Set Up to Develop Policy Contents: Government Information Minister
South Korean Government to Expand Personnel Database
Gov't to Support 3.6 Billion Won for IT Research Project
Korea to Sharpen Teeth on Cyber Crime
TAJIKISTAN: Government Concerned Over Information Security
 
  MALAYSIA: Code to Protect Internet Users
SINGAPORE: Reducing the Regulatory Burden of Government
City Council Axes Funds for Smart Car Park
THAILAND: Sipa to Launch Free Software Programs
 
  BANGLADESH: Bangladesh Plans to Emerge as ICT Power in Asia-Internet Fair-2005 Begins in City
The Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) to Become 'State-Owned Ltd Co, Not Privatised'
INDIA: India to Splash Out USD2.7 Billion on Telecoms in Fiscal Year 2005
Government Enforces Minimum Broadband Speed Limit
India and Pakistan Consider Fibre-Optic Link
Govt. Formulates New IT Act
TRAI Addresses Shortage of 2G Spectrum, Proposes Lower Spectrum Licensing Fees
GSM Group Welcomes TRAI’s Spectrum Policy
NEPAL: End of 90-Day Mobile Phone Shutdown in Sight
PAKISTAN: Proper Proposals in IT Sector to Be Supported
GSMA Praises New Telecoms Policy
 
  AUSTRALIA: Program to Cut Money Laundering Launched
New Laws to Ban E-mail Monitoring Go Before Parliament
Govt to Review Copyright Laws
NEW ZEALAND: Government Will Police Its Own Net Addresses
Parliament Backs New 'Peeping Tom' Laws
Government Digs Deep to Create a Wired Society
Government Pours Millions into Laptops for Teachers
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Anti-Corruption Commission Presents Website
CHINA: FS Congratulates the First Generation of E-filers of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Financial Secretary Pushes for More E-Govt Services
Beijing Gov't Procurement Order Got by Microsoft
E-Government Spurs Efficiency Drive
Hong Kong Government Invites IT Services Tenders
Shanghai Police Fine Tune SMS Hot Line
Chinese City to Establish IP Network for E-Government
City of Longkou Deploying Nortel Enterprise Solution for E-Government Services
Growing Complaints About Chinese E-Government
Chinese Media Picks Up on Jinjiang E-Government Project
Beijing: Ebeijing Has Exchanged Links with Seven Websites of Embassies
JAPAN: MIC Announces Survey Results of Facilities and Equipment Investment by the Communications Industry
IT Management Support Task Force Publishes Beta Version of IT Management Textbook
Study Group on Creation of Digital Consumer Electronics Network
Japan Net Bank Books First Profit
SOUTH KOREA: NIER Provides Information on 573 Tropical Plants on Internet
Unification Ministry Launches New Logo
Disaster Control Network to Be Established
State Public Information System to Be Strengthened
Online Documentation Service to Be Available for Legal Procedures
Ministry Reports Status of Public Agencies’ Web Sites to Cabinet
MIC Chosen as Hardest Working Agency
Police to Run New Web Site for Missing Children
Online Administrative Appeals to Be Available from Second Half
Korean Government to Expand Personnel Database
Education Ministry Improves Web Site for Foreigners
MIC Fines Total KRW160 Billion Since 2000
Customs Clearances to Be Easily Reserved by Internet
KAZAKHSTAN: NGOs to Keep E-Govt Project on Target
MONGOLIA: Web Page Against Corruption to Be Released
 
  BRUNEI: Brunei Sets Aside US$126 Million for E-Govt
Brunei Ministry Initiates a Trio of IT Projects
BRUNEI: Tripartite Support Required for E-Govt Success
MALAYSIA: New System to Manage Land Applications
JPJ Officers Go High Tech
Trial Run of E-Ownership
Malay Village in Perak Goes Online
ICT Council Should Be Set Up
3G Services Launched
THAILAND: Smart Card Launch 'by Mid-April'
Call for Electronic Voting Machines
PM Pushes for Smart Cards
VIETNAM: New Network Links Businesses and Authorities
HCM City Launches Metropolitan Area Network
 
  INDIA: Indian Govt IT Projects to Focus on Public-Private Partnerships
Indian e-Govt to Get US$500m from World Bank
Punjab Unveils State, District, Village E-Govt Plans
More e-Govt Kiosks for Indian State
Indian State Government Integrates Payment for Services
India Uses SMS to Get Water, Issue Parliament Whips
Streamlined Tax Administration on Cards in India
India Allocates US$70m for e-Govt in 2005-6
PAKISTAN: IT Ministry to Roll Out Eight E-Government Projects in April
Pakistan to Outsource Government IT Contracts
PM Heads New Pakistan E-Government Council
 
  AUSTRALIA: Government to Outlaw Suicide Websites
ATO Extends EDS Contract
Victorian Government Elects Open Source for E-democracy Platform
Govt to Spend $50m on Broadband
NEW ZEALAND: Guide Helps Exporters Avoid Pitfalls in Australia
Government Will Police Its Own Net Addresses
Last Chance for Free IT Help
NZ Tourism Site Wins Top Award
Contract Signed for Internet Authentication Service
 
  AZERBAIJAN: New Regional TV Network Is Launched
Public TV to Start Operation in June
CHINA: Beijing Digital Bus Station Tested
Beijing: China's First Digital Info College Opens
Nation Tunes in to Digital TV Era
Shanghai Hot Line Gears Up
Make Way for Digital Age of Broadcasting
Shanghai Phone Owners to Get Better Service
Online Publication Reaches China
Online Stores Booming
Tibet Info Website Upgraded
China Sees Rapid Growth in Online Search Services
Farmers Go Online to Boost Rural Incomes
China Communities Link Set Up
Zhejiang to Invest 100 bln. Yuan in Key Projects
Beijing: 5000 "Electronic Eyes" Safeguard
Website Improves Lives of the Disabled
Internet Users in China Number 120 million
China Is Nokia’s Biggest Cellphone Market
Guangdong Telecom Makes IP Move
JAPAN: MIC Holds Study Group on Information Frontier
Tokyo Metropolitan Government to Introduce Credit Card Facilities
Selection of the “Top 100 Companies Using IT Management” by the IT Management Support Force
Japan Internet Takeover Battle Ends
Japan's Establishment Broadcaster, Internet Whizkid Call Truce
Information Frontier City:Yokosuka City
SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Broadcasting to Help Reduce Disaster Damage
Mobile Phones Open New World with One-touch Communications
Busan to Become Science City
Busan Aims to Become ‘Ubiquitous City'
US$300 Million 'Ubiquitous City' Project in South Korea
Ministry Issues Management Criterion to Protect Personal Information
Digital Map to Show Tidal Current in Real-Time
High-Speed Mobile Users to Reach 25 Million
US$300 Million 'Ubiquitous City' Project in South Korea
Korea Celebrates 50th Information-Communication Day
124 Small Factories to Be Degitalized
Korea's Information and Communication, Past and Today
Samsung Develops New Module for Bluetooth Phones
Korean Customs Inspections Bookable Online
Ubiquitous Trend Infiltrates into Rural Villages
KAZAKSHASTN: Kazakh Version of Office and Windows Arrives in RK This June
MONGOLIA: A Model City Karakorum
Cheaper Internet Service Introduced
TAJIKISTAN: Tajik Tax Police Close Independent TV Station
UZBEKISTAN: ADB to Assist Integrate ICT into Basic Education in Uzbekistan
Uzrating.Com Web Project Officially Launched
Uznet Festival Began With Publication of the List of UZ Domens
 
  INDONESIA: Telkom Plans New Network for 3 Islands
IT Solutions Offered for Traffic Woes
Hi-Tech Used to Scrape Garbage
New Website to Help Investors Buy Bonds in Asian Markets
MALAYSIA: Online Healthcare Service Launched
First Electronic Warfare Training Center
Electronic Payment for More Toll Booths
Dapat Offers Government Free Setup for SMS Disaster Alert
One-Card System for Public Transport Stalled
Data on All Students at the Click of a Mouse
E-Learning System Planned
Online Transfer of Vehicle Ownership
PHILIPPINES: From Neighborhood Shop to Industry Leader
Launching of Philippine E-lib
SINGAPORE: Singapore Gears Up for Wireless Broadband Innovation
Singapore Agency to Get New Land Information Management System
Mobile Phone Magazine Launched
Starhub Launches High-Speed Broadband Services for Corporate Clients
Singapore Company Introduces Comics to Mobile Phones
Smes Get Help in E-Supply Chain Management Under Pilot Project
THAILAND: B500m for New Security Video Systems
VIETNAM: Old Practices Hinder E-Transactions
Farmers Post Their Own Website
 
  BANGLADESH: BTTB Service Goes Down with Agitation-Staff Protests on Against Teletalk Operations
RanksTel Land Phone Launched
INDIA: Broadband on Mobile Will Be a Big Hit in India
India's Telecom Base Crosses 100 Million Mark
SRI LANKA: Guidelines for Re-building the Rural Transport System Destroyed by the Tsunami
MALDIVES: Dhiraagu Reduces Dhivehinet Broadband Service Prices
NEPAL: Post-paid Mobile Service Resumes in Kathmandu
PAKISTAN: PTCL to Launch WiLL in Karachi
Mobile Users Surpass Ten Million Mark
Half a Million New Wireless Subscribers Added Every Month
 
  AUSTRALIA: Outback IT Dreaming
WA Firm Sets up Online Asset Sharing System
Encryption Service
Australia Levels Playing Field for Open Source Software
Better Technology Pushes up Health Costs
Cigarette Website Forced to Close
Schools to Get Broadband Link
E-health Debate Intellectualized to Stagnation
Local Firms Dominate Victorian Government's New Supplier List
Australian Game Industry 'Under Threat'
New Security Device for Online Banking
Study Shows Australia's Software Piracy Rate Remains Higher than the US
NEW ZEALAND: New Science Equipment a Boon for University
Rural Schools to Learn Through Internet
Internet the Future of Share Trading
NEW ZEALAND: Schools in Internet Fast Lane
Government Tags $16m to Drive Early Childhood Technology
New Zealand Health Board Trials Open Source Software
Sites Slow to Help Disabled
Telecom Boosts Broadband Numbers by 38 Per Cent
Software Giant to Put $2m into Schools' IT
New Zealand Home to Largest On-demand Supercomputer
New Zealand to Invest in Business Web Site
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Conference on Information Systems Security to Be Held
CHINA: First Open Source Software Week to Boost Linux Industry
Hong Kong: Forum Sees Creative Collaboration in Digital Entertainment
Chinese E-Government: Moving on from 'Web-Gloss'?
E-commerce Conference Held in Beijing
JAPAN: Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Conference - WSIS Thematic Meeting: Toward the realization of a Ubiquitous Network Society
UZBEKISTAN: Television Stations Discuss Programme on Development for 2005
Uzbek Cabinet’s ICT Coordination Council Holds Session
Anniversary Scientific-Technical Conference Opens
Specialists of Non-State TV Stations Undergo Training in Tashkent
 
  INDONESIA: Students Have a Brush With IT
MALAYSIA: Pushing Harder for SMIs to Embrace IT
Centre to Help SMEs Link With IT Firms
SINGAPORE: IDA Believes Singapore Firms Poised to Ride Next Wave of Infocomm
VIETNAM: Firm Offers Asset Management Software
Biggest IT Event to Be Held This Summer
Bac Ninh Farmers Benefit From Internet
IT Class for The Blind Begins
 
  BANGLADESH: Shanto-Mariam University Provides Tech-Based Design Edn
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Forms Committee to Monitor Mobile Operators
ICT Sector Needs Reforms
BHUTAN: Farmers to Reap the Benefits of Internet
INDIA: BPL Mobile Talks Buy-Outs with Mystery Telcos
MALDIVES: Dhiraagu Introduces Friends and Family Discount Scheme for Mobile Post-Paid Customers
PAKISTAN: Pakistan to Host Next IT Ministers Summit in 2006
PTCL to Reduce Call Rates from April
 
  AUSTRALIA: NSW Govt to Present at Open Computing Conference
NICTA Showcases Technology Research Plans
NEW ZEALAND: NZTE Gives $560,000 for Technology Exhibition
     
 
 
 

Geneva Launch for Fund to Cut Digital Divide

A "digital solidarity fund" to help bridge the technology divide between rich and poor countries was launched in Geneva yesterday by President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, chairman of the African Union, reports The Financial Times. The voluntary fund, whose main financial backing comes from more than 120 city councils around the world, will focus on community-based projects aimed at the most disadvantaged. The fund has had a controversial history since it was proposed by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal at a UN information society summit in December 2003. Poor countries initially pushed for a multilateral fund to finance telecommunications infrastructure projects in the developing world, but this ran into opposition from rich nations. Governments meeting in Geneva last month instead decided to make better use of existing financial mechanisms to fund large-scale telecoms development, leaving the digital solidarity fund to tap new sources of finance for local projects. Its city council contributors, for instance, are implementing a scheme under which successful bidders for public telecoms contracts are required to pay one percent of the contract value to the fund. This is called the “Geneva Principle.” In return they will be granted a "digital solidarity" label. Managed as a non-profit foundation under Swiss law, the fund has earmarked 60 percent of its future resources for least-developed countries, 30 percent for other developing countries and 10 percent for economies in transition. Le Temps (Switzerland) reports that donations to the Fund so far amount to EUR1.6 million. The money will be redistributed through an international agency to be created and based in Lyon (France). Funds will go to projects aiming at overcoming the delay that developing countries are experiencing in the domain of new technologies when compared to Western nations. So far, Geneva is the only city to have agreed to apply the Geneva principle. The city of Delemont and Lyon have signaled the imminence of their participation, and the 200 members of the Association of Francophone Mayors could also apply the principle. At the moment, the Fund is only a financial mechanism. For projects to materialize, the international agency will first have to be created in Lyon, which is planned for the beginning of 2006, at the earliest. Until then, the Fund will assist other institutions in dealing with technology projects. According to Alain Clerc, the Fund’s secretary-general, contact has already been established with the World Bank. Some fear that the Fund will duplicate pre-existing initiatives, including the ones by the UN.

From http://web.worldbank.org/ 03/15/2005


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Asia Needs Trillion Dollars over Five Years to Boost Infrastructure

Asia-Pacific developing economies led by China need to invest more than one trillion dollars over the next five years to upgrade their infrastructure and sustain growth, Agence France Presse notes a report said Wednesday. China alone is estimated to account for 80 percent of the total amount needed, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) said after a joint study. The 21 economies covered in the report face a massive funding challenge with more than $200 billion required annually from public and private sources for roads, power plants, communications, water and sanitation systems during the five-year period. The report noted that some of the poorest economies such as Laos and Cambodia have little or no infrastructure investment while the 1997-98 Asian crisis forced others like Indonesia and the Philippines to spend less in this area. "The economic crisis is now over, most countries have resumed high level growth levels and private investment in general is beginning to recover but private investment in infrastructure is returning only very cautiously and governments are sometimes tentative in their response," it said. The three lending institutions, however, noted important developments since the regional financial meltdown in the late 1990s. The countries affected now have more open governments, allowing vigorous debate on policy and spending issues, as well as stronger state institutions capable of handling large transactions and investments more efficiently. "And significantly, while it is hard to say that there is less corruption, there is less tolerance of it and fewer illusions about its hidden costs on business and the poor," they said. The report covered Cambodia, China, Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Thailand, East Timor, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam. Reuters explains that the study said 65 percent of the required funds was needed for new investment and the remainder for maintenance of roads, power plants, communications, water and sanitation systems. Infrastructure was particularly important at a time when the region was "increasingly interconnected through supply chain production networks and expanding cross-border trade, fuelled by China, which has served as a magnet for regional growth", they said. For China, total needs account for almost 7 percent of GDP, the study estimated. ADB Vice-President Geert van der Linden told Reuters in an interview that China's rapid rate of growth requires an expansion in infrastructure as the economy demands more power generation and transmission networks. Refocusing on infrastructure was important for boosting both economic and social linkage within the region and reminding the donor community of the "essential part of development", which he said had been somewhat forgotten.


From http://web.worldbank.org/ 03/16/2005


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New APEC Guidelines for Secure International E-Commerce Transactions

Guidelines to make e-commerce transactions across borders more secure and simple have been released by the APEC eSecurity Task Group (eSTG).The Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) guidelines will be used for a range of transactions including the formalization of contracts, shipping documentation, customs and quarantine clearance and taxation and online consumer purchases. Chair of the APEC eSTG, Mr. David Hickman, said the PKI Guidelines have been designed to ensure that they are compatible with industry standards already in use in Europe and can be adopted by developing economies. "The eSTG undertook a comparison of existing schemes to identify a class of digital signature standard suitable for e-commerce around the region," Mr. Hickman said. "We recognised that any approach developed for APEC must also be able to interact with other standards, particularly those being used in Europe. These guidelines will foster the interoperability of PKI schemes, which will assist developing economies who are improving their e-commerce capacity to interact at a global level. "Past standards have provided guidance in developing secure electronic transaction facilities, however these have not always addressed legal issues relating to the cross jurisdiction recognition of certificates. As a result differences between standards have emerged that have the potential to impede transactions and undermine the regional potential of e-commerce." Mr. Hickman highlighted the work of the team that developed the guidelines which he said would be valued around the region. "The eSTG is most appreciative of the work of Mr. Steve Orlowski from Australia working with experts from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States and the European Union," Mr Hickman said. "This has been a major exercise over an extended period that will make e-business more secure and easier for people right around APEC region. The final report, "APEC Guidelines for Schemes to Issue Certificates Capable of Being Used in Cross Jurisdiction Ecommerce," is now available. PKI is a secure method for exchanging information via the Internet and makes use of a system known as public key cryptography to ensure transactions are secure. PKI uses digital signature certificates that authenticate electronic activities carried out between individuals, governments and companies. The guidelines are based on RFC 3647, which addresses policy and technical aspects of PKI that came into effect in November 2003. The RFC (Requests for Comments) document series is a set of technical and organizational notes about the Internet that began in 1969 to discuss many aspects of computer networking, including protocols, procedures and programs.


From http://www.apecsec.org.sg/ 04/01/2005


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More ASEAN IT Cooperation Hoped for

A senior official said in Beijing on Thursday that China has strong hopes to raise information and telecommunications sector cooperation with ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations). Vice-Premier Huang Ju told ASEAN ministers during "China-ASEAN ICT Week," which opened yesterday, that more potential avenues for cooperation should be explored on the basis of "equality, friendship and mutual benefit." The weeklong event was proposed by Premier Wen Jiabao last year, the theme being to build on IT sector partnerships to promote common development. China's IT industry has grown rapidly over the past decade. The total number of telephone subscribers reached 674 million by March, the largest in the world. The number of internet subscribers reached 94 million, the second largest in the world. China and ASEAN have highly complementary IT sectors, said analysts, and have developed closer economic and political ties recently, establishing a strategic partnership and aiming to form a free trade area by 2010. China-ASEAN trade reached US$105.8 billion last year, making ASEAN China's fourth largest trading partner. Cooperation in the IT sector is one the five key areas of China-ASEAN cooperation in the 21st century, according to a memorandum signed in 2001. The two sides have since signed a number of agreements to outline cooperation. Ministry of Information Industry officials said China's IT trade with ASEAN has grown quickly, and China has begun a program to train 500 IT professionals for ASEAN countries.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/13/2005


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Beijing Declaration on ASEAN-China ICT Cooperation Approved

A China-ASEAN Information Communication Technology (ICT) Ministerial Forum passed the Beijing Declaration Thursday, calling for the establishment of ICT cooperative partnership for common development. According to the Declaration, China will expand cooperation with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries in information infrastructure construction, human resources, and technology research for the long-term development in ICT. China and ASEAN member countries will strengthen cooperation on fixed, mobile and satellite networks as well as the Internet, said the Declaration. "Discussions shall be made around the feasibility of building an ASEAN-China information superhighway." The declaration called for the universal ICT service for both urban and rural areas in the region. China and ASEAN member countries should strengthen exchanges in promoting applicable technology suitable for rural and remote areas, said the Declaration. China and ASEAN member countries should facilitate the implementation of the initiative proposed by the Chinese government of training 500 middle and high-level telecom managers and technicians for ASEAN countries within five years, said the Declaration. The network and information security in the region is faced with a severe challenge, noted the Declaration. "We should seek to establish an ASEAN - China Coordination Framework for Network and Information Security Emergency Responses." China and ASEAN member countries will endeavor to promote trade and investment facilitation, according to the Declaration. "We should strengthen cooperation among countries in e-commerce, e-governance and promote mutual recognition arrangements for ICT expertise certification and telecom equipment certification. China and ASEAN member countries should foster exchanges of ICT development strategy and policy, and explore effective market regulation models," the declaration said.


From http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/ 05/14/2005


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The Prospect Report on IT Application in the Asia-Pacific Region Be Published

As a main achievement of CIAPR V, the Prospect Report on IT Application in the Asia-Pacific Region is currently finished and will be soon published. This report makes a systematic and complete analysis over the status and trends of the information technology in the world and the Asia-Pacific region. Its main focus is paid to the corresponding experiences and strategies in some developed countries and China. This report can serve as an important reference for the officials, the managers, and the professionals in the IT field because of its full and accurate content.


From: http://www.apcity.org/ 05/11/2005

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Singapore Among the List of Winners for the 2005 United Nations Public Service Awards

Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore is among the list of 8 winners for the 2005 United Nations Public Service Awards in 3 categories. It wins the honor, in Category 3: Application of information and communication technology (ICT) in Government (e-government), for its “Online Application System for Integrated Services (OASIS)”.
Address: Ministry of Trade and Industry
100 High Street, #04-04,
The Treasury, Singapore 179434
Tel.: (65) 63327783
Fax: (65) 63340306
E-mail: Daniel_kuek@mti.gov.sg
From http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan020145.pdf


05/06/2005


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Korea Discussing E-Trade System with Taiwan, Singapore

Officials of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy (MCIE) will visit Singapore on April 27 and Taiwan two days later to discuss introducing a paperless e-trade system. This is the first time that Korea will meet with Singapore and Taiwan to seek steady and systemic cooperation for the earlier introduction of the e-trade system. Topics of discussion include simplifying trade procedures by replacing a variety of paper documents with simple electronic records on the Internet, including the certificate of origin. Once agreements are reached with the two countries, the online certificate of origin issued by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry through the Internet, for instance, is accepted as a valid document by the countries instead of a written paper sealed by the KCCI. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) will be signed by the Korea Trade Network (KTNET) and the Trade Van of Taiwan while exchanging ideas and opinions with their Singaporean counterpart before signing the MOU. KTNET, a global e-trade service specialist, exported a solution that supports the automation of trade-related documents to Taiwan early this month. Singing the MOU with Taiwan and face-to-face discussions with Singapore are expected to bring forward the age of paperless trade, accelerating the establishment of e-trade infrastructure.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/27/2005


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IDC Sees Strong IPTV Growth in Asia-Pacific

The number of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) subscribers in the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) is expected to grow from nearly half a million subscribers in 2004 to over 20 million by 2009, research firm IDC said. "The market for TV over broadband services in APEJ is still in its early stage of commercial deployment but with strong growth projected well into 2009," said Claudio Checchia, Research Manager, Asia-Pacific Consumer Devices and Services, IDC Asia-Pacific. The arrival of pay-TV over broadband is likely to alter the current cable and satellite pay-TV status quo. With compelling content offered at competitive prices, consumers can easily expect more services to be rolled out to meet rising demand for TV over broadband services across the region, Checchia said. On a country-by-country basis, Hong Kong is currently the single largest market in terms of TV over Broadband subscribers with a 75% share at year-end 2004. However, China is expected to show the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 221% in the number of TV over Broadband subscribers from 2004 to 2009. Other markets such as Australia, Korea, and Singapore are also expected to display strong growth rates for their TV over broadband subscribers. Singapore enjoys one of the highest residential broadband penetration rates in the region, at 46.1% at the end of 2004. For household penetration, the rate will further rise to nearly 75% by year-end 2009. TV over broadband is a new phenomenon in the Singapore market with limited uptake in 2004. IDC forecasts the number of TV over broadband subscribers in Singapore to grow from 10,000 in 2004 to 158,000 by 2009 at a CAGR of 75%. Household penetration rate of TV over Broadband is expected to rise from 2.1% of all residential broadband subscribers in 2004 to nearly 19% by 2009.


From CMPNetAsia 05/13/2005


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'Asia Will Lead the Digital Revolution': Samsung's Yun

Vice chairman Yun Jong-yong of Samsung Electronics will deliver a speech at the Fortune Global Forum 2005, which kicks off for a two-day run in Beijing on May 17. The Korean electronics giant said on Monday (May 16) that Yun would present his views about “Technology and the New Asian Century” at the annual forum organized by U.S. business magazine Fortune. According to Yun's speech script, disclosed by Samsung Electronics, the vice chairman projected that the share of Asia in global gross domestic product (GDP) would grow from 27 percent, or $8.9 trillion in 2000 to 32 percent, or $13.8 trillion in 2010. He anticipated that the world's economic center of gravity will shift to Asia as tremendous dynamic market and technological innovation will be added to its already dominant industrial capacity. He added that Asia would lead the “Digital Revolution,” dubbed as the second industrial revolution. Yun backed his assertions by citing a global tally showing that 100 percent of worldwide digital camera production, 92 percent of personal computers, 70 percent of mobile handsets and 67 percent of color televisions are produced in Asia. He also pointed out that as the barrier between industry and academy will rapidly crumble in the digital era, Asian countries should revise their laws and regulations to stimulate inter-state technological exchange. Each year, the Fortune Global Forum gathers the chiefs of global businesses, heads of state and leading researchers to discuss the most pressing issues facing world business and to share strategies and forge alliances to transform challenges into opportunities. High-profile guests, including Chinese President Hu Jintao and chairmen, CEOs and presidents of major multinational corporations will attend the forum, which will provide the opportunity for global business leaders to meet members of China's new government. The focus of the 2005 forum will be how multinationals can tap into the enormous potential of China and its Asian neighbors and prosper in the decades ahead.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/16/2005


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ITU Highlights Progress Towards Bridging the Digital Divide

Geneva — Today is World Telecommunication Day, the day on which telecommunication users and the telecommunication community worldwide celebrate the founding of ITU in Paris, France, in 1865. ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi commemorated the day with a special address to the Ubiquitous Network Conference, a thematic meeting being held in Tokyo in the context of the forthcoming second phase of the World Summit for the Information Society, taking place in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005. In his address, Mr Utsumi said ITU was proud to celebrate its central role in helping bring the benefits of information to all. "Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have the unique potential to bring enormous progress to the entire world in the next decade. To realize this potential, the international community requires strong leadership capable of implementing appropriate international policy and strategy and of providing smooth, effective and transparent global coordination." "ITU", he continued, "has helped create a solid basis for the Information Society on a global scale, reforming its own structure to meet the new challenges each decade brings". In a recent report by leading business consultants Booz Allen Hamilton, ITU was named among the world’s top 10 most enduring institutions. This year’s World Telecommunication Day marks the 140th anniversary of the year when the International Telecommunication Union first embarked on its mission to harness the power of electronic communications to fulfil human beings’ fundamental need to communicate. "The desire to communicate is one of our strongest human urges; the ability to communicate one of our greatest biological assets," said Mr Utsumi, speaking later on the need to step up efforts to bridge the digital divide. "At ITU we believe in communication as a basic human right. The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication Day, Creating an equitable Information Society: Time for Action, highlights ITU’s commitment to extending this right through more equitable access to modern information and communication technologies for the millions of "information poor" for whom modern communications remain far out of reach." World Telecommunication Day 2005 also marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Maitland Report, commissioned by ITU in 1985 to provide a global snapshot of the state of ICT access and furnish guidance on how to improve access worldwide. That report identified a "missing link" between those with ready access to ICTs and those with little or none. As recently as just 20 years ago, the report estimated, around half of humanity had never even made a simple phone call. Today, as the world celebrates World Telecommunication Day, that picture is much brighter. The advent of new technologies like mobile telephony, low-cost satellite services and high capacity wireless trunk links has seen the total number of telephone subscribers worldwide quadruple since 1990, from 10% to over 40% of the global population. Over the same period, the percentage of people worldwide with a mobile telephone has soared from 0.3% in 1991 to more than 20% today. ITU estimates that around 80% of the world’s inhabitants are now within reach of a mobile phone signal, and while many in the developing world still lack access to services, prospects nonetheless look good for achieving 50% global household telephone coverage within the next 10 years. Figures for online access are also encouraging. Fifteen years ago, a mere 27 nations were connected to the Internet. Today, Internet links to major cities are virtually ubiquitous, with almost every country on earth now connected to what can at last rightly be called the World Wide Web. The number of Internet users, estimated by ITU to be around 700 million (representing some 11% of the global population), continues to grow fast, even in developing countries where line speeds are often slow and connection costs high. As the world’s only international organization mandated by its constitution to bring the benefits of ICT to all the world’s inhabitants, ITU can take some of the credit for these dramatic improvements. Through its efforts in the key areas of standards-making, equitable global management of the radiocommunication spectrum and telecommunication development projects, as well as its management of top-level events like WSIS, ITU continues to work tirelessly to ensure that telecommunication services are brought within reach of an ever-greater number of people each year. "These positive developments underline the value of telecommunications services for people in all societies and all cultures, worldwide," said ITU’s Utsumi. "However, such statistics hide the fact that an enormous amount still needs to be done to improve access for the majority of the world’s population living in rural or remote areas. "In many Least Developed Countries, most people live in small rural communities where penetration figures for even basic phone service remain very low. Even in some of the world’s most highly industrialized nations, such as Australia, Canada or the Nordic countries, access for remote rural dwellers can be difficult at best. That’s why ITU’s forthcoming World Summit is focused on addressing clear, concrete targets for connecting towns, villages and community services like schools, libraries, hospitals and post offices worldwide, through a 10-point Plan of Action endorsed by 175 world leaders at the first phase of the Summit in Geneva in 2003." (see here). As governments and national authorities around the world now begin to gear up for the second phase, the theme of this year’s World Telecommunication Day is particularly relevant. By emphasizing Creating an equitable Information Society: Time for Action, World Telecommunication Day 2005 seeks to raise awareness of the urgent need to address digital divide issues and spur development of effective national ICT development and implementation programmes that will quickly realize the goals laid out in the Plan of Action. In an increasingly interconnected world, ITU and its UN partners recognize that effective ICT development strategies must involve a cooperative, multi-stakeholder approach. In acknowledgement of this, WSIS 2005 will involve a broad cross-section of representatives from government, UN and international agencies, civil society and the private sector. "Building an equitable and accessible Information Society depends on the strength of partnerships between governments, civil society and the business community, underpinned by the support of international organizations like the United Nations," said UN Secretary-Geneva Kofi Annan in his World Telecommunication Day message. "The theme of this year’s World Telecommunication Day calls on us to give shape to the vision adopted at the first phase of the World Summit in 2003. I urge Member States and all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to that process, and to participate at the highest levels when the Summit reconvenes in Tunis in November this year."


From http://www.itu.int/ 05/17/2005


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Enterprise IT 2005

Enterprise IT 2005 provides innovative IT solutions that help companies lower their cost structures and improve the efficiency of business processes. Enterprise IT showcases the latest enterprise solutions for industries such as banking, logistics, healthcare, education, transportation, government among others. The exhibition will be held from 14-17 June 2005 at the Singapore Expo in conjunction with CommunicAsia2005, a communications & IT exhibition for Asia. In 2004, Enterprise IT and Communic Asia featured over 1,500 exhibiting companies representing 52 countries and attracted over 45,000 business professionals from 90 nations. Enterprise IT is organised by Singapore Exhibition Services (SES), Asia's top organiser of trade events with a diverse portfolio of exhibitions and conferences in sectors such as Communications, Engineering, Machinery and Lifestyle.


From http://www.goto-enterpriseit.com/ 04/01//2005


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Enterpriseit-Related Conferences at Communicasia Summit

EnterpriseIT visitors can attend Enterprise IT-related conferences on mobile enterprise and security at the CommunicAsia2005 Summit. The Mobile Enterprise conference track held on 16 June is themed ‘Embracing Mobility to Increase Productivity’. The conference track will cover pertinent issues relating to convenience vs security in remote access, delve into whether 3G will be a cornerstone of enterprise mobility, and explore the dynamics behind the growing popularity of Wi-Fi, IP Telephony and Unified Messaging. Focusing on security challenges and countermeasures for companies’ networks, the Security conference track on 15 June will drill into topics such as identity management, content security, disaster recovery, business continuity planning and end with a panel discussion on managed security services.


From http://www.goto-enterpriseit.com/ 04/01/2005


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Int'l Computing Contest Held in Shanghai

Seventy-eight university teams from 29 countries and regions will visit the city to compete in the 29th ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest from April 3 to 6. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, the only university that has ever won the contest, was selected by the US-based Association for Computing Machinery to be the world final's sponsor this year. It is the first time for the contest - crowned the "Olympics of the computer programming" - to he held in the Asia-Pacific region.


From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 04/01/2005


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Shanghai: International Programming Finals Held

The 29th ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, sponsored by IBM and hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, opened in Shanghai on April 4. Of the 4,109 teams from 1,582 universities in 71 countries that began the competition, 78 have advanced to the World Finals by competing in regional contests worldwide from September to December 2004. This is the first time that the world's finest computing contest is holding its world finals in Asia. China's vice education minister Hu Qidi and Shanghai's vice mayor Yan Junqi attended yesterday's opening ceremony. The contest will conclude on April 7. Founded in 1947, US-based ACM, or the Association of Computing Machinery, is a major force in advancing the skills of information technology professionals and students worldwide. It serves 80,000 members in more than 100 countries in all areas of industry, academia, and government.


From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 04/05/2005


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International Conference on Information Technology and Applications

General Information
The purpose of ICITA’2005 is to provide a platform for academics and engineers in all IT areas to meet, exchange ideas, and establish professional networks. It is a forum to focus on specific disciplinary research, as well as on multi-disciplinary studies. The uniqueness of ICITA is that it crosses narrowly defined subject areas and gathers researchers from not only technical areas, but also from social science areas. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following research areas/fields:

Topics
Topic 1: IT in National Security
Topic 2: IT for Anti-Terrorist Technology Innovations (ATTI)
Topic 3: Security
Topic 4: Telecommunication and Networking
Topic 5: Mobile Communications
Topic 6: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Intelligence and Imformation Fusion
Topic 7: Computer Vision and Image Processing
Topic 8: Multimedia
Topic 9: Agents, Datamining and Ontologies
Topic 10: System Management
Topic 11: Distributed and Parallel Computing
Topic 12: IT in Education and Health
Topic 13: Computer Graphics and Visualization
Topic 14: Bioinformatics
Topic 15: Computer and Communication Systems
Topic 16: Signal Processing
Topic 17: Advanced Robotics
Topic 18: Cognitive Technologies
Topic 19: Software Engineering

Venue and Date
The conference will be held at the Mercure Hotel (City/CBD) in the central area of Olympic City - Sydney, Australia from 4th-7th July, 2005.

Sponsors:
IEEE NSW Section
FIT, University of Technology, Sydney
IICT, University of Technology, Sydney

Contact
Dr. Sean He
icita05@it.uts.edu.au


From http://attend.it.uts.edu.au/ 04/15/2005


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Exhibition to Show Latest ICT Trend

The world's leading information and communications technology or ICT exhibition operator will hold its fifth ICT fair in Shanghai, to show the latest trends in the global and Chinese ICT markets. The CeBit Asia 2005, an extension of the biggest global ICT fair operated by China branch of Germany's Hanover Fair will attract 400 exhibitors from 18 countries and regions and more than 60,000 professional visitors. General Manager of Hanover Fair company in China, Qian Jun, told CRI that he's confident about the prospects of the four-day show in Shanghai's New International Expo Center. "The number of Chinese companies participating in this year's Cebit in Germany in March has increased by 50 percent. We also expect, with our brand advantage, more Chinese companies can reach their overseas buyers at CeBit Asia." As a professional exhibition operator, Cebit Asia looks to innovative ideas to localize its service. "We are trying to tailor our service for clients of Chinese medium and small sized enterprises, government and various companies and create value for them." The fair will show products and services in software and hardware solutions to business showcase the latest consumer electronics and software, and Chinese ICT products for foreign trade. China's Ministry of Information Industry expects that sales revenue from the country's information industry may exceed 390 billion US dollars this year, up more than 20 percent on last year. Analysts predict that by 2006, China will become the third largest information industry market in the world.


From CRIENGLISH.com 04/20/2005


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First 3G Mobile Drama in Asia to Be Released in Singapore

The first drama in Asia to be viewed on the third generation (3G) mobiles will be available in mid-June in Singapore, according to Channel News Asia report on Wednesday night. A co-product by Singapore's Media Corp Studios, Motorola and the Media Development Authority of Singapore, the Chinese language drama, "PS I Love You", comprises 30 episodes with each lasting three minutes. The series, which stars young actors from Taiwan and Singapore, is being shot entirely outdoors, the report said, adding that it will be released on mobile phones before reaching any other media and video market.


From Xinhuanet 04/21/2005


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Emergency Communications Asia 2005

Emergency Communications Asia 2005 will be held in 7-9 December 2005, Pudong Shangri-la, Shanghai, China. Emergency Communications Asia 2004 was a roaring success. This inaugural event brought in 230 speakers, delegates and sponsors from 7 to 8 December 2004 in Shanghai, China. Emergency Communications Asia continues to be, and aims to be developed as the platform where the first responder community in Asia meets with leading international communications vendors to showcase technologies and products and to do business. The Asia Pacific is undoubtedly the world’s most exciting region for emergency communications investment and development. Emergency Communications Asia 2005 now into its 2nd year is the director level, strategic conference for the Asian emergency communications industry, with representation from every key country in Asia and from all stakeholders. The event will feature regional updates on current and future emergency communications development with key presentations from both the Asia Pacific region and internationally. Emergency Communications Asia 2005 provides an unsurpassed platform for senior communications executives from the first responder community to meet, network and discuss. Bringing together the key decision makers in the emergency services sector to Asia, this event provides a unique opportunity for emergency services providers and technology vendors to meet and discuss the opportunities and challenges that they face in communications. It is where the internationals meet Asia. Emergency Communications Asia 2005 is an unrivalled and cost-effective marketing solution that offers many advantages to a select group of sponsors, and then brings you face-to-face with your customers and prospects.


From http://www.terrapinn.com/ 05/01/2005


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ITU Telecom World 2006

WORLD 2006 will bring together the world's leading and most influential names in the telecommunications field, from industry, as well as key policy and decision makers from government and regulatory bodies. The event will feature a worldclass exhibition which will showcase the latest technological trends. View the latest innovations from across the spectrum of the telecommunications industry. With some 911 exhibitors from 51 countries taking part in the last WORLD event, held in 2003, WORLD 2006 is already set to be another major success. As well as a major exhibition, the Event will also feature a Forum which will bring together the leaders of industry and key policy makers to discuss and explore areas essential to the growth of the global telecommunications industry. Keynote speakers will include heads of industry as well as leading names from governments and regulators. To illustrate the calibre of speakers at previous WORLD Forums, please review some of our speakers from our previous WORLD event in 2003. In addition, a wide range of other onsite services such as TELECOM Village, VIP lounges, and a host of social events and more will allow participants unrivalled opportunities for meeting, networking and getting business done at the event.


From http://www.itu.int/WORLD2006/ 05/01/2005


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Website Opens for ILO Asia-Pacific Meeting in Busan

The Ministry of Labor Affairs opened a homepage Tuesday (May 3) to provide information about the 14th International Labor Organization (ILO) Asia-Pacific general meeting slated for Oct. 10-13 at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO). The formal homepage of the international conference, www.ilo2005busan.org, contains every information concerning agenda, topics, list of delegations, contacts for the meeting, meeting sites, receptions, accommodations, transportations and tourism information. The ministry plans to link the Website to its own homepage and those of other related agencies and organizations to help online visitors get an easy access to the information about the ILO's regional meeting. During the meeting, the homepage will serve as a bulletin board that delivers details of the gathering including process of discussion and activities of the delegates. Scheduled to participate in the meeting are ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, ministers and 600 delegates from 43 member countries in the government, management and labor.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/03/2005


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Tunisia to Host Arabcom 2005

Under the patronage of H.E. President of Tunisia Zine El Abidin Ben Ali, ARABCOM 2005 the 8th International Telecom Development Forum and Expo for the Arab world and North Africa will build bridges of collaboration between International Telcos and key decision makers in the Arab world and North Africa, and will witness exchange of international experiences.500 Participants to take part at ARABCOM 2005 : Arab Ministerial Delegations - Arab & International GSM Operators - Arab & International Regulators - WISP's - International manufacturers - Solution Providers - International Organizations - International Consultants - Civil Society - Investors -Content developers, and many others… Katia Tayar CEO Arabcom group and HITEK magazine announced today in Dubai that 'ARABCOM 2005' The 8th Annual International Telecom Development Forum & Expo for the Arab World and North Africa will be held in Tunisia 28-29 June 2005 and will witness the largest number of GSM operators from Europe, the Arab states and North Africa to ever gather under one roof for a telecom event. Held in conjunction with the meeting of the Arab Ministers of Telecom in Tunisia, Supported by the Ministry of ICT in Tunisia, From June 28 to 29, hundreds of regional and international high level delegates representing the public and the private sectors, will be in Tunisia to network and interact at what is recognized as Arab world's most important telecom event. Delegates from 70 countries have confirmed their participation till date USA - UK - Finland - Sweden - France - Germany - Italy - Denmark - Singapore - Portugal - Greece -Cyprus - Ireland - Nigeria - Pakistan - Qatar - Turkey - India - Switzerland - Canada - Russia -South Africa - Belgium - Cshek republic- New Zealand - Korea - Japan - China - Algeria - Bahrain - Comoros - Djibouti - Egypt - Jordan - Kuwait - Lebanon - Libya - Morocco -Somalia - Sultanate Oman - Mauritania - Palestine - Kingdom Saudi Arabia - Sudan - Syria - Tunisia - UAE - Yemen and others 30 Speakers will participate in the Forum's 10 sessions all topics of vital concern to the telecommunications sector today. Running in parallel with the forum, the expo will showcase the latest technologies presented by regional and global companies in telecoms and IT.


From http://www.ameinfo.com/ 05/04/2005


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The 5th Annual Forum on City Informatization in the Asia Pacific Region (CIAPR V)

30-31 May 2005, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

1、Co-Sponsors
The Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, P. R. China; The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA); The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); The United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO); United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR); The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (UN ICT Task Force); The State Council Informatization Office, P. R. China; The Ministry of Science and Technology, P. R. China; The Ministry of Information Industry, P. R. China; The Ministry of Commerce, P. R. China; The Chinese Academy of Sciences, P. R. China.

2、Honorary Chairmen
Ambassador Munir Akram,President of ECOSOC; Mr. Carlos Magarios, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) ; Wang Xudong, Minister of the State Council Informatization Industry and Minister of the Ministry of Information Industry, P.R. China; Xu Guanhua,Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, P. R. China; Bo Xilai, Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, P R China; Lu Yongxiang,President of the ChineseAcademy of Sciences P. R. China; Han Zheng, Mayor of Shanghai Municipal People’s Government P. R. China.

3、Chairmen
Mr. José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for the United Nations; Qu Weizhi, Vice Minister of the State Council Informatization Office, P. R. China; Ma Songde, Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, P. R. China; Gou Zhongwen, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Information Industry, P. R. China; Wei Jianguo, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, P. R. China; Jiang Mianheng, Vice President of the ChineseAcademy of Sciences, P. R. China; Yang Xiong, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, P. R. China.

4、Executive Chairmen
Yang Xiong, Vice Mayor of Shanghai, P.R. China; Mr. Guido Bertucci, Director, the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, UN/DESA.

5、Forum Secretary General
Fan Xiping, Vice Secretary General of Shanghai People’s Government; Zhou Hongren, Executive Vice Chairman of Advisory Committee of State Council Informatization Office, P. R. China.

MAIN THEMES
The themes and topics that CIAPR V will focus on are as follows: 1 Informatization Policy and Development Strategy; 2 Development of Intelligent Cities and Assessment Index on City Informatization; 3 Knowledge Management in UN Public Administration; 4 Role of the Local Governments in the Information Society; 5 New IT Development Trends; 6 City Informatization and Efficient Custom in the Yangtze River Delta; 7 Construction of Optional Digital Society.

DESIGN OF ACTIVITIES
CIAPR V will be composed of a series of very attractive activities: (1) Keynote and thematic speeches at plenary sessions of the Forum, to be delivered by respectable government leaders, ICT business leaders, and ICT leading scientists and experts; (2) A series of thematic sessions will be conducted to address the key themes and topics of the Forum. Policy developers and decision makers in the forefront of ICT for development, ICT leading entrepreneurs and well-known international experts and scholars, will be invited as panelists and make addresses and presentations at the thematic sessions; (3) A number of working sessions, including the meetings of the UN ICT Task Force, mayors’ round table, the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN), and Workshop for Assessment Index on City Informatization, will be held to take advantage of the gathering of worldwide ICT stakeholders;
(4) A number of International Exhibitions on ICT for Development will be organized around the conference facilities in Shanghai for the benefit of the participants, including: telecommunications and national information infrastructure, computers and software, solutions for e-Commerce and e-Government; (5) The UN Public Service Awards will be presented by UN/DESA to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions in local e-Government application. It is intended that CIAPR V will be characterized by its richness in information, knowledge and practical experiences from the worldwide ICT leaders for development, either within governments and business, or within the international community. In addition, the closer and face-to-face interaction between the keynote speakers, the CEOs, the panelists and the participants will no doubt make the International Forum more vivid and fruitful. The working language of CIAPR V will be English and Chinese with simultaneous translation.

