Spring 2004 Issue 5
  Asia Quickly Adopting Information Technology, U.N. Agency Says
Developing Nations Begin to Embrace Internet Commerce
Shanghai to Strengthen Cooperation with East Asian Cities
Asia to Speed Up the Information Superhighway
UN Holds IT Summit to "Bridge the Digital Divide"
Digital Divide Fuels Telecom Surge in Developing Nations
Internet Democracy Elusive: Report
E-Governance Institute Ranks Digital Governance Worldwide
The First Study on Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide Ranked Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Shanghai as the Top Five Cities
The Internet in 2004: Challenges and Solutions in Key Areas of Concern
Global Internet Users Near 600 Mil
Canadian Project to Bridge Digital Divide in Asia
Asian Online Game Providers Rush to Nasdaq
Asia-Pacific to Lead STB Rebound
Broadband Lines Surpass 100 Million Worldwide
Linux Platform Being Developed for Asia: the New Server Platform Is Going to Be Called Asianux
Asian ADSL Subscribers Soon to Surpass Those of US
Busan Finalized as Host City of 2004 ITU Telecom Asia
Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Decides to Hold Asia Broadband Summit
Korea, Japan Hold City Development Cooperation Conference
Regional Conference on Digital Divide Opens in Seoul
Korea, Iran Hold Communication Cooperation Conference
2003 International Symposium on Digital Mobility and Mobile Government
International Conference on ICCIT Begins at JU
WSIS Held in Geneva
Asia-Pacific Telecom Sector to See Growth in 2004, Says Gartner
Infrastructure in East Asia: The Way Forward
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Azercell Telecom and Base NV/SA Concluded Agreement
CHINA: Hong Kong Government Supports Use of Open Source Software
Software Enhancement Key Gov't Priority
Six Measures Initiated to Boost Information Industry
Beijing Special Program for Construction of Digital Olympics
Hong Kong Opens Wireless Development Center
Shanghai Sets Targets for 2004
Local Firms, HKO Win Global IT Awards
New Regulation on ID Card Issued
IRAQ: Iraq, CPA Telecoms Contract
JAPAN: IT Industry to Form Entity to Fight Computer Viruses
International Joint IT Experiments with China Launched
NTT Opposes FTC Plan to Amend Antimonopoly Law
MPHPT Sets Up Investigative Committee Concerning the Promotion of Computerization in Regional Areas
SOUTH KOREA: Ministry, Regulator Lock Horns over Digital TV Timetable
Ministry to Provide Fund for IT Curriculum Improvement Next Year
Government Establish Matser Plan for Information-Oriented Society
ROK Aims to Double IT Output by 2007
New Number Policy Overhauls Mobile Biz
UZBEKISTAN: Uzbektelecom Launches Project in Jizzakh Worth US$200,000
JAPAN: MPHPT Invites Comments on Draft Partial Amendment of Examinations Standards for the Radio Law
SOUTH KOREA: IT Industry Momentum Due to Rise
 
  SP Services to Publish Electricity Vesting Price Online
Network Asks Govt to Pursue Reforms
SINGAPORE: SIA to Offer Passengers Broadband Internet Access in 2004
Singapore's Pacnet Launches Volume-Based Cable Access Plan
INDONESIA: Govt Starts Computer Literacy Program
THAILAND: Single-Number Call Centre on Track
Multimedia: Plans for Digital Center
VIETNAM: Changes Will Quicken IT Growth, Says Minister
MAYALISA: Enact Laws Against Online Porn, Govt Urged
 
  BANGLADESH: BTTB Reduces Overseas Call Charge
INDIA: Pay Your Property Tax on Internet
Meghalaya, Nagaland to Frame IT Policies
No More Optical Illusions for Telcos
IT Minister Urges Asian Countries to Unite Against Anti-Outsourcing Laws
MALDIVES: Dhiraagu to Give Special Reductions on Occasion of Hajj
NEPAL: Govt to Pass Electronic Transaction Act Soon
PAKISTAN: Jamali Calls for Bridging Digital Divide
BANGLADESH£ºJS Body Finds No Wrong in BTTB Mobile Project
 
  AUSTRALIA: ACA Starves on $300,000 Spam Budget
ACA's Hand Forced on Privacy
IT Start-ups May Get More Aid
Rural Broadband Fund Open
NEW ZEALAND: About-face Sees Regulator Rule Against Local Loop Unbundling
AUSTRALIA: Guidelines for Internet Access
Open Source Boost Unlikely
 
  AZERBAIJAN: Chamber of Accounts Opens Web Site
CHINA: Hong Kong E-Cert, Your Key to Secure Online Business
Hong Kong Secure E-Business Inspires E-Option Confidence
Online Security Vital to E-Government
Hong Kong IT Sector Embraces Project Management
Online Survey Prods Government Response
E-Book to Simplify Customs Procedure
HONG KONG: NET Teacher's Innovative Efforts Pay Off
HONG KONG: Gov't E-Trading Competition to Start January 1
JAPAN: Sony Wants to Expand Merit-Based Pay System
Japan Ranks 14th on ITU's Rankings on Information Access
Japan Ranks 12th in Networked World
Broadband Overtakes Dial-Up Internet Access in Japan: Survey
South Korea Ranks 2nd in E-Gov't Ranking in Asia
Seoul Ranked as Best 'E-Gov'
Korea Ranks 4th in Digital Access Index
The No.1 E-Government in the World, Seoul City
Government to Build Around-the-Clock E-Commerce Trading System
LG Electronics Announces Eco-Friendly Management
Government OKs W-CDMA Quality
Electronization of Customs Adm. Brings Savings of 2.5 Trillion Won Yearly
TAJIKISTAN: Local NGO Wins Grant to Construct Dental Clinic in Kulyab
CHINA: Information Platform Launched for University Graduates
China to Issue Smart ID Cards
 
  INDONESIA: Wireless Internet Era Comes to Big Cities
MALAYSIA: Political Parties to Woo Voters Via SMS
Balloting for National Service Fair
E-Government Gains Ground in Malaysia
Court Proceedings Soon Over Internet
PHILIPPINES: Automated Polls Junked
SINGAPORE: Govt-Funded Super-Computing Grid Launched
Environment Council Launches Online Eco-Office Rating System
Singapore Government Bonds Go Online to Improve Reach to Public
THAILAND: E-Government: More Services to Be Offered Online
Viet Nam Steps Closer to ICT Strategy
Youth Should Drive Growth of IT Sector, Says Prime Minister
INDONESIA: Party Goes on Line
INDONESIA: Job Opportunities Web Site Launched
THAILAND: IT Help for Political Parties
 
  BANGLADESH: City IT 2003 Inaugurated Make Use of Local Software Mandatory at Govt Offices
INDIA: Govt Allocates Rs 5,000 Cr for E-governance Projects
Indian State Shows IT Forte
MALDIVES: Some Government Websites Fall Behind in Updates
NEPAL: Concept of E-Governance Must to Cut the Red Tape
BHUTAN£ºNPPF Launches Its Website
INDIA£ºE-Government Will Not Eliminate Jobs
 
  AUSTRALIA: State Quest for Internal Corporate Data Net
SA Police Looking for Prints
Victoria Appoints CIO and CTO
WA Calls for Shared Services Comment
Defence Rolls Out E-learning
Victoria Funds Software Accreditation
E-defence Project Nears End
Queenland Turns on Hotspots
Melbourne to Get a CIO
Victoria Reviews E-procurement
1.3m in ITOL Grants to E-firms
NEW ZEALAND: Attempt to Put Laws Online Runs Out of Funding
Councils Score Well for Internet Access
Mallard Seeks Improved IT Buying
Servers to Boost Welfare Management Systems
AUSTRALIA: Mobile Towers Hit by Political Flak
Online Visas 'Gaping' Security Hole
WA Seeks Procurement Renewal
NEW ZEALAND: ICT Graduate Numbers Up by a Third in 2007
 
  CHINA: Chinese Unveil Schedule for Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcasting
Hong Kong Develops into Digital City
Shanghai Marks Successful Bid for World Expo
Law Website Launched in Shanghai
Used Cell Phones Can Help the Elderly
Largest Software Park Planned
China to Begin Building IPv6 Network Due for Completion by End of 2005
China to Put 10 Satellites into Orbit in 2004
Website: Pay for Your Lost Wallets
Shenzhen to Become China's First City Without Rural Areas
IRAN: Computer Gives Slideshow of Nameless Victims
'Intelligence Petrol Card' for Cars
JAPAN: Research Team Sets World Record in Fast Data Transfer
Japan's DSL Subscribers Expected to Surpass 10 Million in December
Digital TV Broadcasting Starts
Broadband Tops List of 10 Hottest Items of 2003
Resident Registry Network Vulnerable to Hacker Attacks
University's Computer-Game Course Enjoying Popularity
Sony Develops Humanoid Robot Capable of 'Running'
Subscription Contracts for BB Net Services Top 13 Mil
Toyota to Unveil Robot for Practical Uses at 2005 Expo
27% of Major Firms Using IP Phone Networks
SOUTH KOREA: Sangam Digital Street
77 Villages Are Added to the List of Information Network Villages
Seoul City Maps Out New Town Project
Online B2C Deals Drop
E-commerce Capital
Portal Site on IT Export Information Opens
Huge New Urban Center Planned for Daejeon
ROK Creates Virtuous Circle for Informatization
Government to Support Local Universities' Recruitment of IT Experts
Handbook on Overseas IT Organizations Published
Free Business Form On-line Service Launched
Pyongyang Goes Online, with Help from a German Investor
KAZAKHSTAN: New Generation Mail Boxes in Almaty
TAJIKISTAN: TV and Radio Broadcasting Expanding in Eastern Tajikistan
TURKMENISTAN: Alumni Create New Website about Turkmen Culture in Ashgabat
UZBEKISTAN: Telephone Operators Face Illegal Competitors
Istiqbolbank Issues over 1.13bn of Credits in 2003
 
  INDONESIA: Survey Shows Retailers Increase IT Spending
Bring Wireless Connection to Your Home and Office
MALAYSIA: E-Pay Offers Online Top-Up for Celcom Clients
EMC Sets Sights on Top Spot
Accreditation a Must for E-Degrees
80 Learner Drivers Left in The Lurch Over E-Tes
Hotline, E-Mail Service for Feedback on Roads
More Plantations Adopt Local IT Solution
E-Security Company on Road to Mesdaq
PHILIPPINES: Amaers Are Now Full 'Netizens'
Computerized Audit Reports Could Have Avoided JDF Mess
Singapore Developing Electronic Chip Capable of Detecting SARS
Starhub Wireless Broadband Subscribers Can Use Over 10,000 Global Hotspots
Entrepreneurship Website Attracts 200,000 Hits Since Sept 2003 Launch
THAILAND: First Thai Online Game Debuts
ICT Awards Satellite Contract
VIETNAM: ICT Destined to 'Spearhead' the New Economy
 
  BANGLADESH: Computer Fair Starts in City:
GrameenPhone Opens Sales Centre in City:
BHUTAN: The Country's First Dzongkha Website:
INDIA: Simputer for Kerala Project:
Radio Is Back in Fashion and Digital Is the Way Forward:
Few Takers for Pay TV Channel Boxes in South Delhi :
Delhi Cable Operators Offer Hefty Price Discounts on Pay Channels :
Cellular Connections to Touch 56 Million by 2004 End :
Byatrayanpura CMC Bytes a Record:
BSNL Comes Out with More Services:
Net4India to Launch Broadband in Big Cities:
Cell Phones, Computers, Flying Cheaper:
MALDIVES: Is Internet an Effective Medium to Match Employers and Job Seekers in Maldives:
Cable Vision Expands to 35 Channels :
PAKISTAN: ARY Digital Eid Transmission:
Eight Cities and Towns Get Direct Dialing Facility:
 
  AUSTRALIA: Broadband Gains Momentum:
WA Students Get ibooks:
E-travel Books New Qantas Deal:
Hi-tech Reply as the Nation Talks Back:
Local Jabber Server Launched:
Voice-activated Care for Remote Patients:
Local Webcasting System Debuts:
Digital Radio Begins in NSW:
NEW ZEALAND: Manukau Steals March on Rest:
Auckland to Get Linux Centre:
Fibre Link Plans for Southland :
Kiwis Lead on Net Use:
Otago University Speeding Up Its Links :
Library Deal Gives Free Online Access to Journals and Magazines :
 
  AZERBAIJAN: IATP Helps Establish Information Technology Department at Baku University
CHINA: The 134th Congress of BIE Held on 12th December
China to Hold First Int'l Online Game Expo
IRAN: 'Electronic Government Exhibition' Opens
SOUTH KOREA: SMBA Holds Event to Introduce International Procurement Information System
Ministry Hosts Symposium on Public Information Projects
UZBEKISTAN: Delegation Attends ICT Forum in Baku
Documentum Presents Its Solutions in Tashkent
Advanced Web Design Course in Angren
 
  BRUNEI: Sapura Brunei Conducts E-Teaching Workshop
MALAYSIA: Visitors Gain Info on Latest IT Products
SINGAPORE: More IT Enthusiasts Taking Up 'Self-Defence' Hacking Courses
VIETNAM: PM Accepts Regional Award Acknowledging IT Progress
Ha Noi Software Whizzes Share Limelight at Contest
VN Lecturer Wins US IT Honour
 
  BANGLADESH: Dhaka to Play Dynamic Role in WSIS Summit
NEPAL: Cable-Net Introduces Optical Fibre Technology
Media Education, A Misnomer
ICT Capabilities in Nepal
What does It Mean for Countries Like Nepal - World Summit on Information Society
PAKISTAN: CyberNet Holds Second Draw for E-Payment Extravaganza
 
  AUSTRALIA: Forum to Address Sluggish Bio-IT
ALP to Tackle ICT Trade Deficit
     
 
 
 

Asia Quickly Adopting Information Technology, U.N. Agency Says

The increase in access to information technology in Asia during the past few years suggests that English is no longer a decisive factor in a country's quickly adopting information and communication technology (ICT), according to the U.N. International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In a November 19 press release, the ITU said it had completed the first global ranking of economies' access to ICTs, finding that South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong had made the greatest progress since 1998. The ranking was made using a new transparent "Digital Access Index," the release said. Using the index, researchers grouped countries into four categories of access -- high, upper, medium and low. While limited infrastructure has been regarded as the main barrier to access, the ITU's research "suggests that education of users and affordability of access are equally important factors," said Michael Minges of ITU's market, economics and finance unit. In China, for example, researchers found that over half of Internet users have university educations, the release said. Service quality was another factor found to affect access, according to the release. Widespread access to information technology "can boost economic development and improve citizens' lives," the release said. An overview of the indicators used to measure access to information technology will be included in a World Telecommunication Development Report to be published just prior to the December World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva, the release said.