PARTICIPANTS
There will be five categories of participants at the CIAPR V: (1) Government leaders, ministers, chief information officers (CIOs) of government, and policy developers and decision makers of ICT for development; (2) Mayors, decision-makers, and representatives of municipal governments from the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide; (3) Business/corporate leaders and entrepreneurs in information and communications technologies, and information and knowledge industries; (4) International experts and scholars on information and communication technologies, information and knowledge industries, and ICT for development, particularly, city informatization; (5) Representatives from the UN system, international and regional organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations from the region and worldwide.


From: http://www.apcity.org/ 05/16/2005


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E-Procurement Conference

Venue: Seoul, Korea
Start date: 20 June 2005
End Date: 25 June 2005
Contact: Jeoung-Keun Lee
While e-commerce is still used in many procurement activities, procurers are moving towards e-procurement with the use of the Internet, as e-procurement provides a better and more efficient service to the organization. While e-procurement will change and progress according to new technologies available, many e-procurement initiatives are developed without reference to well-known best practices: this creates a wide range of standards issues among different groups. Through critical re-thinking of business processes in the private sector, buyers, suppliers, and transporter are managing to make procurement more responsive, flexible, and resilient. Therefore, private procurement is generally geared to provide the best costs-benefits balance. However, this is not always the case of public procurement where transparency and openness are paramount. This is partly because public procurement is governed by legislation, which does not apply to private procurement. It is an ideal time to review business processes in e-government to include e-procurement and to make it more open, transparent and cost-effective. Also, steps are needed to make each country’s procurement system transparent and interoperable in a single global electronic market. The conference will review new initiatives in e-procurement and discuss ways to integrate it into an overall e-government and e-commerce system.


From http://www.adbi.org/ 05/20/2005


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AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan to Auction Off Mobile-Phone Licenses

The Afghan government plans to auction off mobile-phone licenses in a bid to spur development, the "London Times" reported on 2 May. The daily reported that Afghanistan plans to sell mobile-phone licenses based on the global system standard in Europe for prices expected to reach millions of dollars over the next two months. The government hopes to yield up to $200 million in foreign investment through the sales, according to the London paper. Government planners in Kabul said they hope the initiative will create thousands of jobs in Afghanistan, bolstering the country's efforts at economic recovery following the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. A similar auction in Pakistan last year generated revenues of $291 million. Industry analysts say likely bidders in the coming Afghanistan auction include Orascom, a telecommunications company owned largely by Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, and Norwegian telecom company Telenor, which is already operating in Pakistan. Whatever company wins in the bidding should begin operations in January 2006. MR


From http://www.rferl.org/ 05/03/2005

 

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CHINA: Government Approved Chinese Character Internet Domain Names

i-DNS.net International Pte. Ltd., the Singapore-based company that pioneered the concept and technology behind multilingual domain names, also known as Internationalised Domain Names (IDN), in an exclusive partnership with CNNIC, the Chinese Internet Agency responsible for Domain Names and with the approval of the Ministry of Information Industry of the People's Republic of China (MII, http://www.mii.gov.cn/mii/zcfg%5Cgonggao20021122.html), announces the availability of Internet domains completely in Chinese characters. The domain names are available under the top-level Simplified Chinese character extensions ".公司" (i.e. ".gongsi" which means "company" in Chinese) and/or ".网络" (i.e. ".wangluo" which means "networking") where the "dot" character can be typed in either English (ASCII) or Chinese. MII has endorsed these Chinese domain names at the Domain Name Management Policy announcement.

Owing to extensive pre-launch preparations over the past year for the distribution of the necessary enabling software amongst the more than 100+ Million Internet end-users in China, names registered now can be immediately accessed and used by more than half of these Chinese Internet users. This wide usability has been achieved by a successful program to distribute tens of millions of plug-in software via all major search engines,portal sites and bundling with major Chinese software developers in China (n.b. over 2 million a month via Baidu, Sohu, Sina and others http://www.enet.com.cn/enews/inforcenter/A20040618318285.html) and to require all 4 major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who account for some 95% of all end-users to adopt the necessary software to enable their users. It is expected that the continuing effort to increase widespread usability, with ongoing progress to enlist ISPs and portals in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, should result in near-100% usability within the coming year in the Greater Chinese end-user community. This community accounts for roughly one-quarter of all worldwide Internet users today.

"We are proud to be involved in a unique cooperation with the Chinese authorities that encompasses both technology exchange/operation of the system and exclusive marketing rights", said Prof. S. Subbiah, co-founder and Chairman of i-DNS.net, a National University of Singapore (NUS) spin-off company (http://www.i-dns.net). He added, "After a soft-launch within China several weeks ago and MII's active public encouragement of such Chinese domain names (http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/w/2004-09-03/0936418120.shtml), some 30,000 names - including names by the rightful trademarks owners of international brands like Rolex and Tudor as well company names by multi-national corporations like Societe Generale, Dell and Starbucks - have already been registered in these newly-government approved Chinese names of the form 名字.公司 (i.e. 'name.gongsi') and 名字.网络 (i.e 'name.wangluo'). Now i-DNS.net and its authorized Registrars, like LGA Telecom in Singapore, being the sole source of these names outside of China, have begun offering early registration to its current and former customers, starting with the Singapore market". He continued, "The purchase of Simplified Chinese names from the i-DNS.net/CNNIC partnership will automatically allow the corresponding web-site to be accessed by an equivalent, computer-generated domain name in Traditional Chinese characters (i.e. used in Hong Kong and Taiwan) free of charge. Conversely, one can also buy a Traditional Chinese name directly and get an automatically assigned Simplified Chinese version free".

The Director General of CNNIC, Mao Wei, said, "We have already established a framework of registrars nationwide in China, and we and our registrars have been very active in assisting corporations in China, in particular the small and medium enterprises, to understand the need to claim their domain name resources that are completely in Chinese characters. Within China, the recent launch of Chinese Domain Names has attracted many corporations in registering their own Chinese Domain Names. To handle the growing demand and interest, 15 states, including Beijing, Shanghai etc. have been designated as regional centers in the effort to continue educating the public." He added "Now that China has become one of the world's most dynamic economies, we believe that foreign multinational companies can expedite their marketing goals in China by registering these Chinese-character domain names since the emerging Chinese Internet consumer is predominantly a non-English speaker and strategically best approached via the Chinese language".

It is therefore natural for us to ensure that foreign entities who wish to protect their Chinese language domain names in the .公司 and .网络 extensions are able to participate early on in the process. Therefore, we are very pleased to partner with i-DNS.net to bring this early opportunity to people outside of China now."

"It is heartening to see that 20 years after the Internet Domain name system in English was invented, and 7 years after we at NUS invented and pioneered the concept, and 6 years after we at NUS conducted an Asia-Pacific deployment testbed with a dozen nations and languages, and after 5 years of lukewarm commercial deployments in various parts of the world, with the majority being a misguided attempt at trying to get multilingual peoples to accept two-language hybrid domain names (e.g. the Chinese-English 'multilingual.com' names from Verisign), finally we have broken the political logjam and witness a major community – the Chinese – turning the promise into daily Internet reality" said Prof. Tan Tin Wee of NUS, who pioneered this technology at NUS in 1997 and 1998. Dr. Tan is widely acknowledged as the father of the modern multilingual domain name movement and was also the former chairman of the Asia-Pacific Networking Group, APNG, which under his chairmanship ran the Asia-Pacific IDN testbed in 1998/9.

"It is worth noting that the current Greater Chinese Internet community, with most being in China, accounts for roughly half of the multilingual community from a language/script point of view and for whom the English/ASCII characters are insufficient as labels for Internet domain names since the majority do not speak English and hence had been left out of this phenomenon. Furthermore, we project that by 2007/8 this Greater Chinese community will account for more than half of all Internet users, surpassing English as the main language of the Internet. So, the fact that China has championed this and most importantly already enabled both widespread usability and given its legal backing and authority over domain name disputes etc., signals that from a numbers point of view half the multilingual Internet peoples today are already enabled" said Khaled Fattal, the Chairman of the Multilingual Internet Names Consortium (MINC) that was founded in mid-2000 to champion the day-to-day use of multilingual (i.e. in hundreds of native languages/scripts other than ASCII/English) names like domain names and email addresses on the Internet. He added, "With the enabling of China’s masses, MINC is well on its way to achieving its global mission of making it possible for any citizen to access the Internet in their own native language and help guide the remaining 4+ billion peoples or so who do not speak English and who are not yet on the Internet to have one less bridge to cross the Digital Divide."

It is important to note that, for the sake of clarity, that these Chinese domain names, completely in Chinese characters, are not to be confused with and are not in anyway connected with the Chinese/English hybrid domain names like 我的名字.com and 我的名字.net that have been marketed with mixed success since 2000 by Verisign. These are neither China-government approved nor widely usable in China. All purchased names would be protected for trademark and other rights by the dispute policy and regulations set by the Chinese government under the agreement that every domain name registrant will enter into with the mainland government authorities at the time of purchase.

"We strongly suggest that companies in Singapore, particularly those with global or mainland China directed aspirations, to quickly lock in their business names and trademarks as Chinese domain names, before they find them legitimately taken by others" said Yew Hock Meng, COO, of LGA Telecom Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based i-DNS.net authorised Registrar since 2000. He added, "Already some major global brandnames like L’Oreal and BMW have run into some trouble. While the Chinese have a strict and fair dispute mechanism, with strong rights for existing trademark holders in place, one needs to understand that they can only legally protect, and help recover names from others who register it, if one’s trademark has already been registered in China in the exact Simplified Chinese characters. So we cannot emphasize strongly enough, why Singaporean companies should take advantage of this unique opportunity to register relevant Chinese names via authorised Registrars like us, before it is made available shortly in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and elsewhere".

These names can be purchased immediately from LGA Telecom Ltd. by visiting http://lga.i-dns.biz. Potential registrants who cannot speak or type Chinese can also register names via an on-line transliteration service provided at a modest fee. It is advisable to hurry and lock-in names of interest to avoid disappointment. With a one stop-purchase one can protect one's business and trademark interests in the Chinese marketplace which is expected to grow from the current 100+ Million eyeballs to more than half of all worldwide Internet users by 2007/8.


From http://www.i-dns.net/ 03/01/2005

 

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TVCC Project Launched

Contruction work has begun on the Television Culture Centre, an important part of the new CCTV building compound. The new center will be responsible for most of the broadcasting of China Central Television during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Composed of a 30-story building and a cluster of 5-story buildings, the center is estimated to cost over 800 million Yuan. A five-star hotel with 300 rooms will also be included in the center, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2007.


From CRI 03/18/2005

 

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E-commerce Legislation Comes into Effect

China's first e-commerce legislation comes into effect today, with the introduction of an electronic signature law. The law allows parties to decide whether to use traditional or electronic signatures in contracts or other legally binding documents, and affords digital signatures the same legal standing as traditional signatures. But agencies providing digital authentication services must first receive government approval. Alamusi, chief executive officer of Chinaeclaw.com, a professional website about e-commerce legislation, said he believed the law has come at an opportune time to promote e-commerce in China. "Prior to the introduction of the law there had been lack of legislation in terms of solving effectiveness and reliability of online trading and electronic messages, a serious obstacle to the development of e-commerce," he said. Andy Qi, a spokesman for 1pai.com, an online joint venture between US giant Yahoo! and major Chinese Internet portal Sina Corp, said the law expanded the scope of online trading and would encourage more people to do business electronically. He said his firm signed a co-operation deal with the China E-commerce Association last week using electronic signatures, which might be the first such agreement signed after the law was approved. Jin Jianhang, vice-president of China's biggest business-to-business website Alibaba.com, said he also believed the law will help increase the reliability of online trading, which may be the biggest headache to e-commerce websites. However, they said they believed the development of e-commerce is a systematic process and needs long-term efforts from both government and industry. Alamusi pointed out that the law has just 36 articles and does not cover other major legal issues like electronic contracts, protection of e-commerce consumers, and the legal liability of e-commerce service providers. Another problem is that there are over 70 electronic signature authentication agencies in the country. Although the law requires them to get approval from the Ministry of Information Industry, there is no regulation related to this. He added that even if the public key infrastructure (PKI) encryption used in electronic signatures is believed to be very secure and extremely difficult to crack, its security is relative and the industry must work out some more secure avenues. Wang Xiaoyun, a professor from Shandong University, cracked the MD5 encryption method, one of the two major KPI encryption methods, in August. She also found some loopholes in the other encryption method SHA-1 in February. Alibaba's Jin said it is unrealistic to expect a sharp increase in usage of electronic signatures, because enterprises and government agencies will continue take a wait-and-see attitude for the regulations to be put in place and their concerns to be eased. Qi also called on the Chinese Government to pay more attention to customer-to-customer e-commerce, which is troubled by the creditability of online trading.


From China Daily 04/01/2005

 

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China to Upgrade Mechanism for Safer Internet

China is expected to pass a new set of rules and regulations to gradually establish an Internet emergency control mechanism this year in a fresh effort to curb soaring Internet hacks and attacks that have seriously threatened the safety of public and private information, Friday's China Youth Daily reported. "China should increase cooperation between different departments and arouse the entire society so as to form an Internet emergency control mechanism that is agile, sensitive and effective," said an official with the Ministry of Information Industry, for whom the paper gave no name. He said the mechanism should serve to ensure all Internet-related safety incidents are detected in time, and analyzed and responded to promptly. Soaring Internet incident reports have alarmed both the Chinese government and companies. In 2004, the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center (CNCERT), a key body responsible for collecting domestic Internet incidents, received a total of 64,686 incident reports, nearly five times that of the previous year. Among all the reports, 45.91 percent were about web page modifications and the rest junk mails or viruses including 'the worm' and the 'Trojan horses' that have troubled Chinese netizens for years. Statistics from the center also found government websites turn out to be the easiest targets for attackers. "Today's Internet virus is far more contagious than those in nature," said the center. "The government should add more helpful rules to its current legal system so as to form a more favorable legal environment." The paper acknowledged that the use of visa accounts, user names, passwords and social welfare numbers has become a favorite measure of attackers to steal money. Many websites of domestic financial institutions, including the Bank of China, have been mimiced, according to early reports by local media. In 2004, CNCERT received 223 reports of mimicing, in sharp contrast to only one case in 2002 and 2003. The victims were mainly financial and electronic websites. As e-commerce, online payment services and bank business become more popular, so do the impersonations, it said.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/02/2005

 

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Hong Kong: New Initiatives to Support the Digital Entertainment and Wireless Industries Endorsed

A package of new initiatives to promote the further development of the digital entertainment industry and the wireless technology industry in Hong Kong were endorsed by the Digital 21 Strategy Advisory Committee at its meeting today (April 26). Building on the efforts made in 2004 which focused on the provision of infrastructure and marketing support, the Government will broaden and deepen its support for the local digital entertainment industry by launching a package of new initiatives. The aim is to nurture professional talents, foster the growth of promising companies, consolidate the services and resources support for them, and facilitate their entry into the Mainland and overseas markets. One of the major initiatives is the establishment of a one-stop Digital Entertainment Industry Support Centre (DEISC) and an online industry portal by the Hong Kong Productivity Council in collaboration with the Cyberport and with funding support from the Government.

The DEISC, to be opened next month, will help local companies source and access support services and resources available from various industry supporting organizations. It will also promote inter-company as well as cross-media and cross-industry collaborations, and help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) secure the necessary professional services and business development advice.

Secondly, the Government is planning to fund the Cyberport to set up a Digital Entertainment Incubation cum Training Centre, an initiative announced in the 2005 Policy Address. The Centre will provide an incubation programme for local companies with innovative and viable business models in digital entertainment. The aim is to nurture companies and professional talents with clear potential for success, with a view to creating a critical mass in the local digital entertainment industry and sustaining its growth. Subject to the funding approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, the Centre will be opened before the end of 2005.

Thirdly, with funding support from the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO), the Cyberport will launch a pilot internship programme next month. The programme will enable selected graduates from the relevant disciplines to gain practical working experience through attachment to local digital entertainment companies. The Government will invite local companies to offer internship places shortly, and each intern will receive a monthly allowance from the Government for a maximum of 12 months.

Apart from these new initiatives, the Government will continue to promote award-winning and outstanding Hong Kong productions at international and regional trade events so as to build a distinguishable brand name for the local industry. Locally, an Electronic Games Festival will be organized at Cyberport in July this year to promote high quality digital entertainment productions to the community.

The Task Force, which was set up in December 2003 and completed its work last December, had launched a number of initiatives in the areas of publicity and promotion, market exploration, research and development, and industry collaboration with a view to promoting the awareness and use of wireless services and technology in Hong Kong. While the objectives of enhancing the awareness of and collaboration among industry players on wireless services and technology had been achieved, the Government recognises that more work needs to be done to facilitate the development and adoption of wireless services and applications in Hong Kong.

To this end, the OGCIO had established in March this year a new Task Force on Facilitating the Adoption of Wireless and Mobile Services and Technology. Comprising representatives from the industry, academia and the Government, the new Task Force aims to identify matters of common interest among various sectors and resolve issues relating to wireless and mobile services technology, with a view to facilitating the wider adoption of the technology in the Government, businesses and the community. In addition, the Committee noted that the OGCIO would set up a new task force to study the proposals on promoting information security put forward by the industry. Representatives from the Committee and relevant industry bodies will be invited to join the task force.


From http://www.ogcio.gov.hk/ 04/26/2005

 

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Hong Kong: Anti-spam Legislation Will Help Fight Spammers

A local anti-spam legislation could prevent Hong Kong from becoming a safe haven sheltering illicit spammers, the Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology, Mr John Tsang, said today (April 28). Speaking at a luncheon meeting of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Mr Tsang said such legislation would facilitate co-operation with overseas jurisdictions in investigation and enforcement work against spammers, and should have a deterrent effect on irresponsible e-marketers spamming fax and automated dialling pre-recorded marketing messages. "Over the past two months, we have been discussing actively with stakeholder groups from the ICT industry, the business sector, legal experts and consumer organisations on the draft legislative framework with a view to finding a balance between protecting recipients' rights on the one hand, and enabling the proper development of e-marketing and e-commerce on the other," Mr Tsang said. "We also explored the merits of the 'opt-in' and the 'opt-out' approaches, and how each would impact on the business sector. We aim to firm up the framework for wider public consultation later this year and introduce the legislation into the Legislative Council the following year.". The secretary also gave an update on all government initiatives to contain the problem of spam under the "STEPS" campaign announced in February this year. In the area of strengthening existing regulatory measures, the Government is actively discussing with fixed network operators the possibility of reducing the timeframe required to cut off access to telecommunications services by irresponsible fax advertisers who persistently ignore recipients' advice not to send them further fax advertisements. The Government is also discussing with mobile network operators to extend an existing Code of Practice for the handling of inter-operator unsolicited promotional Short Message Service (SMS) to cover intra-operator unsolicited promotional SMS. "We are hopeful that, in the next few months, these improvement measures would be put in place, and the problem can be better moderated," Mr Tsang said. On technical solutions, the Government is liaising with the industry to organise seminars and conferences in the next few months to encourage users to adopt technical solutions to protect themselves from spam e-mail. A dedicated theme page to enable the public to learn more about the latest technical solutions and the spam problem is being developed. Furthermore, the Government was also developing a targeted education and promotion programme to raise everyone's level of awareness, including youngsters, adults, businesses and industry players, about how they could do their part to fight spam and to provide them with accurate information and useful resources through various channels. These education programmes will be launched in the next month or so. Regarding partnership, Mr Tsang emphasised that the Government was continuing to foster international partnerships with overseas agencies. "As announced yesterday, my Bureau has become one of the 12 founding signatories of a Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Countering Spam. The MoU facilitates signatory agencies across the Asia-Pacific region to share knowledge, information and intelligence about known sources of spam, network vulnerabilities, methods of spam propagation, and technical, educational and policy solutions to the spam problem. It also focuses on putting anti-spam solutions and strategies into action. "We look forward to developing positive and mutually beneficial co-operative relationships with fellow agencies under the framework of the MoU. "Locally, we are encouraging industry organisations to develop codes of practice and best practice guidelines to combat spam. Specifically, we are discussing with the Internet Service Provider industry in Hong Kong on the feasibility of developing a common blacklist for more effective screening of spam e-mails," Mr Tsang said.


From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 04/28/2005

 

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Policies Designed to Promote China's Bank Card Industry

Nine Chinese institutions, including the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, have issued proposals on promoting the development of China's bank card industry, said sources with the PBC on Monday. The proposals aim to promote the competitiveness of China's bank card industry, reduce risk and lead an industry still in its primary stage onto a "virtuous and proper" path by improving the legal system, issuing supportive policies and enhancing technologies. The proposals emphasized several major points in promoting the development of China's bank card industry. One is to complete the drafting and approval of the regulations on bank cards as soon as possible to provide basic legal guarantee for all participants in the market. All government departments and their sub-budget institutions will be encouraged to take a lead in using bank card and pay by bank card in official expenditure. The proposals also suggest the expansion of the overseas market for RMB bank cards and research on supportive policies and regulations. Issuing preferential fiscal and taxation policies and those reducing communication fees and supporting technological creation are also positive measures to encourage the use of bank card, the proposals say. However, more efforts should be made to strengthen risk management and establish risk prevention system to crack down on crime. The proposals also make clear that by 2008, 60 percent of businesses with an annual turnover of over 1 million yuan (US$120,800) could accept bank cards, all major business centers, hotels and tourism scenic spots of large and medium-sized cities could accept bank cards, the consumption volume of bank cards could cover 30 percent of total retailing consumption and the success rate of bank to bank transactions could exceed 96 percent.


From Xinhua News Agency 05/10/2005

 

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New Law to Protect Online Copyright

Online copyright will be protected in China when an administrative rule takes effect from May 30. A road roller crushes the pirated discs seized from local market in Shenyang, capital of Northeast Shandong Province April 27, 2005. The regulation was jointly created by the National Copyright Administration and the Ministry of Information Industry. The rule applies to services including uploading, storing, connecting or searching online literary, audio and video products in accordance with the instructions of the Internet content provider, without any content revision. Under the rule, when copyright owners notify the Internet service provider (ISP) that their copyrights have been violated, the provider should take measures to remove relevant copied content. ISPs that know about copyright violations but don't remove the violating content will face punishment themselves. All income from the illegal act will be confiscated, and a fine of up to three times the illegal income will be assessed. If the illegal income proves difficult to calculate, the maximum fine will be 100,000 yuan (US$12,000). Internet services have developed at a rapid pace in China in recent years. The country has more than 1,000 ISPs, 10,000 Internet content providers and 100 million Internet users, according to Li Guobin, an official of the Ministry of Information Industry. The rule states that serious and potentially criminal cases will be investigated by judicial departments. "Copyright violations on the Internet are running rampant in the past few years, causing damage to the information industry," Xu Chao, an official of the National Copyright Administration, said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing. "Though there are no specific statistics on economic loss caused by the violations, such violations will impair relevant industries if not curbed." Sources from the National Copyright Administration said that a higher-level legal regulation will be worked out within two years. The administration is writing a draft to be submitted to the State Council for approval late this year. China has adopted two ways to protect intellectual property rights -- through administrative and judicial departments. Therefore, administrative rules and legal regulations often work in parallel. "This rule sounds good to our company and other counterparts," Li Bing, an editor of Sohu.com, said in a telephone interview. In recent years, many articles produced by Sohu and published on its website have been copied by other Internet service providers. The worst violation is that some ISPs have published plagiarized works. Sohu, which reprinted and published those works saying it did not know they were plagiarized, was involved in copyright disputes, Li said. "Hopefully, the rule can better manage Internet services," she said.


From China Daily 05/18/2005

 

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JAPAN: 'IT Policy Package 2005: Towards the Realization of the World's Most Advanced IT Nation' Was Announced

The 29th meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters was held at the Prime Minister's Official Residence. At the meeting, the "IT Policy Package 2005: Towards the Realization of the World's Most Advanced IT Nation" was decided. Upon establishing the goal for "Japan to become the world's most advanced IT nation within five years (by the end of 2005)" in the "e-Japan Strategy" decided at the first meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters in January 2001, the public and private sectors together have been expending great efforts in implementing various measures to achieve this goal. As a result, stunning achievements have been made. For example, Internet service in Japan is the fastest and cheapest in the world and its e-commerce market is growing to a scale only second to the United States. As we have entered the target year, the Headquarters has established the "IT Policy Package 2005" to further enhance measures mainly in the areas closely related to the peoples' daily lives, including administrative service, medical care and education. The IT Strategic Headquarters will work to realize a society in which people can experience the change and enjoy the benefits brought upon by IT. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi participated in the international symposium on the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, which was held at the same time as this meeting of the IT Strategic Headquarters, via Internet from the Prime Minister's Official Residence. He delivered a message, saying that, "It is truly remarkable to be able to participate in an international meeting with my counterparts in Asia via Internet." In closing the meeting, Prime Minister Koizumi said, "Thanks to all your efforts, we were able to take a significant step forward to achieving our goal to 'realize the world's most advanced IT nation.'"


From http://www.kantei.go.jp/ 02/24/2005

 

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MIC Issues Order to NHK on Implementation of International Broadcasting in FY 2005

The MIC made an inquiry on March 23 to the Radio Regulatory Council (chaired by Prof. YASUDA Yasuhiko, Waseda University) concerning the order for implementation of international broadcasting in fiscal 2005, ordering Japan Broadcasting Corporation (Chairman, HASHIMOTO Genichi. Hereinafter referred to as NHK) to carry out international broadcasting, and received a report from the council stating that the order was appropriate. The MIC intends to issue the order concerning this matter on April 1, 2005 and the implementation term will be from April 1, 2005 until March 31, 2006.

Reference:
Order on implementation of international broadcasting in fiscal 2005 (outline)
1. The Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications can order NHK to carry out international broadcasting, specifying broadcast areas, broadcast matters and other necessary matters (Broadcast Law, Article 33-1); 2. The MIC implements orders for international broadcasting through short-wave international broadcasting (NHK Radio Japan) so as to deepen understanding of Japan within international society by transmitting in an ongoing fashion the government's point of view concerning Japan's major policies and international issues, and also to provide Japanese residents overseas with timely and appropriate information on current affairs.


From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 03/23/205

 

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MIC Announces Results of Invitation to Comments on Partial Amendment of Examination Standards for the Broadcast Law

The MIC implemented an invitation to comments from February 24 until March 24, 2005, on a draft amendment to the Examination Standards for the Broadcast Law with a view to taking appropriate measures for the protection of personal information, and received 4 comments from 4 people. The MIC is now announcing these comments along with its own approach. The MIC will take the comments received into consideration, and go ahead with the partial amendment of the Examination Standards for the Broadcast Law.


From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 03/25/2005

 

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MIC Approves Fiscal Year 2005 Business Plans for NTT Companies

The MIC approved on March 31 fiscal 2005 business plans for NTT, NTT East and NTT West. Concerning the fiscal 2005 business plans for NTT East and NTT West which operate regional telecommunications businesses, each of them has service plans that aim to respond to market trends for each type of service. Along with this, their capital investment plans take into consideration improving management efficiency while addressing future markets. These were approved as appropriate. The fiscal 2005 business plan for NTT which is a holding company, bases itself on an appropriate management policy of positive actions related to advice, recommendations and other type of support for the regional companies. In addition, it is promoting research and development based on the NTT Group Mid-Term strategy which was announced in November 2004, and planning for efficient capital investment. These were approved as appropriate.


From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 03/31/2005

 

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SOUTH KOREA: Portable Internet Service to Start by June 2006

The Ministry of Information and Communication will allow Wibro (Wide Broad Internet) service to start by June next year, taking into consideration the situation of the three designated operators and looking ahead to the arrival of the portable Internet service. The decision was made in the ministry’s 81st meeting for the deliberation of information and communication policies on Monday (March 7) after opinions from experts and service operators KT, SK Telecom and Hanaro Telecom. Failure to meet the June 2006 deadline will require prior approval from the information and communication minister to delay the launch of the service. Participants in the panel meeting also finalized basic guidelines on the introduction of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) to the country. Its introduction will be timed at three years after the launch of Wibro, when the number of subscribers passes the 5 million mark. Mobile network operators (MNO) are required to provide 30 percent of their capacity to MVNOs. An MVNO is a mobile service operator that does not own its licensed spectrum and usually does not have the infrastructure to provide mobile service to its customers, i.e., it lacks a network on which its voice and data traffic is carried. Instead, MVNOs have business arrangements with traditional mobile operators and buy minutes from them to sell to their own customers.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/09/2005

 

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KT Seeks Usage-Based Internet Pricing

KT, the nation`s predominant fixed-line carrier, plans to switch its policy of charging Internet services from the current flat-rate pricing to a usage-based system. During the KT shareholders` meeting early this month and recent interviews with the press, president Lee Yong-kyung continued to articulate the firm`s commitment to the per-minute scheme. "It is desirable to introduce the usage-based pricing model for Internet services. The current fixed-rate pricing should be retooled," Lee claimed. Lee did not specify an exact time table but a company spokesman said the nearest year possible for ushering in the new meter-rate system is 2007. "The fixed-rate model means below-average users are actually subsidizing heavy users. We think the heaviest users need to pay more of the costs," KT spokesman Cho Chul-je said. He added Korea`s top 5 percent big users are gobbling up almost half of the total bandwidth but they still pay just the same fees as normal users. Since the high-speed Internet was launched in Korea in the mid-1990s, the nation`s broadband operators have charged the Internet services at a fixed-rate without regarding the actual usage. Such a policy helps the spread of the high-speed Internet. Korea today boasts of the world`s best broadband penetration ratio with 12 million of its 15 million households hooked up to the always-on Net. However, cracks, such as Internet congestion, are starting to appear in the conventional pricing model as the system allows limitless Internet use on just a preset monthly subscription fee. KT`s per-second traffic has almost doubled every year since 2001 from 50 Gigabytes (GB) to 90 GB in 2002, 180 GB in 2003 and 320 GB last year. To grapple with the jumping bandwidth requirements, the company poured 141.9 billion won over the past four years into upgrading the capacity of its backbone networks. Cho added the flexible usage-based pricing also would help address a flurry of problems such as spam mail, Internet addiction and copy rights-breaking movie sharing. "When the usage-based system comes to town, spammers will be concerned about their Internet fees caused by bulk mailing. Also, reckless Net surfing will be discouraged," he said.

Sticking to Flat-Rate Model
Although Korea has stuck to the flat-rate pricing model up until now, the alternative usage-based system has been widely adopted by advanced countries. For example, among 30 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 13 countries are deploying the new scheme. In Korea, pros and cons for the usage-based system are competing but currently the opposition camp appears to be stronger at least among actual Internet users. They contend the new scheme is squarely aimed at boosting the profit margins of large companies like KT, the former state monopoly that typically chalks up more than 11 trillion won in turnover and 1 trillion won in net income per annum, and Hanaro Telecom. As of the end of last month, KT accounted for about 51 percent of the overall high-speed Internet market by retaining 6.1 million subscribers followed by Hanaro`s 2.7 million clients. Some experts also say the usage-based system is more efficient in dealing with increased traffic loads but they point out efficiency is not everything in deciding the pricing policy of the broadband Internet. "The high-speed Internet has already become a public commodity for general folks and in that sense we should take into account several factors including the stability of rates on top of efficiency," said Lee Sang-kyu, a researcher of the Korea Information Strategy Development Institute (KISDI), a state-backed think-tank. In response to such opposition, KT vows the corporation would by no means levy astronomical fees as some concern nor burden average consumers. "Our bottom line is that any of our new pricing systems would not cost more than the current ones for average Internet users. It is entirely about heavy users," KT`s Cho said. He added although KT is mulling over migrating to the per-minute pricing, the firm`s specific timetable to push for the new system will be decided only after checking with public opinion and the market situation. Information-Communication Minister Chin Dae-je, who is in charge of the meter-rate system, also expressed mixed evaluation on the hot-button issue. At a meeting with regular Web surfers on March 10, Chin hinted at the necessity of launching a new Internet service-charging system by saying, "The rising investment requirements to upgrade networks would cause enormous headaches for Internet companies." But he added the ministry has yet to decide its policy and will refer to opinions of people and companies alike after receiving requests to embark on the usage-based system from Internet operators.


From The Korea Times 03/29/2005

 

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Crackdown Starts on Mobile Spammers

The government will take punitive action against marketers sending unwanted text messages or phone calls without the consent of the recipients beginning Thursday. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said Tuesday that it will launch the ``opt-in formula`` for advertisement through a fixed-line phone, mobile handset and fax. Under the new scheme, marketers will be prohibited from placing promotional calls with the dialing prefixes of 060 or sending advertisements to users who do not give their permission. Furthermore, marketers must obtain an additional endorsement for mobile messages between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. Violators will be subject to a maximum of 30 million won in fine. The MIC said the ministry will show no mercy in giving the highest fine in extreme cases. It has never levied more than 10 million won on illegal spammers, even though the ceiling was raised to 30 million won in January 2004 from 10 million won previously. ``Those who receive spam messages or phone calls without their explicit agreement can report them to an anti-spam center at the Korea Information Security Agency,`` MIC director Jang Seok-young said. Jang added that people can report the telephone numbers of unlawful spammers and the time of the advertisements to the center at 02-1336 or at www.spamcop.or.kr. To facilitate the permission-based marketing programs in a full-fledged manner, the MIC more than quadrupled the daily call capacity of the anti-spam center to about 7,000 calls from 1,700. Jang said it will focus on three cases of 060 calls or messages, which typically carry sexual contents, and mobile marketing on card loans or realty transactions. Mobile spam has surfaced as a gadfly to wireless users as shown by a recent survey by Cetizen, an Internet site for cell phone subscribers. The survey found up to 94.9 percent of 1,840 respondents had received unwanted messages or calls through their handsets. ``Almost 90 percent of mobile spam is 060 calls or messages with loan ads and realty ads accounting for the remainder. We expect the new opt-in policy to bring the problem under control,`` Jang stated.


From The Korea Times 03/30/2005
 

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Cutting-Edge Services Key to IT Growth: Minister

Services, rather than the product, will be the driving force of Korea`s information and technology industry for the next decade, the country`s top information and communication policymaker said yesterday. Service is more important, it is more essential than the product industry," Chin Dae-je, minister of information and communication, told members of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea during a briefing on the outlook of the country`s information-communications technology (ICT) industry for the next decade. The government has earmarked nine product areas as "growth engines." They include mobile telecommunication, such as handsets and related equipment; digital televisions and broadcasting devices; home network devices; IT system-on chip, next-generation PCs; embedded software; digital contents & software solutions; telematics devices; and intelligence service robot. Citing the high-definition TV as an example, Chin stressed the importance of service over the product. The minister pointed out that Korea has the infrastructure to support the development of the key growth engines. This involves active investments in broadband convergence network, ubiquitous sensor network and next-generation Internet protocol. To encourage investment by the European Union member countries, Chin said Korea serves as an "ideal test-bed" market. Its large market teems with consumers in favor of innovative technology and products, thus giving the government an incentive to adopt aggressive rollout plans of new telecom and broadcasting services. Having a world-class ICT industry and infrastructure also help make Asia`s third-largest economy an ideal test-bed market. The country also houses over 22,000 companies in IT-related businesses. Of the global mobile handset market worth $106.6 billion, Korea accounts for $31 billion, or 28.8 percent. Another promising area is the radio-frequency identification technology, or RFID. Chin said it will be a business worth $90 billion in 10 years. RFID involves the technology of identifying items using radio waves, through an electronic reader communicating with a microchip embedded on objects. The chips hold information such as history of certain items. ICT investments by the European Union to Korea totaled $1 billion last year.


From The Korea Herald 04/08/2005
 

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Police Probing Anti-Roh Web Site

Seoul police have begun an investigation of a right-wing Internet site that posted what the Blue House views as a death threat against President Roh Moo-hyun. On Saturday, an image was posted on the site of President Roh in the crosshairs of a rifle scope, with a word balloon quoting him as saying that he doesn't want the Kim Jong-il regime to collapse. Below that image is one of a sharpshooter with a rifle, and the message, "If you support the enemy of the nation once again, then I will put a bullet in your head." An official with the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said yesterday that they had begun an investigation at the Blue House's request. The official said police would question the person who posted the images before deciding what actions should be taken. Experts in legal and media circles have been divided over whether the posting oversteps the boundaries of permissible political expression. Lee Jin-woo of Lawyers for a Democratic Society said that while the posting was malicious, it was essentially an expression of an opinion about a public figure. He said imposing a criminal penalty for it would violate the constitutionally protected freedom of expression of the person who posted it. But Kim Kyung-ho, a professor of communications at Cheju National University, argued that any death threat against an incumbent president should be punished. "I felt the photo went overboard," said Mr. Kim. "I don't understand what kind of message the site wanted to deliver." Mr. Kim said he hoped the case would result in clearly drawn boundaries to acceptable political messages. Though a number of online attacks and parodies of political figures have provoked outrage in recent years, no criminal charges have ever resulted. The law allows prosecution for defamation of character, but only when it can be established that a charge has been fabricated for the purpose of insulting someone. (by Baek Il-hyun)


From http://joongangdaily.joins.com/ 04/19/2005
 

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Task Force Set Up to Develop Policy Contents: Government Information Minister

The Korean government plans to strengthen online and offline contents of the government's policies as part of efforts to promote the country's international profile, Government Information Minister Kim Chang-ho said Monday (April 25). "We will set up a task force to provide the state policies on major issues, including those of Dokdo and the East Sea, to the international community," Minister Kim told President Roh Moo-hyun in his ministry's policy briefing for 2005 at Cheong Wa Dae. Toward that end, the agency will establish and run two new sections _ “Good Policy” and “Government Policy Briefing” _ on its official Website (www.korea.net) beginning next month, Kim said. An online news service, sponsored by the South Korean Embassy in Washington, will also be launched. Currently, the Korean Overseas Information Service (KOIS), which is affiliated with the agency, is responsible for overseas promotion. As part of offline promotion, the agency plans to publish a monthly magazine in English, tentatively named “Korea Policy Review,” in June. The magazine will include analyses on the government's policies by experts at home and abroad along with contributions from renowned columnists. “The contents of the Website and the envisaged magazine will be shared to promote the government's policies abroad more effectively,” an agency official said. He said the magazine will be distributed to opinion leaders abroad, and government agencies and foreign embassies in the country. The agency also said it plans to hold seminars on government policies and Korea's history for foreign residents, such as businessmen, ambassadors and correspondents. For more professional overseas promotion, the agency will employ civil experts as public relations officials at overseas missions, the official said. Currently, 32 public relations officials for 24 government agencies are working in 19 nations, according to the agency.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/25/2005

 

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South Korean Government to Expand Personnel Database

South Korea's Civil Service Commission (CSC) intends to build up a database to strengthen recruitment of government officials. The CSC will enlarge its personnel database to hold information on up to 100,000 high fliers as a potential talent pool to fill senior government jobs. According to the revised bill on public officials the CSC is now able to collect any disclosed information on candidates of public official posts without their consent and provide the information to public organizations or municipal governments when the organizations request it for personnel purposes. Prior to that, the information gathering was possible only with the consent of the people whose information was to be collected. In addition to strengthening information gathering activities, CSC also plans to refer to personnel databases of other state-funded institutes, such as the Korea Research Foundation and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, by linking databases. As of the end of February, CSC managed the personal information of 87,316 people, among which former and incumbent public officials accounted for 59.2 per cent of records.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 05/02/2005

 

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Gov't to Support 3.6 Billion Won for IT Research Project

The Ministry of Information and Communication will inject 3.6 billion won into this year's IT research project. The annual project is intended to support IT-related research and academic activities covering basic humanities and social science technologies. Of the grant, 900 million won will be given to areas in social science, 1.8 billion won to basic technology, and 900 million to holding international academic events, according to the ministry. The ministry hopes the grant will help produce excellent dissertations from IT-related colleges and academic societies and accelerate exchanges between domestic and foreign academic and research communities.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/03/2005

 

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Korea to Sharpen Teeth on Cyber Crime

The South Korean government plans to crack down on rampant cyber crimes by strengthening penalties on wrongdoings in the virtual world. The ministry considers introducing regulations that enable the police to investigate online slandering without victims' complaint. “It is an option to penalize those who typically abuse others in cyberspace without a report from victims. It is time to come out with measures to grapple with the ever-increasing online libels,” MIC director Chung Dae-soon said. Up until now, police were entitled to investigate slander cases only after a complaint was filed and criminals were not punishable against the intentl of the victims. However, some critics oppose the initiative saying there is no real reason to differentiate between slander cases in the actual world and virtual space. They also contend that the stepped-up punishment may hamper the freedom of expression. “We will take into account various opinions from IT experts, civic groups and the related ministries before coming up with a final plan,” Chung said. The MIC is to decide whether or not to include the punishment-without-complaint stipulation in question in the new bill by the end of October with the aim of presenting the bill to the National Assembly for the passage early next year.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/17/2005
 

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TAJIKISTAN: Government Concerned Over Information Security

The Tajik government has approved a programme of the country’s informational security, presidential press secretary Abdufattokh Sharipov said on Friday. He said the Tajik leadership regards the system of informational security as “a main component of the national security.” The government proceeds from the fact that “usage of the state-of-the-art technologies in the sphere of electronic documents and connection of informational systems to the world web provide possibility of unsanctioned access to state information.” A number of legal and technical measures has been envisaged to prevent such accesses.


From http://news.somoni.com/ 05/21/2005

 

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MALAYSIA: Code to Protect Internet Users

Web service providers will have to include anti-spam measures and deal with issues such as the protection of minors on the Internet under a proposed new code of practice. Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) vice-chairman Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah said the measures were among many which had been included in the newly drafted Internet Access Service Provider (IASP) sub-code. He said the sub-code would help enhance the existing General Consumer Code of Practice (GCC) for the country's communications and multimedia industry. “Any breach of the code will also be a breach of the licensing conditions,” he said in an interview with The Star. Sources said service providers would have to address concerns about spam and consider methods of managing such issues to protect customers' interests. Service providers would also have to take reasonable steps to ensure that post-paid Internet access accounts were not furnished to any child without consent of a guardian. They should also provide information on supervising and controlling a child's access to Internet content. Muhammad Sha’ani said the sub-code had been submitted to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and was awaiting registration. The CFM is made up of 48 members from various industries such as service providers, telecommunications companies, broadcasting stations, non-governmental organisations and public interest groups. Muhammad Sha’ani also revealed that the CFM's code drafting committee planned to develop three other sub-codes to complement the GCC. They were the Content Hosting Sub-Code, Mobile Telephony Service Provider Sub-Code and Fixed-Line Service Provider Sub-Code. On the content hosting sub-code, he said it would have guidelines for service providers to present themselves and their services honestly and not make false, misleading and exaggerated claims. He said they should also at all times make available to customers a clear, written statement of rates, description of service and conditions of contract. “Very often, customers are not aware of extra charges or they do not know that charges are on daily basis,'' he said.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 04/24/2005

 

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SINGAPORE: Reducing the Regulatory Burden of Government

Established on 1st April 2004 following the merger of the former Registry of Companies and Businesses (RCB) and the Public Accountants Board, ACRA is responsible for providing a responsive and forward-looking regulatory environment for enterprise in Singapore. ACRA’s BizFile online business filing service was developed to make the business registration process more accessible. BizFile enables the public to file all legally prescribed business forms and their supporting documents for the purposes of registration and statutory disclosure requirements over the internet. At the same time BizFile also provides the public with access to a suite of electronic services for retrieving and purchasing all forms lodged and information pertaining to businesses registered with ACRA. “We wanted to cut red tape and this meant that we need to conduct a rules review,” explains Juthika Ramanathan, Chief Executive of ACRA. “So we looked at the processes we had, and then questioned whether we needed to retain the rules and processes in order to achieve the same objective. ”According Ramanathan ACRA started off with a blank sheet of paper, and prioritised the elimination of labour intensive work, particularly the need for manual data entry and the correction of discrepancies. “With the implementation of online filing, the need for a statement of witness by a third party was no longer required,” she explains. “The giving of false information is already an offence by law. The removal of this requirement has also reduced the need for additional costs for business by going to a commissioner of oaths. ”ACRA also looked again at the purpose of the paper certificate issued to companies. Finding it to be used as confirmation for banks and other government departments, ACRA replaced the paper certificate with email notifications. Businesses and companies can now purchase a profile of their business or company online, using BizFile, as evidence of their entity’s existence if necessary. “There had to be an effective user-friendly filing system for all forms and supporting documents,” she says. “And at the same time we wanted to build an effective compliance system to monitor statutory disclosure requirements. ”Other areas that were streamlined included the filing of supporting documentation during the business registration process: “With online filing we got rid of the need to manually file bulky documents,” says Ramanathan. “We removed all forms of signature. None of our online forms require signature, instead you can use the SingPass, a unique ID which is issued free to all citizens and permanent residents. This SingPass allows you to access BizFile, with the appropriate access rights for information submission and retrieval. ”“Our work has led to a faster turnaround time, made ACRA’s workload less labour intensive, has enabled us to give an immediate response to users, and reduced the amount of time it takes for us to update our database,” says Ramanathan. Business rules now cover 95 per cent of ACRA’s business processes, freeing up staff to allow for increased productivity, and redeployment of resources to critical tasks such as customer service and regulatory supervision. “As you might expect, this has allowed us to cut the cost of the business registration process,” she says. Where incorporation fees used to range between S$1200-S$35,000 there is now a flat fee of S$300 and registration of Sole Proprietorships/ Partnerships have also been reduced from S$105 to S$65. For individuals without internet access the BizFile services can be accessed at the premises of ACRA. “There is always room for improvement,” Ramanathan concludes. “We need to continuously review legislation and carry out system enhancements, as well as explore new avenues for online filing. Our next initiative is to further streamline and enhance the system to make it more user friendly.”


From http://www.pstm.net 04/06/2005

 

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City Council Axes Funds for Smart Car Park

A city council budget scrutiny committee has scrapped proposed allocations for two "smart" parking lots proposed by city hall. The committee also ditched funding for the preparation of a master plan for a drainage system in Phaya Thai, Din Daeng and Huay Khwang districts. The decisions were made by the committee considering a 5.076 billion baht supplementary budget for fiscal 2005.Councillor Somchai Iammongkolsakul said city hall had wanted 226 million baht for the two smart parking lots and the 3.4 million baht for the drawing of the drainage system. The withheld money was reallocated to other projects such as improvement of pedestrian bridges, mobile service units and expropriation of land on Songprapha road. Mr Somchai said the committee drop-ped the smart parking lots project because the city administration did not provide enough detail. It failed to conduct a thorough study. The automatic parking equipment was likely to cause a traffic backup and inconvenience motorists using the service at peak hours. The proposed fee of 20 baht per hour was also too high. The committee, however, set four million baht aside for the city to study the project in detail. City hall has already called tenders for the project. The two parking lots were to be built near the Phra Khanong and Ratchathewi district offices. Bidders were invited to buy tender documents from April 27-May 9 and the tenders were to be submitted on May 24.Deputy governor Samart Ratchapolsitte said the bidding could be called off even though tenders had been called for.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/02/2005

 

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THAILAND: Sipa to Launch Free Software Programs

The Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa) plans to introduce 25 Windows-based, open-source, free computer software programs to the public in July, a move that is expected to save the country more than a billion baht annually.Chairwoman Kruawan Samana said Sipa, which is a public organisation under the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, has initially developed 25 free software programs. They feature office, internet, graphics, multimedia, utility, web development and entertainment applications and will be ready for the public to download in July. Mrs Kruawan said the open-source software programs to be introduced would benefit the government's project to provide schools nationwide with 250,000 computers and internet connections next year. These schools would be able to use free programs from Sipa and save a lot of budget money, which would otherwise be spent on purchasing software from foreign suppliers. Sipa's free software project should help the schools save about a billion baht a year, she said. Sipa would also help train university instructors from across the country to use its open-source software. They would later help train schoolteachers. Mrs Kruawan said Sipa's open-source software project was part of the agency's attempts to promote Thailand's software industry, give people wider access to information, and increase their chances to become computer-literate. The attempts would eventually bring about e-government systems. ''Sipa has triggered the idea among Thai people that it is unnecessary to spend large sums of money on foreign programs every year. We allow the general public to further develop our programs, and this will help support our people, both young and old, who are software geniuses,'' she said. ''Our programs are public property and bear no copyrights. They can be developed into new applications for sale. This will expand our software industry. It is a win-win situation for everyone,'' she said.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/06/2005

 

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BANGLADESH: Bangladesh Plans to Emerge as ICT Power in Asia-Internet Fair-2005 Begins in City

A five-day Internet Fair-2005, titled 'Feel the Net', began here yesterday aimed at providing Internet facilities to the young generation of the country. The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) have jointly organised the fair, first of its kind in the country, at Bhasani Novo Theatre. Science and ICT Minister, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan inaugurated the fair. Acting Ambassador of the United States in Bangladesh, Ms Judith Chammas; former president of FBCCI, Yusuf Abdullah Haroon; Managing Director of AKTEL, Nasir bin Baharom; ISPAB president, Akhtaruzzaman Manju; its Secretary General, Ershad Shafi Chowdhury, and Treasurer Azhar H Chowdhury addressed the meeting, among others. Dr Moyeen Khan said that the government is committed to take all appropriate steps so that Bangladesh can emerge as an ICT power in Asia in near future. "We have already started working, to be connected with the Information Super Highway through submarine cable. I hope that most people of the country will get Internet services through submarine cable soon with affordable costs," he observed. Moyeen Khan said that the government is also determined to increase computer literacy in the country and implement e-governance soon to ensure transparency and accountability. Referring to the total number of mobile phones in the country, he said that tele-density in thecountry is not high in comparison with the size of its total population. "Many countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea, have already expressed their keen interest to invest in the village," he said. Acting US Ambassador Ms Chammas, in her turn, said that Bangladesh would completely be able to be connected with the world of new business opportunities through submarine cable. Former FBCCI President, Yusuf A Haroon said that the government should provide cash incentives to Internet service providers to promote the ICT sector. "Almost all the nations have been spending a portion of their resources to enter the Information Super Highway. Bangladesh should attach more attention to this sector to turn its huge population into human resources," he said. About 70 stalls of 50 companies have been set up at the fair, while seven pavilions, an Internet browsing zone, including 15 booths, a media booth, and information centre have also been set up for the visitors. Different Internet service providers and mobile companies have been offered various facilities and discounts on their products at the fair. The fair will remain open everyday from 10am to 8pm. Entry fee has been fixed at Tk. 10 for the visitors, while shows will be free for school students.


From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 04/28/2005

 

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The Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) to Become 'State-Owned Ltd Co, Not Privatised'

The Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) would not be privatised, rather it would be converted into a state-owned private limited company through reform. Secretary of the Posts and Telecommunications Ministry Mahmud Hassan Monsur said this while speaking at a seminar organised by the Bangladesh Civil Service (Telecom) Samity on the occasion of World Telecommunications Day in the city Sunday, reports BDNEWS. The conversion would not adversely affect its staffs and officials, he assured. The BTTB must be restructured as it failed to ensure better services along with uninterrupted communication, Mahmud Hassan added. The T&T subscribers have to suffer day after day when their network is disconnected, the secretary said adding that if the service continues to remain poor, it would not be able to survive in the race with private operators' services. Speaking on the occasion, Director (Planning) of the BTTB AHM Shafiqul Islam said that aiming to improve the service-quality of the body, the government anticipates a two-phase restructuring. Phase-1 would be a corporatisation process in which it will become a limited company. In this mode it will have full responsibilities for managing its assets and operations and fully accountable for its own profitability. Phase-2 would be the full privatisation of BTTB at which point the government will have sold all of its outstanding shares to the private sector. The possibility of engaging an internationally reputed foreign telephone company as management partner of BTTB will also be explored. Meanwhile, the T&T Rakkha Committee, an alliance of several trade unions in BTTB, however, have been standing against the move to restructure BTTB as its master roll and casual workers might become victims. President of the BCS (Telecom) Samity M Obaidullah told the news agency that the changeover of the Board along with its restructure would be positive if the Board of Directors would be skilled and honest. He, however, added that under the system the manpower might be kept below 5,000 in line with the organogram as BTTB could easily run. Established as a government organisation in December 1971, the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Department was reconstructed with the name of BTTB as an autonomous board through T&T Board ordinance 1975.


From http://bangladesh-web.com/ 05/19/2005

 

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INDIA: India to Splash Out USD2.7 Billion on Telecoms in Fiscal Year 2005

The Indian government has increased the total spending budget of the Department of Telecom (DoT) by over 21% compared to the previous fiscal year. Of the INR118.01 billion (USD2.7 billion) planned outlay, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been given INR96.96 billion (up 46%) and set with the task of improving services in rural India. MTNL’s allocation dropped from INR22.20 billion to INR18.87 billion. With the DoT keen to encourage research and development in telecoms, research organisation C-DoT has been provided with INR494 million. In the last two fiscal years C-DoT’s allocation was zero.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/02/2005

 

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Government Enforces Minimum Broadband Speed Limit

India’s government has been laying down the law to internet service providers in relation to its broadband policy, which was first announced in October 2004. The Department of Telecommunications has issued instructions to all operators to cease marketing their internet access services under the ‘broadband’ heading for products with download speeds of less than 256kbps. The national policy states that only download speeds of 256kbps and above can be classed as a broadband service; complaints have already been registered against service providers in Chennai and Bangalore for offering lower speed ‘broadband’ packages.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/18/2005

 

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India and Pakistan Consider Fibre-Optic Link

On the back of a thaw in relations between India and Pakistan, the two countries are exploring possible plans to roll out a fibre-optic cable network linking them. According to The Hindu Business Line broadsheet, Pakistan Telecommunications Company (PTCL) will partner with either Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) or Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) to connect Wagah with Mumbai. The link would bring down the costs of internet and data leased lines.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/07/2005

 

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Govt. Formulates New IT Act

NEW DELHI: Stung with recent incidents that almost tarnished India’s image as a BPO and outsourcing destination abroad, the Government is contemplating amending the IT Act of 2000 by bringing in emerging cyber crimes under its ambit. The government will also include handheld, computing and communication devices that could be used to commit crimes or frauds thus preventing criminals from taking advantage of loopholes in the law and escape. Many criminals escaped from law citing loopholes in the previous law. The government was forced to look at amending the cyber laws after a few recent controversies like DPS MMS scandal and the subsequent sale of the CD on a portal and swindling of money of Citibank customers by Indian call center agents in Pune. Other changes to be incorporated will include new technologies to prove who you claim to be when online. Many more authentication technologies, like biometrics where you use fingerprints to prove your identity, will be recognized. Currently, only digital signatures are accepted. Current laws that recognize only digital signatures are being seen as quite restricting. The Government is thinking to allow other forms of electronic signatures. The ministry of information technology has readied a proposal to make the policy more relevant to the changing face of technology.


From http://www.siliconindia.com/ 04/21/2005

 

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TRAI Addresses Shortage of 2G Spectrum, Proposes Lower Spectrum Licensing Fees

The Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a number of recommendations regarding the wireless market, aimed at achieving the government’s target of 200 million GSM and CDMA subscribers by 2007. In particular, the TRAI calls for additional frequencies to be allocated to GSM and CDMA operators as soon as possible to expand coverage to more rural areas and improve services in regions already covered. In addition it says it will reduce operators’ spectrum licensing fees from 6% of annual revenues to 4%.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/17/2005

 

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GSM Group Welcomes TRAI’s Spectrum Policy

The GSM Association (GSMA) has applauded the recent recommendations of the Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regarding spectrum allocation. The GSMA says it welcomes the fact that the TRAI’s decisions have remained within India’s policy of alignment with the International Telecoms Union’s IMT2000 (2GHz) band for 3G services. Last year the GSMA called on the TRAI to remain within the IMT2000 scheme and reject rival US PCS band and mixed-band proposals. The GSMA has, however, criticised the regulator’s recommendation for the immediate release of additional spectrum for CDMA network operators in the 800MHz band, as there was no specified timetable for the release of additional spectrum for their GSM rivals, which it views as favouritism towards the CDMA-based companies.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/19/2005

 

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NEPAL: End of 90-Day Mobile Phone Shutdown in Sight

According to government officials, Nepal yesterday restored some of the country’s mobile phone services upon releasing the head of the country's biggest communist group. Around 34,000 post-paid mobile connections have been restored in the Kathmandu valley region since Madhav Kumar Nepal, the leader of the Communist Party of Nepal-UML, and another high ranking communist, Amrit Kumar Bohara, were freed from house arrest late on Sunday. All pre-paid connections remain suspended pending state clearance. Army officers said that disabling Nepal's 250,000 mobile phones had successfully disrupted the communications of the Maoist rebels, but officials at the country’s phone monopoly Nepal Telecom said that the company lost USD113,000 a day during the 90-day shutdown.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/03/2005

 

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PAKISTAN: Proper Proposals in IT Sector to Be Supported

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Secretary Muhammad Aslam Sanjrani has said the government will support the institutes and the industries if they come-up with proper proposals. He stated this while speaking as the chief guest at "Software engineering practices in Pakistan-present and future," in the IT conference 2005, and organised by the Institute of Business Management (IBM) here on Thursday. He said the software industry needed skilled and well-trained experts who excelled in knowledge and committed to their goals, adding the foundation of education had been destroyed in the country, especially in the metropolis. He said there were possibilities for the IT sector and the student should explore such opportunities in that field. Those services were not restricted to the big cities only, but the small towns had also been connected through network and the people there were availing of all the current facilities and information on their fingertips, he added. Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) President Jehan Ara, while expressing concern over the enrolment in the computer science and engineering programs, which had been going down, said it was a dangerous trend for the software sector in the country. Jehan Ara said the information technology and the IT enabled services sector in Pakistan were more or less stagnant during 2001-03, but it had shown a consistent growth of 50 percent year-on-year basis since 2003. The employment in the IT sector had gone up to 40 percent since last two years, she said, adding that we needed the good human resource not only today but also in the next two to five years. "We expect the IT growth to accelerate in the coming years, as our economy continues on the positive side," she said adding, "We also need the good business graduate and entrepreneurs." "Our human capital gives us the strength, and with the help of human resource we go after business domestically and internationally. However, this human resource has to be dedicated to those who are committed to the hard work, having clear concepts of engineering, she added. Earlier, CCSIS Dean, Dr Ahmer S. Karim, in his welcome address at the IBM said the initiative would help promoting the best software development practices in Pakistan. In addition to provide legitimacy of professional practices in the corporate sector, the CCSIS initiatives were expected to bridge the gap between industry and the academia for mutual benefits, he added. Professor of Computer Science at the CCSIS, Dr Abu Turab Alam said in fact our aim was to minimise the gap between what we taught and practiced, adding that the seminar would also help to identify the major issues which kept us behind in the IT growth in the country.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/19/2005

 

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GSMA Praises New Telecoms Policy

The GSM Association has applauded Pakistan’s reaffirmation of its telecoms regulatory policy, saying that the new framework will attract and maintain significant levels of inward investment in the sector. The GSMA has also praised the country’s mobile operators, which have pledged to invest a total of USD1 billion in their networks and services during 2005.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/12/2005

 

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AUSTRALIA: Program to Cut Money Laundering Launched

A new internet-based national education program to reduce money laundering has been launched by the federal government. The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) launched the eLearning application in Sydney, which they hope will be a user-friendly resource for industry and the general public. Justice Minister Chris Ellison said the program was part of ongoing efforts to fight organised-crime. "Money laundering is the lifeblood of organised criminals, terrorists, and it is a fact of the modern age that we can transport money very quickly through electronic means," he told reporters. "Of course criminals are going to use more sophisticated methods to launder money. "If you can get to the money, you can get to the Mr Bigs." The program's website address is www.austrac.gov.au.


From http://theage.com.au/ 04/13/2005

 

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New Laws to Ban E-mail Monitoring Go Before Parliament

The Workplace Surveillance Bill 2005, which will go through Parliament on Wednesday, makes it a criminal offence to read employee e-mails. NSW will be the first Australian state to outlaw unauthorized surveillance of employees, with criminal charges for employers if they break the guidelines. The bill covers video cameras, e-mail and tracking devices and allows covert surveillance only if the employer suspects an employee of wrong doing or engaging in criminal behaviour. NSW Attorney General Bob Debus said employees expect their private correspondence, such as telephone calls, should not be the subject of secret monitoring. "We don't tolerate employers unlawfully placing cameras in change rooms and toilets," Debus said. "Likewise, we should not tolerate unscrupulous employers snooping into the private e-mails of workers." He said the new laws will strike a balance between an employee's right to privacy and the legitimate needs of employers to protect their intellectual and commercial property. "Unless employers have a court order, they would need to give employees notice that surveillance will be conducted," Debus said. Welcoming the legislation, the Australian Workers Union (AWU) said the NSW government should be congratulated for taking steps to criminalize "big brother" behaviour by bosses. AWU secretary Bill Shorten said employees have a right to privacy in their workplaces. "E-mail is the modern version of the telephone and I think that most employees would reasonably say that their phones shouldn't automatically be tapped at work and I think that should apply to the Internet," he said. (by Sandra Rossi)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/04/2005

 

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Govt to Review Copyright Laws

The rise of the iPod and digital video technology has forced the federal government to rethink copyright laws. Currently, it is illegal to copy a CD onto a digital music recorder such as an iPod or to videotape a television program. But millions of Australians breach these sections of the copyright laws as a matter of course every day. There are exclusions from copyright for research or study, criticism or review, reporting news and professional advice. Consumer advocates have argued that the average person taping a TV show and copying their music onto an iPod is fair-use, and should either be put into law by parliament or given to the courts to set a precedent. But copyright owners say such exceptions should be minimised to ensure they get a decent return for their creativity. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has released an issues paper to spark a debate on what changes should be made. Mr Ruddock said the review would examine whether an exception or specific exceptions to copyright based on fair use should be adopted to make copyright law more flexible in the digital age. "Many Australians believe, quite reasonably, that they should be able to record a television program or format-shift music from their own CD to an iPod or MP3 player without infringing copyright law," Mr Ruddock said. "However, this issue needs careful consideration." The paper canvasses four main options, but the government has signalled it is open to other possibilities. One of the options is to put the current fair dealing provisions into one provision which refers to the current exclusions but is not confined to those purposes. The second option is to retain the current fair dealing provisions and add an open-ended fair use exception. The third option is to retain current fair dealing exceptions and add further specific exceptions, such as video-recording TV programs for private use. The fourth option would be to retain the current fair dealing exceptions but charge people a licence fee for private copying. The review will be open for public submissions until July 1.


From http://theage.com.au/ 05/05/2005

 

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NEW ZEALAND: Government Will Police Its Own Net Addresses

The State Services Commission hopes to save the government tens of thousands of dollars a year in domain registration fees and transaction costs by setting up its own .govt.nz registry. Currently domain name registration company Domainz has the sole right to register names in the .govt.nz space. It is a moderated namespace, which means before a name is granted it must be approved by the commission, with input in some circumstances from the Association of Local Government Information Managers. Mark Harris, the commission’s manager for moderation and web standards, said creating a government registry had been an option since Internet New Zealand set up the shared registry system for domain name administration. "We started looking at the issues surrounding moderation and decided to set up a registry ourselves so we could manage the namespace more simply and reduce costs," Harris said. The cost is not so much in registering a name but in the cost of paying invoices. A $60 invoice can hit below the horizon of many organisations, but if it is not paid a government agency can risk losing its online presence. Harris said the cost of paying invoices ranged from $60 to $100, depending on the department. In future, government agencies will not be billed for their domain names, but State Services will pay a monthly fee to New Zealand Registry Services, which runs the shared registry system. It expects to have about 750 names in the space, which at wholesale rates comes to less than $1500. Compared with the $60 a year (plus GST) that agencies pay Domainz for each name, the government will save save about $30,000 in fees alone, as well as $45,000 to $75,000 in transaction costs. Wellington web hosting and development firm One Squared has built the registry, which has been tested successfully. State Services intends to outsource system operation and hosting, and will tender for a suitable registrar. "It just means we will not have to deal with the box. We will still do the moderation," Harris said. "It is a web-based application, so agencies will put the new name in and, once we approve it, we pass it on to New Zealand Registry Services for inclusion in the the next DNS zone file update." It advises not just the domain name commissioner but feeds into a number of policy frameworks." The .govt second-level domain namespace is open to Government departments, Crown entities, local authorities and other bodies with statutory responsibilities. It is not available for state-owned enterprises and local authority trading enterprises. Crown research institutes and tertiary education institutes have their own moderated namespaces, .cri.nz and .ac.nz respectively. Applicants must demonstrate a business need for a name, and are asked to avoid conflicts or confusion with other agencies in the sector. In its policy guidelines, the commission says three or four letter names will be used only to represent departments or other central or local government bodies where the abbreviation is widely recognised by the general public. Generic and project names will be registered only where they are pan-departmental and of national significance, and agencies are told not to make up names in the namespace to brand individual projects. This has led to many seemingly obvious names being unused. For example, there is no health.govt.nz, and education.govt.nz leads to a portal that takes a bit more navigating around to find the link to the Ministry of Education site at minedu.govt.nz. Bruce said it was not for the moderator to tell agencies what names to use, but a separate e-government unit project on offering more intuitive addresses was a possibility. (by Adam Gifford)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/12/2005

 

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Parliament Backs New 'Peeping Tom' Laws

Parliament is giving unanimous support to legislation that will make intimate covert filming a criminal offence. The "peeping tom" bill was given its first reading yesterday after Justice Minister Phil Goff said it dealt with a serious and growing problem. "Generally, covert filming has a sexual element. Whatever the intention, it constitutes an invasion of personal privacy...it is an affront to human dignity," he said. "The old offence of peeping and peering has been aggravated by the advent of new technology. The internet facilitates the transfer of these pictures around the country and beyond." The Crimes (Intimate Covert Filming) Amendment Bill defines the offence as "making a surreptitious visual record of another person in intimate circumstances without the person's consent or knowledge, and in circumstances that the person would reasonably expect to be private". It creates new offences, all carrying maximum sentences of three years jail, covering making a recording, possession, import and export, and selling. An offence of simple possession -- with no intention to publish, export or sell -- carries a maximum one year sentence. Mr Goff said miniature cameras, mobile phone cameras and other devices had been used to visually record women and children while they were undressed. "Voyeurism is offensive in itself, but additionally is potentially a gateway offence to more serious sexual offending," he said. The bill protects agencies which use covert filming for detection and investigation, such as police activities. National's justice spokesman, Richard Worth, said his party would back the bill. His colleague, Wayne Mapp, said the select committee which dealt with it would have to fix the gaps. He said newspapers could be caught by the legislation, and gave as an example a picture taken of a high-profile person with an under-age prostitute. "The person involved would consider his privacy had been breached...on the face of it this bill appears to make that sort of activity illegal," he said. "Newspapers actually do, from time to time, protect the public good." New Zealand First MP Peter Brown pledged his party's backing. "It's a sad day in New Zealand when we have to produce legislation like this, but there are weirdos out there who do this sort of thing," he said. "I believe that in future it will become more prevalent...the sort of videos that get through the censors feed the brains of people who do this." Act's Stephen Franks said the select committee would have a lot of issues to consider. He wondered whether the bill would put an end to the private detective business. "For many years they've been filming sexual activity for divorce cases," he said. The Green's justice spokesman, Nandor Tanczos, wondered whether it was going to be illegal to possess a magazine with paparazzi pictures in it of topless film stars. No party opposed the bill and it passed its first reading without dissent. It has been sent to the government administration select committee for public submissions. (by Peter Wilson)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/06/2005

 

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Government Digs Deep to Create a Wired Society

The Government is increasing its commitment to developing a knowledge society with an extra $60 million for its Digital Strategy, including $44.7 million of contestable funding. The strategy, released yesterday in advance of the Budget, says creating a knowledge society will require connections to the internet to be instantaneous, affordable and available everywhere. "Content needs to be diverse, high-quality and of value to New Zealand users," said Associate Minister of Information Technology David Cunliffe. "Technology must be designed with people in mind, who have the capability and confidence to use it to fully enrich their lives." He said the Government would spend up to $400 million on digital strategy initiatives in the next five years. The Digital Strategy document revealed for the first time the total cost of the Provincial Broadband Extension project, or Probe. It came in at $48 million, and a further $1.44 million will be available this year to extend it to the last remaining areas. While the Government says Probe "helped introduce competition to the market", the bulk of the money went to Telecom. But an indication that the Government is looking further than Telecom to create a true broadband infrastructure comes from what it is calling Broadband Challenge - $24 million over the next four years for partnerships intending to deploy open-access fibre networksin regional centres. Many of these partnerships will be driven by what are called MUSH networks, standing for municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals. By 2007, the Government wants all main businesses, research institutes, MUSH networks and medium-size provincial businesses to be able to get fibre connections with on-demand fast broadband, capable of video conferencing. The target for residential customers and small and medium enterprises is lower - copper or wireless connections, and only 60 per cent access to fast broadband. To build community capacity, including training in information and communications technology skills and developing regional or community-specific content, the Government is putting $20.7 million into a Community Partnership Fund. "The trick with community stuff is communities can be hard to reach and you can't run them out of Wellington," Cunliffe said. "Communities need to come to you with partners to say what they need, so there will be a contestable fund with criteria for allocation and an advisory board where the best project wins." He said the Broadband Challenge and Community Partnership Fund had a multi-year carry-over, so there was no pressure to spend if suitable projects were not available. On the business side, the Ministry of Economic Development will spend $10.4 million in the next four years turning its biz.org.nz website into a "world-class" one-stop information and assistance portal. The Government has also set a target to lift the growth rate of the ICT sector towards 10 per cent of gross domestic product by firm-focused industry development. The sector will be sceptical of that target unless something is done about the Government's own $2 billion of spending, which on the technology side has been accused of favouring imported hardware and software over local developments. Cunliffe said the ICTX working party, which includes Government and industry representatives, should help to resolve some of those issues. The Budget will set aside $200,000 for 10 industry-led ICT procurement workshops to improve sector participation in Government contracts, and $100,000 for a training module to help public-sector ICT purchasers make better decisions. Continuing support was promised for existing programmes, such as the Education Ministry's e-Education initiatives, the advanced network being planned for the universities, and the National Digital Heritage Archive being put together by the National Library and Archives New Zealand. Digital dollars* The Government will spend up to $400 million on digital strategy initiatives over the next five years. * There are plans for an open-access broadband infrastructure, with funding for partnerships intending to deploy fibre networks. * ICT growth rate targeted for 10 per cent of gross domestic product. (by Adam Gifford)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/17/2005

 

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Government Pours Millions into Laptops for Teachers

Nearly 8000 more teachers will be eligible for laptop computers following increased spending on information and communications technologies (ICT) in yesterday's Budget. An additional $30.2 million will be invested in a range of school ICT initiatives over the next four years. Education Minister Trevor Mallard said new technology had influenced every aspect of modern life. "These initiatives will see more schools and teachers using ICT to support effective teaching and enhance learning," he said. The new funding includes $14.2 million to extend the leasing of laptops to permanent fulltime teachers of years 1-3 students at state and state-integrated schools. At present, 25,365 teachers have received or applied for a laptop, and the new funding will make another 7950 eligible. Teachers in more than 85 per cent of schools will have access to ICT development programmes by 2009, and $8.2 million will be used to increase the number of professional development clusters from 80 to 100. A $7.4 million online tool for testing students will give teachers a break from marking school books. The online system will use "adaptive assessment" to make questions harder or easier depending on the student's answers. The Ministry of Education bilingual online learning centre, Te Kete Ipurangi, will be upgraded with $345,000 to expand the services available and improve information sharing between teachers. The Post Primary Teachers' Association supported the moves. "There was a decade in the 90s of money going out and now it is coming back into these initiatives," said a spokesman. "That's always positive."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/20/2005

 

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AZERBAIJAN: Anti-Corruption Commission Presents Website

The anti-corruption commission under the Council of Government Service Management presented its website, www.commission-anticorruption.gov.az, on Tuesday. The President’s Office Chief-of-staff Ramiz Mehdiyev said the website will give impetus to positive changes in the activity of the Commission, emphasizing the important steps taken to fight corruption since its first meeting in April 2004. “Citizens encountering instances of corruption appeal to the Judicial and Legal Council.” Mehdiyev noted that Azerbaijan has joined several conventions on combating corruption and participates in relevant international events. The Chief-of-Staff noted that anonymous appeals are not accepted. “Citizens facing problems will be able to directly contact the Commission members through the website that is available in Azeri”, he said. The English version of the web-page will be available shortly.


From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 05/04/2005

 

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CHINA: FS Congratulates the First Generation of E-filers of Hong Kong

The Intellectual Property Department (IPD) had successfully upgraded its customer-oriented e-services to the community with the launch of an electronic filing system for trademark, patents and designs, the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, said today (February 28). Speaking at the Intellectual Property Department Open Day First Generation of E-filers presentation ceremony, Mr Tang said the next wave of e-government had gone beyond putting information online and would offer e-options to the delivery of government services in e-corporations, e-citizens in a customer-oriented environment. "The first generation of IPD E-filers is a success story of partnership between the Government, private sector service providers and customers from the legal services industry. The vision and determination of these pioneers have provided encouragement and inspiration to the Government in further developing and delivering e-government," he said. Aiming at serving customers with speed, convenience and accuracy, IPD and its outsourcing contractor have developed a web-based end-to-end electronic filing and back-end system for trademarks, patents and designs. Customers can interface with IPD 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since its launch in December, 2003, the migration rate had reached 12% at end of 2004. It is expected that the rate will further rise to 30% in 2005-2006. The IPD held its second Open Day today during which 20 e-filers were awarded the First Generation of E-filers plaques at a presentation ceremony in recognition of their active support and participation over the past three years in IPD|s electronic services. The awards were presented by the Financial Secretary, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Commerce and Industry), Miss Denise Yue, and the Director of Intellectual Property, Mr Stephen Selby. About 160 guests participated in the Open Day. They included the major stakeholders in IP industry (legal community and related IP associations), academics, Mainland (Guangdong) government officials, consulate generals and other representatives from the public sector.


From http://www.info.gov.hk/ 02/28/2005

 

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Hong Kong Financial Secretary Pushes for More E-Govt Services

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary, Henry Tang, lauds the achievements of the government's current range of e-services, and heralds a further extension of e-government. The Hong Kong government's Intellectual Property Department (IPD) had successfully upgraded its customer-oriented e-services to the community, Tang [pictured] said yesterday at an event to commemorate the achievement. Citing the implementation as a success story of partnership between the government, private sector service providers and customers from the legal services industry, Tang was keen to emphasise that Hong Kong would push more service through the 'e-channel'." The vision and determination of these pioneers have provided encouragement and inspiration to the government in further developing and delivering e-government," said Tang. According to Tang, the next wave of e-government would go beyond putting information online and would offer e-options to the delivery of government services.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/01/2005
 

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Beijing Gov't Procurement Order Got by Microsoft

Microsoft's Global Technological Support Center (GTSC, Big China Area) announced Tuesday a series of new value-added after-sale services. At the same time, Microsoft for the first time confirmed that it had won an order from Beijing government, but with a sum much lower than the 30 million yuan expected earlier. Beijing government indeed bought some software from Microsoft recently, a market strategy manager of Microsoft said, but the sum of the deal was much lower than what people said. On November 17 last year, Microsoft sent a wave of panic among domestic software producers when it pocketed the "computer operation system and copyright office software" item at a price of 29.25 million yuan. The deal also roused doubts from government officials and experts. At the end of that month, the government announced cancellation of the order and signed purchase agreements with many domestic software makers, with the value of these deals kept unknown.


From People's Daily 03/18/2005

 

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E-Government Spurs Efficiency Drive

The State Council vowed recently to facilitate e-governance, bringing the public and governments closer through the Internet. The move was made following growing complaints and criticisms against governmental websites being user-non-friendly and lacking useful information. Currently, the State Council Informatization Office is working with other central government departments to draft a regulation requiring all governmental organizations to publicize information of concern to the public. The regulation is expected to take effect this year. The office's department director, Zhao Xiaofan, said that people should be able to access information related to administrative affairs on official websites of governmental agencies by then. But in the past, people had no easy access to governmental documents and information because some of them were labelled as classified and hidden in archives. Since China embarked on market-oriented reforms at the end of 1970s, the public has been crying for more government transparency. China's highest leadership has echoed such calls and launched its ambitious e-government initiative in 2000. During previous years, China has made great progress on the initiative and the next step should be focused on enhancing online interactions between the public and government, Hu Xiaoming, vice-president of the National Information Centre told China Daily. Hu said that a law is being drafted to supervise the government's behaviour in the release of information. "If the law is approved by the National People's Congress, government agencies shall be legally bound to publicize information related to government affairs in a timely way," said Hu. The word "Internet" was an alien concept to most Chinese people in the early 1990s. But it has now developed rapidly in the country despite its late introduction. The latest survey by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) indicated that netizens in the country reached 94 million by the end of last year, a year-on-year surge of 18.2 per cent. The figure was only 670,000 when the first such a survey was conducted in 1997. By the end of last year, 41.6 million computers had been connected to the Internet on the Chinese mainland, compared with 330,000 in 1997. "All the progress has resulted from robust economic growth and rising living standards across the nation," said Zhao Xiaofan. He added that with more and more people able to afford computers and having basic know-how to get online, it would be natural to see a rapid growth of netizens. And the situation would lay down a firm foundation for the development of e-governance. Since it first went online in 1998, the Chinese Government has shown great enthusiasm to realize its goal of digital-governments. It is expected to work as a way to propel transparency in governance and political reform. Zhao said that the e-government initiative will promote democracy because it provides channels for citizens to voice their opinions and ideas through digital connections, such as e-mail and online forums. And even some simplified election procedures can be held by, for example, allowing online voting. "It can make administrative work more transparent and efficient by connecting government departments through the Internet," said Zhao. According to a recent report on the development of China's electronic governance, more than 90 per cent of the country's 336 big cities have already created official websites. The municipal government in Wenzhou, a city in East China's Zhejiang Province, has reportedly raised 10.26 billion yuan (US$1.24 billion) to establish a "digital Wenzhou." The city plans to focus on speeding up efficiency and transparency in dealing with government affairs, businesses and public services. At the same time, however, a survey conducted by Zhao's office last year found that only 5.2 per cent of China's government websites were visited frequently. And only 14.8 per cent of the government websites contain English pages. Information contained on most of the websites owned and operated by governmental establishments is found to fail to meet citizens' needs. Meanwhile, only a few of these websites effectively deliver public services as expected, the survey found. Some web pages, for example, www.tongjiang.gov.cn, a county-level government website, was found to be dysfunctional for several months. To find out the real situation of the operation of e-governments, the municipal government of Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province, recently published an assessment on local digital governments. According to the report, 14 of its 91 governmental websites scored a zero because of poor accessibility. The report also listed lack of content, updates and interaction as major problems. Zhao Xiaofan said that the Internet has become an important channel for public opinion but in many local governments' websites, only headshots of officials could be found. They don't function as an avenue for listening and responding to the public. "Interaction between government departments and the public is badly needed through the Internet," said Zhao. "And that will be our office's work priority during next five to 10 years."


From China Daily 03/22/2005

 

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Hong Kong Government Invites IT Services Tenders

The Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) has invited tenders for the provision of professional services to undertake IT projects under the Standing Offer Agreement for Quality Professional Services (SOA-QPS). The SOA-QPS is a replacement of the existing Information Technology Professional Services Arrangement (ITPSA) scheme, which will expire in December 2005. Up to 44 standing offer agreements will be awarded for all the categories for a contract period of 42 months. A spokesman for the OGCIO said that the new scheme would further reinforce the Government's IT outsourcing strategy by enlarging the delivery capacity for IT services and accelerating the delivery of IT solutions. It would also help create a market of sufficient size to encourage further development of the local IT industry.

The SOA-QPS covers four categories of IT services:
pre-implementation and independent programme/project management services; on-going services; implementation and full system development life cycle services; information security services. "A major characteristic of the SOA-QPS is that the scheme will place more emphasis on service quality and innovation. A marking scheme with 70 per cent weighting on quality and 30 per cent on price will be adopted for selecting tenderers for the award of standing offer agreements. "Furthermore, the number of standing offer agreements has also been increased from 23 in ITPSA to a maximum of 44 in SOA-QPS. This would further increase the opportunities for participation by IT contractors, including the small and medium enterprises. "A number of improvement measures were also introduced in the new scheme to further improve the efficiency in the provision of IT services," the spokesman said.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/04/2005

 

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Shanghai Police Fine Tune SMS Hot Line

Locals will be able to report crime by a short message to the 110 police headquarters in the near future. According to the Shanghai Emergency Response Center, police are working with telecom companies to handle technical problems. he short message alarm system is likely to come into use within this year, officials said. n anonymous official revealed that research on the service started at the end of last year when local officials visited their counterparts in Suzhou and Nantong of Jiangsu Province where such a system is currently in use. embers of the Taiwan Democratic Self-government League submitted a motion to the Shanghai Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in January, proposing to establish the 110 alarm system by cell phone short message. League members claimed in their proposal that such a system to report crime is secret, quick and safe. Messages can be sent without being detected by those doing a crime. Through the short message platform, users input the information into their cell phones and send it to police number 110. The police headquarters will immediately receive the notice and can take action. Feng Maolun, an official of the local Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, said the short message alarm service would greatly benefit three groups of people - mutes, migrants who can not speak Mandarin and expatriates who can only speak their mother tongue. The service can eliminate any language barriers," Feng said. hina unicom Company (Shanghai) told the Oriental Morning Post yesterday that "there is no technical difficulty to realizing the short message alarm system." I can assure that there can be a 100 percent accuracy in receiving and sending messages," a company official said. During the Spring Festival local railway police set up a cell phone alarm system for people to report thefts and emergencies. Passengers can use a cell phone hot line (1376-1818-110) to report crimes by short message. Railway police were reluctant to comment on the service yesterday. There has been no statistics available so far as to how many short message alarms had been received during the past two months, they said.


From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 04/06/2005
 

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Chinese City to Establish IP Network for E-Government

The City of Longkou in China's coastal province of Shandong is deploying an e-Government IP telephony and data solution. The city authorities are looking to securely roll-out new content to Longkou's 620,000 residents using new IP infrastructure from Nortel. The new network will provide residents of Longkou with online access to e-government services including e-voting, e-booking of municipal facilities, and employment support. According to officials Longkou is the first smaller level city in China to deploy an e-government solution. The Longkou e-Government network will be based on products from the Nortel enterprise data portfolio, including Nortel's Ethernet Switch, Ethernet Routing Switch, and Backbone Link Node Router. It will also include IP telephony solutions. With Longkou's newly converged network, residents will be able to benefit from applications such as video conferencing, teleworking and IP telephony.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/15/2005

 

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City of Longkou Deploying Nortel Enterprise Solution for E-Government Services

The City of Longkou in China's coastal province of Shandong is deploying an e-Government IP telephony and data solution from Nortel Networks to enable a wide range of secure online services to its 620,000 citizens. The new network will provide residents of Longkou with on-site access to such e-Government services as e-voting, e-booking of municipal facilities, and employment support. Residents will be able to benefit from applications such as video conferencing, teleworking and IP telephony – all powered by Nortel's enterprise data and multimedia communications portfolios.


From Nortel Networks Press Release 04/15/2005

 

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Growing Complaints About Chinese E-Government

Following an increase in complaints China's, State Council has declared that it will draft regulations to spur all government agencies to push citizen content online by the end of this year. The State Council Informatisation Office is working with other central government departments to draft a regulation requiring all governmental organizations to publicise information of concern to the public. This follows complaints concerning the navigability and content of China's 10,000+ government web sites. According to Zhao Xiaofan, Director of State Council Informatisation Office, citizens should be able to access information related to administrative affairs on official web sites of governmental agencies by the end of 2005.A survey conducted by Zhao's office last year found that only 5.2 per cent of China's government web sites were visited frequently. Information contained on most of the web sites owned and operated by governmental establishments was found to fail to meet citizens' needs. To find out the real situation of the operation of e-governments, the municipal government of Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan Province, recently published an assessment on local digital governments. According to the report, 14 of its 91 governmental websites scored a zero because of poor accessibility. The report also listed lack of content, updates and interaction as major problems. Zhao said that the e-government initiative will promote democracy because it provides channels for citizens to voice their opinions and ideas through digital connections, such as e-mail and online forums: "Interaction between government departments and the public is badly needed through the internet. And that will be our office's work priority during next five to 10 years."


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/22/2005
 

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Chinese Media Picks Up on Jinjiang E-Government Project

Jinjiang City in Fujian has attracted extensive media coverage in China following the completion of the first phase of its e-government project. The country's top news programme, China News, along with popular Chinese news portals Tom.com and Sina.com, have given extensive coverage to the city's efforts to improve administration through the use of technology. China News reported that Jinjiang's e-government system combined internet and networking technologies with administrative reform. A key benefit was reported as being increased transparency in the public decision making process.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/25/2005

 

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Beijing: Ebeijing Has Exchanged Links with Seven Websites of Embassies

Beijing International Official Website (eBeijing)(www.ebeijing.gov.cn) have exchanged website link with Embassy of Korea in China,Embassy of Isreal in China,Embassy of the United Kingdom in China,Italian Embassy in China,Embassy of China in Japan,Embassy of China in the United Kingdom and Embassy of China in Switzerland. Beijing International Official Website (ebeijing) is the official English website of the Beijing Municipal People's Government aiming at providing foreign personnel in Beijing with a window to understand Beijing as well as a bridge for them to link up with the municipal government. At the same time it is also an authoritative comprehensive platform in English which combines information browse, on-line service, and reciprocal exchange. As China furthers its policy of opening up and reform and Beijing has succeeded in her bidding to host the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing is marching forward towards an international metropolis in great strides. More and more foreigners are coming to Beijing for sightseeing, study, or business. In order to provide convenient service to foreigners in Beijing, especially to those who visit ebeijing, it is insincerely hoped that the websites of foreign embassies in Beijing will exchange website links with ebeijing so that the visitor can easily get relevant information in time from the website of either side.


From http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/ 05/10/2005

 

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JAPAN: MIC Announces Survey Results of Facilities and Equipment Investment by the Communications Industry

The MIC has compiled the results of the surveys that were implemented as of March 31, 2004 on the state of the communications industry of capital investment (statistics approved by the Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications).

The communications industry (telecommunications and broadcasting):
- Totaled capital investment of 2.7 trillion yen in fiscal 2003
- Planned capital investment of 2.6 trillion in fiscal 2004
- The planned figure for fiscal 2004 for the private broadcasting business decreased 28.0% year on year, to 142.6 billion yen.


From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 03/30/2005

 

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IT Management Support Task Force Publishes Beta Version of IT Management Textbook

The IT Management Support Task Force (Committee to Support IT-Based SME Management Reform) established the IT Management Textbook Creation Committee as one of its projects, and has released a beta version of its IT Management Textbook. The textbook is designed to help SME managers realize the necessity of utilizing IT in reforming the management of their businesses.


From http://www.meti.go.jp/ 04/28/2005

 

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Study Group on Creation of Digital Consumer Electronics Network

In order to further promote the creation of the digital consumer electronics network that has been spreading rapidly in recent years, METI and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications have established a joint study group and the first meeting took place on May 18.


From http://www.meti.go.jp/ 05/13/2005

 

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Japan Net Bank Books First Profit

Japan Net Bank said Thursday it posted a net profit of 1.1 billion yen in the business year that ended March 31, the company's first net profit since it started operating in October 2000. Japan's first Internet-only bank, which is a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., logged a 1.7 billion yen net loss the previous year. The bank's net profit was largely attributed to the rapidly growing market for online businesses, including Internet shopping, auctions and brokerage operations. "The biggest reason behind the full-year profit is a rise in online settlements," Japan Net Bank President Shuichi Fujimori told a news conference. "Since these settlements grew more than we had expected, we gained profits from the commission." The number of accounts at the bank topped the 1 million mark in December, making it the first Internet-only bank in Japan to top this mark. Fujimori said the bank aims to have 1.3 million outstanding accounts by the end of the current business year. Asked about the fierce competition expected with new entrants in the sector, including Yahoo Japan Corp. and Livedoor Co., Fujimori said his bank will focus on convincing users of the quality of its services. He was also positive about the future of the online business market, which he expected to continue to grow until 2008.