From http://usinfo.state.gov/ 11/20/2003

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Developing Nations Begin to Embrace Internet Commerce

COMMERCE is starting to find a place in some of the world's emerging economies. Governments and businesses in a growing number of developing nations have begun building the infrastructure needed for online commerce, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or Unctad. "Governments are more and more aware that this can be a tremendous boon to their economy," said Angel Gonzalez-Sanz, an Unctad economist who spoke by phone from Geneva. "They're starting to recognize that policy choices matter; the attitude of the government, the business community. When you tackle issues like infrastructure and lack of awareness, results come." Mr. Gonzalez-Sanz said that Thailand, for example, is starting to see results from a government strategy that began in 1996 and was updated in 2002. Under that plan, the nation has moved aggressively to improve computer and Internet literacy by, among many other things, selling $250 personal computers and $500 notebook computers to its citizens and wiring thousands of schools for the Internet in the last two years. The government has also set up two national Internet switching points and created a plan to offer Internet services throughout the country. The early results for online commerce are modest but promising. From 2000 to 2001, the latest period for which data is available, the share of Thailand's Web sites selling goods or services online doubled, to 12 percent. The proportion of Thailand's Internet users who live outside Bangkok, the capital, has steadily improved, reaching 50 percent last year. Mr. Gonzalez-Sanz said that in Southeast Asia, among other regions, "companies have been feeling pressure from the market to get on the Internet." That is particularly true, he said, with companies that export goods to countries where a significant amount of business is conducted through the Internet, like the United States. But, Mr. Gonzalez-Sanz said, not all developing countries have followed that path. "Some countries have still had trouble identifying the benefits" of online commerce development, he said. "In places where most of the economy is exporting agricultural commodities, or where you're less integrated in the global economy as a whole, you don't have that pressure." Indeed, in countries like El Salvador, the development and use of online commerce has been haphazard. Earlier this year, Everest S.A., a family-run business in San Salvador, sold a 69-kilogram lot (152 pounds) of coffee beans in an Internet auction from one of its five farms for a record price of $14.06 a pound. According to Aida Batlle, who helps manage the farms, the family had no grand e-commerce plan. Rather, she had heard about a coffee competition, Cup of Excellence, held in El Salvador by a coffee industry trade group based in the United States. Ms. Batlle entered the competition, which included 335 of the country's roughly 23,000 farms, and in early May received first prize for beans from the family's Kilimanjaro farm. Cup of Excellence then arranged an online auction featuring lots from the competition's finalists. Ms. Batlle sat in a hotel room in San Salvador with 31 other farmers, watching a big screen TV that displayed the auction's Web site, where price increases were updated every 90 seconds. That was exciting, Ms. Batlle said, but an equally important part of the auction was that it put her company in direct contact with buyers. In the past, she said, local mills would buy the farms' beans and sell them to distributors. "We've now taken the middleman out, which is huge," she said. Ms. Batlle said she had maintained a relationship with the Norwegian coffee distributor that bought her beans as well as a Japanese distributor that bid $3.20 a pound for coffee from another of the family's farms in a July auction. That change, she said, will help the farm lift average prices above the 30 cents a pound it received last year. The entry into the global market will also benefit the company's workers, who in past years have earned 75 cents for every 25 pounds of ripe coffee cherries picked. (Workers pick, on average, 250 pounds a day.) Because of better coffee prices, Everest now pays its workers $1.03 for 25 pounds. And, Ms. Batlle said, the nation's other farms could ultimately benefit, as well. "This has given the country's coffee industry great exposure," she said. For businesses that export services from developing nations, the Internet can be equally critical. The Unctad report, for instance, noted the rise of "business process outsourcing," in which companies in countries with high labor costs contract information technology and other service jobs to foreign workers abroad. Some American companies have begun to use Indian workers to handle online monitoring of their information systems. But successful online enterprises do not necessarily require a telecommunications system as developed as India's, said Mr. Gonzalez-Sanz. Cambodia, which as a nation has modest Internet access, has a small but growing outsourcing company, Digital Divide Data, which has gained clients around the world in the last three years. The company, a nonprofit organization started by Americans, employs about 115 people to digitize data from maps or documents, and then send it back to the country of origin. According to Nhev SithSophary, the general manager of Digital Divide Data's main office in Phnom Penh, the company hires people who might otherwise not find work, including disabled people, workers from rural areas and women who were in the sex trade. The workers earn $1,200 a year, which is four times the average Cambodian's income, and receive free education while on the job. "That way, they can move on to the next job, for higher pay," Mr. Nhev said. "It's really helpful." Digital Divide Data will generate about $200,000 in revenue this year. In all, according to the report, global e-commerce revenue this year will reach $1.4 trillion to $3.9 trillion, with more than 95 percent of the transactions in industrialized countries like the United States, Britain and Japan. By contrast, Africa and Latin America combined will account for less than 1 percent of global online sales. That online commerce will take years to emerge in many countries is understandable, Mr. Gonzalez-Sanz said. "Some of these countries have been preoccupied with very serious issues" like AIDS, he said. In those situations, he added, "e-commerce probably won't be your first preoccupation." (by Bob Tedeschi)

From http://www.nytimes.com/ 11/24/2003

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Shanghai to Strengthen Cooperation with East Asian Cities

China's largest industrial city of Shanghai will strengthen cooperation with east Asian cities, said an official of the municipality at the just-closed east Asia mayors forum. Feng Guoqin, deputy mayor of Shanghai, said at the forum that the city will open its service industry, infrastructure and social projects more widely to the outside world. He welcomed investors and entrepreneurs from the east Asia cities to Shanghai for development. The municipality will continue encouraging foreign capital to invest in autos, petrochemical, steel and manufacturing as well asnew materials, biological pharmacy and environmental protection, according to Feng. Shanghai seeks to attract more multinational corporations to set up their regional headquarters, purchasing centers and research institutions in the city by creating a favorable policy environment, Feng said. The city also encourages east Asian cities to participate in restructuring its state-owned enterprises, he said. The forum was held in Kumming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan province, from Dec.2 to 3.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 12/07/2003

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Asia to Speed Up the Information Superhighway

And an increasing number of Chinese are turning to the Internet for their media fix. China has some 78 million Internet users. However, only one third of these netizens use Broadband access to explore cyber space. How to develop China's broadband industry and further promote its application nationwide, has become a key topic at Sunday's Asia-Pacific Broadband Summit. E-government, E-shopping, long-distance education, on-line entertainment, all of these new Internet service trends are reshaping our lives, and "Broadband " puts them in the fast lane. Broadband is fully deployed in South Korea, Japan and Singapore, and has become a part of their social infrastructure like telephone, or television. But neighboring China still has a long way to go. When evaluating China's latest developments in the broadband industry, one Korean expert has some other proposals. Chairman of Internet Association of Korea Kilnam Chon said: "China should work hard on how to harmonize the broadband development around the whole country." Regarding the prospects for China's broadband development, Professor Wu said he is much inspired by the Chinese government's full support to develop the next generation of Internet. Cooperation and exchanges with developed countries on broadband know-how are ongoing, and he is confident that China's strategy of "Information promoting Industrialization, Industrialization developing Information" is having a positive effect.

From http://www.cctv.com 12/08/2003

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UN Holds IT Summit to "Bridge the Digital Divide"

More than 50 heads of government and some 10,000 delegates are attending a three-day United Nations World Summit on the Information Society that started on Wednesday in Geneva. The meeting aims to "bridge the digital divide" between rich and poor nations. Awaiting approval from world leaders is a declaration that challenges governments to use technology to promote development goals such as eliminating poverty, fighting AIDS and curbing child mortality. It calls for schools, public libraries and health centers in poor countries to be connected to the Internet by 2015. Japan says that development in Asia runs hand-in-hand with the expansion of broadband across the continent. According to Taro Aso, Japanese Minister of Public Management, Home Affairs, Ports & Telecom, "This programme prepares an action plan to achieve its objectives of developing a broadband environment and accessibility in Asia. I believe that the action of the WSIS declaration of principle and action plan is vital." The meeting is setting up a working group to ascertain the feasibility and effectiveness of setting up a fund to advance the information society. Arun Shourie, Indian Minister in charge of Communications and Information Technology, said, "Should such a fund be set up, India will contribute financially in accordance with the formula that collective deliberations shall yield. To be of even greater assistance we will contribute in kind by training and equipping people for this new society, by sharing the substantial experience that we have acquired in spheres such as e-government, telemedicine, imparting literacy, information security, language technologies and other areas." However, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea stressed that abusing information and the means of communication to interfere in other countries' internal affairs should be rejected on all counts.

From http://www.cctv.com/ 12/12/2003

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Digital Divide Fuels Telecom Surge in Developing Nations

There was much discussion at the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society [in Geneva last] week about whether industrialized nations should start a digital solidarity fund to help poor areas of the world connect to communications networks, reports The International Herald Tribune (12/13). But officials of the World Bank pointed out that there is already a compelling business case for private investors to fund such development: Investments in telecommunications companies in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean are reaping rates of financial returns in excess of 25 percent on a compound annual basis. Economic returns are even higher about 40 to 50 percent when license fees, taxes and other charges are excluded, according to Mohsen Khalil, the World Bank's director of global information and communication technologies. Such investments have proven to be more stable than those made in phone companies in the developing world, which overextended themselves during the tech bubble, Khalil said at the summit meeting, which ended on Friday. In the early 1990's, telecom privatization was dominated by large international operators. Examples include MSI Cellular, which has built a pan-African cellular network; Millicom International Cellular, which owns 16 cellular operators in 15 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and Digicel, which is developing a pan-Caribbean cellular network. The IFC, an arm of the World Bank and the largest source of private equity for developing countries, has invested in these companies and others, along with institutional and private investors The local success of these companies, and their expansion, could have major economic and political implications. There is a huge opportunity for the reversal of the transfer of goods and services from north to south, Khalil said. We are starting to see south-to-south transfers and south-to-north. Reuters (12/12) reports that more than 170 countries approved on Friday an ambitious call to extend the Internet and the benefits of information technology to the poorest corners of the world, but dodged some of the difficulties of doing so. In particular, they put off a decision on whether to set up a special fund to finance the necessary infrastructure, for which African countries had lobbied hard. But it was not just the wealthy states that opposed rushing into new financing. Senior UN officials agreed it was better first to explore improved use of existing resources from the World Bank and other sources. Also postponed was a showdown over Internet management, with developing countries such as Brazil pressing for a greater role for the United Nations or intergovernmental agencies in a business currently left to the private sector in rich states. Agence France Presse (12/12) adds that the unruly Internet escaped new controls at a UN summit in Geneva last week, but 175 countries pledged to look again at who should govern the web when they reconvene in Tunis in two years time.