From The Japan Times 05/20/2005

 

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SOUTH KOREA: NIER Provides Information on 573 Tropical Plants on Internet

The National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) has developed Korea's first database on tropical plants. From Tuesday (March 1), information on tropical plants can be obtained from the Web site tropicalplant.nier.go.kr. The English database provides details of the leaves, flowers, fruits, habitats and usage of 537 tropical plants, including mahogany, teak, mango and rafflesia, a researcher said. Some 1,500 photos were taken by researchers during their studies. The database will be useful to Korean researchers, certain companies and government agencies, he said, adding that it will also help Asian countries that lack information on tropical plants.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/01/2005


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Unification Ministry Launches New Logo

The government will reveal a new logo for the Unification Ministry at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Wednesday (March 2), marking the 36th anniversary of its foundation. The design is said to indicate the hope for peace and prosperity on an integrated Korean Peninsula with two doves and the peninsula surrounded by a circle. “Throughout this design, we’ve tried to express our hope that a re-unified peninsula plays a pivotal role in peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia,” a ministry spokesman. It is the first time the ministry has changed its logo in five years. The ministry plans to continue renewing its image as a government body that is open-minded, the spokesman said. The Korean Peninsula was divided into two Koreas after it was liberated from Japanese colonial rule of 1910-45.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/01/2005

 

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Disaster Control Network to Be Established

Korea will set up a pan-governmental disaster control network in five years so that 71 ministries and agencies involved can better share information on disasters, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said on Wednesday (March 2). The agency said it will report the plan for redesigning the system at a conference for national disaster management to be held on Thursday. According to the plan, the pan-governmental disaster control network will be set up at 21 agencies such as the Construction and Transportation and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries ministries, which have real-time information on disasters, by the end of 2006. Nineteen ministries, including the Commerce, Industry and Energy and the Agriculture and Forestry ministries, and another 31 organizations such as the Cultural Properties Administration will also gradually have the network. A database and geographic information system (GIS) for disaster control will also be established. The 119 emergency number for fire, rescue and relief work, will also deal with natural disasters, electrical accidents, ocean pollution accidents and emergency medical consultation. For effective control and management of disasters, satellite news gathering (SNG) facilities will be introduced in large cities in preparation for interruptions in wire or wireless communication. SNG equipment is currently used in Gyeonggi Province, and the emergency management agency plans to adopt two facilities at its headquarters by the end of this year. The government also plans to establish a Web site and information center on disasters to help netizens use the system. “With the information system for national safety control, authorities will effectively share disaster information in real time, and their abilities coping with disasters will be greatly improved,” an NEMA official said. “After the preparation-oriented system is set up, we expect we can reduce the 106 billion won of property damages from disasters per year and loss of lives from the current 16.5 people per 1 million to 11.1 people,” the official added.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/02/2005

 

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State Public Information System to Be Strengthened

The government on Thursday (March 3) announced its decision to establish new offices within government agencies to focus on public relations. Public information and policy planning offices will be merged, in the organizational reform move, according to Yang Jung-chul, presidential secretary for policy planning. “The public information and policy planning departments of respective agencies will be combined with the goal of efficiently connecting their roles,” Yang said during a media briefing. Cheong Wa Dae will seek to revise the relevant laws to implement an overhaul of the government system by the end of March, he added. Another official explained a new system will be implemented to cope with evolving relations between the government and mass media and to meet the need for more effective public relations activities. “For instance, the current public information system will be abolished as their role has been diminished due to the change in relations between the government and the media,” he said. In a bid to promote public relations on state policies, the budget set aside for the Government Information Agency will be raised.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/03/2005

 

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Online Documentation Service to Be Available for Legal Procedures

Citizens will no longer have to visit police stations, prosecutors' offices, courthouses and penitentiaries to get legal documents on criminal cases once online database are set up, which will be in 2007. A government reform committee on Monday (March 14) announced a plan for an online network for criminal case procedures, such as petition filings, crime investigation, trials and sentence execution, making the information available at the click of a computer mouse. According to the Presidential Committee on Government Innovation and Decentralization, the online system will also take care of all civil administrative services, including fine payments, legal document issuances and petition filings. Law enforcement and judicial authorities will also use the network to carry out procedures such as evidence collection, application and issuance of arrest warrants, prosecution and delivery of sentences, the committee said. The committee began preparing for the system last August and launched a joint task force last month to map out a master plan in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, police, prosecution and courts. The task force will finish the master plan by July, which will aim at preparing a foundation for the joint system of the four national bodies by November 2006. In addition, the system will be expanded through embracing other special investigation bodies such as the National Tax Service and the Korea Customs Service by November 2007. The electric network will mean a complete change in penal procedures, removing the need for people to visit the police station, prosecutors' office and courts to obtain documents and check on the development of a case. People can simply log onto a Web site for the service, a commission official said. Instead of paper work in the investigation and sentence, the system will introduce “e-prosecution” and “e-court”. The new system will expand the audio and video recording of investigations, the committee said. The system is also expected to reduce costs and cut down on information processing. The task force will form a consultation commission, where scholars and officials from non-governmental organizations will participate. It will also amend related laws to establish the legal foundation to upload such documents over the server.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/14/2005

 

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Ministry Reports Status of Public Agencies’ Web Sites to Cabinet

The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs reported to the Cabinet meeting Monday that it was devising ways of preventing resident registration numbers and other personal information from being accessed from outside Web sites. Featuring the anti-exposure measures will be promotion of a constant monitoring that would quickly erase individual information exposed by negligence of Web site managers and a diagnosis of some 320 key systems at central and local government agencies in search of systemic faults. Also in the works are enacting or amending related regulations, streamlining guidelines on operating and managing Web sites and conducting mobile educational programs to raise awareness of the protection of individual information and a compilation of teaching materials.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/05/2005

 

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MIC Chosen as Hardest Working Agency

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has been chosen as the hardest working agency among ministries and agencies in both individual and group categories. In the assessment of the 24 ministries, agencies and 19 administrations conducted last year by the Policy Evaluation Committee under the wing of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, MIC topped the list, placing top in major policies and customer service, scoring higher marks in the fields of innovative management, cooperation with other agencies and ministries, legislation affairs and policy publicity. In particular, MIC has been assessed highly for solving the four-year controversy over the transmission system for digital TV through dialogue and persuasion and successfully developing super-speed portable Internet service system WiBro for the first time in the world in close cooperation with the industry and academic circle. In this regard, Song Yoo-jong, director in charge of the division of innovation, has received the Red Stripes, the Order of Service Merit, and Kim Yong-soo, director of telecommunications planning division, the Green Stripes.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/19/2005

 

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Police to Run New Web Site for Missing Children

The National Police Agency on Monday (April 25) conducted a trial run of a new Web site on missing children at the 13th floor of its headquarters in central Seoul. On hand at the demonstration were the parents of missing children, police chief Huh Joon-young, Rep. Kim Hee-sun of the ruling Uri Party, the Children Safety Council at Cheong Wa Dae and the Web site producers. The Web site has been set up at a cost of 400 million won from the government by the National Computerization Agency, which was selected top winner in Web service demonstration projects in application of new information technology. The Web site producer aimed at easy-to-use method for parents of missing children. Parents don't need to wander around looking for their kids. The Web site provides maps of all orphanages throughout the nation with links to particular ones. Moreover parents can send e-mails to orphanages at the same time. Parents can even report to the police about their missing children on the Internet. Police commissioner Huh said, “Missing children are not only a serious matter for families themselves, but also problem for our entire society to solve.” “We achieved a lot on the matter of missing children, but still have far to go to improve finding handicapped children and the old suffering from Alzheimer's disease. We will do our best to make a system to find handicapped children,” an official from the NPA said.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/29/2005

 

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Online Administrative Appeals to Be Available from Second Half

Beginning the second half of this year, citizens will be able to have recourse to the Ministry of Government Legislation for interpretation of laws and regulations, if they take exceptions to that of the government. An online administrative appeals system will also be introduced and citizens will be able to search legislation whose enactment has been put on notice in advance. They are part of the Ministry of Government Legislation's major policy goals for this year, Minister Kim Sun-uk reported to President Roh Moo-hyun at Cheong Wa Dae on April 29. Minister Kim said that from July, her ministry will have ordinary people ask for interpretation of laws and regulations so that they may not suffer from possible misinterpretation of statutes by central government agencies or local autonomous governments. Likewise, central government agencies can also request the legislation ministry for legal interpretations in the name of division chiefs, if they find themselves confused about the application of statutes. To institutionalize the interpretation of statutes, the ministry will soon set up a committee exclusively dedicated to the task, Kim said. She also reported to the president that her ministry will push for five priority tasks: transparency of discretionary actions, expanded service of authoritative interpretation, effective legal examination procedures, expanded participation from people in the legislative process and substantive administrative appeals procedures.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/01/2005

 

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Korean Government to Expand Personnel Database

South Korea's Civil Service Commission (CSC) intends to build up a database to strengthen recruitment of government officials. The CSC will enlarge its personnel database to hold information on up to 100,000 high fliers as a potential talent pool to fill senior government jobs. According to the revised bill on public officials the CSC is now able to collect any disclosed information on candidates of public official posts without their consent and provide the information to public organizations or municipal governments when the organizations request it for personnel purposes. Prior to that, the information gathering was possible only with the consent of the people whose information was to be collected. In addition to strengthening information gathering activities, CSC also plans to refer to personnel databases of other state-funded institutes, such as the Korea Research Foundation and the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information, by linking databases. As of the end of February, CSC managed the personal information of 87,316 people, among which former and incumbent public officials accounted for 59.2 per cent of records.


From http://www.pstm.net 05/02/2005

 

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Education Ministry Improves Web Site for Foreigners

The Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development has revamped its Web site so that foreigners, too, can freely express their opinions, allowing them to join as members. The ministry said Tuesday (May 3) that a program linked with the Ministry of Justice's real-name confirmation system for foreigners, which was installed on the ministry Web site, has enabled foreigners to express their views and receive e-mail responses. Since 1997, when the ministry opened Web site, the 16 boards of education in municipalities and provinces and an estimated 10,000 elementary, middle, and high schools across the country were hooked to it via their homepages.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/05/2005
 

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MIC Fines Total KRW160 Billion Since 2000

According to a report in the Korea Times, South Korean regulator the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has fined telcos a total of KRW160 billion (USD160 million) over the last five years, with the fines going up every year since 2000. Fines during the first quarter of 2005 have already topped KRW18 billion (USD18 million). The financial penalties have come about due to excessive competition in the overcrowded fixed line and mobile markets, with mobile operators offering illegal handset subsidies, and wireline companies upping service costs illegally.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/09/2005

 

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Customs Clearances to Be Easily Reserved by Internet

If you plan to move overseas, you can go through the customs clearance at any time you want. The Korea Customs Service said on Monday (May 16) that people who are going to move overseas can reserve the time for customs clearances on the Web site of the office (www.customs.go.kr) from Tuesday. The Internet reservation system shortens the time of the procedure to three hours from four to five hours due to inputting information on taxes before calculating tax, such as foreign-made cars, which are essentially dutiable articles. Before this system, the reservation was only possible by phone or fax. The reservation of customs clearance also will be possible on the Web sites of foreign embassies. The Korea Customs Service asked applicants to book the time before 2 p.m. on the previous day of the requested day. After the office takes up the reservation, it will tell the confirmed date and time by e-mail. The office is planning to establish a system to declare customs by applicants themselves using personal computers in the near future. Therefore, both customs declaration and clearance will be even more convenience for people who move overseas.


From http://www.korea.net/ 05/17/2005
 

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KAZAKHSTAN: NGOs to Keep E-Govt Project on Target

A coalition of NGOs has been established in the Central Asian country to monitor and provide feedback on the national e-government project. Last week Sofiya Isenova, Head of the Global Initiative on Internet Policy in Kazakhstan, formed a grouping of NGOs to provide advice to the government on service delivery to different groups within Kazakh society. The alliance of NGOs will collaborate with government agencies, Isenova said, providing complementary research into the ability of different segments of society to participate in and benefit from the new e-government structures. Isenova explained at a press conference last week that two key problems were currently extending the communications infrastructure to communities throughout the country, and reaching out to the lowest income groups. She went on to welcome opportunities for the business and technology community to work with the NGOs.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/18/2005

 

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MONGOLIA: Web Page Against Corruption to Be Released

Ulaanbaatar, /MONTSAME/. The Zorig Foundation is carrying out a project on releasing the first web page against corruption in both English and Mongolian. The Foundation will conduct the web page and update information of the web, where citizens complaints and proposals will be received. The web page will be focused on two main subjects. The first one is about the information, publicity and contest against corruption; the next is dedicated to citizens complaints and proposals to be solved after the foundation of the National Commission Against Corruption.


From http://www.montsame.mn/ 05/02/2005

 

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BRUNEI: Brunei Sets Aside US$126 Million for E-Govt

B$950 million (US$578 million) has been allocated for e-government initiatives under the 8th National Development Plan, of which US$126 million remains to be spent. These figures were revealed by Pehin Dato PadukaAwg Hj Hazair bin Hj Abdullah, Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office during the inaugural 'Technology Update Seminar' held by the Ministry of Finance this week.As of March 2005 about 200 e-government projects had been approved for implementation by the E-Government Executive Committee, amounting to B$742 million (US$452 million). This represents about 80 per cent of the total allocation to e-government. A further 50 or so e-government projects have been approved and currently await implementation, amounting to a further B$208 million. It is expected that the board will approve more e-Government projects in 2005. According to Pehin Dato Paduka Awg Hj Hazair, the seminar gave the opportunity for a clearer appreciation of Brunei's planned e-government investment.


From http://www.pstm.net 04/27/2005

 

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Brunei Ministry Initiates a Trio of IT Projects

Brunei's Ministry of Religious Affairs (MRA) has signed off on a number of e-government deals, following the success of Brunei's PMONet initiative. According to Awang Hj Abu Bakar bin Hj Mohd Don, CIO of MRA, the projects include a Network Infrastructure and Data Centre Phase One, a Zakat (Tithe) Management System (SPZ), and an e-Islam Information Kiosks project. The Network Infrastructure and Data Centre (PPR) is the development of a data centre for the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which will be situated on the second floor of the ministry. In addition, this project will include the supply of more than 700 PCs and other accessories to its officers and staff. The installation of LAN and WAN networks to the departments under the ministry includes the District Religious Departments and mosques. For the Zakat (Tithe) Management System project (SPZ), it consists of four main modules. They are the Collection module, Distribution module, Accounting and Reports module and 'Amil' module. These would make the collection and distribution of Zakat easier. The e-Islam Information Kiosks will supply 18 kiosks to 11 mosques around the country and several government departments as well as shopping complexes. All of the projects are scheduled to be completed by August 2005. The total market for e-government services and infrastructure in Brunei is worth US$307 million, according to officials.


From http://www.pstm.net 03/06/2005

 

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BRUNEI: Tripartite Support Required for E-Govt Success

E-government requires strong support from public agencies, citizens and the business community, visiting academic tells Brunei officials. Brunei Darussalam's top e-government officials have been told by a visiting Canadian government technology specialist that: "Brunei could benefit from the insights learned from e-government implementation in other countries. Achieving e-government success requires active partnerships between government, citizens and enterprises. "Professor Tam of Ryerson University in Canada added that he expected the Brunei authorities to avoid some of the more common implementation pitfalls. He went on to define e-government as 'online government', and indicated that Brunei was likely to see the greatest immediate return by increasing the provision of government information and enabling the delivery of government services over the web. According to Tam, e-government made the content of government more transparent, forcing national administrations to compete on the basis of their policies, and lack of red tape. He cited Singapore and Finland as examples of countries that had embraced this new paradigm of transparency. Countries that failed to embrace governance reform would be marginalised, Tam added.


From http://www.pstm.net 02/02/2005

 

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MALAYSIA: New System to Manage Land Applications

A new electronic system to manage land applications around the country will make missing land applications a thing of the past and allow applicants to know their application's status online. Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman said the system, aptly named Land Application and Monitoring System (LAMS), would also be able to shorten the processing time of an application. Samsudin, who launched the system at Wisma Negri here yesterday said it would be used as a short-term measure to monitor the enormous volume of land applications before the completion of the E-Land project. “The system was fine-tuned from the land application method adopted by Perak which had successfully kept track of nearly 30,000 applications. “It was tested using the fast track method since Dec 16 last year to register and monitor all existing new applications,” he said, adding that the new system would be adopted by all states in Peninsular Malaysia. Samsudin said by mid-year, the existing manual applications would be transferred into the system. “Applicants will be able to know the status of their applications as the information is available online and more systematic,” he said. He said an application would also be rejected immediately if the land belonged to a third party or was gazetted as reserve land. Samsudin said up to Feb 18 this year, the federal land office succeeded in reducing the outstanding land ownership applications by 19.05%. On the registration and issuance of strata titles, some 63.62% had been settled while 16.77% of the outstanding applications for a change in temporary to permanent ownership had been completed, he added. Samsudin also suggested that state governments delegate the power to the district officers to decide on certain petty matters such as a reducing fines for late payment of quit rent.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 03/04/2005

 

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JPJ Officers Go High Tech

The Road Transport Department (JPJ) officers have begun moving in unmarked vehicles with special mobile computer devices to arrest errant motorists. The special devices are connected to the main JPJ database to provide the undercover patrol units with quick information. With the use of unmarked vehicles, the JPJ also plans to outwit the tontos. Federal JPJ enforcement director Solah Mat Hassan said yesterday that the department had bought 200 mobile card acceptance devices, adding that 700 more units would be bought soon to equip all JPJ patrol units. He told The Star that the department also plans to increase the number of unmarked vehicles. It has six vehicles at present. The JPJ was beginning to see results with this new enforcement approach, he added. The use of unmarked vehicles has been successful in hauling up commercial lorries and trailers which are overloaded and those trying to evade us. During a recent enforcement operation using unmarked cars with mobile computers, I caught three lorries driving with expired road tax in Dengkil, Banting and Klang. On another operation, the mobile computer helped us arrest a company managing director who was driving a luxury car without a valid road tax and driving licence. He have also managed to track down those using false number plates,'' he said, adding that the mobile devices were also being used in Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan and Putrajaya. Solah said senior JPJ officers would also use the unmarked vehicles to conduct surprise checks on the department's own personnel to ensure that they carried out their duties. He said the JPJ had issued 208 traffic summonses under the on-going Ops Kargo exercise which targeted lorries.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 04/09/2005

 

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Trial Run of E-Ownership

All transactions on vehicle ownership will be done electronically nationwide from October, beginning with Johor and Malacca in June. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the e-ownership service would have a trial run in the two states for between three and four months. It would then be carried out at all the other Road Transport Department (JPJ) offices nationwide in October. No fees would be imposed on motorists for the new service, he told reporters after launching the extension of services for vehicles at the JPJ Seri Manjung branch office, about 20km from here, yesterday. With the extension of the service, owners of private vehicles in Manjung no longer need to travel to Ipoh to have their vehicles registered. Chan said the trial period for the e-ownership service in Johor and Malacca was to enable the JPJ to identify and rectify any teething problems that might arise from the new service. We want to ensure the service will be hassle-free when it is introduced at all JPJ offices nationwide, he said. Chan said transactions regarding vehicle registration, cancellation and claim of ownership would link all JPJ offices nationwide online with the new service. Motorists, he said, could complete their vehicle ownership transactions faster and in a more efficient manner compared with the present manual method. Earlier, in his speech, Chan said JPJ would continue to introduce more high-tech systems to ensure it provided an efficient counter service to the people. An efficient counter service, he said, was also vital in view of the increasing workload JPJ faced. The JPJ counters in Perak alone processed 72,212 registrations of new vehicles last year, which is an increase of 11.9% compared with 63,551 new vehicles in 2003, he added.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 04/12/2005

 

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Malay Village in Perak Goes Online

A website has been set up for a village in Kuala Kangsar as part of a plan to turn Perak into a K-state (knowledge-based state) by 2020. The website for Kampung Padang Changkat in Bukit Chandan, believed to be the first among the 1,662 Malay villages in Perak, contains information on every aspect of the village, including the villagers' per capita income, economic activities and products. Named E-Desa, the website was developed under a project by the Perak Country and Town Planning Department and the Perak Geographical Information System. However, the website is only accessible to government departments and officers who plan development projects and other programmes. Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali, who launched the website yesterday, said it was yet to be made available to the public as it was still a pilot project to connectall villages online. He said, if successful, E-Desa would link up all the 1,662 villages, and the people could obtain information on the villages in the state through the Internet. He told reporters this after opening a workshop on the Local Structural Plan of Hulu Perak, Selama, Kinta, Perak Tengah and Manjung districts at the state secretariat building here. About 300 village development and security committees and village heads attended the workshop. Kampung Padang Changkat village head Zaino Beedin Shah Haruddin, 69, said he was proud that his village was chosen for the pioneer programme. “If everything goes according to plan, this project will help to promote our village,'' he said. The 140ha village, situated about 1km from Istana Iskandariah, has a population of about 490. Zaino Beedin said the village had won several beautification and cleanliness awards. “Our village is famous for tekat (golden tread embroidery), basket weaving, artificial flowers, parang and keris, and traditional kuih,” he said.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 04/15/2005

 

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ICT Council Should Be Set Up

AN information communications technology (ICT) council chaired by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police should be established to formulate an IT Governance Framework aimed at promoting and supporting a collaborative approach towards ICT. Listing this as one of 21 recommendations to upgrade the equipment and logistics of the police, the report said the ICT Council should also work to recognise the strategic role of IT for the effective performance of the police force, while increasing cooperation in resolving critical issues between police and external organisations (eg. Road Transport Department) The report states that the IT Governance Framework should incorporate the need to strengthen key governing principles and capabilities, such as to identify the competencies necessary for successful project and service delivery and to establish roles that support business strategies. The Commission also recommended the establishment of a good IT Management Framework with characteristics of a world-class IT organisation. In addressing constraints in the IT Division concerning the shortage of manpower, overloading of staff and poor allocation of personnel to perform core tasks, the Commission recommended a deployment of 1,177 personnel to police districts, where the major share of manpower is required. The report said a more decentralised allocation of IT staff and expertise was important for ICT systems to effectively support police operations, especially in view of the fact that there were currently no IT personnel at district-level. Further training was also proposed for existing staff to upgrade their skill levels, which also includes the development of better training programmes coordinated at both unit and organisational levels. The Commission also proposed the setting up of an improved and integrated IT infrastructure that would help make systems more reliable and enable progressive development, while phasing out old equipment and purchasing new ones. The report also listed the standardisation of the local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) infrastructure to the fast ethernet and wireless technology and the gigabyte ethernet technology respectively for better connectivity. The report also listed several key enhancements for the transportation sector of the police force, which includes disposing off police force vehicles at the end of a five-year-period and increasing the supply of Mobile Patrol Vehicles to enable greater police presence and patrol. On the Weaponry Division, the Commission recommended sufficient funding should be allocated to undertake procurement and upgrading of equipment and assets.


From http://thestar.com.my 05/16/2005

 

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3G Services Launched

The launch of Celcom3G services marks a new era in mobility for Malaysia, which joins the ranks of 33 countries where 77 operators are offering such services. Today’s launch is a mark of greater things to come from Celcom, Telekom Malaysia Bhd chairman Tan Sri Md Radzi Mansor said at the launch of the service here last night by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. The Deputy Prime Minister urged telecommunications service providers to benchmark themselves against world standards. He said this was to ensure that the tariffs and rates offered were competitive, while the quality of service met best practices. Through this process, we can ensure the efficiency and competitiveness of our telecommunications companies are vis-a-vis (those of) other countries, he added. Celcom is the first mobile operator in the country to launch 3G services. Najib said there was also concern over the social impact of 3G as it provided access to many content-rich services such as broadcasting and the Internet, which meant that many social issues currently associated with television and the Internet would now be transferred to 3G. I would like 3G service and content providers to strive for high levels of governance in the provision of their entertainment-based services to ensure that 3G services contribute positively to the social and economic development of the country, he added. During the launch, Najib spoke to Malacca chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman via the Celcom 3G video call. In conjunction with the launch, Celcom (M) Bhd is offering free video calls and unlimited Internet browsing for a limited time.


From http://thestar.com.my 05/18/2005

 

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THAILAND: Smart Card Launch 'by Mid-April'

The Interior Ministry hopes to start issuing ''smart'' identity cards to citizens around mid-April when it expects to complete technical adjustments to make its operating system and software compatible with both old ID cards with a magnetic stripe and microchip-embedded smart cards. Surapong Suebwonglee, minister of information and communications technology, said yesterday that the operating system and its sofware had yet to be adjusted to permit data transfers between them and new ID cards with embedded microchips. However, the work was expected to be completed by the middle of next month, and the Interior Ministry should be able to start issuing smart ID cards by then. According to Mr Surapong, a supplier had already delivered the first batch of six million smart ID cards. After all proper procedures for accepting the delivery were completed, the cards would be sent to the Interior Ministry for distribution. The second bidding contest for the supply of another 26 million smart ID cards, worth about two billion baht, would take place in about two months. The government plans to issue altogether 64 million smart ID cards worth about 4.7 billion baht in four years. The smart ID card project is aimed at making life more convenient for citizens. A smart ID card also serves as a driving licence, a social security card and other essential cards, so its holder does not need to carry several cards. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra also wants the smart ID card to work as a phone card too. Critics, however, fear the information stored in the smart card could be misused by state authorities.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 03/03/2005

 

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Call for Electronic Voting Machines

The Election Commission (EC) wants electronic voting machines, worth about four billion baht, introduced for the next elections. The commission believes their introduction would help end problems associated with ballot fraud and also make vote-counting fool-proof. On top of that, fewer staff would be needed to handle vote-counting procedures. Roongrit Makarapong, deputy secretary-general of the commission, said yesterday that the EC had faced many vote-counting complaints as the procedure of transporting ballot boxes to vote-counting places was being repeatedly questioned. “Worse still, there were problems about ballots being printed on short notices. In some cases, ink on ballots had not been completely dry but they had to be used. As a result, voters' marks on such ballots were blurred and the ballots were later declared void. Besides, the ballot system needs as many as 160,000 staff to count votes. Voting machines would be the right answer, he said. “Electronic voting machines can save so much in printing costs. The 96 million ballots printed for the general election cost the country 100 million baht. They can streamline procedures and prevent void ballots. Vote counts can be concluded within an hour electronically,'' Mr Roongrit said. The EC would need 170,000 electronic voting machines, each costing 20,000 baht, for the next election. So the overall investment would be around four billion baht and the project would break even after only a few elections because the machines could be used for other elections as well. ``Senate and local level elections for example,'' he said. Not only that, in the future the system could be sold off to some neighbouring country if a new system was wanted in its place, he explained. At yesterday's EC meeting, he called on the executives of all political parties to support the idea of voting machine. Commenting on the Feb 6 general election, Mr Roongrit said we could now proudly say that Thai politics had certainly matured because as many as 44.5 million people had cast their votes. The 72.56% turnout was the country's highest ever. It was 69.5% in the previous general election in 2001. Besides, over 70% of the voters who showed up voted for political parties instead of individual candidates. Void ballots constituted 6% of all ballots cast, down from 10% in the 2001 election. Nikorn Chamnong, director of the Chart Thai party, proposed in the meeting that the minimum amount of party list votes for a political party to share list MP seats should drop from 5% to 2% of all party list votes cast in order to let small political parties survive to prevent problems in the national political system. Nakharin Mektrairat, the political science dean of Thammasat University, proposed that a constituency winner should garner the majority number of votes in his constituency for the sake of legitimacy. In some constituencies, most voters had not voted for the winner, he cited.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com 03/05/2005

 

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PM Pushes for Smart Cards

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has pledged to push for the use of multi-purpose ID cards, or smart cards, for Thai citizens within three years. The cards would also serve as a tool for combating poverty and steering the government's education, medical care, social security and national security schemes. Mr Thaksin said on his weekly radio address to the people yesterday that he would make sure all Thai nationals become smart card holders within three years. The National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) has been asked to carry out a study and show him in two weeks how the Interior Ministry's software systems could be made compatible to the smart cards procured by the Information and Communications Technology. The smart cards would also be linked to all the ministry databases which would allow the authorities to effectively fight poverty, monitor educational standards, the 30-baht medicare scheme, social security and national security programmes in the deep South, he added.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com/ 05/08/2005

 

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VIETNAM: New Network Links Businesses and Authorities

The enterprise information network project will begin operation by late 2006, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment. The network will provide local businesses and state authorities with constant access to one another as well as a master database of all enterprises nation-wide, forming a foundation for enterprises in business registration, the ministry reported.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 03/26/2005

 

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HCM City Launches Metropolitan Area Network

Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City has launched a high speed network to support the roll-out of e-government services. The new network is part of a US$2.5 million project that is being carried out by the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunications Corporation. It will connect more than 90 government departments, district committees, State agencies and other public sector organisations. The municipal authorities expect the network to improve information management within and between government agencies, supporting the ongoing drive to 'computerise' the government office environment.The metropolitan area network will also improve the quality of the citizen experience by increasing the amount of content and transactional services available at Cityweb, the city's government information portal.


From http://www.pstm.net 05/09/2005

 

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INDIA: Indian Govt IT Projects to Focus on Public-Private Partnerships

Suresh Pachauri, Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances & Pension, said that public private partnerships are a key factor in taking forward the spirit of e-governance. "The government is fully committed towards enhancing public private partnership environment when it comes to e-governance initiatives. E-governance is all about good governance and it involves creating a viable financial environment when it comes to evolving public private partnerships. We are making necessary efforts to reduce the digital divide in the country," said Pachauri [pictured]. Stressing the need to realise the full potential of technology, Pachauri said there was more to a successful implementation that the technology itself. "Technology can only facilitate good governance. So we should not give too much of emphasis on technologies and try to concentrate on implementation. We are yet to realise the full potential of IT. A lot of effort is needed to transform the government in order to usher in an era of economic and social growth. Ideally, ICT should benefit from technological advancements in all strata of society," he explained.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/02/2005
 

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Indian e-Govt to Get US$500m from World Bank

The World Bank has signalled that it is willing to increase funding further if required for a range of e-governance initiatives in the country. The funding is for the first phase of India's National E-Governance Plan (NEGP) "In 2005 the World Bank approved the India government's e-governance project concept and gave the green light to proceed which could in-principle lead to a contemplated US$500 million financing over the next four years," explained Mark Dutz, Senior Economist, Finance and Private Sector Development (South Asia Region), World Bank. Dutz added that the World Bank is willing to increase its financial support support for future phases of NEGP. NEGP is aimed at leveraging IT to improve the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of government services to citizens and businesses. The scheme will cover 10 main areas, including land records, property registration, transport and revenue collection amongst others, across 25 separate projects. Of these projects, 10 are state-focused, 8 are central government-focused, and the remainder are cross-tier government projects. R Chandrashekhar, Joint Secretary of the Department of Information Technology said that his department would shortly bring out guidelines for e-government capacity building. The Indian authorities have already allocated 600 crore (US$137 million) to NEGP.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/21/2005
 

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Punjab Unveils State, District, Village E-Govt Plans

The executive IT advisory body in the Indian state is being ramped up in order to increase the use of technology by the administration. "The government has approved an overall IT policy broadly covering four thrust areas of IT infrastructure, e-governance, human resource development and incentives for IT industry," said Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab. Singh also heads up Punjab's 'IT Vision Group', which is being expanded to develop further e-governance initiatives, and cut the time it takes to review government IT projects. The IT Vision Group has been responsible for greenlighting videoconferencing facilities in all of Punjab's district administrations, as well as overseeing the development of public-private initiatives for kiosk-based service delivery.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/25/2005
 

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More e-Govt Kiosks for Indian State

The Indian state of Rajasthan has announced plans for 100 new e-government kiosks, as part of the US$90,000 'e-Mitra' project. The 'e-mitra' project will establish e-government service delivery kiosks in towns as well as rural areas, providing access to local government services, as well as transactional facilities for bill payment. The counters in urban and rural areas will be referred to as 'Lokmitra' and 'Janmitra' respectively. The latter will also provide facilities for registering birth and death certificates and ration cards. The project is being overseen by Rajasthan's Information Technology Department.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/28/2005
 

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Indian State Government Integrates Payment for Services

The Indian state government of Karnataka has implemented its latest e-governance project - 'Bangalore One' - providing citizens with integrated government and utility payments. The project has been designed on the build-operate-own-transfer (BOOT) model for computerising government-to citizens (G2C) services. The Karnataka government is implementing the project in association with the National Institute of Smart Government. "Bangalore One will enable the six million citizens of Bangalore to pay power, water and phone bills, besides property tax, commercial tax, road tax and a host of 20 civic services, from a single e-kiosk on 24x7 basis," said Vijay Gore, State Additional Chief Secretary. "Initially, the high-tech facility will be available from 15 locations across the city and will be extended to another 35 centres under a public-private partnership." The service, which will run on the Microsoft.NET platform, is being put together by a consortium including CMS Computers and Ram Informatics. The same partners executed a similar project, e-seva in Andhra Pradesh, and bagged orders for such e-governance initiatives in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/03/2005
 

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India Uses SMS to Get Water, Issue Parliament Whips

India, where until recently it took years to get a phone line and where lumbering government services creak along slowly and sloppily, if at all, is cashing in on the mobile phone boom to boost democratic efficiency. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and the government and opposition "whips" responsible for assembly attendance are now using Short Message Service (SMS) to summon lawmakers for crucial votes or to muster a quorum, officials say. "This lets us contact them immediately," Azad's spokesman told Reuters on Thursday. "We are in the process of collecting the MPs'' mobile numbers. The drive is on." Unlike many other parliaments, India's lower house, or Lok Sabha, does not have an inbuilt alarm system to summon the 545 legislators to the chamber for a vote or to make up the numbers. Instead, it relies on an antiquated landline phone network and word of mouth around the sprawling circular sandstone building and the surrounding neighbourhood annexes and canteens. The world's most populous democracy is also its fastest-growing mobile phone market, adding about two million customers a month. But it has one of the lowest rates of landline installation. Fewer than half the 100 million phone lines are fixed. The rest are mobiles. SMS, or "texting", is a booming value-added service worth billions of dollars worldwide -- about 10 billion SMSs were sent in China during the Chinese New Year holiday in mid-Feb. alone. SMS was used to campaign in last year's Indian election. It is already popular with tech-crazy Indians for downloading ringtones and pictures, for entering competitions and for checking rail and flight schedules and news and cricket scores. But while Indian governments have been quick to pick up on the Internet -- you can book one of the 13 million daily train seats across the country instantly on the Net, for example -- they have trailed the private sector in SMS. Until now. As New Delhi heads into its sizzling summer, where temperatures approach 50 degrees Celsius (more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit), the capital's government-run water board this month opened an SMS complaint hotline. From water theft and contamination to broken pipes and tankers that fail to turn up to parched, waterless slums, customers can now register their complaints instantly, avoiding the traditional bureaucratic run-around, the board promises. In emergencies, water tankers can be sent immediately. Even at the best of times and in the best of neighbourhoods, water is a major worry for the almost 14 million people living in Delhi, where the pipes trickle only a couple of hours a day.


From http://www.indiadaily.com/ 04/21/2005

 

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Streamlined Tax Administration on Cards in India

The government of India is to introduce a new tax reporting system, as part of an internal shake-up of 'redundant and repetitive' processes. According to P Chidambaram, India's Finance Minister , the tax data project would help reduce the interface between tax assessees and taxmen, and thereby increase efficiency and improve the rate of revenue collection. According to officials the new system would ensure greater efficiency, substantial saving in resources and availability of reliable data in a timely manner, "without compromising the genuine need for data and information for effective administrative monitoring and policy making". An internal report found that the current system of management information system reports and returns prepared by field officers of customs, central excise and service tax had grown to "unmanageable proportions" over the years owing to the piecemeal introduction of additional reporting mechanisms.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 05/03/2005
 

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India Allocates US$70m for e-Govt in 2005-6

India's Department of Information Technology (DIT) has made a provision of Rs. 3 billion for e-government projects in its budget for 2005-06. These funds represent provision for additional assistance to states for their programmes under the National E-Governance Plan (NEGP), and they come hot on the heels of the World Bank giving support for up to US$500 million of e-governance spending. DIT has initiated a Capacity Building Programme to address managerial and technological challenges associated with the implementation of e-governance initiatives on such a large scale. Guidelines for capacity building have been finalised and circulated to state governments. Financial support for this purpose has been provided to states under NEGP. A national level workshop and training of senior officials has also been arranged for facilitating capacity building.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 05/12/2005
 

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PAKISTAN: IT Ministry to Roll Out Eight E-Government Projects in April

KARACHI: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is going to roll out eight e-government projects, in the next three weeks, which will cost over Rs 600 million. The government will acquire expertise of local software houses for software development and services, hardware, networking, training and operating costs. In this connection, the Federal Cabinet has approved PC-1 of all eight projects which would be initiated under its 'e-government plan'. Sources told Business Recorder on Friday that all eight projects would be awarded to local industry "and if one software firm cannot bid in the project, the government would allow formation of consortium for bidding in the projects. These projects would help the local software industry to enter into e-government's project and help generate more employment for software related services in the country. The projects include: 'e-Enablement of Islamabad Police' at an estimated to cost Rs 100 million; 'e-Services to Citizens in Food, Agriculture & Livestock Sector', estimated to cost over Rs 100 million; 'e-Services at Chief and Deputy Commissioner's Office in Islamabad (Capital Territory)' to cost over Rs 100 million; 'Provision of e-Services at Capital Development Authority (CDA)' at an estimated cost of over 50 million; 'e-hospital project of Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS), and same project for CDA hospital; 'Online Processing of Haj Applications and Status Tracking of arrangements for Hujjaj' at an estimated cost of over Rs50 million; and 'Automation of Patent Office in Karachi' at an estimated cost of over Rs 12 million. This will also include software development and services, hardware, networking, training and operating costs. These projects have been initiated and monitored by Electronic Government Directorate of Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/26/2005

 

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Pakistan to Outsource Government IT Contracts

Over US$50 million in government IT contracts to be offered to the private sector by the end of 2006. Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari [pictured], Minister for IT and Telecoms, said that the government would outsource between US$50-US$100 million in IT and e-government contracts to the private sector over the next 18 months. The minister said the outsourcing plan should attract providers of IT solutions to Pakistan, and he encouraged local firms to team up with foreign companies if they have insufficient resources or expertise in order to bid for the contracts. He also noted that the government is trying to grow the local IT sector and to attract leading IT companies to the country by creating tax incentives for IT providers. The minister also remarked that the National E-government Council, due to hold its first meeting on 23 April, is expected to approve a five-year plan that will see all government departments being given e-government targets.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/21/2005

 

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PM Heads New Pakistan E-Government Council

A five-year plan was approved at the first meeting of the council last Saturday. E-government solutions will be introduced to all federal government departments. Federal Minister for Information Technology & Telecom Awais Leghari revealed that the National e-Government Council was looking to partner with a turnkey technology provider, and had shorlisted Microsoft, IBM and Oracle as 'desirable partners'. According to Leghari, and as reported by PSTM.net last week, the Pakistan authorities intend to introduce technology into the public sector through a Public Private Partnership, echoing a shift in a approach to technology sourcing that has already occurred south of the border in India. Pakistan's e-government programme has been estimated to be worth up to US$100 million over five years.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/26/2005
 

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AUSTRALIA: Government to Outlaw Suicide Websites

CANBERRA - Australia's government plans to outlaw inciting, promoting or teaching people how to commit suicide on the Internet, but Justice Minister Chris Ellison said on Tuesday the laws were not a bid to spark a euthanasia debate. Use of the Internet to organise suicide pacts has emerged as a grim new problem for Japan, where at least 54 people killed themselves in 2004 in Internet-linked group suicides. Police say the real number was probably higher. Ellison said people convicted of the offences would face fines of up to $A110,000 ($NZ119,800) for individuals and $A550,000 for corporations. "These offences are intended to protect vulnerable individuals from people who use the Internet with destructive intent to counsel or incite others to kill themselves," Ellison said in a statement.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/09/2005

 

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ATO Extends EDS Contract

The Australian Taxation Office has extended its ICT outsourcing contract with American outsourcer EDS until June 2008, a media release says. The extension is valued at more than $300 million, the company says. EDS began providing services to the ATO in June 1999. EDS Australia managing director Chris Mitchell said the extension was a vote of confidence in the relationship.


From http://theage.com.au/ 04/06/2005

 

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Victorian Government Elects Open Source for E-democracy Platform

An inquiry into the potential of e-democracy in Victoria has recommended Internet broadcasting for parliament, the use of videoconferencing for parliamentary committees and the use of open source code for electronic voting kiosks. The use of electronic voting machines or kiosks is expected to make it easier for people with limited vision or poor English skills to vote. The Electronic Democracy Subcommittee, chaired by Victorian MP Michael Leighton said the use of open source is specifically recommended so voters can "be satisfied with the integrity of the system". "We have recommended the pilot of electronic voting machines at large polling places which will be stand-alone units with limited networking capabilities without Internet connections," Leighton said. "Diebold, the company that provides electronic voting machines, has a contract that is required to certify any new version of proprietary software; these are the sorts of reasons why we should be open source. "The other principle we recommended for electronic voting is that there is a paper trail -unlike what happened in the US presidential election. The machine would drop a sheet of paper into a sealed box after the vote so if there was any argument afterwards we have the capacity to verify the votes; this is an important principle for public confidence in the integrity of the system." Leighton said the line for "electronic democracy" would be drawn at Internet voting, and recommendations have been made that this not be considered. The inquiry also recommended developing training resources and places for public servants to use technology to engage the general public, the possibility of using RSS-styled news feeds from the Victorian government and state parliament, and electronic voting in parliament. Last week the Victorian Electoral Commission called for tenders for electronic voting machines. (by Michael Crawford)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/06/2005

 

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Govt to Spend $50m on Broadband

The Australian government will spend $50 million over three years to help disadvantaged urban dwellers gain access to faster internet services. The metropolitan broadband black spots program will offer internet services providers assistance so they can offer affordable broadband services to customers in city areas who don't have access, Communications Minister Helen Coonan said. The program will target areas where problems with network infrastructure make it unlikely that affordable broadband services will be offered commercially. Broadband provider registration is expected to commence in the second half of 2005 with customers benefiting from early 2006. Ms Coonan said the Government had promised the funding at last year's federal election. Funding will be $10 million in 2005-06, $20 million in 2006-07 and $20 million in 2007-08. The Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts will soon release a discussion paper to obtain feedback from stakeholders. Telstra says take up by customers of broadband services was "on fire" in 2004 but will be even more popular this year. The company last month reached the milestone of 500,000 ADSL broadband customers. Optus, the second largest telco, said it had a total of 350,000 customers.


From http://theage.com.au/ 05/11/2005

 

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NEW ZEALAND: Guide Helps Exporters Avoid Pitfalls in Australia

Small businesses looking to export to Australia may benefit from a new online guide. Exporting to Australia, produced by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, is intended to help existing and would-be exporters avoid pitfalls and capitalise on New Zealand's closest offshore market. The free guide gives an overview of the export planning processes and an introduction to Australia's business environment and regulatory system. Trade and Enterprises' trade commissioner in Sydney, Catherine Dunkerley, said many New Zealand exporters regarded Australia as an easy market. They they often suffered a rude and expensive awakening. "It's easy to make the mistake of considering Australia to be a big version of New Zealand, but there are significant differences in the way things are run in Australia and it can be a very tough business environment. "Superannuation, state and federal business legislation, unionised employment - these are all stringent and costly business regulations New Zealand companies must adhere to in Australia that simply don't exist at home." As an export market Australia had a lot going for it including proximity, common language and New Zealand's cost competitiveness, said Dunkerley. It was also developing bi-lateral trade deals with countries such as Thailand and the US, making it an attractive stepping stone into other markets, she said. "Australia's economy is very healthy with a growth rate that is one of the highest in the OECD, and still growing - so the potential for exports to the market is significant." (by Georgina Bond)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz 03/11/2005

 

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Government Will Police Its Own Net Addresses

The State Services Commission hopes to save the government tens of thousands of dollars a year in domain registration fees and transaction costs by setting up its own .govt.nz registry. Currently domain name registration company Domainz has the sole right to register names in the .govt.nz space. It is a moderated namespace, which means before a name is granted it must be approved by the commission, with input in some circumstances from the Association of Local Government Information Managers. Mark Harris, the commission’s manager for moderation and web standards, said creating a government registry had been an option since Internet New Zealand set up the shared registry system for domain name administration. "We started looking at the issues surrounding moderation and decided to set up a registry ourselves so we could manage the namespace more simply and reduce costs," Harris said. The cost is not so much in registering a name but in the cost of paying invoices. A $60 invoice can hit below the horizon of many organisations, but if it is not paid a government agency can risk losing its online presence. Harris said the cost of paying invoices ranged from $60 to $100, depending on the department. In future, government agencies will not be billed for their domain names, but State Services will pay a monthly fee to New Zealand Registry Services, which runs the shared registry system. It expects to have about 750 names in the space, which at wholesale rates comes to less than $1500. Compared with the $60 a year (plus GST) that agencies pay Domainz for each name, the government will save save about $30,000 in fees alone, as well as $45,000 to $75,000 in transaction costs. Wellington web hosting and development firm One Squared has built the registry, which has been tested successfully. State Services intends to outsource system operation and hosting, and will tender for a suitable registrar. "It just means we will not have to deal with the box. We will still do the moderation," Harris said. "It is a web-based application, so agencies will put the new name in and, once we approve it, we pass it on to New Zealand Registry Services for inclusion in the the next DNS zone file update." E-government unit delivery and operations manager Edwin Bruce said the commission wanted to protect the integrity of the .govt space. "It links back to issues of trust in the security and integrity of the internet, which the Government wants its citizens to feel confident about using," Bruce said. "There is the additional benefit that by being a registrar we can give input into the registry advisory group, which is an important body for the administration of the internet in New Zealand. It advises not just the domain name commissioner but feeds into a number of policy frameworks." The .govt second-level domain namespace is open to Government departments, Crown entities, local authorities and other bodies with statutory responsibilities. It is not available for state-owned enterprises and local authority trading enterprises. Crown research institutes and tertiary education institutes have their own moderated namespaces, .cri.nz and .ac.nz respectively. Applicants must demonstrate a business need for a name, and are asked to avoid conflicts or confusion with other agencies in the sector. In its policy guidelines, the commission says three or four letter names will be used only to represent departments or other central or local government bodies where the abbreviation is widely recognised by the general public. Generic and project names will be registered only where they are pan-departmental and of national significance, and agencies are told not to make up names in the namespace to brand individual projects. This has led to many seemingly obvious names being unused. For example, there is no health.govt.nz, and education.govt.nz leads to a portal that takes a bit more navigating around to find the link to the Ministry of Education site at minedu.govt.nz. Bruce said it was not for the moderator to tell agencies what names to use, but a separate e-government unit project on offering more intuitive addresses was a possibility. (by Adam Gifford)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/12/2005

 

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Last Chance for Free IT Help

Today is the last chance for Government agencies to apply for free specialist IT help from the Microsoft Innovation Centre as its fifth funding round closes. The centre was set up in 2002 to improve the use of technology by providing services and commercial partner expertise free of charge to agencies with a Microsoft licensing agreement. At least five project proposals will be shortlisted this round and, after further investigation, three could be selected to receive specialist technical support worth up to $120,000. Projects last about six months and culminate in a "kickstart pack", which documents the project and includes a working prototype. A Waitemata District Health Board project to improve retinal screening of diabetes sufferers - for potentially blinding conditions such as retinopathy - was one of three projects selected in the previous round last October. Adam Sawyer, information manager at North Shore Hospital, said the financial value of the centre's support made embarking on leading-edge projects "extremely low risk". "This [eye screening project] is something that may become very useful, but it would be difficult to raise the capital to put it into that basket of 'absolutely essential', especially when you're competing against hip replacements and cancer treatments," Sawyer said. The project uses on-line consultation between ophthalmologists and eye-screen technicians to improve patient care by reducing the time taken to get results. Eye-screen technicians in community clinics use cameras to photograph the retinas of diabetics. Technicians and ophthalmologists then meet to review photographs and post results to patients and their doctors. The project uses a laptop computer to connect the technician with ophthalmologists on-line for instant examination of photographs. Waitemata DHB project representative Andrew Cave said the virtual consultation could reduce the time taken during the screening process from days to minutes. "It's going to take away the patient's anxiety of having to wonder, 'Oh God, have I or have I not', until they get that letter a week later." The system could also eliminate the need to book patients for repeat screenings when initial photographs prove inconclusive. The project uses a Microsoft Windows instant communication client similar to Messenger, but with a level encryption and security protection necessary for handling personal records. Screening technicians can see which ophthalmologists are on-line and send a message to confirm they are available for consultation. The technician can then send electronic patient records and retinal images to the ophthalmologist for immediate examination. Results could be given to patients at the screening, new photographs taken if images are inconclusive, and appointments organised for any extra treatment. The five-month-old project is near completion and Cave is putting the finishing touches to another application for submission to develop electronic patient medication records. "It [the centre] is a fantastic concept and it's promoting innovation, so I'm going to make a commitment every year to put forward an application ... because it encourages me to think innovatively. It's also a fantastic opportunity for the DHB." Proposals from health boards have accounted for a significant number of the 16 projects approved since the centre opened. "From a health perspective, IT is becoming more and more important," Cave said. "As everyone moves towards electronic clinical records, the opportunities are starting to increase, and getting information to the right person at the right time is becoming a big topic." Innovation Centre manager Shane Bartle said the funding round was an opportunity for agencies to improve their use of technology and for Microsoft to better understand the needs of its customers. "Key to what we are trying to do is understand local issues. It's all very well trying to bring our solutions down from the United States, but we want to understand how our technology can work on local issues. "Obviously it's good for us and it's good for them if they're using all our new stuff well and getting the most out of it." Bartle said even applications not selected for projects would receive valuable feedback from the centre. "If you're a public organisation, it's better if you've got an opportunity to test your ideas before you have to commit public funds."


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/22/2005

 

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NZ Tourism Site Wins Top Award

New Zealand's official tourism website has won a Webby - the online equivalent of an Oscar. The site - www.newzealand.com (see link below) - was developed by Shift Ltd, whose creative director Brian Smith said: "The Webby's represent the pinnacle of recognition in our profession". The prestigious award is issued by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, whose members include musician David Bowie, businesswoman Anita Roddick and The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/09/2005

 

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Contract Signed for Internet Authentication Service

New Zealand is a step closer to providing a common logon authentication service that will ensure privacy and efficiency for e-government users with confirmation of the commercial supplier, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard announced today. "It is great that a New Zealand company, Datacom, has been selected to provide the infrastructure for this all-of-government authentication solution ?a solution that is unique to New Zealand, and one with privacy at its core," Mr Mallard said. "This is a significant step towards the e-government programme’s goal to provide convenient, efficient and integrated government services to New Zealanders." Mr Mallard explained the goal of the shared logon project is to provide a common logon service for those people using government services over the Internet. The common logon service will allow people to more conveniently access government online services by using the same logon ?for instance a username and password, or digital certificate. "This is all about trust and security. High quality authentication is essential if we are to achieve the e-government strategy goal of having network and Internet technologies integral to the delivery of government to New Zealanders by 2007. "As more and more services come online, the common logon service will allow New Zealanders to use the same logon for all of these services. It’s a great step forward. "This government is intent on building stronger public services, and making those services easily accessible online is part of this commitment. "The shared logon project is designed to take into account New Zealanders?views on privacy. New Zealanders are very proud of their independence and we have designed a system that respects this. Government agencies only have access to personal information concerning the transactions they are undertaking," said Mr Mallard. The project is budgeted at $16.9 million over the next two years and is being managed by the State Services Commission’s e-government unit. The Datacom contract is for $8.311 million over three years.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/19/2005

 

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AZERBAIJAN: New Regional TV Network Is Launched

U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Reno Harnish and Azerbaijani presidential administration official Ali Hasanov participated in the 15 April launch of the new Azerbaijan regional Television Network (ARTN), "Baku Today" reported. The launch is marked by the establishment of the first of several new regional television transmitters in the city of Sumgait, with another six regional televisions stations to follow. The project is a U.S. government-funded media program in Azerbaijan "aimed at improving the quality of broadcasting of the regional televisions." RG


From http://www.rferl.org/ 04/15/2005

 

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Public TV to Start Operation in June

The government plans to start the activity of Public Television (PTV) in June, according to Ali Hasanov, head of the socio-political department of the President’s Office. Hasanov said PTV will begin broadcasts on the eve of the parliamentary elections, though not in full capacity, in lieu of the state television (AzTV-2) and radio. The government is expected to purchase new equipment for the purpose. Hasanov added that a new building for public television will be granted and its logistics expanded. (by AssA-Irada)


From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 04/15/2005

 

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CHINA: Beijing Digital Bus Station Tested

Some relevant departments say that the first intellectualized public traffic system has passed the test. In the future, Beijing's passengers can find out their bus arrival time through a digital bus schedule at the bus station. This new digital bus station system has been in tested at 11 bus stations.


From http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/ 03/14/2005

 

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Beijing: China's First Digital Info College Opens

Hot fields such as computer game design and 3D animation finally became part of the modern college curriculum in China on Tuesday when the Beijing Technology Business University officially established a digital information college, the first of its kind in the country. The college subscribes to a new educational philosophy that combines selection, education, training and application. It is introducing professional educational plans and materials from abroad to develop the top technical talents of the future in such fields as game design, 3D animation and multimedia system design. The college offers three majors: digital entertainment, digital technology and digital management. Zhang Lusheng, a senior IT specialist from Taiwan, has been selected as the dean of the college.


From Chinanews.cn 03/18/2005

 

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Nation Tunes in to Digital TV Era

The development of digital TV (DTV) is a central task for China's radio, TV and film industry and private investment is welcome to take part in this process, a senior industry official said yesterday. "Digitalization must bring a change in our mindset and we should abandon the concepts of the planned economy era. We should seek a win-win model both inside and outside the industry," said Zhang Haitao, vice-minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT). He made the remark in a keynote address at the opening ceremony of the China Cable Broadcasting Network (CCBN) exhibition in Beijing, the industry's largest gathering, which opens today and runs until Wednesday. While many industries in China have witnessed rapid change as a result of the ongoing process of reform and opening, the radio, film and TV industry has lagged behind them in reforms and is ill-prepared in terms of its mindset, technology and organizational ability. The industry's resources are highly scattered with every province or city owning their own broadcasting and transmission networks. However, digitalization is now an urgent requirement, so the industry must adopt a market-oriented attitude in the promotion of DTV and co-operate inside the industry and work with partners in other industries.

In January, the China Cable Network, which owns a 70,000-kilometre-long fibre backbone broadcasting network, was founded and it was believed to be a major vehicle in consolidating the nation's broadcasting network resources. In accordance with the central government's guidelines on furthering the development of the private sector, Zhang said SARFT is also drawing up regulations to allow private investments to enter areas such as the distribution network. He added private companies may also get a green light to invest in services like programme-on-demand and information services, areas currently only open to investment from the radio, film and TV industry. At the same time, the development of DTV will enter a new stage with the focus shifting to a large-scale deployment at provincial level following the experiences of city-level networks, according to Zhang. Guangdong, Fujian, Shanxi, Hunan, Shaanxi and Jiangxi provinces, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Beijing and Shanghai municipalities will all start to switch TV transmissions from analogue to digital platforms this year, through which all cable TV subscribers will be able to watch DTV programmes. The overall transmission model offers free set-top boxes to subscribers and more TV, radio and information content to them to attract them to watch digital programmes. Beijing, which saw little progress in deploying DTV in the past years, will stop analogue TV transmissions by the end of 2007, as the city needs broadcast digital signals during the 2008 Olympic Games. The capital aims to transfer 500,000 families to DTV this year.

As to the long-awaited standard for the terrestrial transmission of DTV, Zhang said the Chinese standard working group is working hard on that and SARFT will draw up plans and regulations on this issue. China once intended to use the European DVB standard for the Chinese market, but it later decided to formulate its own standard. An industry source, close to the standard working group, said the Chinese DMB-T standard is certain to come out this year. It will be an optimized version of the three proposals by Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, and the Academy of Broadcasting Sciences under SARFT. However, Zhang said that even if the standard is completed, it may take five years to build a mature and complete industrial chain based on it.


From China Daily 03/21/2005

 

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Shanghai Hot Line Gears Up

Starting on April 1, the city’s first comprehensive hot line — “12319” — will be operational to receive residential complaints concerning urban construction, transport and sanitary problems. Residents can dial the hot line number if they encounter inconvenience brought about by road renovation, infrastructure revamps and transport delays.


From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 03/23/2005
 

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Make Way for Digital Age of Broadcasting

Yao Yong hopes to realize one dream before he retires next year: To provide digital TV broadcasting to people in his city. Yao, 59, has worked for decades at the Cable Broadcasting TV Network Centre in Xiangfan, in Central China's Hubei Province. Currently, he is the company's chief engineer. Sixty is the retirement age in China. He had to make one tough decision before retiring into a life of relaxation: To continue broadcasting analogue signals and leave the tariff unchanged or switch to digital, or provide subscribers with free TV set-top boxes and raise the subscription fee by less than 10 yuan (US$1.20). The current rate is 12 yuan (US$1.40). He decided to make his dream come true. He felt going digital was the only way to ensure his company survived the technological transformation and fierce competition about to sweep China. Yao is no different from other managers of cable TV networks in China, who now realize they need to go digital. That indicates they whole-heartedly support the "overall migration deployment strategy" announced last year by the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV (SARFT).

Slow progress
In theory, digital TV can broadcast 500 channels of programmes, compared with the current 50-plus analog channels. Digital TV also allows greater interaction between cable networks and TV viewers, with content such as e-government and online shopping. Switching to digital has become the paramount opportunity for the radio and TV industry, at least in the view of SARFT. Many cable network operators competing with telecoms operators, which offer online interaction through their fibre telecoms networks are poised to launch Internet protocol (IP) TV services. When SARFT was developing its 10th Five-Year Plan, for 2001-05, in 2000, digital TV was a major focus. SARFT predicted China would have 30 million digital TV viewers by this year. SARFT's prediction missed the target. Only 90,000 households watched digital TV programmes in 2002, indicates monthly magazine "Radio and TV Information" (RTI), which is published under SARFT. The numbers rose to 276,000 in 2003 and 1.07 million last year. There are many reasons mainly the costs for the slow progress in the deployment of digital TV. Set-top box manufacturers given the small scale of demand do not want to provide their products to cable TV operators at affordable prices. The firm has been involved in the digital TV industry for six years. There are other reasons: Low incentives of cable network operators, who are semi-officials and care more about the security of broadcasting and social stability; lack of organization with a highly scattered ownership of networks; inexperience in market-oriented operations; and inadequate start-up funding.

A real start
Although China will fail to meet SARFT's prediction of 30 million subscribers by this year, Zhang Haitao, vice-minister of the administration and the most enthusiastic proponent of digital TV, said past experiences, especially last year, laid a solid foundation for the take-off of digital TV. The "overall migration strategy," which originated in Qingdao, in East China's Shandong Province, calls for each subscriber in one residential district to receive a free set-top box and have access to about 100 TV and radio programmes and value-added services, such as video-on-demand (VOD), e-government and TV shopping. The subscribers would also be able to choose not to join the platform, but the number of their programmes would be cut to less than 10 and they would not have to pay any fees. Network operators would then raise the subscription fee about 10 yuan (US$1.20), ask subscribers to watch a certain amount of advertisements, or get revenues from other sources. Zhang, in the keynote address to the China Cable Broadcasting Network symposium on March 20, said Qingdao had 170,000 digital TV subscribers by the end of last year. The city, he added, wanted to have 600,000 subscribers by this year. As the "overall migration strategy" has helped increase, substantially, both the number of digital TV subscribers in China and the volume of set-top boxes, manufacturers and content provides are becoming more interested in participating, because they can share subscription fee revenues with cable network operators. With digital TV, viewers can have access to more programmes and information. As a result, they are more willing to pay the additional fees. Network operators, meanwhile, can earn greater revenues and deal with defaulters much more easily. There are 102 subscription-based digital TV programmes in China at present. That number is expected to reach 130 later this year.

Opening industry
Although it appears the digitalization has finally taken off in China, altering their mindsets remains the most important task for radio and TV broadcasters. They must become market-oriented and embrace the opportunity to upgrade their technologies. "Digitalization must bring about a change in our mindsets, and we should not use the concept carried over from the time of the planned economy. We should seek convergence and a win-win model," Zhang said. Digital TV may be the best opportunity to change subscribers' way of thinking, and ease them in to the idea of paying for value-added services, Zhang added. Yao said subscribers will receive more programmes after they pay the additional fees, but they will have to pay extra for services such as VOD, pay-per-view sports and HBO movies. TV and radio broadcasters must also change their operations. The broadcasting industry has long been plagued by a lack of experience in market-oriented operations, capital and well-organized networks. Zhang suggested radio and TV broadcasters must begin co-operating with partners from other sectors. SARFT is developing a policy to allow the investment of private capital in digital TV. Investors from outside the broadcasting industry will be welcomed to help finance VOD and information services on the digital TV platform. China Central Television in January began broadcasting, with a partner, three movies, from US-based movie channel HBO, per night on its pay-per-view movie channel. SARFT has given almost 130 TV production companies permission to produce digital TV programmes and to co-operate with more than 30 digital TV channel operators. (by Liu Baijia)


From China Daily 03/28/2005

 

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Shanghai Phone Owners to Get Better Service

Shanghai's consumer protection commission is working with its counterparts in Beijing, Tianjin and Chongqing on a proposal designed to produce better after-sales service for mobile phone customers. The proposal would spell out the responsibilities of handset makers and sales agents in dealing with defective phones. When the proposal is finished, it will be handed to the Ministry of Information Industry with endorsement by the four cities involved, said Zhao Jiaoli, secretary general of the Shanghai Commission of Consumer Rights and Interests Protection.
She said in many cases the rights and interest of phone buyers are being violated as telecom manufacturers and sales agents blame the consumer for breakdowns. "They always insist that the problems were the result of improper use - not poor product quality," said Zhao. She said most disputes involve handset screens and main boards. Xia weifeng, test section chief at the Shanghai Telephone Quality Supervision and Test Center, said that without a standard for handset durability, consumers have a tough time gaining satisfaction. "It's not only difficult for them but also for us to prove whether it's their use that caused the problem or a quality defect," he said. Standards issued by the Ministry of Information Industry specify only the handset's ability to detect a signal and durability in a normal environment. The new rules would cover the full range of conditions.


From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 03/31/2005
 

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Online Publication Reaches China

Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania launched the Chinese edition of its business publication yesterday in the city. The famed US business school also signed a pact with the Shanghai Personnel Bureau to allow local civil servants to register to be the f irst batch of readers of “China Knowledge@Wharton.” The free online publication offers the lat-est business insight, information and research report from a variety of sources every other week. The publication includes interviews with industry leaders, business analysis articles and books written by Wharton professors.


From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 04/04/2005
 

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Online Stores Booming

A survey shows that there are more than 100,000 online stores in China which have some 20 million pieces of goods available. The survey involves web sites with independent domain and online shopping systems, as well as those building their operation on a third-party platform. Stores touting their products at auction web sites like eBay, taobao and chipbid are not included. 58 percent of online stores are in Guangdong, Beijing, Zhejiang and Shanghai. Post service delivers goods to customers in almost all towns and villages around the country. Books, audio and visual products, flowers and parts of electronic products are in largest availability. Online sellers of flowers, mobiles and cosmetics are facing the most intensive competition.


From People's Daily 04/07/2005

 

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Tibet Info Website Upgraded

The China Tibet Information Center (CTIC) has recently been upgraded with a TRS content management and search engine system. The multilingual website -- in Tibetan, Chinese and English -- was launched in 2000 to provide insights into Tibet in terms of politics, economy, history, culture, travel, religion and life. Now www.tibet.cn is the premier site for objective, wide-ranging and in-depth reports about daily events in China's Tibet. With a goal of introducing Tibet to the world and helping to modernize the region, CTIC is an active participant in such events as the National Aid-Tibet Result Exhibition, 2001 Beijing Tibetology Proseminar, Beijing-Lhasa Road Rally, Tibet Century Symphony Concert, Gesar Proseminar, China-Nepal Cultural Intercourse Week, China Tibet Culture Week and the 50th anniversary of Tibet's peaceful liberation. CTIC has also been influential in forming broader networks of Tibet information resources. In April of 2003 it conceived and sponsored the First Tibetan Internet Cooperation Conference. Delegates from Tibetan-language media organizations such as Xinhua Online's Tibet Channel, China Tibet News Net, Qinghai News Net, Tibet University Internet Center and the Northwest Nationality Institute's Information Research Center's Internet Center participated in the conference. The participants unanimously agreed to cooperate further, forming a Tibet web and working as a team to bolster individual strengths. As the first Internet media sponsor supporting the selection of the Tibetan antelope as the mascot of the 2008 Olympics, CTIC is seeking raise worldwide awareness of the endangered species and assist in its protection. The Beijing Olympic organizing committee is scheduled to announce its final selection of the 2008 mascot in June 2005. CTIC is dedicated to presenting daily events and life in Tibet directly and honestly to bring the greatest benefits to both users and region. Visitors to the site say it is the best medium for gaining a complete understanding the real Tibet.


From China Tibet Information Center 04/08/2005

 

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China Sees Rapid Growth in Online Search Services

An industry report released in Beijing Friday showed that the market of China's online search engine witnessed robust growth last year. The report released at a meeting on the development of China's search engine industry held in Xiamen City, eastern Fujian Province, showed that the market of the online service hit 1.25 billion yuan (US$151 illion) in 2004, rising 81 percent from the previous year. The report also predicted that the market of online searching engine in China would reach 2.3 billion yuan (US$278 million) this year, and might rocket to 5.62 billion yuan (US$80 million) by 2007. A total of 50 million Internet users in China used the online searching service every day in 2004, and in December there were 188.4 million clicks for online searches. Huang Chengqing, chairman of the Internet Society of China, said that with the development of information technology and the popularization of computers, online searches have become a major way to access information for Chinese citizens. Representatives of big name online service companies and investors, including IDG, Yahoo China and IBM, attended the two-day meeting.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/09/2005

 

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Farmers Go Online to Boost Rural Incomes

DALIAN: Tens of thousands of farmers have benefited from computer and Internet skills in this port city's administrative region, according to the local government. A government-sponsored project in the Liaoning Province city has helped the farmers sell their products and so increase their earnings. Yang Baixin, vice-head of the Municipal Bureau of Information Industry, said, "It has improved agricultural efficiency, increased farmers' incomes and promoted the development of the rural economy." Large agricultural households, farmers brokers and heads of professional associations are the main targets of the scheme, as they can then teach other farmers. More than 100 training sessions have been held in the past two years. After receiving training, the farmers can publish trading information and look for orders on the Internet. Statistics from the Municipal Bureau of Information Industry show that sales for Internet-related agricultural products reach 50,000 tons and 150 million yuan (US$18 million) each year. To encourage and support more farmers to study advanced technology, the municipal government is supplying one third of the money needed for 140 large agricultural families and associations to purchase computers. In addition, an agricultural information network at municipal, county and village levels, has been developed. From this timely, accurate and effective product and market information is provided to farmers. Rural women are also benefiting. In the past three years, 6,000 rural women have been trained to use the Internet at hundreds of training classes. And these have helped another 13,000 women master the computer. At the beginning, many women felt computers were too expensive and doubted whether the Internet could bring them benefits, but that has now changed. The local Women's Federation held lectures and organized them to visit companies with good electronics business, to let them realize the convenience and benefits of the Internet. Last year, the city invested 300,000 yuan (US$36,300) to encourage rural women to go online. The federation also encouraged the pioneers to help more women become rich through Internet business. (by Zheng Yanyan)


From China Daily 04/11/2005

 

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China Communities Link Set Up

An explanation session of the China Communities Link (CCL) Wireless Portal was held recently in Beijing's Capital Mansion, the headquarters of the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) Group. The session, which mainly touched upon the portal's status quo, was jointly held by CITIC's CCL project development body and the China Unicom New Space Co Ltd, a sub-company of the China United Telecommunications Corporation (China Unicom). Wang Jun, CITIC's chairman; Chang Xiaobing, China Unicom's chairman; Luo Ning, chairman and general manager of the CITIC Networks Co Ltd; and Zhong Junjie, general manager of the CCL project development body attended the session for high-ranking-official discussions about CCL's cooperation with China Unicom. The CCL Wireless Portal, a collaboration of CITIC's online portal CCL and China Unicom's code division multiple access (CDMA) network, reflects China's quick response to the ever-developing information era. The CCL project, a key systematic on-line information portal developed by CITIC, is an on-line platform for electronic government (EG), electronic business (EB), and other means of information interaction. CCL will develop a completely new digital compound network service system for modern cities and communities in China, according to the officials. With the development of mobile phones and other wireless information terminals, wireless value-added services are playing a more and more important role in people's lives by creating enormous social and economic benefits. Statistics show that China's mobile phone population has reached 350 million, ranking first worldwide, while over 40 percent of the mobile phone users have subsribed to value-added mobile phone services. With the popularization of 3G (3rd Generation) mobile phones, the business scope of value-added mobile phone services is expanding extensively from network access to audio and video functions as well as remote control. In light of this trend, the Chinese Government has enacted laws and regulations to help standardize and enhance the information industry's development. In addition, Premier Wen Jiabao has officially called for the enhancement of EG, EB, and information security measures, as well as sustainable social development with the information industry as the driving force. Therefore, the CCL Wireless Portal and its related wireless value-added service providers, including wireless city logistic centers, call centers, accounting service centers, and business credibility accreditation centers, as well as a wireless value-added service card, have been introduced to meet the needs of the information industry's advancement. The business scope of the said wireless value-added service providers basically cover three fields, namely governmental, business, and regional services. The governmental service sector is oriented to promote EG by offering services covering wireless taxation, the public and social security. The business service sector mainly targets wireless business services such as wireless payment, entertainment, and other business affairs. The regional service sector focuses on regional governmental, business, and other information services. Presently the portal is cooperating with Beijing, Jilin Province (Northeast China), Sichuan Province (Southwest China) and Henan Province (Central China), as well as the United States to provide wireless value-added services to the local people. "China Unicom will provide its CDMA network as the platform of all wireless value-added services and CCL will be the service provider," said Zhong Junjie, general manager of CITIC's CLL project. The benefits of the two Chinese information industry giants' alliance is multifold. Not only will it bring both sides considerable profits and enhance their business competitiveness, but it will also raise people's living standards and make China, as the Chinese Government plans, more prepared for the information era.


From China Daily 04/15/2005

 

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Zhejiang to Invest 100 bln. Yuan in Key Projects

As learned Zhejiang province plans to construct 160 key projects this year with an annual investment of 100 billion yuan. Among them five 10-billion projects will have a planned investment of 78.6 billion yuan including 51.1 billion yuan in a infrastructure project, 10.6 billion in a informatization project and 4.6 billion in a science, education, culture and health care project, 7.3 billion in an ecological environment project and 5 billion in a getting-rich-through-help project.


From People's Daily Online 04/15/2005
 

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Beijing: 5000 "Electronic Eyes" Safeguard

The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau says that over 5000 "electronic eye" inspecting devices have been studded all over the city to strengthen security. Currently, more than 440,000 people in Beijing are employed to help keep the city safe. The Beijing municipal government has launched a contest among communities called "the number of consecutive non-crime days" since 2002 to create a community-based anti-crime network. Meanwhile, 1947 of 2135 communities have reached the standard of a "safe community", and 144 of them have maintained a "zero crime" record for the past three years. The anti-crime network is mainly composed of community police, members of local residential associations and technology like "electronic eyes".


From CRI 04/18/2005

 

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Website Improves Lives of the Disabled

While many people consider the disabled as a group of disadvantaged people that need help from society, Wang Li is proving that is not always the case. Wang, a former champion at the National Para Games, has founded a website (www.soho-ku.com) called "New Vision Foundation for Disabled People." This non-profit Website launched by some handicapped individuals has attracted a lot of attention. The Website was initially designed to provide a platform for both warm-hearted and disabled people so they had easier access to offer and receive some help. "At the very beginning of the site being set up in 2003, few people ever know about our site, let alone visited it," Wang recalled. "But fortunately enough, we received lots of help from some volunteers. They did the whole translation work for the site and helped us maintain the network system. Thanks to their help, the site is in better condition now," she said. The site was set up in Chinese and English, and covers a variety of resources, such as photo galleries, message boards and other services. It also features a bulletin board to keep visitors well-informed about events organized by the site. Currently, more and more people have come to know and joined in the site, including some foreign charities.


From Shanghai Daily 04/18/2005

 

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Internet Users in China Number 120 million

China's Internet Association says the country's Internet population is expected to reach 120 million this year. China's Internet Association says the country's Internet population is expected to reach 120 million this year. This is a rise of 28 percent on last year's figure. The number of online users in China has soared in recent years. In 2004 there were 94 million users.


From CRIENGLISH.com 03/23/2005


 

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China Is Nokia’s Biggest Cellphone Market

The president of Nokia’s Chinese operation David Ho says that China is now the largest market for Nokia’s cellular phones. The vendor reported Chinese sales of EUR7.4 billion in the first quarter, up 17% on the corresponding period of 2004, with Nokia eclipsing all other handset suppliers in the country, whilst also securing the largest share of the 3G equipment market.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/03/2005

 

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Guangdong Telecom Makes IP Move

The French equipment manufacturer Alcatel has won a contract to expand and upgrade the fixed line infrastructure of the China Telecom subsidiary Guangdong Telecom. The deal, financial details of which were not disclosed, calls for Alcatel to supply its 7750 service router to enhance the telco’s IP-based data services. Guangdong Telecom intends to launch ‘triple-play’ TV, telephony and internet services over its networks as well as enhancing its broadband offering.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/10/2005

 

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JAPAN: MIC Holds Study Group on Information Frontier

The MIC, will hold a Study Group on Information Frontier towards the realization of a ubiquitous network society, in order to have a broad exchange of opinions on systematic and technical issues to disseminate the utilization of creative ICT and the service business, taking the latest move into consideration. The first meeting will be held on March 11, 2005.

Topics for investigation:
1) Frontier in efficient use
Analysis of current status and topics in new concepts including SOA (service-oriented architecture) for the advanced utilization of ICT, and investigation of effective measures; Investigation of measures for utilizing the enormous data over the network
2) Frontier in services (business model)
Analysis of current status and topics in new services including Weblogs, SNS (social networking site) towards the advanced ICT, and investigation of implementing measures; Investigation of measures for developing new business in the ICT field

Schedule:
The group will start from March 11, 2005, and plans to compile its final report in June 2005.


From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 03/05/2005

 

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Tokyo Metropolitan Government to Introduce Credit Card Facilities

From April 1, 2005, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will allow fees and charges to be paidvia credit card at designated metropolitan facilities.

Introduction of Credit Card Facilities
The Government is actively working to enable public funds to be paid through various methods. As part of its efforts, the Government has adopted a ?multi-payment network" to allow the payment of public funds through ATMs, personal computers or mobile phones. After reviewing the use of credit cards, the Government has decided to lead local authorities across the country by allowing credit card payments in an aim to provide Tokyo's citizens with greater convenience and to increase efficiency in account processing.

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Target Locations
As indicated in the following chart, credit card payments will be accepted at locations including Tokyo Citizens Information Room (3F,Tokyo Metropolitan Main Building No. 1). Credit cards will be able to be used for the purchase price of valued publications and other payments. Credit cards and IC cards issued by ShinGinko Tokyo may be used from April 1, 2005 at all indicated facilities

FY2005 Schedule
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will maintain its initiative in expanding available facilities and operations by taking into account the effectiveness of installing and operating credit card services during fiscal 2005.


From http://www.metro.tokyo.jp 03/05/2005

 

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Selection of the “Top 100 Companies Using IT Management” by the IT Management Support Force

As one of its programs, the Committee to Support SME Management Reform Using IT (IT Management Support Force) implemented an application process for the “Top 100 Companies Using IT Management,” as a means of selecting companies with outstanding management strategy and IT utilization, and finding examples that are likely to enable SME managers achieve their goals. There were a total of 134 applications received and of these 111 companies have been approved as the “Top 100 Companies Using IT Management.”


From http://www.meti.go.jp/ 04/04/2005

 

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Japan Internet Takeover Battle Ends

A rare takeover battle that gripped Japan ended in a tie-up between the warring sides Monday when Internet service company Livedoor Co. and media conglomerate Fuji Television Network Inc. agreed on an allliance. The accord includes having Fuji take a stake in Livedoor, the Internet company said in a statement. The two Tokyo-based companies have been locked in a battle for two months over control of Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. Hostile takeovers are still relatively rare in Japan, which has long favored harmony and cross-holding of shares to maintain market stability and block acquisitions. Livedoor's bid to control Nippon Broadcasting has been welcomed by some as a sign that Japan - notoriously closed to outsiders - is gradually changing, and as a wake-up call for complacent companies that have not guarded properly against takeovers. Livedoor President Takafumi Horie, 32, has been on TV news and talk shows almost daily in recent months as a symbol of the nation's emerging brash, defiant entrepreneur.


From http://www.forbes.com/ 04/18/2005

 

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Japan's Establishment Broadcaster, Internet Whizkid Call Truce

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan's largest broadcaster Fuji Television and Livedoor, the Internet start-up of a brash young entrepreneur, on Monday called a truce after a two-month takeover battle. Livedoor's 32-year-old founder Takafumi Horie, wearing a T-shirt, and Fuji chief Hisashi Hieda, 67, wearing a suit and tie, went before the cameras to seal a deal that could include tie-ups between the two firms. Horie, a university dropout who has declared that corporate Japan needs a kick in the pants, in February began an aggressive takeover bid for a crucial Fuji unit, Nippon Broadcasting System radio, in a bid ultimately to win control of the television giant. "From the beginning, we have aimed at business cooperation or capital cooperation" with Fuji, Horie told a joint news conference with Hieda. "I am so excited because forming a business model of a fusion between telecommunications and broadcasting is one of our goals," he said. Keeping a stern expression, Hieda told the conference that the deal was "satisfactory," but added that Fuji would take the lead in the business tie-up with its former foe. A joint statement Monday said the two companies agreed to take a stake in each other. Under the deal, Livedoor will sell its unit Livedoor Partners -- which directly holds a 32.4 percent stake in targetted radio firm Nippon Broadcasting System -- to Fuji for 67 billion yen (622 million dollars). As a result of the transfer, Fuji will control 68.87 percent of Nippon Broadcasting. While Nippon Broadcasting is taken under the wing of Fuji, it is also Fuji's biggest shareholder with a 22.5 percent stake, making control of the radio station crucial. Livedoor would still hold a 17.60 percent stake in Nippon Broadcasting but Fuji said it would seek to obtain 100 percent ownership by offering 6,300 yen per share for the outstanding stock. In return, Livedoor will privately place 133.74 million new shares with Fuji, raising some 44 billion yen. The offering price is set at 329 yen per share. As a result of the new share issue, Fuji will emerge as the second largest shareholder of Livedoor with a 12.75 percent stake. Horie will still control the largest 21.06 percent stake of the expanded capital of Livedoor. The two said they have agreed to set up a special committee to discuss business tie-ups. Livedoor broke precedent in Japan through its aggressive moves, buying up shares in Nippon Broadcasting through an out-of-hours trading system on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In an effort to ward off Livedoor, Nippon Broadcasting tried to issue "warrant rights" to Fuji Television, meaning only the network could buy new stock in the radio firm but a Japanese court barred the plan. Investors saw the deal in favor of Livedoor. Share prices in Livedoor jumped 21 yen or 6.38 percent to close at 350 yen as the benchmark Nikkei index plunged to a four-month low of 10,938.44, down 3.80 percent. Share prices in Fuji lost 8,000 yen or 3.48 percent to end at 222,000 yen, with those in Nippon Broadcasting down yen yen or 1.18 percent at 5,880 yen.


From http://www.spacedaily.com/ 04/18/2005
 

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Information Frontier City:Yokosuka City

Yokosuka City's basic approach to the information age is to use information technologies (IT) to reform the way the city government is managed. Three tenets have been established to guide the direction of these management reforms: Transform our city management style, transform our organizational structure, and transform our approach to citizen interaction.
(1) Transforming our city management style means shifting from the conventional "follow-the-leader" mentality and emphasis on information gathering, to a new style that encourages individuals to demonstrate their unique talents and that emphasizes the city's role as a distributor of information.
(2) Transforming our organizational structure means shifting from a centralized organizational structure to a decentralized structure where authority is distributed in a network-type model.
(3) Transforming our approach to citizen interaction means developing services based on the needs of the public (customers) rather than on the needs of the city office.

The goals of the "e-City Office" are to steer the city in the right direction, to provide the best services possible to the public, and to minimize administrative costs. There are many factors that influence our ability to fully utilize IT to maximize our public service capabilities, but it is especially important that an appropriate balance be achieved between two factors in particular: (1) the provision of value-added services, and (2) the achievement of an open and efficient administration.

The introduction of IT is especially important in reducing the burden of administrative procedures on the public and helping to minimize the community's social costs. Yokosuka City's goal is to shift to an approach that focuses on service receivers rather than service providers. To achieve these goals, we are promoting widespread connections and business process reengineering (BPR) efforts with a focus on the creation of organic ties between the government, citizens, and NPOs (strengthening of public-private partnerships). In 2001, Yokosuka City won e-Government Award, sponsored by the Japan Industrial Journal, conferred upon local governments that utilize information technology (IT) and strive to deliver outstanding "e-government" to enrich the lives of their citizens. Yokosuka's efforts to computerize various city processes, including the introduction of an electronic bidding system, are highly regarded.


From http://www.city.yokosuka.kanagawa.jp/ 05/18/2005

 

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SOUTH KOREA: Mobile Broadcasting to Help Reduce Disaster Damage

South Korea’s cutting-edge technology looks set to play an important role in disaster prevention in the Asian area. The Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) said on Wednesday (March 2) that it had recommended Asian countries adopt terrestrial digital multimedia broadcasting (T-DMB) as their disaster warning system. “During an ongoing preparatory meeting for the 2007 World Radio-Communication Conference in Bangkok, we demonstrated the T-DMB services and it attracted a lot of attention from Asian nations,” MIC manager Kim Dong-seok said. T-DMB is a promising cross between telecom and broadcasting, enabling people to enjoy crystal-clear video, CD-quality audio and data on the move via mobile handsets. Korea looks to start the mobility-specific services from May and the government will release six DMB licenses, three for terrestrial broadcasters and the remaining three for other players. When an early warning system is established in relation to T-DMB, it would warn users of imminent disasters through the T-DMB terminals. “We are developing a system that can alarm T-DMB terminal owners even when the power is turned off. When the owners watch T-DMB programs, an emergency sign will appear,” Kim said. Kim added that with the introduction of the T-DMB warning system, it will be possible for people to be evacuated and rescued from danger before a situation like the recent South Asian tsunami occurs. At least 172,000 people across Asia died in the tsunami, and 125,000 are missing, presumed dead. The tidal wave hit Southeast Asian nations last December without any warning.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/02/2005

 

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Mobile Phones Open New World with One-touch Communications

A soft touch on a mobile phone key opens a new world thanks to various push-to-share services, which allow users get through to business associates, family and friends without dialing. Korean mobile operators look to embark on the push-to-talk (PTT) services, the first of the push-to-share series that provides customers a fast connection to multiple parties with whom they communicate most _ all at the same time. Only one person can talk at a time and one or several others can listen. One button controls this walkie-talkie feature. Icons on phone screens show a list of contacts and indicates who is available, similar to the "friends and contacts lists" on Internet chat programs. The device also saves time as there is no need to wait for a dial tone or endure busy signals. The United States has set the tone for walkie-talkie phones as Motorola developed the service-specific network, dubbed integrated digital enhanced network (iDEN), in 1994, and Nextel Communications launched the device. However, South Korea is nudging past the U.S., led by the nation`s two flagship phone manufacturers _ Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics _ to develop more advanced models, LG, the world`s fifth-largest handset provider, unveiled a push-to-view (PTV) phone, which enables video conferencing under wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA), this month. Samsung, the third-biggest, took the wraps off a push-to-all (PTA) product late last week with combined functions of voice calls, video telephony and data transfer.


From The KoreaTimes 03/02/2005
 

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Busan to Become Science City

Busan, the nation’s largest port city, located on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula, will be developed into a center for raising talented scientists. According to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) on Friday (March 4), Busan Metropolitan City has decided to jointly support the “Science Korea” project, a nationwide campaign to promote science with the ministry and the Korean Science Foundation (KSF). The ministry said it seeks to promote Korea’s technological capabilities by establishing a center rich in talented scientists to attract scientific research centers and new industries. The Busan city government plans to establish a science-related infrastructure and host science-related fairs, conferences and exhibitions. It has also decided to hold regular science forums for the regional development of science and publish science periodicals to promote the city’s role in the field. In line with this, Busan will build a youth science promotion center and 22 science labs for children in the city to maximize exposure student’s exposure to science and organize science camps during school vacations. In addition, Busan will host a science fair and exhibition to celebrate the 39th Science Day in 2006 to encourage public interest. Busan also seeks to create a research and development (R&D) cluster by attracting the regional R&D headquarters of multinational firms and Korean corporations, while also fostering industries for next-generation growth engines to drive the city’s economic growth. The MOST and the Busan city government believe that transforming Busan into a center for science would set a good example for creating a science-conscious culture in other metropolitan cities. It will greatly contribute to fostering talented scientists to lead the nation’s science technology industry in the future, a spokesman of the ministry said. Busan plans to release its plan for becoming a science city at its government offices on Monday (March 7). Deputy prime minister and Minister of Science and Technology Oh Myung and Busan City Mayor Hur Nam-sik will attend the event.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/04/2005

 

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Busan Aims to Become ‘Ubiquitous City'

Busan, the nation's largest port city, will emerge as the world's first city with a ubiquitous wireless network in five years as the city plans to invest about 1 trillion won to hook the city up to telecom and computer networks, Busan Metropolitan Government said on Wednesday (March 9). Under the ambitious plan, Busan citizens will be able to get ubiquitous net access in every corner of the city. “This is the first time a whole city will have made itself wirelessly connected. Until now, some parts of a city or specific areas have been subject to the state-of-the-art technology,” Lee Gang-heon at the city's innovation direction team said. In partnership with KT, Korea's dominant telecom company, the southeastern city will invest a total of 1 trillion won ($1 billion) in transforming it into a whole new “Ubiquitous City” or U-City by 2010. To launch the mega project, Mayor Hur Nam-sik and KT president Lee Young-kyoung signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to invest 3 billion won in a joint venture by August. The two parties will come up with a comprehensive master plan by August before they start installing the software to change Busan into a “ubiquitous city.” Backed by its geographical significance, Busan, located on the southeastern tip of the Korean Peninsula, was selected as the final winner out of the 16 contested cities after assessment by McKinsey, a global consulting firm, for three months to last December. The city government will put logistics before other sectors such as transport, roads, industries, tourism and convention centers and daily lives. The government is pushing forward a plan to make the city a logistics hub of Northeast Asia. About 70 percent of the total investment, or 690 billion won, will go to logistics. “By applying the up-to-date technology in every nook and corner of the city, we will not only revive the moribund local economy but also develop the city into a logistics hub of Northeast Asia,” the mayor said. The city will try to invite as much private capital, at home and abroad, to the ambitious plan, especially to the sectors which yield profits. “In fact, Busan prospered in manufacturing until several years ago but now the boom years in the sector are gone. So a new growth engine is badly needed for the city,” Lee said. He went on to say that the nation's largest fixed-line carrier must have searched for a new source of income. That's because KT has been concentrating on the already saturated network market. “As well as the mass-market network service, we will develop more new business models like U-City and some based on information and communication technology (ICT),” Yun Hae-jong, vice president of U-City Planning Department of KT, said. KT hopes to make business ties with interested parties from among foreign IT giants such as Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard and Fujitsu. They are in contact with KT over whether this world-first project will work, he added.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/09/2005

 

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US$300 Million 'Ubiquitous City' Project in South Korea

The investment will provide pervasive wireless access, and is to complement a US$700 million investment in the port city's logistics infrastructure. The city of Busan has unveiled an ambitious plan to become the world's first 'Ubiquitous City' (U-City). Working in partnership with Korea Telecom, the metropolitan government plans to invest US$1 billion to extend wireless internet access to every part of the city by 2010, and to integrate this with the IT infrastructure of municipal administration and the port. According to municipal government officials, they are currently discussing potential opportunities for involvement in the project with IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/17/2005

 

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Ministry Issues Management Criterion to Protect Personal Information

Starting October, communication service firms are required to have internal management procedures requiring the approval of an official responsible for personal information management when it comes to printing clients’ personal information or duplicating it onto a diskette. The Ministry of Information and Communication on Thursday (March 24) put on notice a management criterion for the protection of clients’ personal information by communication service providers such as key communication operators, Internet shopping malls and Internet portal sites. After a six-month guidance period, the ministry will enforce the criterion in October, with a fine of up to 10 million won for companies failing to come up with adequate protective arrangements. The essential points of the criterion, which was created to counter the leakage of clients’ information by internal staff, include keeping the number of workers with access to the information to a minimum and restrictions on the information items that staff can look into the individual information treatment system. Apart from the communication service providers, hotels, airlines, cram schools, large discount stores and department stores, where individual information is handled, will be covered by the criterion.


From http://www.korea.net/ 03/24/2005
 

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Digital Map to Show Tidal Current in Real-Time

The National Oceanographic Research Institute has launched a plan to develop a digital tidal current chart of waters under Korean jurisdiction to show the currents in real-time and to also be able to forecast them efficiently. Digital tide maps have already been used or sought in advanced coastal countries. It has been difficult for users to easily get information on tidal currents as the existing tidal current charts are mainly available in books by waters and ports. However, a digital tidal current chart will enable users to grasp the movement of seawater easily and swiftly on a computer screen. The national institute plans to complete the overall sea current chart by the end of this year, while continuing to produce a detailed chart of every coast and harbor for safe voyage, rescue and prevention of pollution on an efficient basis.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/05/2005
 

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High-Speed Mobile Users to Reach 25 Million

The number of subscribers to high-speed mobile phone services in South Korea is expected to reach 25.2 million by 2009, surging from last year's 9.5 million. Research House International Data Corp. (IDC) forecast on Thursday (April 14) that the number of high-speed phone users in the Asia and Pacific region, excluding Japan, will probably rise to 142 million over the next five years. As of 2004, South Korea, Hong Kong and Australia were the only countries to launch high-speed phone services outside Japan, said IDC. In South Korea, Asia's third-largest wireless market, SK Telecom and KTF have launched high-speed mobile services using Qualcomm's CDMA2000 1X EV-DO (evolution data optimized) technology. The EV-DO network allows faster Internet access via mobile phones, allowing users to download music files or short video clips. SK Telecom and KTF are also gearing up to offer a so-called third-generation mobile service based on a European standard dubbed wideband-CDMA.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/15/2005
 

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US$300 Million 'Ubiquitous City' Project in South Korea

The investment will provide pervasive wireless access, and is to complement a US$700 million investment in the port city's logistics infrastructure. The city of Busan has unveiled an ambitious plan to become the world's first 'Ubiquitous City' (U-City). Working in partnership with Korea Telecom, the metropolitan government plans to invest US$1 billion to extend wireless internet access to every part of the city by 2010, and to integrate this with the IT infrastructure of municipal administration and the port. According to municipal government officials, they are currently discussing potential opportunities for involvement in the project with IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/17/2005

 

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Korea Celebrates 50th Information-Communication Day

The Korean government on Friday (April 22) celebrated its huge success in the information technology (IT) sector on the 50th Information-Communication Day. In a congratulatory speech, Information and Communition Minister Chin Dae-je said IT has played a pivotal role in the recent development of the nation. “IT has underpinned the slumping economy as a major pillar over the past few years but we should not rest on our laurels. We need to accelerate efforts to become a genuine IT hotbed,” Chin said. Information-communication technologies have galvanized the country to climb from the darkest shadow of industrialization to the top of the high-tech tree over the past decade. Despite lacking natural resources, Korea is a major maker of high-end products, such as semiconductors, mobile handsets and flat-panel displays. On the occasion of the event, the ministry granted a total of 53 awards to those who contributed to the nation's IT development, including bureaucrats, professors and businesspeople. Lee Yong-kyung, president of the predominant telecom operator KT, received the most prestigious award of the Gold Tower of the Order of Industrial Service Merit. Only erstwhile Hanaro Telecom president Shin Yoon-shik received the top honor in 2003 over the past 10 years after the ministry was launched in late 1994. The ministry spearheaded the eye-catching, fast-paced progress of Korea's IT industries with visionary strategies and clear planning. In June 1995, just sixth months after its inception, the ministry brewed up an ambitious and multi-pronged informatization scheme and masterminded a glittering array of world-first jobs. Included its feats are the ministry's leadership in the commercial rollout of code-division-multiple-access (CDMA) phones in the mid-1990s and high-speed Internet in the late 1990s. Combined with Korea's trend-sensitive and tech-savvy citizens, who are arguably the most enthusiastic users of new technologies in the world, such efforts bore a tangible fruit and catapulted the country to the IT hothouse. Now, Korea is leading the world in many fields, such as in broadband Internet penetration rate, mobile phone usage rate and the relative competitiveness of the IT industry. Currently, about 12 million households of the total 16 million are hooked up to the always-on Internet, which zaps data at the speed of 2-3 megabits per second (Mbps), about 10 times faster than the conventional dial-up modem. More than 37 million of the total population of 48 million carry at least one cell phone based on CDMA, the offspring of U.S-based Qualcomm. In addition, Korea's revealed comparative advantage (RCA) index in the IT industry is the highest among OECD countries at 2.43 as of 2002, according to the latest data available. The RCA index is calculated by comparing the rates of a certain country's share in OECD members' exports in an IT category to the country's share in total exports of OECD nations.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/22/2005
 

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124 Small Factories to Be Degitalized

An e-manufacturing project will get underway this year to digitalize factories of small- and medium-sized firms by grafting information technologies onto the outdated manufacturing system. The Small and Medium Business Administration has initially selected 124 firms of the total 180 manufacturers for factory digitalization this year at an outlay of 8.5 billion won. The selected firms will be granted up to 50 million won each within 50 percent of the total spending needed to install information systems at factories. A total of 412 small manufacturers have digitalized their factories over the past three years since 2002 at the preferential loans of 20.8 billion won arranged by the government. he government plans to finance a total of 1,500 smaller manufacturers in digitalization till 2008. To raise the efficiency of the project, the administration has altered its basic concept from a supplier (IT industries) oriented one to a user (smaller industries) oriented one, improving the operating procedures of the project through easy application on the Internet, simplification of its procedure and advancement of the completion period for the project. To encourage more firms to participate in the project, it has decided to give one more chance a year. Currently firms only have one chance per year to participate. The administration also plans to pick out the 20 best firms among the beneficiaries for further upgrading .