From http://web.worldbank.org/ 12/15/2003

Internet Democracy Elusive: Report

Australia has been ranked third in an international survey of electronic-government readiness, according to a UN report. The report says more governments around the globe are using the Internet, but only 20 per cent of people with World Wide Web access use government sites and those sites rarely encourage users to participate in making policy. Even though the 2001 terror attacks made security - rather than accessibility - the main concern in many nations, the number of countries with at least one government Web site continues to increase, according to the 2003 UN World Report on the Public Sector, E-Government at the Crossroads. The report on "electronic government" was released yesterday in Mexico City. A total of 173 of the United Nation's 191 member nations had a Web presence in 2003, an increase from 143 in 2001. Only 18 countries, many in Africa, remained completely off-line. While Web-based access can link citizens to everything from schools to hospitals and libraries, it is not the whole answer. "Only a very few governments have opted to use e-government applications for transactional services or networking," the report states, "and even fewer use it to support genuine participation of citizens in politics." The US Government led the ranking of e-government "readiness", the amount of information, services and products it offers over the Internet, combined with the infrastructure - telephones, computers, Internet connections - and the education needed to access them. In that ranking, Sweden was second, followed by Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Finland. The report, however, gave very different marks on the quality of countries' Web sites, a ranking in which many developing nations placed higher than their developed counterparts. "This is a measure of how well the governments are doing in meeting citizen's needs," Seema Hafeez, one of the report's authors, said. The United States took top place in the Web-quality index, followed by Chile, Australia, Mexico, Great Britain, Canada, the Philippines, Singapore, Denmark and Sweden. In another ranking for "e-participation" - a measure of a government's willingness to interact and dialogue with citizens over the Net - Britain beat the United States for the top spot. While many of the same countries - New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and Ireland - made the Top 10 in that category, there were some surprises. Several developing countries, such as Chile, Estonia, the Philippines, Mexico and Argentina, ranked among the Top 10 in eparticipation. Estonia, for example, has a site known as "Today I Decide", in which people can propose, amend, and vote on policy issues. Officials are then required to consider those proposals. "It is refreshing that this is not like a train that has to follow the developed nations," Jerzy Szeremeta, an author of the report, said. "Creativity and policy centred on human development can be located anywhere in the world." Still, only 15 governments in the world accept Internet comment on public policy issues. Only 33 countries allow government transactions, such as filing forms or paying fines, over the Net. At least 60 per cent of all e-government projects in developing countries fail, and about half waste taxpayers' money to some extent, the report says. There are success stories, such as Hong Kong's one-stop Electronic Service Delivery, which allows citizens to do everything from paying taxes to renewing a drivers' licence on the Web. Other countries publish bids for government purchasing contracts on the Web, to help fight corruption and kickbacks. While South Korea's OPEN application/complaint portal allows users to see exactly where their case is being handled in the government approval process. "What e-government does is make many things obvious," Szeremeta said. "In Australia, to establish a firm it was necessary to go through 17 formalities. When they put that online, they laughed - why 17?" Online, "you see the possibility of merging things ... now they have reduced it from 17 to 2", he noted. But the report notes that "a too-grandiose approach may result in failures or expensive white elephants". "Because of a high rate of failure in specific government projects in developed as well as developing nations, bricks-and-mortar public services need to be maintained even as digital applications are increasing," the report says. In many countries, women and the poor have less access to the Internet than other sectors. "Security and privacy issues" also discourage use among all populations, the report notes. Most Americans who use government Web sites do so to get tourism information, do research for school or work, download government forms or get information on services. "US users perceive the availability of e-government first and foremost as an opportunity to get quick and easy access to information," the report says. That, according to the United Nations, is only part of the Web's potential. "Many governments turn to Internet-based services as a way to cut red tape," Jose Antonio Ocampo, the U.N. undersecretary-general for economic and social affairs, said. "But we also see the Internet as a means of advancing and consolidating transparency and democracy." (by Mark Stevenson)

From http://www.unpan.org/ 11/05/2003

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E-Governance Institute Ranks Digital Governance Worldwide

NEWARK, N.J. -- The first study on digital governance in municipalities worldwide ranked Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Shanghai as the top five cities, and Tallinn, Dubai, Jakarta as among the top 20 of 100 large cities worldwide. This survey was conducted jointly by the E-Governance Institute of Rutgers University-Newark and the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute of Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, and was co-sponsored by the UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management and the American Society for Public Administration. This is the first research effort to evaluate digital governance in municipalities throughout the world. This survey examined the largest city in each of 98 countries with the highest percentage of Internet users, and Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR were included. This research evaluated the official Web sites of each city in their native languages. Our instrument for evaluating municipal Web sites consists of 92 measures over five core areas: 1.) Security and Privacy, 2.) Usability, 3.) Content, 4.) Services, 5.) Citizen Participation. Each measure was coded on a scale of four-points (0, 1, 2, 3) or a dichotomy of two points (0, 3 or 0, 1). Then, an overall score for each municipality (on a 100-point scale) was derived by giving equal weight to each of the five categories. Professor Marc Holzer, chairman of the E-Governance Institute, said, "This joint research was helpful for reducing cultural bias in our survey methodology. During the design of the 92 measures in our e-government index, we identified some terms which people in various cultures might not understand. So, we developed an index which was 'culture-neutral.'" Each Web site was assessed by two independent evaluators between June and October 2003, and in cases where significant variation existed on the raw score between evaluators, Web sites were analyzed a third time. Based on the evaluation of 100 cities, the top 10 cities are as follows:

Top 10 Cities in Digital Governance Worldwide
RANKING CITY SCORE
1.) Seoul 73.48
2.) Hong Kong 66.57
3.) Singapore 62.97
4.) New York 61.35
5.) Shanghai 58.00
6.) Rome 54.72
7.) Auckland 54.61
8.) Jerusalem 50.34
9.) Tokyo 46.52
10.) Toronto 46.35

New York City was ranked No. 1 worldwide in terms of content. Among the top 20 cities, three are from developing countries: Tallinn (Estonia) 14th, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 18th, and Jakarta (Indonesia) 20th. This research identified a digital divide gap between developed and less developed countries. Although the average score for all cities is 28.10 out of 100, the average score in OECD countries is 36.34; however the average score in non-OECD countries is only 24.26. In addition, 67 percent of cities selected in Africa have not established official city Web sites, whereas only 3 percent in Europe have no city Web sites. Sungkyunkwan University is holding an international conference to present best practices cases based on this survey and is giving a "World Cities Best Practices E-Government Award" to the top five cites on November 21 in Seoul. Professor Seang-Tae Kim, president of the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute, said, "Government services can be improved remarkably by e-government, but the digital divide is a problem to be solved. We can encourage e-government among cities in the world by measuring them and giving this kind of award."

From http://govtech.public-cio.com/ 11/17/2003

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The First Study on Digital Governance in Municipalities Worldwide Ranked Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and Shanghai as the Top Five Cities

NEWARK, N.J. (PRIMEZONE) -- This survey was conducted jointly by the E-governance Institute of Rutgers University-Newark and the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute of Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, and was co-sponsored by the UN Division for Public Administration and Development Management, and the American Society for Public Administration. This is the first research effort to evaluate digital governance in municipalities throughout the world. This survey examined the largest city in each of 98 countries with the highest percentage of Internet users, and Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR were included. This research evaluated the official Web sites of each city in their native languages. Our instrument for evaluating municipal Web sites consists of 92 measures over five core areas: 1. Security and Privacy, 2. Usability, 3. Content, 4. Services, 5. Citizen Participation. Each measure was coded on a scale of four-points (0, 1, 2, 3) or a dichotomy of two points (0, 3 or 0, 1). Then, an overall score for each municipality (on a 100-point scale) was derived by giving equal weight to each of the five categories. Professor Marc Holzer, Chairman of the E-Governance Institute said, "This joint research was helpful for reducing cultural bias in our survey methodology. During the design of the 92 measures in our e-government index, we identified some terms which people in various cultures might not understand. So, we developed an index which was 'cultureneutral'." Each Web site was assessed by two independent evaluators between June and October 2003, and in cases where significant variation existed on the raw score between evaluators, websites were analyzed a third time. Based on the evaluation of 100 cities, the top 10 cities are as follows; Top 10 Cities in Digital Governance Worldwide (ranking/city/score): 1 Seoul 73.48; 2 Hong Kong 66.57; 3 Singapore 62.97; 4 New York 61.35; 5 Shanghai 58.00; 6 Rome 54.72; 7 Auckland 54.61; 8 Jerusalem 50.34; 9 Tokyo 46.52; 10 Toronto 46.35. New York City was ranked No. 1 worldwide in terms of content. Among the top 20 cities, three are from developing countries: Tallinn (Estonia) 14th, Dubai (United Arab Emirates) 18th, and Jakarta (Indonesia) 20th. This research identified a digital divide gap between developed and less developed countries. Although the average score for all cities is 28.10 out of 100, the average score in OECD countries is 36.34; however the average score in non-OECD countries is only 24.26. In addition, 67% of cities selected in Africa have not established official city websites, whereas only 3% in Europe have no city Web sites. Sungkyunkwan University is holding an international conference to present best practices cases based on this survey and is giving a "World Cities Best Practices E-Government Award" to the top five cites on November 21 in Seoul. Professor Seang-Tae Kim, President of the Global e-Policy e-Government Institute said, "Government services can be improved remarkably by E-government, but the digital divide is a problem to be solved. We can encourage e-government among cities in the world by measuring them and giving this kind of award." (Tel 82-2-760-0374, e-mail kimst@skku.edu) Scores and ranking of all 100 cities are online at http://www.andromeda.rutgers.edu/ egovinst/Website/ CONTACT: Professor Marc Holzer (973) 353-1351/5504, Ext, 23 mholzer@pipeline.com Mr. Chan-Gon Kim chankim@pegasus.rutgers.edu http://www.pressreleasenetwork.com/newsroom .

From http://www.unpan.org/ 11/17/2003

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The Internet in 2004: Challenges and Solutions in Key Areas of Concern

The Internet is already revolutionizing not only the corporate business world, but the lives of ordinary people. Yet many challenges remain. What progress will be made in 2004 toward overcoming the various challenges that affect Internet usage? This week's feature looks at possible solutions and likely directions in some key areas of Internet infrastructure and utilization.

Broadband Services: Wireless and Long-Distance DSL Technologies
Over the past year, the number of subscribers to flat-rate, always-on broadband services grew by 80%, topping 12 million at the end of September 2003. But to maintain this rapid pace of growth, providers need to expand their potential user base. Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) is not well suited to existing apartment complexes because of the difficulties involved in laying fiber to individual apartments. Asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) technology, on the other hand, because of its transmission characteristics, declines sharply in performance at distances further than 4km or 5km from the NTT central office. Technologies and services that can overcome these obstacles to broadband penetration will become increasingly important in the future. One way of enabling FTTH is to use very high data rate DSL (VDSL) for communications within each of the apartment buildings in a complex. Such services are being provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co, Inc, NTT East Corp and NTT West Corp, and by KDDI Corp. Other services use radio signals from the nearest power pole. Using the 26GHz band, the two NTT regional carriers offer data rates of up to 32Mbps upstream and 46Mbps downstream. ReachDSL, a proprietary technology from Paradyne Worldwide Corp, is one way of increasing the number of households that could potentially use ADSL for broadband. The latest version, ReachDSL 2.2, enables connection at maximum speeds of 2.2Mbps both upstream and downstream over distances of more than 5km-7km. It is being used by Softbank BB Corp and other carriers. Affordable ADSL services are also appearing, aimed at those who don't access the Internet very often. Such services offer limited downstream data rates of up to 1Mbps for a monthly fee of no more than 2,000 yen, including line rental and connection charges.

Home Networking: Real Demand for Intrusion Detection Sensors and Surveillance Cameras
Spurred by the growth of residential broadband access, many consumer electronics manufacturers have been intent on offering greater added value by linking up a variety of electronic and electric products over a network. As yet, however, manufacturers have not discovered any strong or widespread demand for networked appliances. Take household appliances, for example. Various ideas have been mooted for controlling appliances via the Internet, including presetting air conditioners and washing machines, delivering recipes to microwaves, and checking what's in the refrigerator. But it is not clear how much consumers might be willing to pay for such functions. Audio-visual equipment enabled for content delivery has similarly failed to open up any new possibilities in the market. Against this background, anti-theft and surveillance functionality looks set to become an emerging trend in home networking in 2004. Surveillance functions include checking video and still pictures from surveillance cameras installed in the home via a mobile phone, receiving mobile phone alerts whenever anything unusual is detected by the sensors installed in the home to detect intruders or opening and closing of windows, and turning lights on and off remotely so that the house appears to be occupied. A large number of vendors, such as Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd, have started selling Net-enabled security devices and home networking services. Unlike Internet appliances, security devices are apparently attracting an increasing number of users who want them, regardless of expense. But cost remains a significant issue. Installing a home controller and security devices entails an initial outlay of around 150,000 yen to 500,000 yen, plus central server access charges of approximately 1,000 yen to 2,000 yen per month. Moreover, having installed the equipment, the user is still obliged to respond to any security breaches. Having security personnel come as required would require a separate contract with a security service.