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/25/2005

 

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Korea's Information and Communication, Past and Today

It was in 1996 when information and communication technology began to directly influence the livelihood of Koreans and the country's economy. It was also when Korea embarked on the commercialization of CDMA, short for code-division multiple access, a digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum techniques, for the first time in the world. Since then, Korea has been elevated from modest to a strong communications power. Coming on the heels of mobile communication was the advent of the Internet, which thanks to elaborately wrought, strategic preparations by the Ministry of Information and Communication made Korea a broadband power around 2000, an occasion that enhanced Korea's image as IT Korea in the eyes of the world. As of the end last year, the number of mobile communication subscribers in the country exceeded 36 million, or 75 out of 100 people, while broadband Internet subscribers hit 11.92 million, making Korea communication front-runner in the world. Following the mid-1990s, IT has greatly transformed Koreans' livelihood. Along with this, the IT industry has emerged as the engine of economic growth. In 2004, Korea's IT grew into an industry capable of turning out 241 trillion won worth of goods with export registering $74.7 billion. As a result, the IT industry has increased its share to the nation's economy in general. According to the 2004 report on OECD IT appraisal, Korea topped the 30-member OECD in terms of the IT industry relative to its balance of trade. Korea also ranked third in the IT economic power concentration, a barometer which shows the ratio of the IT market to gross domestic product. This signifies the IT industry has become the growth engine for the Korean economy and greatly increased Korea's prestige in the global IT market. Korea's current development stage in the IT industry can be symbolized as ‘u-Korea.' The national strategy and blueprint capable of creating u-Korea is none other than IT839 strategy, to usher in the era of ‘knowledge-based society.' This means a further development beyond the era of IT Korea, showing inroads into knowledge-based society. Currently, the Ministry of Information and Communication is planning to establish three major IT infrastructure sectors of BcN, U-sensor network and next generation Internet domain (Ipv6) to promote ‘information digital home for individuals or homes, informatization of the government and public organizations, e-government, corporate informatization and digital enterprises by 2007. Together with the three infrastructure sectors, the ministry is actively conducting eight new services, including digital TV, W(wideband)-CDMA, home network, DMB (digital multimedia broadcasting), portable Internet service WiBro, telematics and RFID (radio frequency identification) on a trial basis.


From http://www.korea.net/ 04/25/2005

 

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Samsung Develops New Module for Bluetooth Phones

Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co. said yesterday that it has developed a new Bluetooth module for mobile phones, which will provide for wireless transmission of information between electronic devices. Production is planned for later this month. The new module, designed for the Bluetooth version 1.2 is about 10 percent smaller than conventional devices but has similar processing capabilities. Bluetooth refers to a short-range radio technology that is aimed at simplifying communications between electronic devices by using radio waves to move information back and forth. The technology is used in mobile-phones, personal computers and media devices in cars, among others. A Bluetooth-enabled mobile-phone, for example, could enable the user to make voice calls just by using wireless headsets and ear pieces without having to pull the handset out of his pocket. Industry watchers believe the market for built-in Bluetooth radios will grow to 577 million units in 2007, from 126 million units last year, with most of the growth coming from mobile-phones. Samsung Electro-Mechanics expects Bluetooth modules to generate 50 billion won ($50 million) in revenue this year. The company expects to have about 21 percent of the global module market for hand-held devices by 2007.


From The Korea Herald 05/16/2005

 

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Korean Customs Inspections Bookable Online

Immigrants to South Korea can now reserve customs inpsections of their goods online. The Korea Customs Service will begin operating its internet reservation system for customs clearances at www.customs.go.kr. "The Internet reservation system will help us reduce the time required for the customs clearances from four or five hours to three hours," said a customs spokesman. "Those who make reservations online can now include information so that we can calculate in advance how much we have to impose for duties and taxes." While general goods for the purpose of moving into Korea are exempt from duties, some items, including automobiles, are subject to them. A person bringing a car to Korea can input information about the vehicle into the online reservation system. Before the online booking appointments could be made by telephone or fax.


From http://www.pstm.net 05/17/2005

 

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Ubiquitous Trend Infiltrates into Rural Villages

The "ubiquitous trend," the movement to extend to people a connection to the Internet at any time and at any place, is penetrating into rural villages in Korea on top of the high penetration in the bustling urban areas. The movement, geared toward eliminating the digital divide in a super-connected future society, is currently being spearheaded by Hanaro Dream chairman Shin Yun-sik, former Hanaro Telecom chairman. "Korea’s ubiquitous discussion has mostly pivoted around the metropolitan areas, but we should not forget 3.5 million farmers who account for more than 7 percent of population," the 69-year-old Shin said. To help farmers jump on the bandwagon of the ubiquitous trend, Shin masterminded the establishment of the Korea Ubiquitous Village Forum (KUVF) in March. A total of 50 dignitaries participated in the initiative as sponsors including co-leaders of Information and Communication University president Huh Un-na and former Agriculture-Forestry Minister Huh Shin-haeng, in addition to Shin. Eighteen commissioners convene every Saturday to ferret out a way to modernizing the farmhouses with top-end technologies. "Most of the Korean farm villages are now saddled by multiple problems of diminishing population and aging populous, phenomena caused by poor education opportunities and a lack of proper jobs," Shin said. "I think we should directly address the two problems to grapple with the roadblocks en route to rural informatization and the KUVF will come up with an answer," he added. To create attractive jobs in farming villages, he suggested state-of-the-art technologies, such as radio frequency identification chips, should be applied in organic agricultures. Such pesticide-free products will be able to sell at high prices by branding them and finding end users through online shopping malls run by the cultivators themselves. Also, Shin said cyber education systems will help rural high school students overcome their disadvantages by connecting them to advanced tutoring contents of metropolitan cities. "We plan to demonstrate that a farming town also has a shot at becoming an advanced information society by starting a pilot-run in Kohung, South Cholla Province," he said. In Kohung, Shin already started boosting environment-friendly agriculture via high-tech technologies and branding them. Plus, he looks to set up a high school in Kohung with a facility for broadcasting educational contents that are now taught in Kangnam-gu of Seoul as early as next year. Gluing Eyes to Education Shin said the "ubiquitous trend" will automatically crop up in urban areas by companies that jockey to make money in the populous cities, but rural villages are dearth of such momentum. Indeed, Korea’s dominant telecom carrier KT revealed last week its scheme of building 20 ubiquitous cities in urban areas equipped with next-generation connectivity by next year. But there has been no outstanding efforts from businesses to establish ubiquitous villages up until now. After successfully nurturing u-village in Kohung, he aims to make such model villages in other provinces in order to extend the rural ubiquitous trend to across the nation. "Some people raise suspicions whether the ubiquitous trend can penetrate into the rural areas. But I am sure we can attain our goal in the not-so-distant future," Shin said. In fact, Shin has a knack for pioneering where nobody has tried to venture out into before as amply demonstrated by his contribution to the nation’s proliferation of the high-speed Internet. In April 1999, the bureaucrat-turned-businessman headed the commercial launch of asymmetric digital subscribe aster than previous dial-up modems. Back then, many pessimists hesitated to channel loads of money in the broadband technology due to its uncertain prospects but Shin had forged ahead despite the concerns. Observers point out his strong drive with ADSL with confidence is in no small part responsible for the country’s current broadband success. Now more than 12 million of Korea’s 15 million homes are hooked up to the always-on Internet. In recognition of this feat, the government gave him the Gold Tower Order of Industrial Service Merit in 2003. ``I learned much from Microsoft chairman Bill Gates who has granted much money for the development of education. I think businessmen are required to pay back to the society in earnest like him,’’ Shin said. In late 2003, Gates surprised the world by announcing that his foundation will donate $51 million to create 67 public high schools in poor neighborhoods in New York. He also set up Maxwell Dworkin building in the Harvard University where the world’s first computer is stored. The title was named after his mother Mary Maxwell Gates and Beatrice Dworkin Ballmer, mother of current Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.


From The Korea Times 05/17/2005

 

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KAZAKSHASTN: Kazakh Version of Office and Windows Arrives in RK This June

Kazakh version of LIP for Office 2003 and Windows XP will arrive in Kazakhstan in early June 2005. Aidar Dauletov, director general of Microsoft company office in Kazakhstan, has stated this today, April 14, at a press briefing in Almaty. "Currently we have managed to resolve all problems related with the glossary including up to 4 thousand terms. There is a physical problem now - producing and packing this product. The shipment of the readymade product from our factory in Ireland to Kazakhstan starts in late May," - he has explained. Talking about potential Office and Windows users, he has said that "so far Microsoft has not had any talks with potential customers." However he has suggested that the first users of the programme "will be the government, ministries, and others." Earlier it was suggested that the product would be ready in autumn, 2004, but because the list of Kazakh terms had not been approved the date of issue for the software was transferred to a later date. Investments into this project are going to reach several hundred thousand USD.


From http://eng.gazeta.kz/ 04/14/2005
 

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MONGOLIA: A Model City Karakorum

Karakorum, the historical capital of Mongolia, once an attraction for foreigners and the pride of Mongolians, now will be transformed into a development model city. However, not everyone will relocate there right away and the capital will not change. What this means is that Karakorum will be developed to be as large as Ulaanbaatar with far better planning, development and maintenance. The working group, led by Prime Minister Ts. Elbegdorj, released the first draft of the city’s development plan. Moreover, the submission to Parliament has been delayed for a month to allow the public to give input into the plan. Anyone can comment on the plan until May 12th by connecting to www.karakorum.mn and/or by sending their suggestions to Room 253 at Government House-The working group on planning the development of Karakorum as a Model City. Unfortunately, the site is only in Mongolian, however English readers can find other useful resources on the site such as information on city planning and the history of Karakorum.


From http://www.open-government.mn/ 04/15/2005

 

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Cheaper Internet Service Introduced

Ulaanbaatar, /MONTSAME/. Today is the World Communications day. A possibility to use much cheaper Internet is opened starting from today. A joint Consortium of the Ulaanbaatar Railway Authority and the Orbinet Company has arranged with the Russian Transtelecom Company to receive the Internet flow to Ulaanbaatar at the price of 2500 USD which before stood at 6000-8000 USD. The Consortium concluded an agreement on supplying domestic users with the lower rate Internet service. The biggest nine Internet provider companies, including Magicnet, Micom, Sky C&C and the Erdemnet joined the agreement. The Information, Communications and Technology Agency of Mongolia is playing a main role in today s high-speed information technology sector and aims at fully computerizing all households and organizations by 2012. G. Sainbayar


From http://www.montsame.mn/ 05/17/2005

 

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TAJIKISTAN: Tajik Tax Police Close Independent TV Station

Tajik tax police closed the independent Somoniyon television station on 17 May, Asia-Plus reported. The Dushanbe-based station's director, Irkom Mirzoyev, said the tax authorities were ordered to close the station by state Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting First Deputy Chairman Abdulatif Saidov. Somoniyon's operating license was previously revoked but the station was granted an additional three months in April pending an attempt to re-register (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 April 2005). The Somoniyon move follows the late-March imposition of a three-month suspension of the operating license of independent television station Guli Bodom in the northern Tajik town of Konibodom. RG


From http://www.rferl.org/ 05/19/2005

 

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UZBEKISTAN: ADB to Assist Integrate ICT into Basic Education in Uzbekistan

Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help prepare a project to integrate information and communications technology (ICT) into basic education in Uzbekistan through a technical assistance (TA) grant approved for US$600,000. The TA will prepare an ICT development strategy for basic education and a feasibility study for a project that will introduce an ICT-based approach to teaching and learning in certain grade levels and subjects in basic education based on this strategy. Lan Wu, an ADB Senior Social Economist, said: "ICT should be used not only to improve computer literacy but also, more importantly, to improve the quality and relevance of basic education in general." "International experience shows that appropriate use of ICT helps students score high on achievement tests, learn more in less time, and develop positive attitudes toward their classes and learning. ICT also has a potentially important role in ensuring access to education for students in remote rural areas." While Uzbekistan scores high on education-related Millennium Development Goals, with a net enrolment rate at 99% and no major gender differentials, basic education is often of low quality and relevance. A recent United Nations Development Programme report shows that Uzbekistan is still at a very early stage of ICT development. More than 80% of equipment is outdated, and there are insufficient computers even for computer classes, let alone for broader integration of ICT into the curriculum. Only half of schools offer computer classes, and many have no access to computer equipment. A national ICT strategy, developed in 2002, aims to increase the computer-student ratio from 1:110 to 1:20 and provide Internet access to 63% of all schools by 2010, from only 0.2% now. The ICT development strategy to be prepared by the TA will help define how these goals will be reached. The TA will take a participatory approach to build consensus among stakeholders on key challenges facing ICT development in basic education, and focus on developing targeted policies and mechanisms to help bridge the internal digital divide between urban and rural areas. It will also explore ways to promote public and private sector partnerships in ICT development. "An information- and knowledge-based economy will enable Uzbekistan to benefit fully from a global economy that is becoming ever more integrated," adds Mr Wu. "Such an economy will enhance Uzbekistan's competitiveness within the Central Asia region." The government of Uzbekistan will contribute US$150,000 equivalent toward the TA's total cost of US$750,000. The Ministry of Public Education is the executing agency for the TA, which will be carried out over 12 months to about February 2006.


From http://www.uzreport.com/ 03/10/2005
 

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Uzrating.Com Web Project Officially Launched

SAIPRO engineering-consulting company officially launched a web project UzRating.com on 28 April. The company has great experience in e-commerce as it owns several web projects, including leading business portal of Uzbekistan - UzReport.com. UzRating.com is a marketing tool for businesses and other structures, which will help them to monitor visitors of their web sites and undertake appropriate measures to improve their content. The web site offers three types of packages with total 40 statistic reports. The report includes such data as number of visitors, geography of visits, popular pages of the site, information on operation systems and browsers, which visitors use, and others. Ravshan Djuraev, director-general of SAIPRO, said: “I think no need to speak about utility of the project as marketing tool for those who are building their business with use of Internet or part of it. The project will allow people to find out about their users and introduce corresponding changes to their strategy of development.” “Such information will be useful not only for owners of web projects, but also to advertiser, considering advertisement campaign via Internet.”


From http://www.uza.uz/ 04/28/2005

 

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Uznet Festival Began With Publication of the List of UZ Domens

Official website of the Internet-festival Uzbekistan'2005 (http://www.if.uz) opened on May 10. Festival press service reports that the first meeting of the ad hoc committee and jury took place on May 7. Nomination of contest program participants and other procedures were discussed. The festival begins with Inventory action in which organizers hope to compile a maximum complete catalog of resources. By April 1, 2005, 3,194 domens were registered in the UZ zone. Active websites are much fewer. Organizers compiled a list of active websites - 700 second-level domens. Ferghana.Ru catalog (http://catalog.ferghana.ru) includes 544 resources and 340 second- and third-level domens in the UZ zone.


From http://enews.ferghana.ru/ 05/11/2005

 

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INDONESIA: Telkom Plans New Network for 3 Islands

State-owned telecommunications company PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Telkom) is planning to construct a new fiber optic network this year to strengthen its telecommunications backbone for Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan islands. Telkom business and service director Suryatin Setiawan told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that the planned fiber optic cable, which would be planted under the seabed, would link Jakarta, Pontianak in West Kalimantan and Batam. "The project provides an alternative should there be any disruptions to the network installed on land," he said at the Office of the State Minister of State Enterprises. According to Suryatin, the new fiber optic project is worth around Rp 300 billion (US$33 million), with the bidding process to kick off next month. He added that the project was also aimed at improving telecommunication connections among the three islands, with an ability of transferring high capacity connections for data and providing more secure transmission. "The network is good to strengthen defense infrastructure since it is more endurable and secure from enemy attacks compared to other transmission devices," said Suryatin. Optical fibers are long, thin strands of pure glass arranged in bundles, called optical cables, used to transmit light signals over long distances to provide fixed phone line connections. Connections using fiber optic cables are more secure because there will be no electromagnetic interference as experienced when using a satellite. Such connections are ideal for high traffic communications. As part of the country's defense infrastructure blueprint, the government offered the $1 billion Palapa Ring project -- which is designed to link Indonesian cities through an integrated fiber optic network -- to local and global investors during January's Infrastructure Summit. Meanwhile, Suryatin said Telkom was obliged by the government to install some 300,000 units of fixed-line telephones to hook remote areas nationwide by stretching copper cables. Fixed-line networks using copper cables are deemed more resistant to disruptions caused by wars, compared to cellular-based networks. The defense reason has been cited as the main reason for the government's efforts to urge publicly listed Telkom, as well as PT Indosat, to scale up the installation of copper-based fixed lines throughout the country.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 03/03/2005

 

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IT Solutions Offered for Traffic Woes

The traffic congestion seems never ending in Jakarta as the number of cars increases much faster than the number of new roads and people become ever more mobile. Some analysts have even predicted that in five years' time, traveling five kilometers in this sprawling city will take one hour on average. This will, of course, lead to a lot of wasted time and energy, and worsening air pollution. Can the problems be solved? To answer the question, the Japanese Highway Industry Development Organization (HIDO). which comes under the auspices of the Japanese Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transportation (MILT), plans to hold a workshop on mobilizing information technology (IT) in order to solve transportation problems here on Friday. The Japanese ministry, in cooperation with the World Bank, has devised potential solutions for traffic problems in metropolitan cities in Southeast Asia based on the use of information technology. "The workshop on the application of information technology for better transportation in Jakarta is based on a "probe vehicle" survey conducted by Nippon Koei in 2004," Prof. Haruo Ishida of Tsukuba University in Japan said here on Tuesday. Ishida, who has developed IT solutions for cities in developing countries, said that participants would discuss the ongoing transportation problems in Jakarta as identified by the survey with a view to finding tentative IT solutions. The workshop would also touch on potential and advanced systems for road traffic information, bus locations, electronic toll payments, and road control and maintenances. The IT applications would include providing information on travel times and traffic conditions using information boards, on-board units updated via radio, mobile phones, and the Internet, building a location bus system for the Transjakarta-Busway and developing an electronic toll collection system. He said the workshop would be attended by a wide range of participants, including representatives of the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), the Ministry of Public Works, the Jakarta administration, the Ministry of Communications, the Transjakarta Busway company, the University of Indonesia, JICA, and the University of Tsukuba in Japan.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 03/17/2005

 

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Hi-Tech Used to Scrape Garbage

Asiana Technology Lestary tried out on Friday its latest technology for removing garbage out of the rivers. The demonstration of the Mechanical Electrical Hydraulic (MEH) machine took place at the flood gate in Kalibaru Barat, Lenteng Agung in South Jakarta, before the machine was handed over to the Jakarta Public Works Agency. PT Asiana director Poltak Sitinjak was quoted as saying by Antara, "We hope with this tryout, we will be able to overcome the garbage problems in the 13 rivers that run through Jakarta". He explained that the machine had been developed over a period of five years to be able to lift up to one ton of garbage from a river. The garbage passes along a conveyer belt and up to a garbage truck. MEH requires 380 volts of electricity. Fifteen operators will manage the machine in different shifts. The construction of the machine began last year and had cost the city budget Rp 1.8 billion. In order to finish the project, the company still needs another Rp 2 billion, Sitinjak said.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 04/02/2005

 

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New Website to Help Investors Buy Bonds in Asian Markets

Potential investors -- be they institutional, retail, local or foreign -- can buy and trade Asian government securities through the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) AsianBondsOnline website. In the website's How to Buy Bonds section, investors are guided on the procedures of bond trading in 10 Asian markets -- China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. "This is the first time a primer covering such a wide array of Asian markets is available to the investing public in one place online," said Pradumna B. Rana, senior director of ADB's new Office of Regional Economic Integration (OREI), in a statement. "Information provided in this section will enhance the supply of and generate demand for East Asian local currency bonds and reduce the double mismatch problem." Supported by ADB and financed by the Japanese government, AsianBondsOnline, which was launched on Tuesday, is part of the ASEAN+3 Asian Bond Markets Initiative (ABMI), a cooperative effort to help develop mature bond markets in the region. Currently, How to Buy Bonds is limited to government bonds and securities. AsianBondsOnline will be expanded to corporate bonds and other debt instruments in the future. To check out the website, visit http://asianbondsonline.adb.org/.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 04/22/2005

 

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MALAYSIA: Online Healthcare Service Launched

Rural folks in Johor and Sarawak can now look forward to being treated by specialists without having to leave their hometowns, thanks to the online healthcare service provided by the Health Ministry. The Teleprimary Care (TPC) service, which took nearly nine years to develop, was jointly launched yesterday by Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman and Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek at the Kempas Health Clinic near here. Dr Chua said 28 clinics in Johor and 17 in Sarawak had been chosen for the pilot TPC project. He said the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru and the Sibu Hospital would be the referral centres. Much time and money will be saved with this service as one does not need to go to the referral centres just to get consultation or even treatment from specialists. All a patient needs to do is just go to the nearest clinic that has the TPC service and health problems which require specialists attention will be taken care of using the online service, he said. Dr Chua said the service would also enable patients to enjoy follow-up checks by specialists. It uses a borderless system which we dare say is the first in the region. However, we are being pragmatic about the public's response as Malaysians are still not responsive to online services, he said. Dr Chua also said about 800 medical personnel had been trained to manage and provide the service.


From http://thestar.com.my 03/08/2005

 

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First Electronic Warfare Training Center

The country's first Electronic Warfare Training Centre was opened yesterday at the armed forces camp in Paya Jaras near here. The RM2.6mil centre will train army, navy and air force personnel on the theories and practices of electronic warfare, including code breaking, jamming and intercepting signals from potential foes. Defence Forces chief Jeneral Tan Sri Mohamed Zahidi Zainuddin said electronic warfare (EW) was an important element in military combat today. “Firepower alone does not guarantee victory; EW is important in attaining combat supremacy,” he said. He added that the rapid development of information and communication technologies had revolutionised warfare systems and strategies. “Attacking the opponent’s information systems can be more effective than destroying its military forces directly, thus acquiring suitable EW capability is critical in defending the country,” he said.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 03/12/2005

 

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Electronic Payment for More Toll Booths

More Touch 'N Go and SmartTag lanes will be made available at toll plazas to facilitate smoother traffic flow at the toll plazas, said Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) director-general Datuk George George. He don't want people to waste time at toll plazas, so we are giving our attention to this area to help reduce any delays. He is looking into ways to clear the traffic faster at the toll plazas and we can do this with the electronic payment system, he told reporters after opening the Highway Hunt 2005?event organised by LLM at its headquarters here yesterday. George said studies conducted by LLM had shown that manual cash collection toll booths only facilitated an average of 200 vehicles an hour, which was small in comparison to the Touch 'n Go and SmartTag electronic payment system, which receive about 400 and 1,200 vehicles an hour respectively. He said highway concessionaires had taken note of the recommendation and would look at the needs required at their own toll plazas. The move, he added, would be in line with LLM's commitment to improve the quality of services provided at tolled highways nationwide, which also included areas such as highway management, rest and recreation management and improving highway patrol services. On the Government's move to amend the law to allow highway concessionaire Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan to fine motorists suspected of cheating on toll payment, George said LLM would act in accordance with the directive. Also present to open the Highway Hunt event was Deputy Works Minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 03/20/2005

 

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Dapat Offers Government Free Setup for SMS Disaster Alert

Local mobile interactive solution Dapat is offering to set up for free the infostructure to link all the relevant authorities and public broadcast systems to enable Malaysians to receive disaster notification via SMS (short message system). According to Dapat spokesman Azli Paat, since Dapat already has an SMS disaster alert notification system in place and in use, the Government can use it for the implementation of the national SMS disaster alert. Currently the system is being used for public earthquake alerts. “Through our Dapat Gempa Alert, Malaysians can get the latest updates on earthquakes measuring above 5 on the Richter scale and occurring within Asia. We had this infostructure set up in January in the wake of the tsunami disaster. Those who had requested for earthquake alerts have been getting them almost as immediately as the quakes happened while those who prefer to get their information on demand will get their SMS queries replied immediately. The Dapat Careline mans the alert system 24 hours a day,” According to Azli, the Dapat Gempa Alert is currently linked to the mass media like RTM’s Radio 1 and RMKL stations. He said that since the infostructure is already there, all that is needed now is to establish direct links between the relevant authorities like the police, the national crisis centre and the national security division to the Dapat.net system. Azli who is also the executive vice-president of Interactive Vista Sdn Bhd, said the system can also be made interactive to receive disaster notification from the public who witness firsthand early tell-tale signs of impending disaster. The Dapat disaster alert notification can be accessed by typing in the keyword “GEMPA” and sending it by SMS to 32728.


From http://star-techcentral.com 04/08/2005

 

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One-Card System for Public Transport Stalled

The Government spent RM10mil to set up electronic fare-card readers at KTM Komuter, monorail and Express Rail Link stations to allow commuters to use Touch 'n Go fare-cards on all systems. This was to make public transport in the Klang Valley more efficient. But one-and-a-half years later, the fare-card readers remain idle because the rail operators and Rangkaian Segar Sdn Bhd, which runs the Touch 'n Go system, are still wrangling over the commission rate. Sources said Rangkaian Segar wants 2.5%, while the rail operators were prepared to pay less than 2%. This disagreement, they added, had resulted in the operators holding back implementation of the system. The system is ready. All that is needed is for the operators to agree and the cards can be accepted immediately, the sources said. However, there are indications that KTM Komuter is likely to adopt the system in July although KTM Bhd is still unhappy with the commission issue and will continue to push for a lower rate. Under the common ticketing system, all public transport systems in the Klang Valley are to accept Touch 'n Go cards, allowing commuters to hop from one system to another without needing to buy new tickets. Currently, KTM Komuter, KL Monorail, KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit, which carry a total of about 150,000 passengers a day, do not accept the cards, but the two light rail transit systems Putraline and Starline. Public transport operators have been reluctant to accept Rangkaian Segar's rate, saying the high commission will eat into their already narrow profit margins. Rangkaian Segar, they argue, should recognise that public transport operators are not profit-oriented, unlike operators of privatised expressways, and should adjust the commission rate accordingly. However, Rangkaian Segar looks unlikely to budge on this matter, a source said. According to the sources, the operators have also appealed to the Government to step in but it has been reluctant to intervene directly because commissions are deemed commercial matter? Nevertheless, the Transport Ministry has organised several meetings between the different parties since the issue surfaced. The sources said a breakthrough with KTM was finally reached last week. But KTM was still unhappy with the commission issue and would continue to push for it to be reduced, they said. Similar breakthroughs were not expected in negotiations with KL Infrastructure Group Bhd, the monorail's operator, and Express Rail Link, which operates the KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit. The two seem adamant about standing firm, said a source. When contacted, KTM Bhd managing director Datuk Mohd Salleh Abdullah declined to comment on the commission issue, but confirmed that KTM was looking at implementing the Touch 'n Go system in July.


From http://thestar.com.my 04/22/2005

 

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Data on All Students at the Click of a Mouse

It will not be that easy for students to hoodwink parents and school authorities if a recently implemented move to compile a comprehensive profile of all five million students nationwide is a success. At the click of a mouse, parents will be able to find out if their child had actually attended a co-curricular activity on a certain day or had really scored an A in Additional Mathematics. For the school disciplinary teacher, information on a student’s record can be cross-checked against the socio-economic profile of the family to get a better picture of the reasons for misbehaviour. And from a macro perspective, policy makers will be able to avail themselves of the overall performance of each school and monitor its strengths and weaknesses. This is all part of the reporting system initiated by the Education Ministry to build up a comprehensive database of all students from Year One to Form Six. The particulars being collected include a student’s personal profile, attendance, grades in all subjects, co-curricular achievements, conduct and attitude. While the information to be updated by teachers monthly is stored at the individual school, the ministry will have access to it via a central networking system. Central to the project is an attempt to evaluate not only the hard information related to academic performance but also the oft information pertaining to the students’ emotional development. In a circular issued recently, the ministry stated: This system will provide quick access to all quarters, including parents, to have a clearer picture of their children’s formative stages and development in all areas. Weaknesses can also be identified promptly for remedial action. This is in line with nation’s educational philosophy to produce Malaysians who are balanced emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. The circular said parents could obtain full details on their children from the system and choose to take their own measures to overcome weaknesses, if any. This can also bring about better interaction between class and subject teachers and parents, it added. According to a school principal here, the programme was supposed to have been implemented last year but many schools could not proceed because they lacked the facilities and had not been given proper directions. The directive was sent again recently with the urgent stamp on it, reflecting the importance the ministry is placing on the matter, he said. The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) welcomed the move and hoped that the comprehensive report would be simple enough for parents to know at a glance how their children were performing. Parents, especially those in the rural areas, must be able to understand the format, said secretary-general Lok Yim Pheng. However, we disagree with assessing the competency of a child in each subject, which could be subjective. Different teachers may have different criteria in their evaluation and this can lead to confusion, she said.


From http://thestar.com.my 05/15/2005

 

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E-Learning System Planned

Teachers will be able to have a better idea of how students are following their lessons under plans to introduce an interactive classroom e-learning system (Icels) in schools. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the system, aimed at monitoring and gauging students’ understanding of a subject, would be introduced in schools if the Education Ministry gave the green light. The ministry, he added, was in the midst of evaluating the system and would be making a decision on it “very soon”. “Personally, I find the system viable as it will enable teachers to assess the understanding of their students almost immediately. “The system will complement the smart-school concept by making learning more exciting and stimulating,” he told reporters after closing a two-week trial run on the interactive system at SM Agama Labu here yesterday. Icels is a combination of software application and wireless remote control, developed jointly between GlobalNet Education Consultants Sdn Bhd and Universiti Sains Malaysia to cater for teaching Science and Mathematics in English for Year Four to Year Six pupils. Najib said students were often quiet in the classroom, with only a few participating actively and asking questions. As such, he said, teachers could only assess a student's understanding of a topic through tests or an examination. “By then, it may be too late to intervene or carry out corrective measures to help students who are weak,” he said. Earlier in his speech, Najib said the country was undergoing a “revolution” in making radical changes in the education sector.


From http://thestar.com.my 05/20/2005

 

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Online Transfer of Vehicle Ownership

The ownership of vehicles registered with the Johor Road Transport Department (JPJ) can be transferred online from Aug 1. JPJ director-general Datuk Emran Abdul Kadir said this service would save both the public and the department a lot of trouble. He said the service would only be available in August for vehicles registered with the Johor JPJ. “We are expecting some hiccups. We are giving ourselves five months to overcome the teething problems and hope to offer the service nationwide by the end of the year,” he said after presenting the ISO 9001 certificate to a driving school here yesterday. Emran said with the service in place nationwide, those who had moved to other states would no longer need go back to the states where their vehicles were registered if they wish to transfer the ownership. He added that financial institutions, credit companies and car dealers in Johor had been briefed on the new system and were positive about it.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 05/11/2005

 

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PHILIPPINES: From Neighborhood Shop to Industry Leader

FROM its humble beginnings as a small private gaming room in Quezon City, Netopia is now the country’s largest Internet café chain, boasting of 141 branches here and abroad, and with more than 6,000 top-of-the-line computers as of last count. Netopia used to be called Genesis, a start-up Internet-cum-gaming neighborhood shop with eight workstations on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. Raymond H. Ricafort, president of Digital Paradise, which operates Netopia recalls that it was in 1997 when the neigh?borhood shop “decided to expand its network coverage with four branches and started standardizing its look.” He said the firm’s founders had to commission FranCorp., the world’s largest franchise consultancy firm, for a franchise system, as part of Netopia’s expansion. The fast rising demand for cheap high-speed Internet connection and the boom in network gaming made Netopia realize it had to expand more to capture a bigger pie of the burgeoning market. In March 2000 Ricafort said the first-master franchisee was signed, requiring the holder to build 20 branches within two years. This was when Netopia hit it big. A year after, Ricafort said, that a group of investors, led by Orlando B. Vea, a former high-ranking official of Smart Communications and ePLDT, the technology arm of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., agreed to infuse P30 million to further expand Netopia’s network into 14 more branches. By end-2001 Netopia had 25 branches with more than 1,000 workstations, Ricafort said. By the time it had 42 branches, the Internet café was granted a six-year tax holiday by the Board of Investments. Plaudits rained down in 2003, as Netopia was awarded the Most Promising Filipino Franchise for 2002 and the Best Internet Café by the National Consumer Affairs Foundation. By end-2003 Netopia had 73 branches and more than 3,150 workstations. PLDT eventually increased it exposure in the outfit, primarily through Digital Paradise, an ePLDT unit, which bought a controlling stake in Netopia. A franchise in Thailand, its first-ever outside the Philippines, was the next milestone. The current ownership structure was revised with the entry of PLDT as a master franchisee and partner. Other investors joined, including Newnet, requiring Netopia to adopt the name Netopia Computer Technology (NCT), Ricafort said. NCT expanded its network and also secured BOI incentives. After establishing leadership in a predominantly next-door-neighbor industry, Netopia is retaining its core business of providing Internet access to an estimated 2.2 million users a month. Interestingly, about 62 percent of its client base is below 25 years old. Its relatively older clients, or those 25 years old and above, make up 37 percent of clientele. “We have over to 35,000 card bearing members who have paid for their membership and can avail of discounted prices for our services in all our branches in the Philippines and Thailand,” Ricafort said. Netopia is also retaining value-added services including desktop publishing, web-conferencing and VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol). Ricafort said that 51 percent of Netopia’s revenues were Internet-related, 27 percent from computer-based games, and 22 percent from desktop publishing. Netopia is focused on the development and management of shared access facilities for the mass market, he said. “We can also opt for more franchising. In addition to being an off-balance sheet financing method, it mitigates risk and allows good royalty and franchise revenues,” Ricafort said. “And, additional strategic partners in the regional or international operations can also be considered.” This is possible since Digital Paradise is debt-free, and has a free-cash flow of about P5 million a month. Ricafort said Netopia still sees a huge potential although only 4 percent of the population have computers, much less with Internet access. “With an average gross domestic product of $950 a year and entry level computer prices hovering at about $500, majority of Filipinos will never own a computer in their lifetime,” he said. But shared access is a viable solution to develop a large pool of competitive knowledge workers though the Internet, he said. After opening its first three outlets in Thailand last year, Ricafort said Netopia targets to have a total of 16 branches in that country, 10 branches in India, seven outlets in Vietnam and two in Indonesia this year. The homegrown Internet café chain is looking at growing 538 branches, of which 409 are local outlets by next year. Goals are loftier in 2007 with the firm looking at setting up 813 branches. He said that Netopia will continue to expand and develop niche markets in the country. “For us, everything started with a dream and this dream is where we are today,” Ricafort said.


From http://www.manilatimes.net/ 03/05/2005

 

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Launching of Philippine E-lib

Imagine this. A collection of more than 800,000 bibliograhic records consisting of more than 25 million pages of local and international materials, 29,000 full text journals, and 15,000 theses and dissertations all in one source. The Philippine eLib is a joint project of DA, Commission on Higher Education, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the National Library and the University of the Philippines (UP). Funded by the Information Technology and E-Commerce Council thru the E-Government Fund, the eLib was conceptualized by DOST in 2003 to cater information to citizens for life-long training. It also aims to enrich local content in digital format for community and global access and provide library and information services network to academic and government institutions for optimum use of resources. The Philippine eLib also seeks to promote and accelerate the exchange of knowledge resources among various sectors of society, which includes regional and international users. The project will provide access to combined library resources and holdings of the participating libraries and expensive electronic databases by the state universities and colleges at a lower cost. It will also preserve the cultural heritage through digitalization of Filipiniana materials, photos, maps and others. Here in the DA, the project will give access to the department's special collections and publications, such as the Aggie Trends and Magsasakang Pinoy. The department's access to the system is thru the NIN Wide Area Network under ITCAF which is presently being configured to cover all bureaus, attached agencies, and regional field units. The project will be launched on April 19, 2005 at the National Library where the Data Center is located.


From http://www.gov.ph/ 04/14/2005

 

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SINGAPORE: Singapore Gears Up for Wireless Broadband Innovation

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) today announced the allocation of dedicated spectrum bands for trials and commercial deployment of wireless broadband1. This move is timely as various wireless broadband technologies are now ready for trial or deployment. When deployed, these new technologies could provide Singapore with an additional broadband infrastructure, thus giving consumers more choices and options when going "broadband". Singapore will dedicate the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum bands for wireless broadband deployment in Singapore. Companies interested to conduct trials for wireless broadband technologies in Singapore can approach IDA for details2. IDA will also be seeking industry and public inputs soon on developments of wireless broadband, to better position Singapore to capture business opportunities in new areas. The latest development is aligned to Singapore's goal to become Asia's living lab for wireless innovation. According to Visant Strategies3, the wireless broadband market was worth US$3 billion in 2003, and will grow to US$10 billion in 2006, and US$20 billion in 2008. "Singapore, as Asia's living lab for wireless innovation, is now ready for wireless broadband, with the availability of spectrum. We invite players all around the world to come to Singapore, where we welcome and encourage innovations in wireless broadband activities," says Mrs. Tan Ching Yee, Chief Executive Officer of IDA. Singapore's wireless broadband spectrum allocation exercise strengthens the country's offerings as Asia's centre for wireless innovation. Its world-class infrastructure is backed by 21 terabits per second of high-speed submarine capacity, international and regional telecoms connectivity to more than 100 countries, and direct Internet connectivity to more than 30 countries. Singapore is also Asia's first Neutral Peering Point for GPRS roaming since 2003. Apart from its infrastructural strengths, Singapore's IT-savvy population is a ready pool of testers for wireless technologies. According to a study conducted by AT Kearney and the University of Cambridge in March 2002, Singapore has one of the world's highest short-messaging-service (SMS) users at 52%, ahead of the global average of 23%. It is also the first country to achieve interoperability amongst its operators for services such as SMS and multimedia-messaging-service (MMS). Today, its mobile phone penetration rates stand at 83%, and two out of five4 or 1.24 million Singaporeans are broadband users. As part of its wireless promotion efforts, IDA also led a delegation of local wireless players to the premier 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France from 23 to 26 February 2004.In a showcase of local innovation, the Singapore Pavilion at 3GSM 2004 will feature ClearHub, I'M Technologies, Innvo System, Java Wireless Competency Centre (JWCC), Mikoishi, Talaria, Ufinity and Wireless Intellect Labs. For more details on Singapore's participating companies, please refer to the attached Annex. Some of the local innovations showcased at the Singapore Pavilion include: Cross Platform entertainment content and lifestyle/messaging products for mobile networks and handsets by Mikoishi.3G USIM card as well as micro-browser SIM card that allows Internet downloads onto the GSM handset by I'M Technologies Comprehensive content quality assurance management system and instant messaging solution infrastructure by JWCC. Mobile messaging and browsing products on OEMs/ODMs handset platforms by Innvo Systems. The IDA Singapore booth is located at Hall 2, Booth F5a.


From http://www.ida.gov.sg 02/23/2005

 

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Singapore Agency to Get New Land Information Management System

JTC Corporation, a government agency that provides tenancy and lease management services to more than 7000 companies in Singapore, has signed a deal for a web-based geographical information system. The new land information management system will improve the ability of JTC to parcel and allocate building plots, by making the data-inputting process less laborious. Ultimately JTC expects service times to improve further, and the new system will integrate with the organization's eCREAM system. eCREAM integrates the agency's customer service, billing, CRM, marketing and management reporting tools. The new land information management system replaces the JTC's previous geographic information system (GIS) which was installed in 1993.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/09/2005

 

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Mobile Phone Magazine Launched

Viet Nam’s first weekly magazine on mobile phones, e-Chip – M! Wonderful World, has hit the stands. Published by the VASC Software and Media Company (VASC), the publication, whose inaugural issue was released on March 8, will come out every Wednesday. Pham Hong Phuoc, deputy chief editor of the magazine, said, "we are trying to turn e-Chip – M! into a handbook on mobile phones and PDAs that provides useful and latest information on using mobile phones."


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 03/12/2005

 

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Starhub Launches High-Speed Broadband Services for Corporate Clients

StarHub has launched Singapore's fastest ADSL or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line services for business customers. The telco claims its services can provide SMEs and Internet-focused businesses with bandwidth of up to 6 megabits per second. This is currently about twice as fast as its nearest rival. That means corporate customers will get faster access to the internet for activities like general surfing, e-mails, video/net conferencing and streaming, virtual private network connectivity and e-commerce applications. The new services are priced from S$1,500 per month.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 04/21/2005

 

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Singapore Company Introduces Comics to Mobile Phones

We've played games and sent out numerous SMSes on our mobile phones, and now you can add another item to that list -- reading comics on the go. One Singapore mobile content development company is offering comics that mobile phone users can download anytime and anywhere. You may not recognise the cartoon characters, but if Mobtoon, short for mobile cartoon, has its way, they will soon be familiar characters among the millions of mobile phone users in Asia. Mobtoon, a new content development company, started about a year ago with half a million dollars. It sees mobile phone services as a growing market that is hungry for content. Said Danny Tay, Mobtoon's managing director, "As the technology advances, we can do more things on the mobile phones, like now we have polyphonics, MP3 and video that we can play on mobile phones. So I started with simple things like adding in sounds, adding in images, do animations on mobile phones, and slowly we learned from there how to integrate everything, and started to learn about cell phone technology." The company has a team of 15 artists in Beijing. Their drawings are sent over to Singapore, where touch-ups and customisation are done for the varying screen sizes of different mobile phones. The content varies from kungfu to romance to humour in a bid to reach out to a wider customer base. Said Mobtoons chairman Francis Lee, "We're talking about Singapore having four million mobile phone users; in China we have 400 million users. It's double the American population. So we only have to take 1 percent of this market and it's good enough for the company." Each weekly episode, which has 15 to 25 frames of pictures and music, will cost S$1.99. Telcos will be offering them soon. But there is an important thing to note, and that is that the content is developed and tested on specific models of mobile phones. So before you go running off to download your favourite comics, make sure that you phone is one that supports Java.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 05/08/2005

 

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Smes Get Help in E-Supply Chain Management Under Pilot Project

A pilot project has been launched to give small- and medium-sized companies in the high-tech and logistics sectors a leg-up. The project aims not only to help SMEs identify their weaknesses in e-supply chain management practices, but also to provide them with funds to overcome such weaknesses. E-supply chain management involves order-tracking and recovery, logistics, production management and inventory holding. SPRING Singapore says local companies must pay more attention to their supply chain management, in the face of intense competition from rivals in locations with lower cost or larger domestic markets. In the past, companies were assessed on their e-supply chain management capabilities but left on their own to rectify their weaknesses. The latest pilot project goes one step further. Companies can now draw on a S$45 million Domestic Sector Productivity Fund to engage consultants to improve their e-supply chain management practices. And there is another change: previously companies were assessed on their own, but now they will be assessed in clusters. A cluster generally comprises one multi-national company and its e-supply partners, which are usually the smaller local firms. Said Teo Nam Kuan, group director (quality and standards) at SPRING Singapore, "For SMEs to join the programme, they need to be equipped with the right hardware and software, and that costs money. Also, they have to learn how to do it. So we are launching this programme to help them get onboard. The idea is to get the big companies to encourage their suppliers, who are mostly SMEs, to subscribe to this programme." SPRING Singapore says MNCs as well as their SME partners will benefit from the programme, as it provides a common framework that can boost productivity and competitiveness. Studies show that with effective supply chain management in place, companies can achieve a 10 percent increase in revenue, 20 percent higher order delivery performance, and 50 percent less inventory.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 05/19/2005

 

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THAILAND: B500m for New Security Video Systems

The Transport Ministry will spend at least 500 million baht to install closed-circuit security cameras at airports, bus terminals and railway stations nationwide in three months. Priti Hetrakul, president of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co (Aerothai) asked by the ministry to carry out the project, said top priority would be given to transport stations in the troubled deep South. Don Muang airport would get an additional 420 closed-circuit cameras while the other international airports in Hat Yai, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai would get about 30-60 new units each. Hat Yai airport was rocked by a bomb attack on Sunday, in which two people were killed. The new digital security cameras would be linked up to the ministry's central transport safety centre in Bangkok to ensure effective monitoring, Mr Priti said. Transport agencies have yet to submit their demands to Aerothai. However, procurement should be completed in one month, he said. Aerothai staff would also visit airports, bus terminals and railway stations to check their demands for the equipment.


From http://www.bangkokpost.com 04/08/2005

 

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VIETNAM: Old Practices Hinder E-Transactions

Vietnamese are clinging on to the traditional habit of manual work at the cost of applying electronic transactions, experts have said. They were speaking at a meeting in the capital on Tuesday between HCM City officials and National Assembly delegates to discuss hurdles to popularising e-transactions. Luong Van Ly, director of HCM City’s Department of Planning and Investment, explained, "many businesses have got used to traditional manual transactions because of the concept that a face-to-face dialogue will make them quicker and more effective." "Furthermore, Viet Nam does not have a legal framework affording protection against problems arising from use of email and e-signature," he said. Popularising e-transactions would require State and business employees to shed their old habit of sticking to manual work instead of information and technology applications, he said. Tran Quang Dung, a HCM City IT official, said it was easy to understand why Viet Nam lagged in developing e-transaction, pointing to a lack of human resources in terms of both quantity and quality, finance and appropriate legal framework. Vu Huy Toan, deputy director of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s branch office, said the inter-bank clearinghouse had bridged the gap in the banking system, as a result of which each transaction took just a few minutes, thus saving time and manpower. However, he admitted that e-transactions between customers and banks, like "homebanking" and "phonebanking," had yet to prove useful. This was because very few customers were linked with the banking network or had trust in the security of these transactions, Toan said. Dung said businesses were so sceptical of the reliability of e-transactions that they even printed out emails and sent them by mail. He called for early administrative reform to create the necessary legal framework so that e-transactions could take root in the country. The other delegates agreed that if a law on e-transaction was enacted soon, it would mean less paper work and save time and money. However, a lack of IT infrastructure is another problem that needs to be tackled. VN ranks 112th in IT Viet Nam ranked 112th out of 191 countries last year for e-government neadiness in a survey by the United Nations Online Network in Public Administration and Finance. Its rating of 0.3378 meant it dropped down 15 places from 97th place in 2003. Topping the list were the US, Denmark and the UK. In Southeast Asia, Viet Nam ranked sixth behind Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei and Indonesia. IT analysts and policy makers said the pressure of international integration had pushed countries into accelerating efforts to setting up e-government.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 03/05/2005

 

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Farmers Post Their Own Website

The Viet Nam Farmers’ Association has launched its own website (www.hoinongdan.org.vn.). It will provide information about laws and Government policies; farmer events, news about agricultural production and rural development and promote agro-forestry-industry. The site will also offer information about culture, social issues and tourism. It plans to post an English edition soon.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 05/21/2005

 

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BANGLADESH: BTTB Service Goes Down with Agitation-Staff Protests on Against Teletalk Operations

The state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board's (BTTB's) service is being greatly hampered as Telejogajog Sramik Karmachari Union (TSKU) continues to agitate for about a month against handover of the BTTB's mobile venture to Teletalk Bangladesh Limited. Members of the TSKU at different exchanges keep off their duties for varying periods every day from late last month to join agitation programmes, causing the worst ever deterioration in customer service, many of the sufferers said. The agitation has almost stalled different kinds of work, including commissioning of new telephone connections. If this situation continues, BTTB's service will virtually collapse, a senior BTTB official said. "The backlog of commissioning of new telephone connections is going up fast. Worse still, we cannot attend to complaints because of the agitation," he said seeking anonymity. The BTTB allocates about 40 telephone numbers a day on an average from the exchanges capable of providing new connections. "This situation must not continue. Time has come to take a decision on it," a divisional engineer of the BTTB said. When contacted, CBA President Feroz Miah said they would continue the agitation until the government meets their demand. Meanwhile, the rush for Teletalk mobile service is increasing despite an uncertainty over it due to a writ petition filed with the High Court (HC). Many people, who collected subscription forms of Teletalk over a fortnight ago, are now facing problems in getting SIM (subscriber identification module) card because of continued rush for it. A section of brokers are now taking advantage of this situation to make quick money. They charge between Tk 500 and Tk 1,000 in addition to the SIM card price of Tk 1,800 for quick collection of it, instead of standing in long queues. Teletalk launched its commercial operation on March 31 and sold over 9,000 connections so far. It suspended distribution of subscription form on April 2 due to its incapability to handle the huge rush for it, and technical limitations.


From http://bangladesh-web.com/ 04/20/2005

 

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RanksTel Land Phone Launched

RANKS Telecom Limited, a concern of RANGS Group, launched its wireless land phone services under the brand name of RanksTel on Thursday to mark the Bangla New Year. President and CEO of RanksTel A Rouf Chowdhury inaugurated the service by making a phone call from Chittagong to Sylhet and having conversation with Director of RanksTel M Safwan Chowdhury, says a press release. Chairman Dr MS Chowdhury and Chief Operating Officer Zakaria Swapan of RanksTel also attended the function. Speaking at the function, Rouf Chowdhury said RanksTel aims to bring marvel of the telecommunication technology to people at competitive prices. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the telecoms regulatory body that has segmented the country into five zones -- central, southeast, northeast, southwest and northwest -- awarded licences to RanksTel for four zones except the central. RanksTel has brought southeast and northeast zones under its coverage by launching services in Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Rangamati, Feni, Noakhali, Laxmipur, Chandpur, Comilla, Brahmanbaria, Sylhet and Moulvibazar in the first phase. Other zones will be covered by the end of this year. RanksTel will offer not only voice but also fax, data, internet, SMS based services with other enhanced features such as caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, multi party conferencing and call Barring. RanksTel has already signed interconnectivity agreements with Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, GrameenPhone, AKTEL, CityCell and Banglalink.


From http://bangladesh-web.com/ 04/20/2005

 

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INDIA: Broadband on Mobile Will Be a Big Hit in India

GOA: India's wireless services industry is likely to push into 3G services this year as carriers roll out broadband access in big cities and move deeper into untapped rural areas, the head of Ericsson India said. Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson is the largest supplier of telecom gear in India, the world's fastest growing major mobile phone market. "The broad themes for the Indian market in 2005 would be that Indian carriers will take their first steps towards 3G services, broadband on mobile will be a big hit this year and there will be huge expansion in rural areas," Jan Campbell, managing director of Ericsson India, told Reuters in an interview. "To start with 3G will be deployed in some hotspots in metros." 3G networks, which are winning customers across Europe and Japan, offer faster Internet speeds on mobiles, enable music and video downloads and also improve voice quality. These value-added services help operators to improve profitability in the fiercely competitive market where voice services are commoditised. "There is a demand for 3G services in India. We already see entertainment services picking up in the metros," Campbell said. Carriers such as Hutchison Max Telecom Ltd. already offer TV channels, picture messaging and video downloads. Hindi movie song-based ring tones are a rage and mobile gaming is also getting popular. "Almost 50 per cent of users in metro cities are looking for services beyond voice and texting," Campbell added. Analysts expect India to auction licenses for 3G services in the third and fourth quarters of 2005.


From http://financialexpress.com/ 03/07/2005
 

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India's Telecom Base Crosses 100 Million Mark

New Delhi: From barely 30 million telephones in 2000, India has now crossed the 100 million mark, becoming the fifth largest telecom network in the world, IT and Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran said here Wednesday. "This is a special occasion to celebrate," Maran announced at a crowded press conference. The actual telephone users as of today stood at 100.27 million and tele-density 9.13 percent. "Measured in terms of number of phones, we have become the fifth largest network in the world after China, the US, Japan and Germany," Maran said. However, these countries have 100 percent tele-density, except China (55 percent). Maran expressed the hope that the country would have 250 million telephones and 22 percent tele-density by 2007 - a revised estimate from the 2001 target when the government planned to achieve 150 million telephones by 2010. The figures released Wednesday, however, negated past claims that mobile phones had outgrown fixed line telephones. According to the statistics, there are 41.49 million fixed line connections as against 41.46 million cellular mobile telephones. This, however, was mainly due to clubbing wireless in local loop (WLL) connections with fixed line telephones. Separate figures for WLL connections were not available. Maran said the growth had been achieved thanks to several policy initiatives by the government, including enhancing the foreign direct investment in the telecom sector from 49 percent to 74 percent. The further decrease in tariffs for long distance calls following the reduction of access deficit charge had also positively impacted telephone growth, he noted. The minister was jubilant that country had achieved 87 percent rural telephony, with state-owned BSNL providing the majority connections. Of the 250 million telephones that will be working by 2007, state-owned BSNL and MTNL would account for 80 million connections, he said. Maran also announced targets for broadband connections -- three million subscribers by 2005 end, nine million by 2007 and 20 million by 2010. Broadband growth, he hoped, would be driven by low tariffs announced earlier this year.


From http://news.newkerala.com/ 04/13/2005

 

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SRI LANKA: Guidelines for Re-building the Rural Transport System Destroyed by the Tsunami

IN the rural areas bordering the tsunami ravaged coastal stretch rural roads including feeder roads, bridges, culverts, footbridges and access roads in the Western, Southern, Eastern and Northern Provinces have suffered serious damage by the tsunami's devastation. Rehabilitation activities including urgent construction and distribution of relief were considerably delayed and social life adversely affected due to the lack of access to some of these rural areas. Linkages that prevailed between some of the coastal area communities and the coastal cities of the North, East, South and the West and urban centers that served these communities were destroyed. As a result difficulties were faced in reaching a number of these areas after the destruction, for humanitarian assistance, collection of information and in attending to other urgent needs. It is necessary to recognize the importance of transport in rural areas where around 80 percent of the population live. The total road network in Sri Lanka is about 96,000 kms of which 64,650 kms are rural roads. While the Agricultural Department, Mahweli Development Authority and Irrigation Department manage a very small portion of the rural road network, a significant proportion of rural roads come under the responsibility of the pradeshiya sabha. This rural road network serves the education, health, economic and other social activities of the large rural population of the country. To date, there is no known assessment of the damage caused to rural transport infrastructure after the devastation, where as, the Road Development Authority (RDA) asserts that 415 km of the coastal national highway has been affected, and is to be developed with a fund allocation of Rs. 17 billion. Nevertheless, those who are concerned with the development and maintenance of the rural transport system would have been interested to note the Government's announcement that the European Union is to gift Rs. 1.700 billion (E 13.15 million) to repair 550 km of provincial and local government authority C and D Class local roads in the North and East, damaged during the civil war and recently by the tsunami.


From http://www.dailynews.lk/ 04/22/2005

 

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MALDIVES: Dhiraagu Reduces Dhivehinet Broadband Service Prices

MALE: Dhiraagu on Tuesday announced major reductions in DhivehiNet Broadband
ADSL prices effective this billing month. These price reductions, which will vary for the different broadband packages, include:
- Additional bundled megabytes for all existing ADSL customers
- 100 percent more bundled megabytes for the Solo (single user) package users
- Up to 25 percent reduction in the monthly fees for the Multi user packages
- Up to 89 percent reduction in the charges for usage exceeding the package allowance
DhivehiNet broadband service, especially designed for home users and small businesses in Male, is becoming increasingly popular as more and more customers experience the high speed, reliability and quality of the service, the local telecoms company said in a press release. “These major price reductions, based on customer feedback, will offer significant saving opportunities for our existing customers and make high speed Internet access affordable to hundreds of customers who currently use relatively slow dial-up access to the Internet,” the press release read.


From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 03/09/2005

 

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NEPAL: Post-paid Mobile Service Resumes in Kathmandu

The Nepal Telecom (NT), following directives of the government, has resumed mobile phone services from Monday, officials told Nepalnews. Sugatratna Kansakar, managing director of the NT, said that the authorities permitted the NT to resume the post-paid mobile service in the Valley. “Now, in the next phase, we will resume the post paid mobile service outside Kathmandu,” he said, adding, “Finally we will head towards resuming the pre-paid mobile services.” He didn’t elaborate. The post paid mobile services, however, is not available to all mobile users. Users who have complications while furnishing details during reregistering may have to wait longer, officials said. Mobile services had been suspended in Nepal after the political development of February 1. The Nepal Telecom that has distributed 249,000 mobile phone lines including 173,200 pre-paid lines has been incurring a daily loss of Rs.8 million since Feb 1, reports said. Citing losses, the Nepal Telecommunications Workers Association and the Nepal Telecom Workers Union in a joint press statement last week said they were ready for protests against the prolonged closure of mobile phone services as well as for the job security of employees.


From http://www.nepalnews.com.np/ 05/02/2005

 

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PAKISTAN: PTCL to Launch WiLL in Karachi

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has announced plans to launch a wireless in the local loop (WiLL) service in Karachi by the end of March. The operator has introduced WiLL services in Hyderabad, Sukkur and Quetta, and hopes to sign up over two million customers. It hopes to have sold 200,000 connections in Karachi by the end of June.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/10/2005

 

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Mobile Users Surpass Ten Million Mark

The number of mobile customers in Pakistan has crossed the ten million mark, standing at 10.54 million at the end of April, more than double the number of fixed line subscribers at the same date. Of the total, Mobilink claimed 6.45 million, ahead of Ufone with 2.2 million, newcomer Telenor (653,170), Instaphone (524,852), and Paktel which had 308,629 subscribers to its AMPS network and 429,411 to its GSM service.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/10/2005

 

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Half a Million New Wireless Subscribers Added Every Month

According to the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority 500,000 new wireless customers are added every month, with the total at the end of April standing at 10.5 million, representing a penetration rate of 6.95%. Mobilink is leading the market with 6.45 million customers, followed by U-fone with 2.2 million, Instaphone (524,852), Paktel (308,629 and 429,411 on its AMPS and GSM networks respectively. The newest operator – Telenor – claimed 655,832 customers. The regulator predicts that by the end of 2005 there will be 15 million wireless customers across the country.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 05/19/2005

 

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AUSTRALIA: Outback IT Dreaming

Cape York's remote Aboriginal settlement of Injinoo in far north Queensland is one of 41 communities scattered across the nation that should benefit from a Federal Government scheme to improve telecommunications for indigenous Australians. A tender will be issued soon to buy public access PCs and broadband access for the communities that range from Mt Isa in north-west Queensland to the small settlement of Djugarargyn on the Dampier Peninsula in the Kimberleys. The second phase of the $8.3 million, three-year Telecommunications Action Plan for Remote Indigenous Communities will give each community a PC, printer, web camera and uninterruptible power supply. The Government's Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme will provide fast internet access. Injinoo already has the internet but the new package will improve accessibility, says Darryl Wilds, community services manager for the Injinoo Community Council. He says such government schemes are vital for remote communities like his with limited facilities. "State and federal funding for numerous projects, including internet access, allow residents to keep pace with the other, more populated areas of Australia," he says. He says the public access terminals are used extensively for research and give the community, especially younger members, a connection to the outside world. They also improve access to government services as Australian governments at all levels push to deliver these online. Vince Jerrard, chairman of the Mrangalli Aboriginal Corporation in Tingha, NSW, says people in his region travel 27 kilometres to access the internet. He says the action plan package will be a big asset even though the community, with fewer than 800 people, only has dial-up access. There has been talk of a broadband connection, he says, but nothing has come of it, and getting a high-speed connection will depend on how many people use the internet. Mr Jerrard says the package will be used for many pursuits, including email, preparing letters and general internet access. Last year the action plan gave PCs to 135 remote indigenous communities. Internet access was provided by Telstra through two-way satellite connections. Of the 41 communities covered by the new round, 16 are in the Northern Territory, eight in NSW, three in South Australia and seven each in Queensland and WA. Another 13 grants give online services to local communities, a community phones program is being negotiated with Telstra, and training has begun in some of the communities. Multi-language resources are also being developed. The department says the Anmatjere Community Government Council has aided seven Northern Territory communities to establish public internet access computers in Alyuen, Nturiya, Pmara-Jutunta, Ti Tree, Wilora, Engawala and Laramba. They now have a fast broadband connection to give them access to correspondence coursework, banking and Centrelink. The council also provides community supervisors and technical help. The action plan was launched to recognise that remote indigenous communities were the most disadvantaged in the country and other government programs, such as the Networking the Nation scheme, were not effective. Labor's shadow minister for indigenous affairs and reconciliation, Senator Kim Carr, describes the scheme as a "terrific initiative" but says power supply is still an issue.


From http://theage.com.au/ 03/15/2005

 

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WA Firm Sets up Online Asset Sharing System

A company based in Western Australia has set up an online sharing and asset management system and hopes that it will taken up by public bodies such as councils. Anyone who registers on Check Your Network First can then invite their own friends and acquaintances to sign up. There is a dual pricing model - the first (silver) is free and provides basic functionality for sharing and recording assets. The second is a paid service (gold) which costs $49.95 annually. Each individual can list a number of personal items which they are willing to share - and the degree to which they are willing to do so. Films, books, music, games, software, electronic items, indoor and outdoor assets, tools and so on can be listed on what is described as each individual's headquarters. Co-founders Gordon Dunbar and Andrew Venn said they thought of the idea after considering the question: "What if we could invent a system that allowed people to create online networks around those that they know and trust and to then allow people to add their individual possessions? Would those people then share their possessions with themselves or others?" Dunbar said the concept was so obvious, that they both thought someone else would have already thought of it. "But that was not the case and it became obvious that sharing also had some real obstacles to overcome; avoiding the embarrassment of being asked and refused, damage during use and ensuring that the owner knew who had borrowed what and that it was eventually returned," he said. The network is built on the trust that already exists between family and friends. "Once created, this network of relationships is used to create a virtual library of possessions that is made available for each person to draw upon for personal use and return," Dunbar said. "The real value of our system can be measured in the opportunity cost of not renting the latest film, avoiding the cost of replacing a wornout lawn mower, or avoiding the cost of buying the latest Dan Brown book." There was also an upside for the community. "The community benefits from bringing neighbours together, reducing resource consumption and making our tax dollars go further by suddenly realising that we can now hold the government more accountable for the idle capacity of our assets in their possession," Dunbar said. He said the company was looking at patenting some aspects of the processes involved. "Patenting the concept of sharing is obviously not possible nor the Friends social networking. It is worth mentioning that our original designs pre-date the creation of Friendster and other social networking tools. The patent relates to the process. We are aware of the issue of prior art; however our last international patent search revealed none in the specific areas we have covered with the patent office coming back with the statement that 'all 44 claims are both novel and unique'." The site has been built using PHP and Apache and runs on Windows Server 2003. Dunbar said he was aware of the security issues surrounding both PHP and Windows Server 2003. "PHP security issues have been raised in relation to cross-site scripting but as we require login every single time as we expire all cookies either on sign-out or close browser window. This is part of the reason we have taken away the standard menus and navigation bar from inside the CYNF HQ." As far as security was concerned, "our system is professionally firewalled behind dual redundant CISCO PIX firewalls with no admin access outside of the datacentre," Dunbar said. "The only access people have is to the HTTP and HTTPS ports which are controlled by the Apache webserver. The Windows Server is single purpose and has no incoming mail and no FTP. All non-critical components of Windows Server where possible have been disabled. All relevant patches are installed promptly." He said the cost for a commercial version of the system was negotiable. "It depends, among other things, on the number of users, whether it is to be hosted in-house, offered by our ASP model, rebranded and any modifications required The $49.95 per person per year would be an indicative estimate. "We are also keen to encourage use, through offering it for free to charities and community not-for-profit organisations who would greatly benefit from the sharing process." Support is available at all hours and online help is also being developed. "We run real-time monitoring on all equipment to ensure uptime and availability. For our end users, we have 24-hour support via email and phone as well as help screens on the site. We are also developing a number of interactive tutorials which we believe will greatly assist users," Dunbar said.


From http://theage.com.au 04/04/2005

 

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Encryption Service

Email security vendor MessageLabs has launched what it calls a Boundary Encryption service to ensure privacy between corporate mail servers, a media release says. The new service uses the Transport Layer Security protocol, a successor to Netscape's SSL 3.0 protocol. All email sent between an organisation's mail server, MessageLabs and designated partners travels via TLS encrypted channels.


From http://theage.com.au/ 04/06/2005

 

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Australia Levels Playing Field for Open Source Software

The new policy document, A guide to open source software - makes it clear that where open source software provides a viable alternative, it must now receive due consideration to proprietary solutions. The document goes to great length to warn against the financial risk of being tied into a commercial relationship with a single software vendor. "One high-level risk associated with proprietary software technology (particularly software only available from a single publisher or supplier) is the financial risk of potentially high termination costs. This risk arises for a number of reasons, but the most important issue is the lack of alternative support for the software in question. The result is a lock-in scenario where an agency is tied to a particular supplier with little room for negotiation. This stems from the prohibitively high cost of moving away from a particular piece of technology for which there is no functional or interoperable equivalent from an alternative supplier." The document goes on to explicity warn against preparing tender documents that introduce "unintentional barriers that may discourage or inhibit open source vendors and resellers from submitting responses." This includes mandating that solutions be delivered using a particular proprietary solution.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/12/2005

 

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Better Technology Pushes up Health Costs

Improved technology is driving up health care costs but the nation's governments should work smarter to stop unnecessary and expensive duplication, a new report has found. The Productivity Commission, in a progress report on the impacts of medical technology, said the public may have to decide what core services Medicare continues to fund and what are ditched as technologies become more expensive. The report also found strong evidence that low income earners, people in rural and remote areas, and indigenous Australians were being left behind when it came to access to the best in medical technology. The commission's inquiry was prompted by concerns at the health industry and government level over skyrocketing costs, especially those associated with technological advances. According to the commission, 47 per cent of the growth in health costs between 1991-92 and 2001-02 were driven by new technologies. But the commission said it was a balancing act between the extra costs of the new services, and the benefits that came with them. Commissioner Helen Owens said another problem was that expensive new services were popular with patients, thus driving up demand and costs. "Likely future advances in medical technology have the potential to revolutionise medicine and bring large benefits to the Australian community," she said. "But they will also involve high costs. "They will coincide with higher demand for health services driven by factors such as accelerating ageing of the population. "This makes for a potent mix that will place additional pressures on both public and private health systems." The commission found one of the major problems in reducing pressure on prices was the lack of a rigorous health technology assessment system in some areas. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme was singled out as one area where more transparency was needed. The commission warned more listings for the scheme would go to cabinet where the reasons behind a decision would be kept secret. Greater links between the various assessment agencies was needed to ensure that technologies which may provide long term benefits, both medically and at a cost level, were adopted. "There appears to be scope for a more coordinated and systematic approach across the public and private sectors and across levels of government, especially for medical devices and prostheses. As health costs rise, the commission warns what can be supplied via Medicare will be stretched. This could force the government, and voters, to decide to scale back the scope of Medicare. "In the commission's view, there is a pressing need to explore the institutional and incentive structures that will deliver what the community considers is acceptable and appropriate access to new technology. "Fundamentally, this means addressing the issue of what basic services a universal Medicare system should cover in future." Another problem identified by the commission was the inability of low income earners and those living in rural and remote areas to access the best in medical technology. "These groups include lower income earners, people residing in rural and remote areas and indigenous populations. "While disparities appear to reduce over time, because there is a continual stream of advances in medical technology, disadvantaged groups may generally lag behind."


From The Age 04/19/2005

 

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Cigarette Website Forced to Close

A Victorian website offering cut-price cigarettes was forced to shut down today - but not for the reason the Victorian government had hoped. Victorian Health Minister Bronwyn Pike called on the federal government to help close the website, which sells cigarettes for $4.30 a packet. Run from a flat in Melbourne's north, the website sells cigarettes at half price by using a loophole in federal laws that enables them to import one carton of cigarettes at a time without paying stamp duty. But following a newspaper report about the site today, it was forced to shut down - due to being inundated with orders. A message on the site said it had received more than 100 orders in two hours today. "We have to stop temporarily for few days till we fix first those orders (sic)," the website said. "Please call again! Please don't contact us right now as we are very busy!!" Health authorities are outraged at the website because it cannot be regulated and they say it undermines national cigarette advertising bans. Quit Victoria chief executive Todd Harper said children could easily purchase cigarettes from the site and the cigarettes did not carry Australian health warnings. "We need to make sure that our laws are consistent," he said. "Given the increased use of the internet, this is a look into the future." Mr Harper said he had written to the federal government asking for it to intervene. Ms Pike said she would also write to the government, urging it to close the loophole. "It's obviously reprehensible that people would prey on vulnerable (people), particularly children, and try and find loopholes in the law to sell cigarettes," she said. "We've brought the rate of smoking down dramatically by our legislative changes and we'll be impressing upon the Commonwealth that they have to do the same with areas that are within their jurisdiction. "We'll be writing to the Commonwealth. They do have jurisdictional responsibility in this area and we'll be seeking to work with them to cut this loophole out."


From http://theage.com.au/ 05/01/2005

 

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Schools to Get Broadband Link

All government schools will be connected to a high-speed fibre-optic broadband network within four years under an $89 million technology initiative. The broadband rollout was one of the key budget planks. The upgrade at about 700 Telstra exchanges statewide will benefit businesses, families and communities as well as improve online learning for students, the Government says. "They will spend less time waiting for information to download and more time learning," Education Services Minister Jacinta Allan said. "The difference will be greatest for hundreds of schools in regional and rural Victoria, where in (some) cases the capacity will be up to 60 times greater." Other school expenditure included $145.5 million to modernise more than 50 schools, of which $55 million will go to building works in rural and regional areas. There will also be $94 million for the construction and completion of 16 new and replacement schools, including eight in rural areas. The Government allocated $27.8 million for secondary schools to specialise in such areas as arts, sport and design, and $2.8 million for a third rural residential campus for year 9 students. Education Minister Lynne Kosky said education remained the Government's first priority, with an extra $299 million over four years in part to help maintain small class sizes and assist disadvantaged students. "This budget will continue our focus on low prep to grade 2 sizes, the education basics of literacy and numeracy, and ensuring every student can learn to their potential," Ms Kosky said. But education unions said the budget had not done enough. The Australian Education Union's Victorian president, Mary Bluett, described the budget as modest. "A lot of it is core business in terms of building new schools or replacement schools... it's stuff you'd say that had to be provided." Victorian Primary Principals Association president Fred Ackerman welcomed the funding for new and replacement schools and the broadband initiative, but said it was disappointing there was no mention of principal health and welfare issues and the school maintenance backlog. (by Chee Chee Leung)


From http://theage.com.au/ 05/04/2005

 

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E-health Debate Intellectualized to Stagnation

Intellectualized debate is stalling progress towards a national electronic health records system, according to Intersystems Australia managing director Denis Tebutt. Instead of debating privacy concerns, he said, stakeholders need to roll up their sleeves and get moving on the HealthConnect project. "The technology needed is mature enough to be fully deployed, but like all major projects, [some of the] stakeholders are spending more time writing research papers into why it will not happen as opposed to making it work," Tebutt said. On a national tour demonstrating a working model for proposed electronic health records to state and federal government departments, Tebutt said privacy concerns are being used as an excuse. Based on his experience at Intersystems, which is a well -established health provider in the US, Tebutt said HealthConnect is being reduced to an intellectual discussion. "The challenge is not to attempt to effect repudiation but create the benefit for individual consumers and entities involved and then engage the privacy commission to say how we [as vendors] deal with the problem. At the end of the day private information is freely available one-on-one (such as through a consultation) but the minute you make that information available electronically people get concerned," he said. "We [vendors, stakeholders] need to stop thinking about developing the technology per se and get engaged with partners and begin development." National e-health implementation director Dr Brian Richards said privacy is a key policy issue for the success of HealthConnect, adding that the federal government is now in the implementation phase of the project after four years of research and development. And yes, Richards says, the sleeves are rolled up. "We are working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner because adequate protection of private information is fundamental to the ongoing success of HealthConnect," Richards said. "It is good practice to have privacy impact statements of IT systems being put in place as we clearly expect any IT system within HealthConnect's strategic framework to comply with privacy law. Richards said the first priority for the commonwealth government is to get the HealthConnect system running in Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia.(by Michael Crawford)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au 05/09/2005

 

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Local Firms Dominate Victorian Government's New Supplier List

The Victorian government has refreshed its pre-approved supplier list adding another 64 ICT companies to its eServices Panel. First established in 2003, nearly 60 percent of the new companies appointed to the panel are from Victoria and another 37 percent are local Australian companies. In total, 80 percent of the panel is Australian and Victorian ICT Minister Marsha Thomson also announced three new categories to the panel including IT infrastructure library (ITIL) contracting and consulting services as well as open source development and implementation. Incredibly, IT security services is being added as a category of its own for the very first time. "It's very pleasing to see so many qualified local and Australian companies able to buy into government IT business," Thomson said. "The eServices Panel also makes it much easier for small to medium-sized local IT business to gain lucrative state government contracts." "These new categories recognize the continuing momentum of open source solutions in government across Australia, and will help increase the range of independent security services and consulting resources so government can more easily meet IT industry standards." A place on the supplier panel paves the way for companies to develop partnerships with government agencies, and to showcase technology implementations. Thomson said the volume of business undertaken through the panel had doubled in the past year, up from 94 projects in February 2004 to 194 projects by December of the same year. She said the SMB sector is the big beneficiary. "Since February 2004, Victorian IT companies have been selected for 60 percent or nearly $10 million worth of government contracts; this is a 45 percent increase on the year before," Thomson said. Local services providers added to the list include Red Rock Consulting, Gibson Quai-AAS, Planwell Technology, Netstar Australia, EOS Solutions, Gen-I, Dytech Solutions and Astral Consulting. Security focused suppliers include Cybertrust Australia, Pure Hacking and Linus Information.(by Siobhan McBride)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/10/2005

 

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Australian Game Industry 'Under Threat'

Australia's $A100 million a year electronic game industry faces extinction when the new generation Playstation 3 and Xbox 2 machines hit the market, an industry leader said today. "For our industry right now it's either fly or die," Evelyn Richardson, president of the Game Developers' Association of Australia (GDAA), said. "We don't have much time." Ms Richardson predicted the industry, which produces quality, innovative games for the worldwide market, could die within 18 months to two years without help from the Federal Government. The GDAA is calling on the government to inject $A50 million over three years into the Australian industry to help it compete against game producers in Canada, eastern Europe and Asia. Canada, particularly, offers government incentives to attract business. Game companies in Australia employ 1000 people and earn $A100 million a year in exports, but Ms Richardson said $A50 million from the government would allow the industry to grow and employ 2000 people and earn $A500 million in exports within five years. "It's all about critical mass. Growing organically won't do," she said. "We aren't looking for a government handout. We're looking for a hand up to assist us to grow quickly to the next level." Australian companies just don't have the size or deep pockets to compete with rivals in other countries to win projects when the new, more sophisticated and bigger budget games for the Playstation and Xbox consoles become available. "The next 18 months are really important for the industry," Ms Richardson said. "We've created an industry with 1000 people employed, exporting over $A100 million. There's 40 studios nationally. The industry has a 20-year history, but going forward as we move into the environment of Playstation 3 and Xbox 2 the requirements for critical mass and investment grow exponentially." The complexity and larger scale of the new machines would mean Australian game companies, to compete, would have to double in size. To satisfy projects for the old Playstation 2 and Xbox machines, Australian game companies have invested about $US7 million to $US10 million and the project teams need 40 to 50 employees for two years. For the new Playstation 3 and Xbox 2, project budgets are expected to soar to $US15 million to $US20 million and employ 120 full-time staff for two years. While Australian companies struggled to survive in the new environment, they would become takeover targets, Ms Richardson predicted. "If we are unable to grow critical mass and establish an investment structure that supports that growth, we won't survive," she said. "Our major studios will likely become targets for acquisitions by multi-national companies at cheap, firesale prices." The GDAA is lobbying Helen Coonan, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and Arts to introduce similar tax concessions the federal government offers filmmakers to shoot in Australia. The budgets of producing games rival the budgets of some films. "The way to grow this sector is to establish an innovative government-sponsored games investment fund in the region of $50 million," Richardson said. This would enable Australian games studios to create and retain more of their own IP, seek licences from offshore that can be produced in Australia and access capital that enables them to negotiate better deals. The Australian gaming industry will also face an important week next week when a delegation of 44 Australian companies, led by Ms Richardson, shows off its wares at the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. It is the largest expo of its kind in the world and is crucial for Australia because 75 per cent of the Australian industry's exports go to the US.


From http://theage.com.au/ 05/12/2005

 

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New Security Device for Online Banking

An Australian company has designed a hardware device it claims will eliminate threats to online banking customers. Sydney-based Innovative Control Systems says its i-STOP device uses a portable security key (the iButton key) and a portable hardware device (the i-STOP reader). The iButton key contains a secret code, that is issued to the customer. i-STOP stands for iButton Secure Transfer of Online Payments. The system can be used anywhere where there is an internet connection and an i-STOP reader. The reader is portable and plugs into a USB port on any computer. A number of operating systems are supported: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows 98, Linux, Mac OSX, Mac OS9, Mac OS8, and Windows CE.NET (Version 4.2 and higher). Innovative Control Systems business manager Tony Ciardi said the changes needed at the bank's end to use the system were minimal. "The changes to an existing netbank website are minimal. They just need to add a button on the website for scanning the i-STOP reader and sending a code sequence to and from a serial port," he said. Dr Steven Lu, the technical brains behind the device, said the i-STOP reader would constantly read the iButton, frequently checking to see if it was attached. He said if the iButton was detached from the reader before a transaction was completed, the transaction itself would not be affected. "Anyone trying to use a keylogger or something similar will need the iButton to be affixed to a i-STOP reader as the code in the iButton is needed for authentication," he said. Dr Lu said the i-STOP Reader could be modified to enhance security if needed. "For example, you could add a keypad pin to activate the reader in preparation for the bank's sending of sequence code and connection of the iButton," he said. To use the i-STOP device, the reader is connected to a USB port. A light on the reader turns red. Then, the bank's secure website is accessed in a browser and an initialisation button on the bank's website is clicked. The bank's secure server then sends an initialisation sequence code to the reader. The i-STOP reader acknowledges and breaks up the initialisation sequence code to an algorithm. If the right sequence code is identified, then the green light on the reader comes on, indicating that it is ready to scan the user's iButton key. Once the iButton is successfully scanned, the i-STOP reader uses an encryption algorithm together with the code sequence from the bank to generate a second encrypted code sequence. This encrypted information is transmitted through the USB port to the website. The user then enters his or her username and password information at the website. The bank uses 128-bit encryption algorithm to encrypt client code, password and the iButton key's encrypted sequence code before sending it to its secure server. The bank server decrypts the 128-bit algorithm and checks to see if the client username and password are correct. The bank server then decrypts the iButton key sequence code and compares the iButton key with stored user information. If they match, the bank will then allow the user to log in and carry out transactions. Ciardi said the bank could also use the system for ensuring credit card transactions were only possible by an authorised user. "When issuing a card such as a credit card and a key card, an iButton key and a reader can be given to the user. The iButton key information is stored and linked to the card information in the bank's server," he said. "There is no doubt that the i-STOP system will afford the online banking network a level of security not otherwise possible at the present time and restore confidence in the system." Dr Lu said it would be very difficult to use brute force attacks to hack into the i-STOP system. "The encryption changes every time a code sequence is sent from the bank, and that code sequence will expire at time intervals specified by the bank. There is simply not enough time to carry out a brute force attack because of the encryption algorithms we use." Dr Lu has designed a prototype and the company is on the lookout for investors for mass production. Estimates show that each device may cost about $50 if manufactured in Australia; if done in China, the cost would be about half that amount. Dr Lu said the i-STOP system overcame problems which just about every other system had. "Two-factor authentication by using a token is susceptible to phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks. Using SMS for two-factor authentication opens another window for scammers to attack," he said. "And does everyone have a mobile phone?" Smart cards also had loopholes, Dr Lu said. "All the key material of a smart card is stored in the electrically erasable programmable read only memory (EEPROM). As EEPROM write operations can be affected by unusual voltages and temperatures, information can be trapped by raising or dropping the supplied voltage to the microcontroller," he said. Another recommended method is using a CD that prevents attacks like phishing, keyloggers and spyware, by running a totally locked-down, secure operating system and applications from non-modifiable media, with DNS lookup configurations hardwired to secured servers controlled by the banks themselves. "Any bank which adopted this method would have to make changes to their servers which would cost much more than our i-STOP solution," Dr Lu said. (by Sam Varghese)


From http://theage.com.au/ 05/12/2005


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Study Shows Australia's Software Piracy Rate Remains Higher than the US

Australia's rate of software piracy continues to remain high relative to other developed countries and shows no sign of falling. Locally, software piracy has hit $545million per year, according to the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Undertaken by analyst firm IDC, the research shows that software piracy has risen 1 percent to 32 percent while software piracy in the US has fallen to 21 percent. In New Zealand rates have fallen to 23 percent and the UK has a low rate at 27 percent. This year's BSA global piracy study incorporated major software market segments including operating systems, consumer software and local market software. In 2004, the worldwide rate of PC software piracy decreased by one percentage point to 35 percent. This occurred despite an influx of new PC users from high piracy market sectors, such as consumer and small business, and the increasing availability of unlicensed software on Internet peer-to-peer file-sharing sites. Business Software Association of Australia (BSAA) chairman Jim Macnamara believes it is significant that Australia's software piracy rate continues to be substantially higher than other developed countries. "Software piracy continues to be a major challenge for Australia and while nearly a third of all software used in this country is pirated it will continue to stifle the development of our local IT industry," Macnamara said. "Software piracy costs local developers as well as international manufacturers, reduces tax revenue and costs jobs." For the study, IDC used proprietary statistics for software and hardware shipments, conducted more than 12,000 interviews in 39 countries to confirm software piracy trends, and enlisted IDC analysts in more than 50 countries to review local market conditions. BSA Asia vice president and regional director Jeff Hardee said the two biggest concerns were end user and Internet piracy, particularly with broadband penetration in Asia becoming greater. "The message has to be heard by industry, but also by government, that they won't tolerate piracy," Hardee said. "We think that more education in Australia is necessary. "And Australia could have slightly more support from government in education and enforcement."(by Siobhan McBride)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/19/2005

 

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NEW ZEALAND: New Science Equipment a Boon for University

Two million dollars worth of new technology at Auckland University will enhance New Zealand's ability to attract and retain leading researchers, Research, Science and Technology Minister Steve Maharey said yesterday. Two new instruments ?an X-ray photoelectron spectroscope (XPS) and an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM) ?have been purchased by the Research Centre for Surface and Materials Science at the university's Faculty of Engineering. Speaking at the launch of the new equipment, Mr Maharey said science and technology will drive New Zealand's future development. "Being competitive in the 21st century global economy will mean being at the cutting-edge of technological innovation," Mr Maharey said. "The instruments we're launching today will contribute greatly to New Zealand's research capacity with benefits spread across all areas of our economy and society." The XPS will provide a range of insights including a better understanding of how things like paint and glue bond to metals. The ESEM will allow researchers to study a number of areas, including how cartilage is affected by osteoarthritis.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/12/2005

 

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Rural Schools to Learn Through Internet

A project that will enable seven small rural schools in the Thames/Coromandel area to work together using a web-based learning environment was launched yesterday by Education Minister Trevor Mallard. Mr Mallard said the initiative, called the Kopu project, will allow schools to share learning experiences using a range of online technologies including interactive whiteboards, shared computer programs and video conferencing. The three-year project will begin this year in Parawai, Maramarua and Opoutere Schools, and will grow to include another four schools in 2006-07. "Teachers will be involved in producing learning resources that will be shared electronically between the schools, and they will be able to participate in collaborative planning and professional development using the technology, without leaving their own school", said Mr Mallard. The Kopu project is one of the Ministry of Education's Digital Opportunities projects, which are joint government, schools and business initiatives. They aim to support the innovative use of ICT to support specific student learning needs, and provide enhanced learning opportunities.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/12/2005

 

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Internet the Future of Share Trading

More people will trade shares online in future as private stockbroker numbers dwindle but most investors will still need professional help with their portfolio, one of Australia's fastest-growing trading service providers has warned. An unprecedented wealth of independent investment information, new laws on self-managed superannuation and a desire among investors for greater control are boosting the use of online broking, said Otto Buttula, executive director of broking service and technology group IWL Ltd. Another factor which will have an effect in coming years, though, is a decline in the number of stockbrokers offering individual service to investors. "The retail stockbroking business in Australia is far and few between realistically now - there's already been huge consolidation and rationalisation," Mr Buttula said. Mr Buttula said there was still a role for direct retail brokers but "the industry has become far less attractive". "You're not going to make a living basically churning people's portfolios and getting brokerage commission," he said. "A lot of the old timers, the experienced brokers, have retired (and) a lot of the kids who have joined have not had experience in markets and I'd argue that some of the people taking advice off them have more experience than the people they're getting it from." IWL has invested heavily in the online trading environment and is banking on continuing growth in the sector. The company has two retail online broking services, Sanford and Avcol Stockbroking (formerly the online broking service of Rivkin Financial Services, the acquisition of Avcol is still subject to RFS shareholder approval) and also operates the back-of-house system for National Australia Bank's internet broking. If a current takeover bid for wholesale service provider JDV Ltd succeeds it will also be responsible for the online trading services of Westpac. Mr Buttula said direct online retail share trades already account for up to half the volume of shares traded in Australia and the trend towards people directly managing some of their share portfolio is growing. Investment information has become increasingly independent and "democratised", Mr Buttula said, evidenced in the popularity of stock research services such as Fat Prophets and IWL's own InvestorWeb. Two distinct groups are now trading online - the "daytrader" buying and selling quickly to capitalise on price moves, often in low-value stocks, and increasingly investors trading their own portfolio of high value shares. "But should people have a proportion of their portfolio professionally managed? For the great majority of people I'd regard that as true," Mr Buttula said. "The great majority of people are working every day, do not have the time and should have a proportion of their portfolio professionally managed."