Online Payments: Mobile Hookup to Facilitate Procedures
The user accesses the MyJCB site and launches the authentication "i-Appli" Java applet. The user places his/her index finger on the fingerprint sensor on the mobile phone. If authentication is successful, the user can then access the Website. The user must first download the i-Appli. Payment at e-commerce Web sites is generally a worrying and unsatisfactory business. But the situation will completely change in 2004. The key to improvement is user authentication services and mobile phones. First of all, use of credit cards with authentication functionality will become widespread. Visa International took the initiative in July 2003 when it introduced the Visa authentication service, which permits payment only after cardholders have identified themselves by password. Other credit card companies have started similar services. Services utilizing mobile phones rather than credit cards promise even greater security and operability. For example, from March to August 2003, KDDI conducted field trials of an automatic payment service called Kei-Credit, which utilizes credit data stored on a tiny smart card called a User Identity Module (UIM). The user inserts the UIM into a mobile phone, and the Kei-Credit service reads the data via software installed inside the phone. Even more sophisticated authentication functions based on fingerprints have emerged too. In November 2003, JCB Co, Ltd launched a trial that utilizes the fingerprint authentication capability provided in mobile handsets when users access the MyJCB site for cardholders with mobile accounts (Photo 1). Mobile phones will also make electronic money more convenient. For example, with the emergence of mobile handsets equipped with the FeliCa contactless smart card, users should be able to deposit money and make credit payments online via the "Edy" electronic money service using just their mobile phone.

E-Japan: Success Depends on Security and System Linkage
A traceability system for domestic beef got underway on Dec 1, 2003. Consumers who bought beef can access the Website (http://www.nlbc.go.jp/link/id.html) of the National Livestock Breeding Center, an independent administrative institution. By entering the ID written on the beef label, the consumer can then check the meat's history. In July 2003, the government announced the second phase of its "e-Japan strategy" with the goal of making Japan a leading IT nation by 2005. The plan aims to establish lifestyle amenities and social infrastructure based on information technology. Central government agencies along with local authorities, medical institutions, the private sector, and various other community organizations are now involved in efforts to realize an IT society. The central government has already computerized more than 97% of official application processes, enabling people to complete applications online. The National Tax Agency has systematized the filing of blue returns and tax payment procedures, and will start operating the "e-Tax" electronic tax declaration system. The Nagoya Regional Taxation Bureau will start accepting e-Tax declarations in February 2004, followed by all other tax bureaus in June or thereafter. In August 2003, the Cabinet Office announced its "e-Japan Priority Policy Program," spelling out in practical detail the second phase of the e-Japan strategy. The program sets out the planned initiatives and quantitative targets in seven categories. Among these, the food category is one that will develop significantly in 2004. A traceability system for foodstuffs will be introduced, enabling consumers to check the producing area and distribution route of a food product via a Website. The main concern is domestically produced beef. The system was prompted by the BSE (mad cow disease) scare and has led to the exposure of illegal labeling. On Dec 1, 2003, the government instigated special measures relating to the management and communication of information for identifying individual cows, and launched a beef traceability system (Photo 2). Distributors, retailers, and restaurants will have to comply with beef ID labeling requirements by December 2004.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 01/13/2004

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Global Internet Users Near 600 Mil

GENEVA - The number of people using the Internet has reached 591 million as of the end of 2002, roughly one out of every 10 people in the world, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said Thursday. UNCTAD, however, warned that the so-called digital divide between the developed and developing countries are widening, saying that Africa and South America together account for less than 1% of the entire electronic transactions conducted in the world.

From Kyodo News 11/21/2003

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Canadian Project to Bridge Digital Divide in Asia

Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) announced an initiative--Pan Asia Networking Local Language Project--during the World Summit on the Information Society held this week in Geneva. The project aims to help people in Southeast and South Asia browse the Internet using their local language. The initial three-year project valued at C$1 million between IDRC and the National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences in Pakistan, involves linguists, communications technology researchers, practitioners, academics, policy-makers and representatives from the private sector. Asian countries participating are Bhutan (Dzongkha language), Bangladesh (Bangla), Laos (Lao), Cambodia (Khmer), Sri Lanka (Sinhali and Tamil) and Nepal (Nepali).

From Canada NewsWire 12/11/2003

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Asian Online Game Providers Rush to Nasdaq

A Sino-Korean war on virtual games is expected in the United States as the nations' top onlinegaming companies start to rush to the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Webzen, South Korea's secondlargest online game developer, raised $97.2 million with a surprise Nasdaq listing Dec. 16. Chinese bellwether Shanda Networking has also filed to make an initial public offering next year, reportedly hoping to snap up around $300 million. "The potential offering of Shanda will lead to stiff competition between the two companies in the Nasdaq. It is really intriguing to see which will trigger investors' appetite more," said Han Ik-hee, an analyst from Hyundai Investment & Securities. Both companies' have the same immediate aim to enhance the recognition of investors in the firm and to make money. But their long-term goals are different, according to Han. Webzen is looking for a new source of revenue like its local competitor and business leader NCSoft, which keeps trying to make inroads in the American market.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 12/22/2003

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Asia-Pacific to Lead STB Rebound

According to IMS Research, the worldwide market for digital set-top boxes (STB) is poised for growth after a slow 2002, with box shipments expected to reach 74.8 million units by 2008, from an estimated 36.4 million in 2003. Much of the growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region, specifically China and India. The research firm expects that 25% of all TV households will opt for digital services by 2008. Nevertheless, digital DTH set-tops will retain the largest share of worldwide shipments, at 42% by 2008. Digital cable boxes are forecast to account for a 39% share by 2008, while advanced STBs will account for a 23% share.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 01/01/2004

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Broadband Lines Surpass 100 Million Worldwide

According to a survey by British firm Point Topic, worldwide broadband Internet lines surpassed 100 million in 2003. The company said that the total number of lines rose to more than 89 million in September, an increase of more than 10 million lines. A spokesman said that the same percentage growth in the fourth quarter of 2003 would push the global total of lines past 100 million, making broadband Internet one of the fastest growing technologies in history.

From http://govtech.public-cio.com/ 01/06/2004

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Linux Platform Being Developed for Asia: the New Server Platform Is Going to Be Called Asianux

( IDG NEWS SERVICE ) - Japan's Miracle Linux Corp. and China's Red Flag Software Co. are jointly developing a Linux server platform for corporate and government users in the Asian market. Working together at Oracle Corp.'s China Development Center in Beijing, the companies plan to collaborate on creating Asianux, a Linux server operating environment providing a common kernel, library and packages for server operating systems, the companies said today. The overarching goal to is to build Linux standards in the Asian market, the companies said. Red Flag, a Linux operating system vendor, and Miracle Linux, a Linux server operating system developer, will individually distribute and market Asianux and plan to base new products such as Red Flag DC 4.1 and Miracle Linux Version 3.0 on Asianux. Miracle Linux and Red Flag, along with Oracle, will offer joint technical support for all Asianux-based products. Oracle owns a 58.5% stake in Miracle Linux, according to the company's Web site. Representatives from Red Flag and Miracle Linux couldn't immediately comment on when products using Asianux will be available. Hardware and software from Oracle and other companies that take advantage of Asianux will be certified at Oracle's China Development Center. The advantage of such a joint certification program will be in getting products to market in a more timely fashion while offering consumers a greater choice of software and hardware products using Linux, the companies said. In addition to the Asianux collaboration, Miracle Linux is also looking into distributing Red Flag's desktop operating system in Japan in collaboration with Red Flag, the companies said. Following a desire to crack the dominance of Western software companies in the operating system and applications market in Asia, the governments of Japan, China and South Korea have actively been promoting the development of Linux as an alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s products. In September, the governments launched a joint open-source software project aimed at developing desktop applications, embedded programs, middleware and operating systems. (by Laura Rohde)

From http://www.computerworld.com/ 01/07/2004

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Asian ADSL Subscribers Soon to Surpass Those of US

(TOKYO) -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States announced in December 2003 its summary report on the country's number of broadband subscribers as of the end of June 2003. The report was published on the FCC's Web site saying that the number had reached 16.3 million at the end of June 2003, out of which asymmetric digital subscribers lines (ADSL) accounted for 7.7 million. ADSL subscribers in Japan outnumbered those of the US and Korea in the first half of 2003. According to the statistics of Japan's Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (MPHPT), the subscribers reached 8.26 million at the end of June 2003, overwhelming 7.7 million of the US and 6.3 million of Korea. As of the end of November 2003, the number went up to 9.91 million. Japan almost caught up to Korea in the total number of broadband lines in June 2003. Japan's broadband lines reached 11 million including Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which was close to the 11.1 million of Korea. But the number has still been behind that of the US, where subscribers have been increasing at a pace of 0.5 to 0.6 million per month, with a steady growth of CATV Internet. A newcomer recently appeared in the race of Japan, the US and Korea, and is almost keeping abreast of or may even be getting ahead of the three. The new player is China, the broadband lines of which totaled about 9 million at the end of June 2003 and have been increasing at a rate of 0.6 million lines or so per month. China is expected to surpass Japan and Korea soon, and will compete with the US. In 2004, China may seize the top position in the broadband arena.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 01/08/2004

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Busan Finalized as Host City of 2004 ITU Telecom Asia

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

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

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Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) Decides to Hold Asia Broadband Summit

The 27th Session of the Management Committee (27th MC) was held in Macao Special Administrative Region, People's Republic of China from October 21 through 24, 2003. At the 27th MC, a work program, annual budget, etc. were approved by Members after discussions thereon. In addition, the 27th MC decided to convene the Asia Broadband Summit (Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Broadband & ICT Development) in 2004 for the commemoration of APT's 25th Anniversary. At the Summit, with the purpose of deploying broadband platforms at an early stage in the Asia-Pacific region, telecommunications ministers from around the Asia-Pacific region will convene and deliberate upon broadband policies, regulations, technologies, etc. in order to announce action guidelines for the introduction of broadband platforms. At the MC, a work program for 2004 was adopted that includes i) holding of an "Asia Pacific Telecommunication Development Forum (ADF)" for bridging the digital divide, ii) frequency coordination in the wireless service field, iii) standardization activities, iv) holding of the "APT Wireless Forum" for the purpose of effective collaboration on activities for human resources development, etc.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 11/17/2003

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Korea, Japan Hold City Development Cooperation Conference

Korea and Japan are holding their 21st "City Development Cooperation Conference" in Seoul November 17-21, the Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) reported. The discussions focus on such issues as traffic problems, city development policies, park construction projects, and the improvement of sewage systems, the ministry said. Korean and Japanese representatives will also address policy changes, revisions, and modernization efforts regarding land development projects and the administrative procedures to implement them. The restoration of the Cheonggyechon waterway in Seoul and the Japanese endeavors to revitalize cities and improve their scenic views will also be part of the conference. MOCT and the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport are co-sponsors of the conference, which first began in 1983 with the aim of enhancing the two countries' cooperation on city development endeavors. A number of government agencies and civilian research organizations, including the Ministry of Environment, the Seoul city government, the Korea Land Development Corporation and the Japanese Measurement Planning Institute, have dispatched representatives to the conference. The results of the conference will be reflected in the city development policy-making process at central and regional government levels, the ministry added. The 22nd conference is scheduled to take place in Tokyo next year.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 11/18/2003

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Regional Conference on Digital Divide Opens in Seoul

More than 200 participants from around Asia gathered together in Seoul Tuesday (Dec. 2) to share views on how to bridge the gap across the digital divide. Hosted by the Ministry of Information and Communication, the 2003 International Symposium for the Narrowing of Digital Divide in East Asia is aimed at studying ways to cope with the inequitable distribution of information technology. On hand at the two-day conference are the government representatives of Korea, China and Japan, and ASEAN, Kim Hak-su, executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and high-level officials from the ASEAN's Telecommunication Senior Officials Meeting (TELSOM) and major UN organizations, and scholars from Korea and abroad. At the opening ceremony, Yang June-chul, the ministry's international cooperation officer, said that at a time when the world's IT environment is rapidly moving toward the ubiquitous network era, it is urgent to narrow the digital divide among the member countries of the ASEAN Plus Three. The international forum draws particular attention because it is expected to provide a forum for regional cooperation on digital divide ahead of the opening of the World Summit on the Information Society this month in Geneva, Switzerland.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 12/03/2003

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Korea, Iran Hold Communication Cooperation Conference

The 5th Korea-Iran Telecommunication Cooperation Commission meeting began a 5-day run in Teheran on Thursday (Dec. 4), the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) reported. Byun Jae-il, MIC Deputy Minister, and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Kermanshah, are chairing the conference where discussion will focus on measures and projects that would enhance the level of bilateral Korea-Iranian cooperation, especially in the field of communication and telecommunication, the ministry said. In particular, Mr. Byun will meet with Seyed Ahmad Motamedi, Iranian communication minister, and Mr. Ali Sanati, head of the state-run Telecommunication Company of Iran, to ask for greater participation of Korean companies in the Iranian fixed-line/mobile telecommunication network expansion projects that are currently under way. The two countries first began holding the telecommunication cooperation commission conferences in 1991, and the 4th meeting took place three years ago, in 2000. Korea's information technology (IT) exports to Iran are estimated at $120 million.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 12/04/2003

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2003 International Symposium on Digital Mobility and Mobile Government

On December 18, 2003 the Ministry of Information and Communication hosted the 2003 International Symposium on Digital Mobility and Mobile Government. On December 18, 2003 the Ministry of Information and Communication hosted the 2003 International Symposium on Digital Mobility and Mobile Government. The symposium was organized by KISDI and co-sponsored by the Korea Council of Economic and Social Research Institute. Experts in e-Government and m-Government from the U.S., the U.K., Sweden, and Japan made presentations and had an in-depth discussion on a mobile government, which was the focus of e-Government projects.In the opening address, KISDI President John H. Lee said that objective of the e-Government project of the Participatory Government was to make people's life more comfortable and happy and that he hoped an m-Government would increase transparency in the administration and people's participation in the government. In the following congratulatory remarks, Suk Nam Moon, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Korea Council of Economic and Social Research Institute said that this international symposium was very timely and significant as mobile technology had contributed to increasing efficiency in the administrative system and that this symposium would bring the world one step closer to the era of Mobile Government. In the first session presided by Yoon-Shik Lee, a professor of the Public Administration Department at Soongsil University, participants had a discussion on "m-Government, the Extended mobility of e-Government." Jerry Mechling, a professor at John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University, made a presentation on "E-Government Progress and Digital Mobility: Where Now and Next?" and Bo Yeoul Hwang, a professor at KAIST on "m-Government Initiatives for Korean e-Government." In his presentation, Mr. Mechling said, "e-Government means not only more efficient administrative services and process but also creating public good and value using information technology." He proposed that the top priority of e-government and m-government should be to explore how to minimize inequality in providing civil services and how to encourage the public to raise its voice in government administration. Dr. Mechling forecast that e-government projects would be expanded driven by wireless and broadband technology and administrative structure and services would be not only changed but also re-invented. He added that the success of m-government initiatives would depend on the leadership of the government in charge. In the following presentation, professor Hwang introduced 31 action plans of Korea's m-government initiative with his paper on "m-Government Initiative for Korean e-government." He also proposed future implementation strategies. In the second session on "M-Government Applications and Services" chaired by Yong-duck Jung, a professor at Graduate School of Public Administration of Seoul National University, detailed strategies to implement a m-government were presented. Gareth Morgan, the Managing Director of Ferret Information Systems, a British consulting company specialized in e-government projects, made presentation on "Local and central government partnerships with m-Government services" and introduced the British situation, in which central and local governments had been in a constant conflict with each other in order to gain more power as in the case in Korea. He focused on the fact that the U.K. case is a lot more complicated as historical and religious issues are intertwined and Wales and Scotland are trying to gain independency.Mr. Morgan said that the central government of the U.K. plans to reduce alienation felt by local governments and achieve national unity by implementing an m-government initiative by 2005. In the second session, attention was drawn to the presentation on the mobile government initiative of Swedish government. Olov Ostberg, the Organizational Director of the Swedish Agency for Public Management, said that Sweden's geological, demographic, and political factors contributed to the development of mobile telecommunications industry of Sweden. He introduced "An Information Society For All," a national project pushed forward by the Swedish government. Shirai Hitosh, the General Manager of the Electronic Government Project Development Operation Center of Government and Public Corporation Information Systems Group of Hitachi, said in his presentation on "e-Government, e-Governance and Mobil Life" that e-Government projects would change the Japanese government into more strategic, participatory, and transparent one.In his presentation on "M-Government Applications in Korea: Cases and Lessons", Sang-Young Shin, an Associate Research Fellow at the Center for Urban Information System of the Seoul Development Institute, said that in a society where mobile services are popular like Korea, an e-government project would inevitably develop into an m-government project. He emphasized that security concerns must be addressed for the success of e-government and m-government projects as the recent NEIS stalemate had showed. The five hour long symposium was a great success with the 200 seats full throughout sessions. In particular, employees and executives from about 80 companies in the mobile telecommunications industry participated in the symposium showing their interests in m-government projects.

From http://www.kisdi.re.kr/ 12/19/2003

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International Conference on ICCIT Begins at JU

The 6th International Conference on Computer and Information Technology (ICCIT) began at Jahangirnagar University (JU) here on Friday. Education Minister Dr Osman Farruk formally inaugurated the 3- day conference, organised by the JU Electronics and Computer Science Department, as the chief guest at the university auditorium. Speaking on the occasion, the Education Minister said the government has integrated IT education with the secondary school curricula and has also taken up appropriate measures, such as, information and communication technology(ICT) scholarship for girls, as part of the overall development of ICT in the country. About 50,000 computers and hardware's have been distributed among the secondary schools to promote IT education, and diploma courses on ICT have also been introduced in government higher- education institutions, he said. "ICT has become a thrust-sector, a national policy on ICT has also been formulated, and the government is going ahead with the action plan to bring about the development of this sector and towards giving it a really global competitive edge," he added. In this regard, he cited the establishment of the ICT- incubator, entrepreneur funds, and the progress towards the establishing of E- governance. "We've already liberalized the telecommunications regulations and the sector has largely been digitised for the infrastructural development of the ICT to cope with global competition" the Minister said. He hoped that the ICCIT-2003 would generate a great level of enthusiasm, and also create opportunities for more cooperation in this regard among the participating members. Presided over by JU Vice -Chancellor Prof Jasim Uddin Ahmed, the inaugural session, was also addressed, by Dr.Zahidur Rahman, chairman of the conference organising committee and Prof Mohammad Ataul Karim, Dean, School of Engineering, City College of the City University of New York. Over 200 papers are expected to be presented in 39 sessions during the 3-day conference focusing on the various fields of ICT including E-Commerce, E-Governance, Bengali Processing, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. ICT specialists from IT countires including the USA, UK, Canada, Japan and Australia and a number of specialists from Bangladesh are attending the conference.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 12/19/2003

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WSIS Held in Geneva

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), organized by the United Nations with the preparatory process led by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from December 10 to 12, 2003. The Summit addressed the establishment of a common vision concerning the Information Society and adopted a "Declaration of Principles" and "Plan of Action." About 20,000 visitors from 176 countries/economies took part in the Summit, including heads of government from 54 countries and 83 ministers in charge of ICT. From Japan, His Excellency Mr. ASO Taro, Minister for Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications participated.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 12/26/2003

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Asia-Pacific Telecom Sector to See Growth in 2004, Says Gartner

January 21, 2004 (HONG KONG) -- Better economic conditions, improving carrier financial performance and a decline in price competition will see the fortunes of the Asia-Pacific telecom sector brighten in 2004, according to Gartner. "This will not only result in new service offerings but it will also lead to the first growth in telecom investment in the region for five years," said Bertrand Bidaud, vice president of Industries at Gartner. But despite improving conditions, the situation is not rosy for everyone. "Some sectors of the industry, such as long distance and international, will continue to feel the pain of over-capacity. The effect of a renewed focus on growth will be patchy and not yet pay dividends for many carriers during 2004," added Andrew Chetham, principal analyst at Gartner research. In 2004, Asia-Pacific carrier investments in telecom infrastructure are expected to start to grow again for the first time since 1999. During the year investment is expected to be 9% higher than in 2003. It will still remain however, 11% lower than the record levels reached during the boom in 1999. One noteworthy feature of the market will be the increasing spending on next-generation technologies, bringing voice and data together on the same networks. Increasingly carriers building in green-field locations, especially in China and India, will move straight to next-generation networks rather than deploy older style switched infrastructure. During 2004 the Asia-Pacific region will add another 125 million phone connections across fixed and Mobile services - equivalent to a growth of around 13% over 2003. By the end of 2004 there will be 1.1 billion phone users in the region. But this subscriber growth will come at the expense of customer yields which will dampen revenue growth. Revenue growth across fixed and mobiles services combined in 2004 will reach around US$17.1 billion - only around 7% up on 2003.

China: Largest DSL Market

The Chinese broadband market has built up huge momentum during 2003 making it the fastest growing major DSL market. Japan only just took over from the US, which itself only just took over from Korea. Japan is still growing quickly but now has around 10 million DSL connections, and is increasingly becoming a mature DSL market. In China, penetration is still relatively low and the carriers are offering their customers some of the cheapest broadband services in the world, as low as US$6 a month, to tempt them to use the service. China is also one of the most vibrant markets for mobile phones. Gartner expects sales there to exceed 70 million units in 2004. The market's sheer size will propel one of the leading Chinese handset brands into the worldwide top 10 biggest phone manufacturers during 2004. Ningbo Bird has already achieved this feat on a quarterly basis during the third quarter of 2003. In 2004, Gartner expects one of the larger China brands to secure a position in the global top ten, backed by growing export volumes in addition to continued strong sales in the China domestic market. Chinese manufacturers account for 38% of sales in China in 2003

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 01/21/2004

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AZERBAIJAN: Azercell Telecom and Base NV/SA Concluded Agreement

The joint venture Azercell Telecom concluded third roaming agreement in Belgia. Particularly, it signed agreement with Belgium-based BASE NV/SA, operating cellular communication, concluded third agreement. Agency "Trend" reports earlier JV Azercell inked agreements with Belgacom Mobile and Mobistar S.A. According to Azercell Telecom, all three operators are included into the roaming network of Azercell Telecom. It should be noted Azercell Telecom maintains roaming with 172 operators from 79 countries worldwide.

From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 11/11/2003

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CHINA: Hong Kong Government Supports Use of Open Source Software

The Government is committed to supporting the development and use of open source software, the Acting Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Stephen Mak Hung-sung, said today (November 4). Officiating at the Linux Business Adoption Award Presentation Ceremony and the opening of the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo Hong Kong 2003, Mr Mak said the Government welcomed the broadening of product choice brought by the development of open source software. "In selecting software products and services, the Government emphasises value for money and interoperability, with no preference for brand names or particular technologies," he said. Various policies and measures to promote open source software as a viable option for deployment have been adopted and Government departments have been installing such software progressively. Nearly 1,000 open source software solutions have been installed on computers and servers in about half of all Government departments. The Government recently issued a public consultation paper on the 2004 Digital 21 Strategy. Among other things, the strategy reinforces the Government's commitment to facilitate the development of innovative applications, deepen the e-government programme and foster the development of open source software through funding and other support measures. To promote the use of open source software in Hong Kong, the Information Technology Services Department, the Hong Kong Productivity Council and the Hong Kong Linux Industry Association have jointly organised the Linux Business Adoption Campaign. The Linux Business Adoption Award is one of the key activities of the Campaign. Fourteen organisations were recognised for successfully deploying Linux in their applications. The awards covered a wide range of sectors and application areas, comprising office automation and business application, infrastructure building and communication, education and Linux appliance. The winners included small and medium enterprises as well as large enterprises, schools, tertiary institutions and a government department. The Drainage Services Department received the Merit Award in the Infrastructure Building and Communication Application category.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 11/04/2003

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Software Enhancement Key Gov't Priority

The Government supports the information technology industry in enhancing software engineering practices to produce high-quality software, Director of Information Technology Services Alan Wong says. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Asia Pacific Software Engineering Process Group Conference 2003, Mr Wong said he recognised the importance of software quality as people relied more and more on IT and telecoms services. The Government fully supported the adoption of quality management systems and accreditation by the IT industry, he said. $5 million funds grant to improve software development To assist local software vendors in improving their software development processes through adopting the Capability Maturity Model, he said, the Government has allocated $5 million to launch a Capability Maturity Model Assessment Grant through the Innovation & Technology Fund. The funding was awarded to 15 software vendors, which are expected to attain Capability Maturity Model Level 2 or above by early 2005. The Trade & Industry Department has also provided, through the Small & Medium Enterprise Development Fund, financial support to IT professional bodies to conduct CMM training courses. Training courses well received About $2 million has been approved so far for this purpose and the training courses have been well received by IT practitioners. Mr Wong said that the Information Technology Services Department was also committed to improving the Government's software process and quality management. The department has more than 700 IT professionals involved in software-engineering projects or management of software-driven computer systems. To maintain their professional standards, regular training and refresher programmes are provided. The department is also establishing a knowledge-management system to promote a culture of knowledge creation and sharing, including in the field of software engineering.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 11/19/2003

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Six Measures Initiated to Boost Information Industry

China will initiate six measures to facilitate technical innovation and industrialization of scientific research and to boost the information industry, said a ranking official with the Ministry of Information Industry in Beijing Thursday. Lou Qinjian, vice-minister of information industry, said China's information industry should target the domestic market while exploring and developing the international market, and forge a market-oriented system for technical innovation, in which companies should play leading roles with governmental support. China should guarantee the implementation of a law on intellectual property protection and strengthen information collection and analysis, Lou noted. Research and development centers set up by multinationals and domestic companies should be encouraged to accumulate self-developed patent technology. Local companies' awareness of intellectual property should also be enhanced. He said there was still a big gap between China and developed countries in the information industry sector. Since China is short of nuclear technology in some important areas, multinationals have occupied the market with better and more funding and technology. Although the annual increase rate of patent applications remained at over 23 percent in recent years, most Chinese companies still needed to strengthen their awareness and management of intellectual property. The added value of China's exporting commodities was relatively low because of the lack of intellectual property. Statistics showed the growth rate of China's information industry was twice or even three times the country's gross domestic product (GDP). Despite the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) disease earlier this year, China's information industry still completed an added value of 530.4 billion yuan (about US$64 billion US dollars) from Jan. to Oct., accounting for 5.7 percent of the GDP.