From http://theage.com.au/ 03/27/2005

 

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NEW ZEALAND: Schools in Internet Fast Lane

Three years and $48 million into the Government’s Project Probe, the effort to extend broadband internet access throughout regional New Zealand is nearing completion. Probe’s key objectives were to ensure all schools and communities had access to broadband and to encourage competition among service suppliers. Project director Tony Van Horik said that by the end of June every school would have the option to sign up for broadband services. Probe focused on schools as a catalyst for generating uptake in local communities. South Waikato’s Kuranui Primary School has been getting the benefit of a high-speed internet connection since last June. The school was beyond the reach of broadband services that could be delivered over ordinary phone lines so is using a wireless service provided by Broadcast Communications and resold by Telecom. Principal Daryl Aim said the service replaced a "hopeless" dial-up connection. "The moment that [wireless internet] went in it just revolutionised the school because teachers, students, everyone could access broadband." The school became a test bed for both wireless internet and video-conferencing technology. "We felt a bit like pioneers. It was like riding a pushbike one day and driving a Ferrari the next." Aim said the impact on children, many of whom had never used the internet before, was huge. "They抮e using video conferencing as 5-year-olds and it’s already become commonplace to them." Aim has about 50 schools in his video-conferencing address book. "Every time I go on ... there seem to be more schools appearing. I can see five years from now almost every school in New Zealand having it." Aim said the power of the new technology was the ability to provide lessons almost anywhere in the world. Learning about Japan from a book could be replaced with an online video conference with a Japanese school. "You could only go one step better and that would be to hop on a plane and go to Japan," Aim said. Schools could share scarce resources to provide lessons for each other and online educational seminars could link teachers worldwide. School Trustees Association president Chris Haines said broadband had many benefits but limited school funding could hinder uptake of the technology. "They need to balance up day-to-day education and the value of broadband, versus how much money they are got in their budget." Kuranui has 114 local households signed up as sponsors of the school. Sponsors earn points on their home phone bill which the school can use towards the cost of Telecom services. The resulting funds had been enough to cover the cost of services that Aim said have "opened up the world" for Kuranui’s students. Probe identified about 900 schools where high-speed internet was not available. Van Horik, of Wellington consultancy Amos Aked Swift, said the target of ensuring broadband coverage for all 900 was about 90 per cent complete. He estimated about 1500 of the country’s 2700 schools had so far signed up for broadband services. Although the decision was up to individual schools, Van Horik believed the argument to do so was compelling. "If they want to be part of a modern education society they really do need to get on board with it." The experience of Kuranui’s students was exactly the result Van Horik was looking for. "The theory was that the kids would become used to using the facility and consequently would be encouraged to use it at home as well. "It’s a great way of educating the rest of the family." Using schools as a catalyst would, he said, help national coverage reach about 97 per cent of the population by the end of the project. But a small percentage of people not living near a community school could still be left out in the cold. Van Horik said the potential value of broadband to these people should not be underestimated. "It could well be that 50 per cent of the farming community is still not covered. "It’s only a small percentage of the population that live out in the rural areas but they may well be contributing quite significantly to gross domestic product." Probe progress* The $48 million project has so far made broadband internet access available to 90 per cent of targeted schools. * An estimated 1500 of the country’s 2700 schools have taken up broadband services. * The School Trustees Association says broadband has many benefits but limited school funding could restrict uptake. (by Owen Hembry)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/01/2005

 

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Government Tags $16m to Drive Early Childhood Technology

The Government will spend $16 million to get more smart technology into the nation's childcare centres and kindergartens. Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the money - part of this year's Budget - would be spent over the next four years and used to support a new information and communications technology (ICT) framework for the early childhood sector. Mr Mallard said ICT in early childhood education was not about "computers for toddlers". "It is about all the new technologies that influence our lives - from DVDs and interactive multimedia programmes to digital cameras and telephones - and how these can be used to support learning." The $16 million will be spent on lifting the use of ICT through regional professional development, research projects and the creation of ICT-based resources. Mr Mallard said research showed children's learning could be enhanced by the effective use of ICT and could help develop early literacy, maths and communication skills. The framework, called Foundations for Discovery, is intended to provide guidance for effective ICT development and use in the early childhood sector and is not prescriptive or mandatory. It will still be up to individual early childhood educators to invest in ICT. Mr Mallard said the $16 million was not for buying a heap of computers and equipment but instead would be spent on developing understanding and processes. The announcement has been welcomed by the sector. NZ Childcare Association chief executive Nancy Bell said at the moment ICT was used patchily through centres and the new framework would provide direction and infrastructure. "Children need to be ICT literate and it also provides good spinoffs across their education." Act's education spokeswoman Deborah Coddington said the $16 million over four years would mean the 6500 early childhood education providers would receive only about $600 a year. "It's an election year bribe. It looks like a nice lolly, but in fact it won't do much." (by Ainsley Thomson)


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/13/2005

 

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New Zealand Health Board Trials Open Source Software

A district health board will launch a pilot project to assess the potential of open source software on up to 80 per cent of its desktop PCs. The two month project, believed to be the first formal trial by a public sector agency in the country, will see Novell's SuSE Linux software installed on a number of Whanganui district health board's computers. The district health board's Chief Information Officer, Steve Rayner, explained that Microsoft's Office suite was particularly well suited to knowledge workers in government bodies and ministries, but less so for individuals responsible for the daily running of hospitals, which rely more on clinical and patient administration software. "The power and functionality of Office is lost on most of the people that use it," explains Rayner. Following a successful initial trial the scheme can be extended to 200 users in the agency, with a remaining 50 workers staying on Microsoft Windows-based PCs.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 04/14/2005

 

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Sites Slow to Help Disabled

If recent lawsuits in Australia and the United States are any indication, New Zealand businesses may be opening themselves up to litigation by failing to make their websites accessible to disabled persons. Last year, two major US travel sites, Priceline.com and Ramada.com, paid out US$40,000 ($56,000) and US$37,500 respectively to settle complaints that their websites were inaccessible. The Sydney Olympic Committee was successfully sued for A$20,000 ($21,500) a few years ago because its site did not meet accepted international guidelines. Although a precedent has yet to be set here, some proponents of adopting the standards say it is only a matter of time. "You could argue it either way whether it’s legal or illegal," said Bruce Aylward, owner and chief executive of Wellington-based website auditing firm W3A. But under the New Zealand Human Rights Act, he says, a company’s website can be considered a public service, especially if it offers online sales. "Under that understanding, you could argue that a website would be required not to discriminate against disabled people." Guidelines set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international group that develops web standards, suggest ways to improve accessibility to visually-impaired people. Text-based alternatives should be provided to multimedia content, language should be kept simple, colour and javascript should not be relied on exclusively, and tables should transform easily. Sites that do not follow these guidelines can be difficult if not impossible to view by visually impaired users, possibly provoking discrimination claims. An example is a travel agency that offers discounted fares on its website - if disabled people cannot use the site, they can claim they are being unfairly discriminated against. According to Statistics New Zealand, there are about 81,500 visually impaired people in the country. The Government is ahead of the pack in adopting the standards, with all agencies aiming to have their sites in line by January. Edwin Bruce, web standards manager for the State Services Commission’s e-government unit, says the motivation should not be to prevent litigation, but to make a smart business move. "Not only is there a whole lot of good sound moral reasons for encouraging this activity, but at the end of the day if you抮e going to invest some money in putting information on a website, you want as many people as possible to use it." David Harris, counsellor for internet governance group InternetNZ, agrees. "In practice, the benefits are pretty clear," he says. "You can make a pretty good business case for making your website accessible over and above any retribution from the gods of the legal system." But Aylward says businesses are dragging their heels.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 04/19/2005

 

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Telecom Boosts Broadband Numbers by 38 Per Cent

Telecom said today broadband internet subscriptions are booming, with 47,132 new connections in the March quarter. Telecom said it had 169,937 residential broadband customers as at March 31, up 38 per cent on the previous quarter. Among the new broadband connections, 23 per cent signed up to Telecom's competitors under Unbundled Bitstream Services (UBS) and wholesale broadband plans. Telecom has a target of 250,000 broadband connections by the end of this year. Of this, the Telecommunications Commissioner has said a third need to be through other providers who buy wholesale bitstream service. Failure to comply could bring further regulation. Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung said in a statement Telecom had launched faster UBS plans in the quarter, as requested by their competitors. "We're now seeing increasing growth in he rate of new wholesale connections, and we will be making wholesale a priority in coming months," Ms Gattung said. Telecom's progress is being monitored by the Commerce Commission, which released its quarterly report today. The commission said 152,004 of Telecom's connections were residential retail, while 17,933 were residential wholesale connections. The commission said Telecom had achieved 68 per cent of its total broadband connection target and 21.6 per cent of its wholesale broadband target.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/06/2005

 

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Software Giant to Put $2m into Schools' IT

Microsoft New Zealand is to donate $2 million towards information technology projects in schools over the next five years. Microsoft and the Education Ministry have been developing the Partners in Learning plan over the past year, a statement from the multi-national software giant said today. "The Partners in Learning initiative is not a one time give-away of technology, it's a long-term commitment from Microsoft to invest in New Zealand's future," Microsoft NZ managing director Ross Peat said.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 05/09/2005

 

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New Zealand Home to Largest On-demand Supercomputer

New Zealand is home to what Scott Houston, former CTO at Weta Digital, claims is the largest assembly of processors offered for "on demand" outside use in the world -- the Weta Digital array, now over 1,000 blade processors strong, each clocking 2.8GHz. Weta Digital creates digital graphics, particularly special effects for movies, and was instrumental in the Oscar-rated success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. University of Auckland researchers are using 48 of the processors to simulate the spread of HIV and its progression to Aids among large populations. Research is also in progress on the Weta array on the genetics of crustaceans and the identification of the species -- "and even the individual pod" -- of whale meat samples, Houston says. Descending from the heights of academic research, the first major project using the array was the design and simulated walk through of a NZ$25 million (US$18 million) super-yacht, he says. The processors are being applied to land-based architecture through a partnership with Auckland multimedia and design company Urban Voyage. Architects are even busier than film-makers, Houston says, and it could hold up a job to have to send everyone home at the weekend in order to have enough processing cycles for a big rendering task. Houston sees such partnerships marrying powerful hardware with specialist knowledge and software as a growing part of the supercomputer market. Supercomputer-based research is potentially handicapped by the need for secure fast communications, particularly where reference data resides overseas, says Houston. There is probably a case for concluding agreements to import "the basic data" in any domain, such as the sequence of the human genome for biotechnology, so it could be kept available locally. That the supercomputer is based in New Zealand could have great appeal to members of nonaligned nations, he says. Research establishments and private companies that may have used U.S.-based supercomputer services in the past could well be nervous of surveillance of their traffic into the U.S. as part of the Homeland Security effort, he says. Grid computing is an emerging potential use of supercomputers and arrays of less powerful machines, with Sun boss Scott McNealy predicting it as the "fourth big wave" of success for the company, most recently in an address to media and analysts on Sun's California campus in February. Some problems, such as weather simulation, cannot be split into discrete parts for grid processing and will still require massive parallel processing on a single site, Houston says; but many problems are amenable to grid processing. For the links of the grid, many organizations simply used the internet, he says, but Supercomputing Center partner Gen-i and its owner, Telecom, stand ready with virtual private network technology in cases of greater security need. Federated use of many computers had its early trials on massed ranks of PCs in such projects as SETI, the search for extra-terrestrial intelligent life. "Given sufficient security, there is no reason why [a supercomputing grid] couldn't use your processors," he says. (by Stephen Bell)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/19/2005


 

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New Zealand to Invest in Business Web Site

Government will spend US$7 million to develop a 'world class' business portal. The New Zealand authorities intend to spend NZ$9.9 million (US$7 million) over four years to develop the existing biz.org site into a world-class business portal. "We want the portal to be the first place that businesses and their advisors go to access the services and information they need to become successful businesses," said Jim Anderton, Minister for Economic Development. "It is important that businesses can access quality, trusted information quickly and efficiently. The portal will reduce the costs of searching on the Internet and will provide easy access to sound, reliable information." Anderton explained that the revamped site would have improved search functionality, making it easier to find information pertaining to the obligations of business owners, and making interaction with government easier.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 05/19/2005


 

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AZERBAIJAN: Conference on Information Systems Security to Be Held

A conference on information systems security will be held in Baku on Friday. The event is organized as part of the “Internet access and infrastructure development for research, educational and civil society development purposes” (AZNET) project, according to the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT). The goal of the conference organized by the MCIT, the UN Development Programme, Azerbaijan Research and Educational Network Association and Open Society Institute - is to exchange views on ensuring information systems security and to increase the participants’ awareness on existing security systems. Representatives of foreign companies specializing in information systems security will deliver reports at the conference, which will focus on security of computer networks and personal computers. The participants will hear reports on the system of disclosing attacks on computer networks, security of postal systems and web services, systems of protecting office and corporate networks, encryption of data and antivirus programs. Representatives of the President’s Office, the Ministries of National Security, Foreign Affairs and Communications and Information Technologies, the National Bank, educational institutions and business people will attend the conference. (by AssA-Irada)


From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 03/11/2005

 

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CHINA: First Open Source Software Week to Boost Linux Industry

The China Open Source Software (OSS) Week 2005, the first such event of the Asian Open Source organization, opened in Beijing Monday and will last through March 4. The OSS week, which comprises Asia Debian Mini Conference, the 5th Asia Open Source Software Symposium and Codefest Asia 2005, was hosted by the China Software Industry Association, the China Open Source Software Promotion Union, and the China Electronic Standardization Technology Institute and was organized by Sun Wah Hi-Tech Group. The activities have also won support from the State Council Informatization Office, the Ministry of Information Industry and the Ministry of Science and Technology. Open Source Software fulfills the same function as Windows operating system but at a much lower cost and is especially favored by Asian countries. The China OSS Week 2005 is expected to open the door of communication between the Chinese OSS industry and its Asian and the world's counterparts, by providing a platform for direct talks and interactions for government delegates, educators, Open Source Software developers and Linux fans from as many as 21 countries, for the promotion of rapid development of OSS in Asia. Organizers said that holding the convention in China indicates the importance the international IT industry attaches to China's OSS development. The location also provides a valuable chance for Chinese developers to learn from their colleagues throughout Asia.


From People's Daily 03/02/2005

 

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Hong Kong: Forum Sees Creative Collaboration in Digital Entertainment

Hong Kong Cyberport hosted the annual Cyberport Digital Entertainment Leadership Forum (DELF) 2005 today. The event attracted professionals from digital entertainment industries around the world to share their vision and experience on "Creative Collaboration in the Digital Entertainment Value Chain". Jointly organised by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Hong Kong Cyberport Management Company Limited, the one-day forum featured distinguished speakers and participants from renowned enterprises. Participants of DELF 2005 included producers and directors in film, digital entertainment and advertising; software and hardware developers; entrepreneurs in the digital entertainment industries and creative professionals. Forum speakers and participants together explored the dynamic nature of value chain in digital entertainment, including Content Creation that drives differentiation, Experience and Convergence for managing customer expectations, New Platforms for defining new applications and business models as well as Content Evolution for bridging innovation and customer expectation. Speaking at the forum|s opening ceremony, the Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology (Communications and Technology), Mr Francis Ho, said that the Government was committed to spearheading the development of the rapid-growing digital entertainment industry by launching a wide range of initiatives, which included the setting up of the Digital Media Centre, iResource Centre and Wireless Development Centre. "Building on these existing infrastructure facilities, the Government will sponsor the establishment of a Digital Entertainment Industry Support Centre in Cyberport by end April this year to provide one-stop services to the industry. An eclectic mix of business and creative celebrities including Mr Jun Tang, President of Shanda Interactive Entertainment Co. Ltd., a Shanghai-based Nasdaq listed company, Mr Michael Hedges, Academy Award Winning Re-cording Mixer for the Blockbuster "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2004)", and Mr Dan Sarto, Publisher and Co-founder of Animation World Network, shared their creative ventures on digital entertainment. In addition, a world-class animation feature combining culture and creativity was screened for the registrants. Directed by renowned cartoonist Mr Sylvian Chomet, the film "Belleville Rendez-vous" was nominated two academy awards and a world cinema award. As a continuation of DELF 2005, Cyberport Digital Entertainment Consumer Extravagnaza (DECE) will be held from March 23 to 28, 2005. DECE will take advantage of Cyberport?|s unique connected environment to showcase digital entertainment technologies from around the world. Home grown Hong Kong companies, like Pixel Magic, who specialises in home digital entertainment, also join the parade to exhibit their latest award-winning technologies for video processing or scaling products. Cyberport 360 degree surround vision film will also be open to public, bringing the audience an unforgettable multi-dimensional animation experience. Both DELF and DECE facilitates the collaboration of creative minds in digital entertainment, further strengthen the digital entertainment platform built. To signify the inaugural event, an official opening for DECE will be held at the Arcade of Cyberport tomorrow (March 24).


From http://www.ogcio.gov.hk/ 03/23/2005

 

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Chinese E-Government: Moving on from 'Web-Gloss'?

The good news is that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao seems determined to use technology as a mechanism to support administrative reform, says James Smith. Blink and you may have missed it, but China's political leadership gave a strong endorsement to the role of IT-enabled government in the country. Speaking during the delivery of the Draft Report on the Work of the Government at the third session of the 10th National People's Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao explicitly linked the central authorities' ongoing campaign against bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption with moves to "energetically strengthen" e-government programmes. Pledging to "increase the transparency of government work and boost popular confidence in government", Premier Wen focused attention on the need to harness technology to build greater citizen participation in and awareness of the public policy process. More of the same? In the short term this looks like a green light to more web sites: there are now more than 10,000 government web sites in the country, according to research firm IDC. A government report from Henan province recently underlined the general failure of this web-gloss approach to governance reform, describing e-government spending as too often "a political assignment and not a tool to better serve the people". When Premier Wen spoke he was acknowledging that citizen demand for better governance currently exceeds supply - and he clearly had more than new web sites in mind as a solution. Even a small increase in citizen access to government services will place tremendous strain on the existing bureaucratic process. One good example of this is in Shanghai, where the municipal authorities are close to offering 470 services online. This required root-and-branch reform of existing under-networked, manual and frequently paper-based processes. The bottom line is simply that many of China's existing governance practices are not scalable to meet future demands. Premier Wen articulated this in his clear appraisal of the limits of reform to date, and the ongoing need to harness technology to strengthen government and the administrative process. His comments represent a 'course correction' for e-government efforts at the local level, and underline that the central authorities are playing close attention to the use of IT to underpin the country's next great wave of administrative modernisation.


From http://www.pstm.net/ 03/14/2005

 

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E-commerce Conference Held in Beijing

China's e-commerce, in a crucial stage of development, is to grow at over 50 percent every year, said Song Ling, chairman of China Electronic Commerce Association. "E-commerce has become an important part of people's life and also a strong driver of China's market economy," said Song at the eighth China International E-commerce Conference held in Beijing Sunday. In recent years, e-commerce has been expanding fast with annual sales rising at 40 percent on average. According to Song, Beijing's transaction volume of e-commerce reached 66.6 billion yuan (US$8.05 billion) last year, Shanghai over 70 billion yuan (US$8.46 billion), and south China's Guangzhou 23 billion yuan (US$2.78 billion). Rural areas have started over 2,000 websites for e-commerce. E-commerce lowered the transaction cost in traditional industries and improved service management in sectors of finance, telecom and logistics, Song said. She estimated that, this year, the development of e-commerce would focus on the construction of a credit record system, electronic payments, modern logistics and human resources. The environment for e-commerce in China is improving gradually. On April 1, China's first "electronic signature act" started to take effect, which is considered the milestone of China's e-commerce development. The eighth China International E-commerce Conference was launched by China Electronic Commerce Association and organized by Xinhuanet.com.


From Xinhua News Agency 04/18/2005

 

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JAPAN: Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Conference - WSIS Thematic Meeting: Toward the realization of a Ubiquitous Network Society

MIC, ITU and the UN University will co-organize the Tokyo Ubiquitous Network Conference, as a thematic meeting of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS*) with a wide range of participants drawn from governments and the private sector. The conference will discuss the significance of a ubiquitous network society, specific measures to overcome foreseeable problems and ensure that such a society is realized. Objective: The "ubiquitous network society", which will make it possible to connect anytime, anywhere, by anything and anyone, is drawing the attention of an increasing number of people these days. n a ubiquitous network society, everyone and everything can be connected, and new innovations that will completely change the current dimension of ICT are anticipated. In the WSIS Geneva Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action, the provision of "universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable" access to ICT and the provision to everyone of the benefits from the opportunities that ICTs can offer, are regarded as two of the key principles of the Information Society. These are important elements for a ubiquitous network society, and in addition, measures toward the realization of such a society will bring us a significant step closer to realizing these key principles. To further promote such society, MIC, ITU and UNU will co-organize the Tokyo Ubiquitous Network conference with participants drawn from a wide range of organizations including governments, international organizations, the private sector and civil society. We will highlight the significance of a ubiquitous network society and forward the output of the conference to the Tunis Summit of the WSIS held in November this year. Date: Mon. 16 May - Tue. 17 May 2005.


From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 05/09/2005
 

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UZBEKISTAN: Television Stations Discuss Programme on Development for 2005

Members of National Association of Electronic Mass Media of Uzbekistan discussed programme on development of nongovernmental broadcasting in the country for 2005. Participants of the workshop oted that effective work of television network, created by 24 regional nongovernmental television stations, envisages development of separate regional station. They also considered projects on strengthening role of nongovernmental television stations in construction of civil society, improve skills of journalists, managers and technical personnel. The special group will be created to implement each project. At the meeting, it was also announced that Internwes Network’s office in Uzbekistan will assist nongovernmental televisions with trainings for staff, creation of information programmes and talk shows. Heads of 25 nongovernmental television stations of Uzbekistan signed request to Internews Networks to realize projects through Public Fund on Development and Support of nongovernmental electronic mass media, created in 2004.


From http://www.uzreport.com/ 03/10/2005
 

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Uzbek Cabinet’s ICT Coordination Council Holds Session

Coordination Council for computerization and information and communication technologies held its regular session at the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan. Vice prime minister Abdulla Aripov, who is chairman of the council, chaired the session. The participants considered issues of the council’s activity in 2005, which include development of competition in the ICT sector, improving the laws and increasing the share of small business on the ICT market. The council said the priority tasks for the nearest future were development of information resources in the national segment of the internet, expanding international cooperation in the ICT sector, forming the national school of programmers and personnel training. The council criticized some of the state bodies for slow introduction of ICT and told them to take measures to implement the governmental decisions on development of computerization and ICT introduction. The coordination council positively evaluated the activity of the Digital Development Initiative, which is a joint program of the government of Uzbekistan and the UNDP.


From http://www.uza.uz/ 03/25/2005

 

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Anniversary Scientific-Technical Conference Opens

Two-day international anniversary scientific-technical conference "Current condition and perspectives for development of ICT in Uzbekistan", dedicated to the 50th anniversary of foundation of Tashkent University of Information and Communication Technologies (Tashkent Electrotechnical Institute of Communication) and 20th anniversary of the Tashkent Television Tower. The conference covered the following topics: telecommunication devices and systems, mobile communication systems and services, software products and information technologies, Internet and corporate network, mail service, radio service, radio and television broadcast, management and marketing in the sphere of communication. The visitors of the conference have the opportunity to familiarize with the faculties of Tashkent ICT University, and communication enterprises.


From http://www.uzreport.com/ 05/11/2005
 

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Specialists of Non-State TV Stations Undergo Training in Tashkent

Workshop for operators of nongovernment television stations of Uzbekistan started at Grand Orzu Hotel on 10 May. The event was initiated by National Association of Electronic Mass Media, International Journalists Re-training Centre at support of German Embassy in Uzbekistan. Young specialists from Karakalpakstan, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya and other regions of Uzbekistan were invited to the Uzbek capital. Training carried out by specialists of German Deutsche Welle. Tomas Ori Pote, technical manager of Deutsche Welle project, said that his visit aimed at training local personal to work with digital technologies.


From http://www.uzreport.com/ 05/11/2005
 

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INDONESIA: Students Have a Brush With IT

Dozens of teenagers crowded around computer monitors on Saturday that displayed a series of interviews conducted around Kolese Kanisius school by student "journalists". The screening in the school's computer room was part of the information and communication technology-themed Canisius Fair, held on the school's campus on Jl. Menteng Raya, Central Jakarta, to mark its 78th anniversary. Attended by around 4,000 people -- students, parents and the public -- the fair was a first for the school. Classrooms were transformed into stands for both companies and students to present their products to the public. The fair's theme was evident even in the Manga Room, which was packed with students watching a manga film on a wide-screen computer notebook. The school's director, Baskoro Poedjienoegroho, said the fair was an effective way to educate students on the use of IT and its impact on society. "In this era, IT has sneaked into every aspect of our lives and changed human behavior," said Baskoro. Almost every stand in the hall had a notebook computer that was used to record sales. PT Nugindoprima Indah, which provide products and machinery to the advertising sector, was among other IT product providers that participated in the fair. Since the school asked companies participating in the fair to educate both students and visitors on the uses of products, rather than just their features, Jackson, a sales representative from the company, explained to the students how a scrawl can turn into an eye-catching logo. Korean electronics producer Samsung, another participant, held a digital photography class and photo competition. "In this digital era, people are starting to leave conventional cameras behind and move to digital cameras. I think that it is important for children interested in photography to get familiar with digital cameras," said Damar, a graphic designer from Fotoplus Magazine, who taught the short course. Kanisius student Antonius, 15, said the fair helped him to understand more about IT applications and its optimum use. "I can use IT to enhance my creativity and, through the fair, I have a better understanding of state-of-the-art technology," said the junior high student who excels in science and math.


From http://www.thejakartapost.com 04/17/2005

 

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MALAYSIA: Pushing Harder for SMIs to Embrace IT

Despite numerous campaigns encouraging them to hop onto the IT bandwagon, many local small-to-medium sized industries (SMIs) remain technology-shy. Only about 30% of SMIs in the country have Web presence and use IT extensively in their daily operations, said SMI Association president Looi Teong Chye. That figure shows a poor rate of IT adoption among the estimated 100,000 Malaysian SMIs, as up to 80% of SMIs in Europe and the United States have incorporated the use of IT in their businesses, he said. We are telling them (local SMIs) to move out of the old systems, even the old accounting packages, and to get into ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and SCM (Supply Chain Management) systems, Looi said last week at a signing ceremony between the association and Internet service provider (ISP) TM Net Sdn Bhd. The association is pushing hard for SMIs to clear up, adapt and upgrade to new systems, he added. More importantly, Looi said, we are telling them that now is the time to go broadband and get connected. Broadband penetration among SMIs is currently 揳t the basic level, because many of them hold the view that technology is (only)?for the bigger firms or tech-savvy high-fliers, he said. In a bid to remedy the situation, the agreement between the association and TM Net will see the ISP provide, among other things, broadband Internet access to association members. Overall, the agreement comprises three main thrusts: Broadband connectivity; the development, implementation and management of a Web presence; and the full provision of TM Net's products and services. TM Net currently offers online business applications such as net-meeting, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, extranet and intranet facilities, as well as webhosting. This is the second time the two parties are teaming up to boost IT penetration among SMIs. In 2000, the association and Telekom Malaysia, TM Net's parent company, embarked on a series of roadshows to promote e-commerce to SMIs. Then, it was all about creating awareness of the benefits of things such as broadband connectivity; now it is all about getting them to adopt such technologies, Looi said. The latest agreement was also prompted by TM Net's move to cut prices for its streamyx broadband service over the past several years, which has made broadband affordable for all, he added. With tens of thousands of potentially new SMI customers at its doorstep, TM Net officials said the deal would assist the company's target to double the number of subscribers of its broadband service by year-end. TM Net is aiming to hit 600,000 broadband subscribers this year, from the 300,000 it now has. We hope to leverage on the large number of registered members in the SMI Association, which spans various sectors and industries, said TM Net chief executive officer Datuk Baharum Salleh. Indirectly, through the future business expansion of SMI Association members, TM Net will also have the opportunity to tap into the network and delivery channels of those members, he said. This will give us a wider market reach, he added. To attract the SMIs, TM Net is spicing up its offerings under the agreement with special incentives such as free registration, monthly rental, and ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) modems. We want to make it as cost-effective as possible for SMIs to adopt broadband, said Baharum. The ISP will also promote its electronic mall service, where merchants can set up shop and advertise online for free.


From http://star-techcentral.com/ 03/16/2005

 

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Centre to Help SMEs Link With IT Firms

The MCA information communication technology resource centre (MIRC) will match-make small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with IT firms to help the enterprises modernise and become more competitive. Under this arrangement, the IT companies would provide ICT solutions for the SMEs to help them adapt to the information era, said Deputy Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Kong Cho Ha. The setting up of the MIRC was also aimed at helping the development of ICT-based SMEs, he said. The use of ICT would enable the enterprises to catch up in terms of technology and increase productivity, added Kong, who is also the Lumut MCA division chairman. He said that everyone was welcome to use the MIRC, which was the brainchild of MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, free-of- charge. Ong will launch the MIRC at the MCA headquarters on April 7. A soft launch was held in January. Kong said that the MIRC was managed by a group of volunteer professionals with skills and experience in IT and SMEs. They are all volunteers who hope to make a difference,he added. He said the MIRC which has a spacious exhibition area and a business lounge would also be a venue for ICT exhibitions and seminars. Kong said a series of ICT-related seminars would be organised to help create awareness among SMEs, adding that this was in line with the MCA Lifelong Learning Campaign. On the day of the launch, the MIRC will hold an ICT exhibition and a seminar entitled Business Acceleration for SMEs and ICT in Malaysia. MIRC management committee chief executive officer Andrew Wong said that since its soft launch, the centre’s website has recorded more than 500 hits a month. The number of hits was continuing to grow, he said. Meanwhile, several state party leaders have urged the MCA headquarters to set up a similar facility in their states. More information on the MIRC, which is located on the 12th floor of Wisma MCA, can be obtained by calling 03-2161 1618 or visiting www.mirc.org.my.


From http://thestar.com.my/ 03/17/2005

 

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SINGAPORE: IDA Believes Singapore Firms Poised to Ride Next Wave of Infocomm

Alexandra Hospital is to start on a pilot project to monitor bed-ridden patients using sensors and fibre optics, making it a world first. And homegrown IT firm Oswin Technology is set to take on the phone giants on the world market with its new PDA phone. Industry observers say these are just two examples to show that businesses in Singapore, even small ones, are well-positioned to ride the next wave in the infocomm industry. Unveiling its fifth 10-year technology roadmap on Tuesday, the Infocomm Development Authority says Singapore is poised to play on the world stage. It believes advances in infocomm, nano- and bio-technologies will drive a new wave of growth. Tan Geok Leng, Chief Technology Officer at IDA Singapore, said: "We are actually very well-positioned to be a major player as we go forward to 2015. We have over 6,000 multinationals, and local companies in Singapore. And many of these are in the infocomm space. So, very strong industrial base, in the infocomm space. And if you look at our research base, we are equally strong research community." For one, Alexandra Hospital will begin a pilot project aimed at preventing patients from developing bedsores. Sensors will be placed below the bed and then linked to a computer, using fibre-optic cables. Emily Hao Jianzhong, Scientist at the Institute for Infocomm Research, said: "That project is mainly to monitor the sleeping pattern for bed-ridden patients. Bedsores in severe cases may cause skin damage or cancer." If the sensors detect non-movement for a prolonged period of time, nurses will be alerted to turn the patient around. In the telecoms arena, IDA sees a converged wireless broadband platform by 2010. SingTel says this is already happening. Paul Kitchin, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at SingTel, said: "In many ways, we are delivering exactly that already today. If you think of what SingTel has recently launched with 3G, that's actually about convergence of a mobile platform and a fixed line platform. "So for us being able to deliver video calls over a mobile phone on 3G, over a videophone in the house, and over the Internet as well, that's beginning to show this convergence picture." Industry players say opportunities abound, in other areas such as health, power source, storage, memory and display technologies. And while many smaller companies may lack scale in terms of R&D and capital spending, they can leverage on Exploit Technologies, an A*Star unit which helps companies bring ideas from concept to fruition to the market place.


From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 03/09/2005

 

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VIETNAM: Firm Offers Asset Management Software

Lac Viet company has unveiled the Avantis asset management software designed for companies with assets of over US$1 million. Lac Viet, the first Vietnamese IT firm to market the product, said the software would help enterprises maximise profits by better utilisation of assets.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 03/12/2005

 

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Biggest IT Event to Be Held This Summer

The nation’s biggest information technology (IT) forum ever, "Viet Nam ICT Outlook" (VIO), will be held in HCM City in July, marking ten years of IT application in the country. The event will focus its discussions on all important IT and communication issues, covering e-government, telecommunications, the Internet, software, and information and communication technology (ICT) application in services. The meeting, sponsored by the National Steering Committee for IT and the Ministry of Post and Telematics, will be an opportunity for local and foreign experts to discuss development orientations for Viet Nam’s ICT and how to fully tap the potential of overseas Vietnamese experts, business people and intellectuals in this area.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 03/26/2005

 

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Bac Ninh Farmers Benefit From Internet

Farmers in the northern province of Bac Ninh will have the opportunity to use the internet to get information on crops, health and land use issues and improve interaction with provincial leaders, thanks to a programme launched recently. Bac Ninh, among the provinces with the fastest IT industry growth, has invested over VND15.7 billion ($1 million) to develop 88 local internet access-consultation points in conjunction with local post offices in the first quarter alone. Intel, the US company behind the IT universalisation project, said this was its first trial at the community level which, if successful, would be widened.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 04/02/2005

 

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IT Class for The Blind Begins

About 20 blind people from across Viet Nam will benefit from an IT training class that began in Ha Noi yesterday. Part of a co-operative programme between Viet Nam and Sweden, the course will provide eight weeks of training by Swedish teachers. The graduates will then return home to teach others.


From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 05/21/2005

 

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BANGLADESH: Shanto-Mariam University Provides Tech-Based Design Edn

Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology (SMUCT), the first design-oriented private university of the country, started its journey in 2002 to produce versatile and resourceful practitioners with design, scientific, technological cultural and social knowledge to equip them for the 21st century in an environment which fosters innovation, enterprise and enthusiasm for excellence having its main campus in House # 1, Road # 14, Section # 13 Uttara, Dhaka. SMUCT is offering Bachelor and Master Degrees in Design and Technology, Fine and Performing Arts, Management and general studies. SMUCT is also offering degrees for the distance learner. The ethos of the university is to deliver not only creative and technological education, but also to provide all students with a strong foundation in transferable managerial skills to equip them for rigours of professional life. Thus no matter whether a student is a singer, a dancer, a lawyer, an artist or a budding entrepreneur, SMUCT does not lose sight of the fact that each individual is a small business. All undergraduate students participate in a foundation course at the commencement of their first semester. Besides, graduate and undergraduate programme SMUCT also offers National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) in Fashion and Textile Interior Design, Graphics Design, Fine Art, Computing and Multimedia. ND and HND holders can finish their degrees in Australia, India, Kenya, Malaysia, the UK and USA with the credit transfer facilities. The university administrative building is located at House # 1, Road # 11, Uttara, Dhaka-1230.


From http://bangladesh-web.com/ 04/19/2005

 

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The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Forms Committee to Monitor Mobile Operators

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission formed a committee to monitor the payment of tax and customer service activities of private mobile operators. The commission formed the five-member committee, headed by AKM Shahiduzzaman, a director of the commission, in April. The committee will visit the offices of the mobile operators at least once a month to inspect their activities. A high commission official on Wednesday said the team would check whether the operators were offering proper customer service and paying taxes regularly, especially on the sales of prepaid cards. The officials said as about 90 per cent of mobile subscribers use prepaid cards, the commission has decided to ensure that the government gets revenue from the sales of the cards. The officials said as the number of mobile users has been growing rapidly, as a regulator, it is the job of the commission to ensure that the customers get proper services. There are more than five million mobile subscribers in Bangladesh. The services are provided by GrameenPhone, CityCell, Banglalink, AKTel and the state-owned Teletalk Bangladesh Limited. According to various estimates, the number of mobile subscribers might increase to about 15 million by the end of 2007.


From http://bangladesh-web.com/ 05/12/2005

 

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ICT Sector Needs Reforms

Bangladesh''s advancement in Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector is much slower than that in other developing countries and in order to achieve sustainable development the country needs faster progress, speakers told a function on Tuesday marking the World Communication Day. The World Telecommunications Day was observed in Bangladesh with a pledge to bridge the technological differences between developed and developing countries. This year''s theme was "Creating an Equitable Information Society: Time for action." To mark the day, Bangladesh Civil Service Telecom Samity organised a function at a local hotel with LGRD Minister Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan attending it as the chief guest. The function was addressed, among others, Minister for Post and Telecommunications Barrister M Aminul Hoque, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Post and Telecommunications GM Fazlul Hoque, Bangladesh Telecommunications and Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Muhammad Omar Faruk, Secretary of Ministry of Post and Telecommunications Mahmud Hassan Mansur and BTTB Chairman M Nurul Islam. The speakers said in order to achieve sustainable development Bangladesh needs to catch up with the rest of the world in the ICT sector. They were also of the opinion that India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been progressing much faster than Bangladesh because of the reforms they made in this field and Bangladesh needs to do the same to benefit the common people of the country. The function was also told that ICT can help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal education, reduce the child mortality and improve maternal health, combat serious diseases including HIV/AIDS and ensure environmental sustainability.


From http://bangladesh-web.com/ 05/18/2005

 

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BHUTAN: Farmers to Reap the Benefits of Internet

If all things go well, by March 2006, Bhutanese farmers could begin reaping the benefits of the Internet that has so far eluded them, mainly in the access to relevant and timely information on agriculture research and markets. The government and the Food Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) has signed an agreement, on March 2, to establish an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project called the Virtual Extension, Research and Communication Network (VERCON). The project is aimed at improving the speed and reach of the advisory services of the agriculture ministry to the farmers in matters of research and farming through the use of Internet. It is to help Bhutanese farmers produce more and achieve food security in the long run. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, VERCON would begin as a pilot project in 12 identified geogs, three each from four regions of the country. Geogs with telephone connection facility and the presence of more agriculture activity were chosen. Phobjikha, Dob Shari, Trong, Bhur, Kabjisa, Tangsibi, Kanglung and Yangtse are some of the identified geogs. The programme director of the Information and Communications Services of the agriculture ministry, Pema Lhamo, told Kuensel that the present system of link between agriculture research and extension agents was largely ineffective. The agriculture extension network was comprised of two to three extension officials with their responsibility largely limited to on-farm trials and pilot demonstrations without the access to new, relevant and updated information and methodologies. Weak communication network had, therefore, resulted in information bottlenecks and limited the effectiveness of research to contribute to agricultural development. VERCON will use Internet-based ICT to improve the link between research and extension systems through networking. And improve the chances of effectively communicating to farmers the knowledge and information of the agricultural research, according to the agriculture ministry. VERCON uses Internet standards and is accessed either through the Internet, or using a combination of CD-ROM and Internet, depending on specific situations (example the reliability of the Internet connection). It is also a tool which allows members of the network to communicate and develop, share, store and retrieve information. These capabilities allow network members to inform, address problems, discuss solutions and coordinate local, regional and national agricultural activities. It can also access the vast information resources available on the Internet. The project is scheduled to begin in March with financial aid of US$ 282,000 from the FAO and another US$ 70,000 from the International Agriculture Fund. The money will be used for, among others, software development and training of the officials responsible, and also for computers and networking equipment.


From http://www.kuenselonline.com/ 03/14/2005

 

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INDIA: BPL Mobile Talks Buy-Outs with Mystery Telcos

India’s BPL Mobile Communications is in talks with three unnamed potential investors in an attempt to find a strategic partner to take a 40% stake in the cellco, BPL’s CEO Sandip Basu told reporters yesterday. Basu said that the options are open for a foreign or domestic investor to buy part of BPL’s holding company BPL Cellular Holdings, or, if it chooses, BPL Mobile Communications or its sister company BPL Mobile Cellular. The company has appointed JP Morgan Stanley to advise it on the planned strategic alliance.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 04/26/2005

 

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MALDIVES: Dhiraagu Introduces Friends and Family Discount Scheme for Mobile Post-Paid Customers

MALE: Dhiraagu on Sunday announced The Friends and Family Discount Scheme for DhiMobile Post-Paid customers. This scheme offers discounts on calls to five customer-nominated numbers as follows:
? International: 25% discount on all voice calls made during off-peak hours.
? National : 15% discount on all voice calls throughout the day.
Customers can nominate any Dhiraagu fixed or mobile numbers, and can include
up to a maximum of two overseas numbers. The Friends and Family discount scheme will offer significant savings for customers, especially for those customers whose majority of calls are to a few numbers, usually of their friends and family members, Dhiraagu said in a press release. As a promotional offer, for the first three months from launch of this service the international call discount will be applicable during both peak and off-peak periods. There is no setup or monthly fee charged for this scheme. Post-Paid customers can apply via SMS to 444 or by submitting a completed DhiMobile Post-Paid Service application form, the telecoms company said.


From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 03/22/2005

 

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PAKISTAN: Pakistan to Host Next IT Ministers Summit in 2006

ISLAMABAD: The 3rd IT Minister's Summit that concluded in Bahrain on Saturday awarded Pakistan the right to host the next summit of over 30 ministers of information technology from the Asian and Middle Eastern region in early 2006. This is in recognition of the input from the Pakistani delegation at the summit. The ministers highly appreciated Pakistan's policies to deregulate and liberalise the telecom sector. Pakistan's proposals to set up permanent secretariat to manage the annual summit and to implement the decisions of the Bahrain Declaration, were well received and a committee has been formed to follow these proposals. Dr Aamir Matin, managing director of the Pakistan Software Export Board, commented that a number of the countries at the Summit showed immense interest in IT solutions in the areas of homeland security, such as machine readable passports, border control systems, and computerised national ID cards. "Since this was a summit at which all the IT ministers of Asian countries were present, it was but natural for the discussions to center around e-government solutions," he maintained, adding " Pakistan IT solutions developed by Nadra and others are an ideal low cost answer to the requirements of countries in the region". The summit to be held in the first quarter of 2006 will allow Pakistani IT companies to showcase their e-government solutions to the IT of Asian countries, each a potential customer of the IT products and services, said Dr Matin. At the summit, the Palestine minister for information technology has requested Pakistan to provide training to six Palestinian IT experts on Open Source software. The Azeri minister for Information Technology is also scheduled to visit Islamabad in mid April to conclude the discussions initiated at this summit.


From http://www.brecorder.com/ 03/27/2005

 

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PTCL to Reduce Call Rates from April

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has announced plans to further reduce call tariffs for domestic and international calls from next month. The cost cuts are part of an ongoing scheme to prepare for the company’s privatisation, that also included the upgrade of its services.


From http://www.telegeography.com/ 03/30/2005

 

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AUSTRALIA: NSW Govt to Present at Open Computing Conference

An official from the NSW government will present a paper on the government's open source perspective at the Australian UNIX and Open Source User Group's annual conference this month. A media release from the organisers said Dr Elizabeth Gordon-Werner, manager of strategic projects at the Government Chief Information Office in the NSW Department of Commerce, would use the recently finalised "NSW Open Source (Linux) Panel Contract" as an example. She would also provide examples of real world applications of open source within the NSW government. The speakers list has been more or less finalised and the conference program and abstracts for most papers is here. The conference, titled Future-proofing Government Computing: Open Data, Formats and Standards, will be held on April 18 and 19 at the Australian National University, on the sidelines of Australia's national Linux conference, linux.conf.au, which is scheduled to run from April 18 to 23.


From http://theage.com.au 04/06/2005

 

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NICTA Showcases Technology Research Plans

National ICT Australia (NICTA) this week staged its inaugural technology showcase, 'NICTA Techfest' in Canberra, hosting 200 researchers and students. The organization has just cemented plans to extend its operations, purchasing Crown Lease land from the ACT government for $6.3 million dollars. Among the announcements made at Techfest was news of a collaborative arrangement struck between NICTA and ACT-based company The Distillery to develop identity tracking solutions for use in law enforcement, national security and business intelligence. The relationship with The Distillery forms part of the Document Analysis and Understanding project in the Statistical Machine learning program at NICTA's Canberra Laboratory. According to The Distillery chief scientist Richard Jones the collaboration will span a three-year period involving three NICTA researchers and two NICTA students. NICTA also announced a three-year, $3.6 million agreement for a collaborative research project with the Western Australian Telecommunications Research Institute (WATRI) to focus on the development of technologies to improve information transmission. Called the Last Metre Problem project (LaMP), it aims to develop technologies that transmit information to and from people in a transparent way without restricting mobility or forcing them to change habits. The three-year project forms part of NICTA's Trusted Wireless Networks Priority Challenge. Researchers at NICTA are also working on developing new technologies that may potentially reduce the cost of providing gigabit-speed optical connections to offices and home users. The Broadband to the User (B2U) project, part of the Network Technologies program at NICTA's Victoria Laboratory, is creating an array of technologies to improve passive optical network (PON) technology and support graceful evolution towards optical access networks over the next decade. NICTA CEO and chairman Mel Slater claims that "the technologies being developed by the B2U project have the potential to revolutionize the next generation of Internet access." (by Siobhan McBride)


From http://www.computerworld.com.au/ 05/06/2005

 

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NEW ZEALAND: NZTE Gives $560,000 for Technology Exhibition

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is spending $560,000 to give the country’s ICT industry a strong presence at the CeBIT computer expo in Germany. NZTE’s acting director of ICT, Hans Frauenlob, said a professional and cutting-edge pavilion had been built to show off 16 leading Kiwi companies. "A combination of ARL’s America’s Cup technology and Next Window giant touch screen is stopping people in their tracks in the aisles and blowing them away," said Frauenlob from Hanover, where the expo finishes tomorrow. Frauenlob said NZTE outlay on the expo was evidence of a huge ramping up of commitment to the industry. "Almost every company here has reported serious and solid leads and they are all positive about the experience so far." CeBIT 2005 marked the launch of the "New Zealand New Thinking" campaign, aimed at helping New Zealand businesses compete globally. "One of NZTE’s key objectives is to help high-growth, export-orientated companies establish strong commercial positions in targeted offshore markets and CeBIT fits extremely well with this," Frauenlob said. Rod Drury, chief executive of email archiving and management developer and exhibitor AfterMail, said Kiwi exhibitors worked together to make sure New Zealand stood out. The trade show has 6270 exhibitors on 309,000sq m of floor space in 36 halls and pavilions. Drury said the NZTE stand had been actively searched out by distributors and resellers interested in Kiwi innovation. He had about 30 "great leads" to follow up when he returned. "On a New Zealand scale it’s enormous. The category we抮e working in, which is a combination of navigation, telematics and fleet tracking, has grown significantly." Macdonald said at the same event a year ago there were a handful of exhibitors in each of those product groups, whereas now a hall was dedicated to the category. "That’s part of the focus here - looking for distributors." Exhibiting at CeBIT was not cheap, he said. "It is a substantial investment. It’s a sum of money that a small company would find it difficult to do alone. "But that’s where New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has been useful to some of the small companies coming here. They抮e able to take advantage of that bigger New Zealand picture and piggy-back on it. "We’re partnering with NZTE - so we抮e present on their stand and also have our own Navman stand." Small companies might also find a larger company to partner with. Companies of the scale of Vodafone and Intel might take an entire hall, whereas Navman’s stand, with about 35 staff, is 100 sq m. Kiwi representatives at CeBIT 2005: * Animation Research: Computer graphics production facility. * AfterMail: Email archiving and management developer. * EMS-Cortex: Produces a secure application provisioning platform for managed services. * Endace: Developer of network interface technology. * The Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand: Human-computer interaction research centre. * i-lign: Project, portfolio, workload, decision and risk-management integration specialist. * Navman: Manufacturer of consumer and commercial electronics using the global positioning system. * NextWindow: Specialist in high-quality touch screen technology. * Information Edge: Developer of enterprise performance management software. * Investment New Zealand: New Zealand Government抯 national investment promotion agency. * New Zealand Supercomputing Centre: Telecom New Zealand and Weta Digital joint venture. * Outsource2NewZealand: Outsourcing organisation for software development projects. * Prolificx: Electronics designer and manufacturer for telematics and mobile data applications. * Right Hemisphere: Provider of enterprise software for visual communication. * Talkingtech: Computer telephony and interactive voice response solutions developer. * Terralink International: Geographic information system and mapping solutions provider.


From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 03/15/2005
 

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