From Xinhua News Agency 11/28/2003

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Beijing Special Program for Construction of Digital Olympics

"Digital Olympics" is the epoch feature of "High-Tech Olympics", developing means of "people's Olympics" and important back-up of "Green Olympics". In accordance with the objectives and tasks set in "Action Plan for Beijing Olympic Games", this program has been especially drawn up so as to provide best information service for 2008 Olympic Games by integrating with development strategy of informatization in Beijing. ¢ñ.Objective and Strategy 1. Objective The following is the overall objective of "Digital Olympics": ensuring successful hosting of Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, establishing a comprehensive information service system based on individuality and tasking people as a dominant factor, conforming to international norms and demonstrating Chinese characteristic, speeding-up construction of "Digital Beijing", promoting industrial development and showing the standards and achievements of China's informatization. The imagery objective of "Digital Olympics" is: by and large ensuring that anybody at any time and in any place related to the Olympics can enjoy in a secure, convenient, swift and efficient manner the information service that is affordable, diversified, multi-linguistically intellectualized and individualized. 2. Strategies Internationalized strategy: Aiming at top international standards, "international outlook, international talents and standards" are reflected in the process of making and implementing this program. Strive for breakthrough in system and technological innovation. Strategy of applying advanced and matured technologies: Applying advanced, matured, secure and reliable technologies so as to ensure all work will go on smoothly during the Olympic Games. Strategy based on taking people as a dominant factor: Taking into full consideration the needs of every Olympic participant so as to meet his individualized need. Strategy for the central and municipal governments to join: The central and municipal governments join forces so as to share resources for better results. Strategy for promoting industries: Promote the development of information industry by making use of "Digital Olympics" opportunity. Strategy for sustainable development: Various facilities built by "Digital Olympics" will not only play an important role during the Olympic Games, but also continue to be used for a long time after the Olympic Games so that sustainable development can be achieved. ¢ò.Major Tasks of "Digital Olympics" 1. Communication Services On the basis of communication network existing in Beijing, building advanced communication facilities of various types must be sped up so as to provide eventually a broad band digitalized communication system which is highly reliable and flexible, can be expanded, be given to building transmission network for new technologies. Priority should be given to building transmission network for the Olympics and Olympic comprehensive telecom bureau. Infrastructures including various communication networks, seabed optical fiber, satellite communication system, digital trunk network, radio network and Internet should be actively used so as to offer services conforming to the communication standards of various countries in the world. 2. Broadcast and TV Services Broadcast and TV special network must be built for Olympic stadiums and gymnasiums so as to create a reliable platform for TV broadcast relays of the Olympic Games and signal transmission, and facilitate the people throughout the world to enjoy Beijing's spectacular Olympic Games in 2008. Bring about the technological change from analogue to digital in broadcast and TV sector. Set up digital cable TV network in cities, digital satellite live TV system, and digital TV system on the ground and digital broadcasting system. Services will be expanded in a big way in order to provide the Olympics with diversified digital broadcast and TV programs as well as their value-added service. 3. Event Information System Assist the Olympic Organizing Committee of Beijing in fully cooperating with technological partner of cooperation appointed by the International Olympic Committee. Build a leading information system in the world for both Olympic and Paralympics which will meet the demands of the International Olympic Committee. 4. Buildings Symbolizing Digital Olympics Build an Olympic hub of comprehensive information with the aim of providing multi-functional comprehensive services so as to support and ensure Internet and inter-communicating, resources-sharing and commanding and decision-making among various information systems. After the Olympic Games, this hub can be used again as a commanding center for major activities in China and Beijing, and the control center of informatization for "Digital Beijing". 5. Comprehensive Pipelines for Olympic-Based Communication Make a unified plan of and build common pipelines for Olympic-based communication lines. Make rational use of space resources belonging to communication passage. Build telecom, cable TV and computer networks in a planned way so as to avoid repetition of construction of this kind. Make a unified plan of the increase of pipeline resources, make best use of their storage and provide fair services. 6. Comprehensive Information Service for the Public Establish a comprehensive information service system for the public based on individuality, taking people as a dominant factor, conforming to international norms and demonstrating Chinese characteristics, and the need of the disabled and retarded for information service is taken into special consideration. Coordinate various social information resources to establish information service data banks for the public. Make good use of such means as digital TV and broadcast, computer networks, mobile telecom facilities and telephones to ensure by and large that anybody at any time and in any place related to the Olympics can enjoy in a secure, convenient, swift and efficient manner the information service that is affordable, diversified, multi- linguistically intellectualized and individualized. Priority should be given to building information kiosks within easy reach of ordinary people, satellite-positioning system, giant-screen systems at public places, short-time weather forecast and warning system for small areas as well as virtual Olympic museum. 7. E-Business Platform for the Olympics Build and perfect the back-up environment for E-business. Establish back-up systems with international standards for certificate authority, payment and delivery of E-business needed in the services for the Olympics. Develop in a big way such E-business services as accommodation, catering, tourism and shopping helpful to the Olympics. 8. Sports Informatization and Fitness-for-All Campaign Enhance the information system concerning Beijing's sports industry and the city's Fitness-for-All campaign in a planned way. Conduct researches on building a health information platform which provides information on fitness, physical checkup, entertainment, health consultation to meet Beijing citizens' increasing demand for physical culture. Priority should be given to improve the information technology content in sports facilities and sports training. 9. Comprehensive Traffic Information Services Build intelligent traffic management information system and public traffic information services system. Users' friendly traffic services will improve Beijing's general traffic management and meet the traffic demand during the Olympic Games period. 10. Olympic Logistic Information Services A highly efficient and secure Olympic logistic coordination platform will be built to provide sufficient logistic management and real-time supervision for Olympic projects and other logistic services including that related to competition events and garbage recycle. 11. Use of I.C. Making use of I.C. technology provides a secure, reliable, convenient and unified intellectual means for persons related to the Olympics in the process of multi-individualized information services such as the Olympic registration, certificate authority, payment and service. Promote the use of various cards such as communication card and bank card and formulate relevant policies. Establish card payment networks, terminal and their corresponding information applicable system throughout Beijing which meet the international standards and need for future development. Create a sound environment for card payment so as to provide all- dimensional service for various payments and use during 2008 Olympics. 12. Multi-Linguistic Intellectual Information Service Make use of artificial intelligence technology to understand natural languages so as to remove language barriers and offer multi-linguistic intellectual information service for the people related to the Olympics at any time, in any place and with facilities of various kinds. As a result, people can get to know each other with the help of this technology so that friendship and mutual understanding will be promoted and the goal of "people's Olympics" better realized. 13. Safeguards for Information Security and Comprehensive Security Establish insurance system for the Olympic information security to ensure the security for the Olympic networks and information and smooth functioning for various information systems and guard against such criminal acts as the attack from hackers and damage caused by viruses. Provide information and back-up technology for the Olympic networks and information security system so as to effectively impose supervision and control. Coordinate information resources in Beijing; establish comprehensive security information system so as to provide support for handling unexpected incidents, preventing terrorist activities and ensuring public security. 14. Radio Control Strengthen overall planning of radio frequencies in order to make good preparations in terms of frequency for the Olympics and meet the need of Beijing and other 5 Olympic-event holding cities for radio frequencies so as to render service to the Olympics. Speed up establishing the back-up system for radio management technology in Beijing, Improve compatible analysis and test of frequency usage so as to prevent frequency interference. Improve management of frequency spectrum, radio signal monitoring, interference analysis and testing capability for radio equipment. 15. Olympic Project Management Carry out system innovations to promote the development of Olympic construction project management system toward standardization and internationalization. Build information system for Olympic construction project management; Combine such government agencies related to the Olympic construction as planning, municipal construction, environmental protection, municipal administration, communication and information under Beijing Municipal Government in order to strengthen unified and coordinated management and supervision over projects. 16. Back-up Information System for Olympic Venues and Facilities In accordance with functioning demand on the facilities of the Olympic venues, intellectualized standards and norms must be drawn up for them. Improve intellectualized levels of venues; make an overall planning of comprehensive line-fixing systems in venues and build comprehensive monitoring system in these places so as to impose concentrated and visualized coordinated control and supervision over key facilities in them. Priority should be given to building 3D simulated information system in venues so as to render service to commanding and decision-making for leadership, coordinating work among various departments and participation of the whole nation. 17. Platform for Sharing Commanding and Decision-Making Information Supported by building symbolizing Digital Olympics, make comprehensive and integrated use of information infrastructures for the Olympics such as digital trunk system and build a platform for sharing comprehensive command and decision-making. Build sub-commanding systems for competition events, traffic, health care, security and fire emergency so as to realize interconnection and intercommunication of various information systems and sharing of information resources and coordination of commands and decision-making. 18. Comprehensive Emergency Safeguard Information System Perfect various customer service centers to enhance the social collaboration system. Build a comprehensive emergency safeguard system. 19. Back-Up Environment for Information Industry Sound back-up environment for Beijing's information industry is basic support and guarantee for the success of "Digital Olympics". In accordance with requirements for successfully hosting the Olympics, proper readjustment concerning "Tenth 5-Year" Program for Beijing's information industry development must be made, building "Digital Beijing" sped up, priority given to the construction of Beijing's information industry in the key fields and sectors such as comprehensive sector (E-government, and broad band and network connecting project), resource and environment, planning and construction and people's economy all closely related to the Olympics so as to create powerful back-up environment for "Digital Olympics". 20. Key Technology and Information Industry Bring the role of "Digital Olympics" in promoting "Digital Beijing" into full play, and upgrade in an overall manner comprehensive standards of Beijing's information environment. Priority should be given to conduct researches on the key technologies such as multi-language translating, biological technology and broadband wireless interconnection, IC, real-time information services and information security. Promote industrialized standards of such manufacturing industries as I.C. and I.C. corresponding equipment, information terminal equipment, digital media equipment, and sports digital equipment so as to give a push to the development of such industries as software, database, information system, information security, electronic game, and information service. ¢ó. Safeguard Measures In order to realize the objective and task of "Digital Olympics" Program, and ensure the implementation and completion of the action plan, sound and effective safeguard measures must be worked out. 1. Strengthen Coordination of Leadership and Assurance of Organization Establish the leading and executive organs for "Digital Olympics", and create an organizing system that will ensure smooth implementation of the Action Plan for "Digital Olympics". Headed by Beijing Municipal Office of National Information Infrastructure under the leadership of a mayor in charge of this sector from the municipal government, together with other municipal departments concerned, coordinating and specialist committees will be formed. "Digital Olympics" Office will be established so as to work closely with the technology projects for "Digital Olympics". 2. Strengthen Building of Human Resources In accordance with the schedule, make overall planning, introduce professionals, mobilize volunteers, intensify training of prospective professionals, and establish multi-tiered system for providing human resources so as to ensure professionals of various types available in time for the construction and service of the Olympics. 3. Promote Operational Innovation and Multi-Channel Fund-Raising In accordance with the rules of market economy, keep making explorations and innovations in terms of operational mechanism concerning project construction, encourage social investment by making use of small amount of start-up capital so as to bring into play good results of making use of capital. Investment relations must be very well coordinated between the municipal government, the Olympic Organizing Committee and enterprise community. Operational mechanisms popular internationally at present must be extensively applied so as to introduce and absorb foreign capital, raise social fund, put it under efficient management and make fair use of it. 4. Promote in an Active Manner Further Development of "Digital Olympic" Strengthen propaganda work for "Digital Olympics", and bring into full play wisdom of the entire society. March forward together with our times, keep improving this program and promote further development of "Digital Olympics". In the spirit of taking in everything, learn experiences from other Olympics-hosting countries and introduce advanced international technologies and management. Work for holding "Digital Olympics" forum on international information technologies and its equipment exhibition respectively in 2003 and 2006 so as to promote international exchanges in this area and further development of China's information technologies and the industries concerned.

From http://www.bnii.gov.cn/ 12/03/2003

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Hong Kong Opens Wireless Development Center

With funding support of HK$12 million from the Innovation and Technology Fund of the HKSAR government, the Hong Kong Wireless Development Center (HKWDC) was opened to support the development of the local mobile and wireless industry. Located at the Cyberport in Pokfulam, the HKWDC was established by the Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association (WTIA) with technical support from the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC). Speaking at the opening ceremony, Duncan Lau, chairman of WTIA, said, "The opening of the HKWDC will play an important role in Hong Kong's development as a mobile and wireless hub in the Asia-Pacific region. The center offers an open platform linking vendors, operators and developers, and facilitating the development and application of mobile and wireless solutions in Hong Kong." The HKWDC supports the development of the wireless industry in three major areas, including the testing of wireless and mobile applications, the provision of technical consultancy and business support, and the promotion of wireless application technology across different industry sectors. It is expected to provide infrastructure and software support, technical consultancy and quality assurance services to industry players. It also keeps the industry updated on the latest in technology trends and standards, as well as technical and market information pertaining to research and development, according to Lau. In addition, a series of training seminars and partnership events will be organized to facilitate knowledge sharing and business collaboration among industry players and other sectors. For developers with new applications, the HKWDC also includes a showcase area for the display and demonstration of their wireless solutions. HKWDC has a focal feature in its five individual development suites, which are the only testing facilities in Hong Kong that enable wireless solutions developers to test their new applications within the same network or across different operators' networks. This reduces their development time and costs. These suites have direct connectivity to all mobile network operators in Hong Kong in CDMA, GSM, GPRS, 802.11, EDGE and future 3G models, and have a full range of handheld devices available in the market for testing purposes.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 12/17/2003

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Shanghai Sets Targets for 2004

The Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China set targets for the city's economic growth, unemployment rate and consumer price index for next year at a two-day plenary session that ended Wednesday. The gathering called for economic growth to exceed 10 percent next year, compared with the 11.8 percent growth the city expects to report this year, and the official unemployment rate to remain just under 5 percent. The consumer price index should hover around 102 next year. It currently sits at about 103. The conference also passed a plan to make the city more competitive by investing more in science and technology through 2010, when Shanghai will host the World Expo. The plan said over 40 percent of the city's GDP will be generated by new and high-tech industries in 2010. "The city's economic development must be headed by innovation and high-caliber brains," Party Secretary Chen Liangyu told the 60 attendees of the meeting held Wednesday. In response, the city's Science and Technology Commission said Wednesday it will increase its financial support to research and development from last year's 1.89 percent of GDP to 2.5 percent in 2007. "We expect to push ahead a batch of state-of-the-art research projects over the next seven years," said Li Yiping, director of the commission.

From http://www.eastday.com 12/18/2003

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Local Firms, HKO Win Global IT Awards

Six local IT companies and the Hong Kong Observatory have been named winners in this year's Asia Pacific Information & Communications Technology Awards 2003 held in Thailand in early December. More than 120 projects from 10 Asia-Pacific economies were entered in this year's contest. The Hong Kong Computer Society nominated seven local entries to contest the seven categories. Four of them won grand prizes and the rest took certificates of merit. Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry & Technology Francis Ho said the awards recognise Hong Kong's outstanding achievements in the development of IT applications and e-Government services. They also prove that the level of local IT applications has reached international standards, Mr Ho said. The awards will not only enhance the local IT industry's international image, but also help the sector gain a foothold in overseas markets, he said. Background The Asia Pacific Information & Communications Technology Awards is an international award programme founded in 2001 in Malaysia. It aims to encourage IT innovation in small and medium enterprises and individuals in the information and communications technology industry. It also provides a platform to showcase the latest information and communications technology from the Asia-Pacific region. The awards serve to stimulate economic and trade relations, technology transfer, and provide business-matching opportunities for the participants. Hong Kong's winning entries The seven local winners are: * Best of Health Organisation: SoftEnable Technology Limited Project: CASSOS Computer - Assisted Simulation System for Orthognathic (dental/facial) Surgery * Best of Business Applications - Finance Organisation: 2GoTrade Limited Project: Go.ExchangeVS - Real Time Brokerage Application Platform/ASP * Best of Communications Applications Organisation: Outblaze Limited Project: Outblaze Messaging System * Best of Research & Development Organisation: ShaoLin Microsystems Limited Project: ShaoLin Aptus 2.0 * Certificate of Merit of E-Government and Services Organisation: Hong Kong Observatory, Hong Kong Government Project: World Weather Information Service (WWIS) and Severe Weather Information Centre (SWIC) * Certificate of Merit of Industrial Applications Organisation: e-commerce Logistics Limited Project: The Warehouse Management System for the Logistics Industry (WMS) * Certificate of Merit of E-Commerce Organisation: Global e-Business Services Limited Project: Tendering Application Service (e-TAS) The next Asia Pacific Information & Communications Technology Awards will be hosted in Hong Kong by the Hong Kong Computer Society in December 2004, with funding support from the Innovation & Technology Fund.

From http://www3.news.gov.hk/ 12/19/2003

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New Regulation on ID Card Issued

A new regulation on ID cards has been issued that protects individuals'personal information and respects citizens' rights. Under the law, police officers are unable to request an individual's ID card without a valid reason based on Criminal Law. Also, the new regulation has annulled restrictions formally placed on active army personnel, armed police, prisoners and young offenders being reeducated through labour. In addition, the new law allows those under the age of 16 to apply for ID cards. (by Xu Kun)

From CRIENGLISH.com 01/01/2004

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IRAQ: Iraq, CPA Telecoms Contract

InterNetwork Experts, a wholly-owned subsidiary of I-Sector Corporation, has won a contract with Spacelink International, for IP telephony communications infrastructure for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. The contract is for the three Office of CPA facilities in Basra, Mosul and Al Hillah.

From http://www.ameinfo.com/ 11/05/2003

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JAPAN: IT Industry to Form Entity to Fight Computer Viruses

TOKYO - NEC Corp, Microsoft Corp, Fujitsu Ltd and other firms and organizations in the information technology industry are preparing to set up an entity to prevent the spread of computer viruses, a leading economic daily reported Friday. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said that Trend Micro Inc and the Japan Network Security Association are among the partners to the new organization to "track global computer viruses and security flaws in operating systems to determine technologies and products that may be vulnerable."

From Kyodo News 11/21/2003

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International Joint IT Experiments with China Launched

MPHPT will set up a high-speed/-capacity international circuit between Japan and China based on the "Asia Broadband Program" (announced in March 2003) and launch international joint IT experiments with China on a variety of applications. These joint IT experiments will be implemented as "Advanced IT Joint Experiments for the Formation of an International Telecommunications Hub" as funded under the FY2003 budget. A large number of universities and private corporations from both Japan and China will take part, aiming to 1) promote the diffusion of IPv6 and 2) achieve compatibility within a multilingual environment, in order to promote information flow within the Asian region.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 11/28/2003

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NTT Opposes FTC Plan to Amend Antimonopoly Law

OSAKA - Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp (NTT) opposed Monday a proposal by a Fair Trade Commission (FTC) study group to amend the Antimonopoly Law to make it more effective with tighter fines and regulations on public utilities. "There is no need to strengthen regulations and it (the plan) needs more discussion," NTT said in a report presented to the FTC, the nation's fair trade watchdog.

From Kyodo News 12/02/2003

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MPHPT Sets Up Investigative Committee Concerning the Promotion of Computerization in Regional Areas

The MPHPT has set up an investigative committee concerning the promotion of computerization in regional areas, with the participation of experts, so as to devise a blueprint for a public network linking local municipalities, prefectual governments, and the national governments as a whole, and investigate the development of policies for the period after fiscal 2005, while taking into consideration the current status of computerization in regional areas. The first meeting will take place on Tuesday, December 16.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 12/15/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Ministry, Regulator Lock Horns over Digital TV Timetable

The Ministry of Information and Communication (MOIC) and the Korea Broadcasting Commission (KBC), the regulator of the nation's TV broadcasting market, are locked in a dispute over the timetable for digitalization of the nation's terrestrial broadcasting. A high-ranking MOIC official said Friday that the commission's resolution to extend by seven more months the application period for licenses for terrestrial digital broadcasting businesses in provincial cities and counties was unauthorized. The official said that the ministry would move ahead with the applications for the license as originally scheduled. On 19th December 2000, the commission announced its decision to grant terrestrial digital TV broadcasting licenses by November 30 this year under its plan to convert the nation's current terrestrial TV broadcasters into digital broadcasting. The commission, however, passed a resolution on November 28 to extend the deadline for applications for digital broadcasting business licenses by seven months, to June 30 next year. Announcing the resolution, the commission said that it decided on the deadline extension because it found that the U.S. technology for terrestrial digital TV broadcasting, which was chosen by the government, has been the subject of some disputes, and the commission wanted more time to reassess the technological standards for digital broadcasts. Refuting the commission's resolution, MOIC said that an extension of the license application period could be decided only by the ministry. Back in 1997, MOIC chose the U.S. technology as its standard for terrestrial digital TV broadcasting, but several broadcasters later expressed opposition to the technology. The broadcasters have been urging the government to reconsider it choice of transmission technology. The nation's major electronics firms, including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, which have been enjoying strong exports of their digital televisions to the United States, said that they have invested only in digital TVs that could be sold in the North American market. They said that Japanese firms are likely to take advantage of the Korean government's possible decision to postpone the service. (by Woo Byung-hyun)

From http://srch.chosun.com/ 12/05/2003

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Ministry to Provide Fund for IT Curriculum Improvement Next Year

The Ministry of Information and Communication reported Wednesday (Dec. 17) that it would provide a total of 16 billion won next year to finance IT training program improvement at local educational institutions. The fund will focus on overhauling the current IT training curriculum to meet the technological demands of businesses, factories and markets, the ministry noted. Each of the universities taking part in the curriculum improvement program would receive 150 million won annually, while junior colleges and vocational high schools would each get 100 million and 150 million won, respectively. The government subsidy can be spent on purchasing IT-related education/training equipment and software. In particular, schools will be allowed to spend at least 20 percent of the subsidy on developing training-related teaching materials or cyber-training teaching materials from next year. Schools interested in the program can download application forms from the homepage of the Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency (www.kipa.or.kr) and submit them to KIPA by January 14.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 12/17/2003

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Government Establish Matser Plan for Information-Oriented Society

Seoul has established its plans to develop Korea in to a more information-oriented society. Members of the Informatization Promotion Committee under the Prime Minister office decided Wednesday to promote IT technology by building a broadband communication network and encouraging the mergers and acquisitions amongst local small and medium businesses. Through the new set of measures, the government expects the production of IT goods including the next-generation PCs to amount to some W110 trillion (US$92 billion) and its export to reach W31 billion (US$26 million) by year 2007.

From http://srch.chosun.com/ 12/18/2003

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ROK Aims to Double IT Output by 2007

South Korea seeks to more than double production of information technology (IT) products to 400 trillion won by 2007. The plan is part of a larger information development strategy, called the Broadband IT Korea Vision 2007. The Informatization Promotion Committee (IPC) finalized the plan on Wednesday (Dec. 17). Prime Minister Goh Kun served as chairman. Under the plan, IT exports will top $100 billion in 2007, up from $46.3 billion last year. Sophisticated service robots, next-generation computers and telematics applications will be commercialized. The development of products with added value in such fields as wireless communication, digital TV, home network and display are also included in the plan. The launch of the broad convergence network (BcN) will be fuel for the nation's growth momentum and will speed up data transmission by 50 percent. The convenience of the BcN, where wired and wireless services converge in a single network, is anticipated to attract as many as 8 million subscribers by 2007. A total of 3.2 trillion won will be invested next year for promoting informatization, up 10.1 percent from this year. South Korea is the most wired country in the world with more than 10 million households connected to broadband Internet, but usage has been limited to online games and Internet surfing.

From http://www.korea.net/ 12/18/2003

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New Number Policy Overhauls Mobile Biz

With the number portability system stealing the spotlight at the start of the year, the new government policy is likely to have a wide and varying impact across related businesses. Starting this month, SK Telecom customers have been able to switch carriers without having to change their current numbers, resulting in an all-out blitz among the three local wireless operators to lure or keep subscribers. The competition is expected to offer a ray of hope to Korean handset makers, which struggled in the domestic market last year. They combined to sell 1.57 million handset units locally in 2002, but the figure dropped to 1.4 million units last year due to the protracted economic downturn. However, the number portability policy is projected to prop up domestic handset demand coupled with the popularity of camera phones because the switching of carriers sometimes requires the purchase of new handsets due to different service spectrums. SK Telecom exploits the premium 800 MHz spectrum while KTF and LG Telecom uses the 1.86 GHz range. More Handset Demand Mirroring such an upbeat outlook, experts forecast that handset sales will return to the 1.5 million units level this year. On the other end of the scale are next-generation businesses like the wide-band code division multiple access (W-CDMA) phones or the 2.3 GHz portable Internet network, which once were promising technologies. W-CDMA is the third-generation (3G) mobile service that was touted as the future of wireless connection replacing the current global system for mobile communication (GSM). The new 3G platform promises video calls, multi-media messaging services and high-speed download of video clips at speeds 40 times faster than that of current applications. Yet, the limited availability of W-CDMA-enabled handsets and technical glitches discouraged tech-savvy customers from signing up for the service. Since the launch of the commercial W-CDMA service late last month by SK Telecom and KTF, only around 700 signed up for the new application as of on Wednesday, almost all of them being employees of mobile carriers or telecom-associated workers. Massive investment is essential to settle the problem but SK Telecom and KTF are not likely to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into a business with an uncertain future, according to Dongwon Securities analyst Yang Jong-in. Decreasing Investments ``With the prospects of W-CDMA in doubt, it will be difficult for mobile carriers to increase spending significantly in the area. Moreover, all their energy is now upon the number portability, leaving little leeway to be attentive to the W-CDMA,'' Yang said. The 2.3 GHz mobile Internet services faces the identical fate of W-CDMA as its schedule has been delayed by the government and investment by private companies has been scaled down. The new network is considered as an interim technology between wireless networks, known as Wi-Fi, and Internet access via mobile phones because of its affordability and mobility. The so-called 3.5-generation mobile communication system will transmit data at an average speed of one megabyte per second, which is equal to current landline broadband Internet services. The government was supposed to decide policy direction for the new technology by the end of last year, but put it off for this year citing technical problems. SK Telecom is planning to invest around 10 billion won in the 2.3 GHz portable Internet network but most of the money will go to the connection of the technology to the CDMA 1x EV-DO (evolution data optimized) and not the development of 2.3GHz technology itself. The EV-DO application enjoyed commercial success after it was jumpstarted in the midway through 2002 by SK Telecom and KTF under the banners of ``June'' and ``FIMM.'' (by Kim Tae-gyu)

From http://times.hankooki.com/ 01/07/2003

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UZBEKISTAN: Uzbektelecom Launches Project in Jizzakh Worth US$200,000

Uzbektelecom, national telecommunications operator, has launched a pilot project in Jizzakh region on creation of a mobile communication network working under IMT-MC-450 standard (CDMA technology).

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 11/24/2003

JAPAN: MPHPT Invites Comments on Draft Partial Amendment of Examinations Standards for the Radio Law

The MPHPT has produced a draft partial amendment of the Examination Standards for the Radio Law (MPHPT Ordinance No. 67, January 6, 2001) regarding the attached Table 3 "Designating standards for identification signals". The MPHPT is inviting comments from the public concerning this draft amendment.

From http://www.soumu.go.jp/ 01/21/2004

SOUTH KOREA: IT Industry Momentum Due to Rise

Korea's information technology industry is expected to experience significant momentum in the mobile, Internet and chip sectors thanks to a government policy aimed at rejuvenating the high-tech sector amid hopes for an economic recovery. The Ministry of Information and Communication, which maps out the country's overall IT policy, is keen to boost exports, taking advantage of surging sales of mobile phones, memory chips and flat-panel displays on overseas markets. The ministry set the IT export volume target at $70 billion this year, up 22 percent from $57.3 billion in 2003, encouraged by improving market conditions at home and abroad. Korea's IT industry will likely maintain its 12-percent growth rate for overseas shipments this year, ministry officials said. Samsung Electronics Co. is forecast to see increased sales in the coming months on strong demand for its memory chips. Expectations are also mounting as the world's largest chipmaker plans to make new capital investments of nearly 8 trillion won this year, with all but 1 trillion won going to its semiconductor division. Analysts said Samsung's aggressive plan to expand facilities casts a positive outlook for the chip and flat panel display sectors, while helping the government achieve its export target for the high-tech industry. Aside from export initiatives, the Information Ministry is boosting momentum with its policy known as number portability. The policy, which took effect Jan. 1, allows mobile phone users to switch carriers without having to change their numbers. Number portability is funneling new energy into the sector: more than 200,000 SK Telecom users have so far moved to KTF and LG Telecom. Handset makers, parts manufacturers and mobile solutions developers expect the new policy to help stage a growth trend in the mobile sector. Meanwhile, the domestic handset market is forecast to grow as much as 20 percent to 16 million units on the strength of number portability this year. Samsung Electronics, the world's third-largest mobile handset maker said it targets a 55-percent market share this year, followed by LG Electronics Inc. with 35 percent and Pantech & Curitel with 25 percent. Other smaller manufacturers like SK Teletec, a unit of top mobile carrier SK Telecom, and KTF Technologies, a unit of KTF, are also moving to raise their shares to 10 percent each, suggesting a coming round of tougher competition. Despite the bright outlook for the mobile phone market, foreign manufacturers like Motorola Inc. and Nokia Corp. are expected to face an uphill battle in Korea. Another bright sector in connection with number portability is the Internet portal industry. Analysts said mobile carriers' aggressive marketing on the Web is expected to help increase revenues from online banner advertisements amid a steady shift in consumer acceptance of online transactions. In particular, major Internet portals like Daum Communications Corp. and NHN Corp. are forecast to see greater profits in the first quarter in connection with number portability. By contrast, small- and mid-size PC makers are forecast to struggle in the coming months, with few signs of a recovery for new computer demand. Hyunju Computer, a mid-size manufacturer, recently downsized its PC production unit and announced it would push for a new business model to grapple with the slump. Hyunju and other small PC makers have been faltering due to extremely hostile PC market conditions, aggravated by the economic downturn and consumers' reluctance to upgrade their systems. A series of bankruptcies hitting small PC makers is now feared to undercut the mid-range PC market, which could reduce choices for consumers. But cash-rich PC makers and foreign makers - HP Korea, Toshiba Korea and Dell - are likely to expand their market share. The restructuring of small PC makers comes as the average price of brand-name PCs made by conglomerates and foreign manufacturers are plummeting and the domestic computer industry is showing no sign of a recovery.

From http://search.korea.net:9000/ 01/26/2003

 
 
 
 

SP Services to Publish Electricity Vesting Price Online

Singapore's Energy Market Authority held extensive consultations with industry players between 2001 and mid-2003 before introducing electricity vesting contracts. These contracts are price and quantity controls to prevent electricity generating companies from keeping prices artificially high by withholding generation capacity. The price set down in the contract, called the vesting price, will be published quarterly on SP Services' website, one month before the start of the quarter. SP Services is Singapore's largest electricity retailer. The company said the vesting price would be adjusted quarterly to reflect changes in fuel oil price.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 01/05/2004

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Network Asks Govt to Pursue Reforms

A national network of some 40 non-governmental organizations, mass media, government institutions and political parties called on the government on Wednesday to pursue badly needed reforms to dig the country out of the current multidimensional crises. They also expressed a commitment to assisting public policy makers in policy reform after next year's elections. State-owned Gadjah Mada University rector Sofian Effendi told a press conference here on Wednesday that the government should cut its role in controlling the people in order to strengthen democracy. "Civil supremacy must also be upheld and the military must not return to rule the country even if it has strong discipline and leadership to manage the country." Sofian was asked to address the press after Jajaki's two-day meeting that ended on Wednesday. Fears of the military returning to the political stage have resurfaced after polling carried out by a number of research agencies showed that some former military generals had gained strong support from the grassroots for the presidential post. Coordinating Minister for Political and Security Affairs Gen. (ret.) Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has topped several presidential candidate surveys, while former Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. (ret.) Wiranto, and former commander of the Army's Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) Lt. Gen. Prabowo Subianto are joining Golkar's convention to choose the party's presidential candidate. Sofian also said that civil service reform must also proceed and regional autonomy should be based on economy and social justice rather than political consideration to distribute power. "Those are priorities in political reforms that we would like to deeply analyze in the upcoming years. We will come up with policy recommendations to be handed to the government," he said. The head of the United Nations Support Facilities for Indonesian Recovery (UNSFIR) Satish C. Mishra attended the press conference. UNSFIR facilitates the network that aims to provide an informal but organized channel of government and non-government institutional consultation on priority policy issues. Among the Jajaki network members are state-owned University of Indonesia, Gadjah Mada University from Yogyakarta, the West Sumatra administration, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Muslim organizations Nadhlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, Golkar and The Jakarta Post. The Office of Coordinating Ministry for Political and Security Affairs and other ministries are expected to join the network. Sofian said the Jajaki network also wanted economic reform to focus on reviving the real sector. The present government has so far still focused on assisting the ailing banking sectors instead of real sector. On social reform, civil society groups must be continuously empowered to help meet the people's aspirations on good public policy. More and more people should also be educated to better understand their rights as citizen, while poverty must be eradicated, he said. On legal reform, the network called for concerted efforts at the national level to fight corruption. "Otherwise, our corruption problem will never end," he said. The Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) ranks Indonesia as the second most corrupt country among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the sixth worst of the 132 countries surveyed worldwide from July 2002 through June 2003. Meanwhile, Satish emphasized that Indonesian people should push for a broadened public participation in determining public policy. The government has always made important decisions regarding public interests based on lobbies among political elites or foreign pressure without the involvement of the people and explanations to them, he said. (by Moch. N. Kurniawan)

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 11/06/2003

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SINGAPORE: SIA to Offer Passengers Broadband Internet Access in 2004

Singapore Airlines is offering high-speed wireless Internet access on some of its planes, including live TV - not the pre-taped shows passengers are used to. The airline will be one of Asia's first carriers to use a new technology developed by an arm of aviation giant Boeing, called Connexion by Boeing. However passengers will have to pay for the service. The carrier said from the third quarter of next year, passengers will be able to surf the Internet at speeds of up to 256 kilobytes per second, send and receive emails, and watch real-time TV on its long haul flights. What they will need is a laptop computer with a wireless access card slotted in and a credit card for payment, which could either be a flat rate for the entire flight or a fee based on the usage. Scott Carson, President, Connexion by Boeing, said: "We flew some trials earlier this year with British Airways and what we learned from those trials is that for the long haul flights, typically over 5 hours, passengers found a US$30 to US$35 charge quite acceptable and in fact found great value in it. My expectations for SIA flights would be in that range. "A few European and Japanese airlines are already planning to carry the service and many more are expected to follow. Connexion by Boeing is now looking at over 10 proposals and aims to equip 4,000 to 5,000 planes in the future. (by Dawn Teo)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 11/11/2003

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Singapore's Pacnet Launches Volume-Based Cable Access Plan

Internet service provider Pacific Internet says it has launched Singapore's first volume-based cable access plan. Called the Cable EZ Surf 1500, the plan follows PacNet's recent introduction of an unlimited cable access service. For the first 500 subscribers, the new plan is being offered at an introductory price of S$24.86 per month, with GST, for 200 megabytes of use. This compares with a list price of S$41.50.A dial-up account is also included in the plan. Additional access usage beyond the first 200MB costs S$0.312 per megabyte. PacNet says the new volume-based plan gives users an affordable way to try out high-speed cable Internet access before committing themselves to an unlimited plan. The price excludes a one-time activation fee of S$51.95 as well as the cost of a cable modem at S$149.76 and the compulsory purchase of Mail Guard Anti-virus and Anti-spam services at S$3.89 per month. PacNet also offers telephone line-based ADSL services.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/17/2003

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INDONESIA: Govt Starts Computer Literacy Program

The government launched here on Saturday a student computer literacy program aimed at introducing information technology to schools nationwide. Called the One School One Computer Lab (OSOL), the program was opened by State Minister of Communications and Information Syamsul Mu'arif as part of Indonesia compliance with a United Nations declaration, which seeks to create a technology-based global communication society by 2015. Indonesia has no choice but to improve its human resources to stay in touch with the rest of the world in terms of information technology, Syamsul said. The country, he added, still lagged behind in communication technology, let alone information technology, as reflected by the fact that it only had between seven and eight million registered fixed telephone lines. Indonesia is home to over 214 million people, the world's fourth most populated country. "Transfer of data remains a future goal, as many people here do not have telephones. Therefore, we will start with students and will introduce them to information technology as early as possible," Syamsul said. Also attending the launch at the SMK I vocational high school in Batu Aji district was Minister of National Education Abdul Malik Fajar. The national program has targeted Batam for its pilot project, with the support of American software giant Microsoft. Syamsul said the program would involve all stakeholders in the education, finance, infrastructure and Internet service sectors. Both central and regional governments are to work together to provide each school with a computer laboratory and enable students to learn how to use computers in class. Malik expressed hope that students could use the facilities provided in the computer labs to improve their literacy in information technology. "I am sad to see computers functioning only as a typewriter or a play station. We know there are many more benefits to be had from a computer," Malik said. Microsoft is supporting the program by providing discount software to prevent the use of pirated products. Each software program costs US$2.5 for the OSOL. Batam Deputy Mayor Asman Abnur, representing the local administration, welcomed the national program and expected that eventually, there would be one computer for every student. "I look to Singapore and the U.S., where students only bring their diskettes to school, as there are enough computers to go around. Hopefully, the same thing could happen here and in Indonesia," he said.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 11/03/2003

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THAILAND: Single-Number Call Centre on Track

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's plan to give citizens 24-hour-a day access to all branches of his government via one telephone number is making progress, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said yesterday. The Foreign and ICT ministries as well as the Prime Minister's Office have already started shifting information services to a new integrated call centre, which will amalgamate the call centres of each ministry, Surapong said. The remaining 16 ministries will be connected next year, he said. The one-stop call centre is part of the e-government project, which is designed to use more information technology to serve the public and amalgamate ministries' call centres. The centre is scheduled to begin operating in January, and within the next year will provide information from all ministries via telephone, fax or multimedia channels, Surapong said. Initially, however, information from some ministries will be accessible by telephone only, he added. Callers will be able to contact the centre by dialling 1111.TOT Corp, which operates the contact centre, will charge fixed-line callers a flat fee of Bt3 per call. Charges for callers using mobile phones will vary according to the rates of their operators. TOT leased the call centre's hardware and software from South Korea's Locus for five years in a deal worth Bt800 million. Wichien Naksrinual, executive vice president of TOT in charge of the project, said that initially the call centre would employ 300 operators. "We can expand to 1,000 if need be," he said, adding that the centre would have one supervisor per 20 operators to ensure quality service. "If there is poor service, you can complain to us and the ministries," he said. The call centre is also a new source of revenue for TOT. It will charge the ministries Bt30,000 per operator per month for providing the service, Wichien said. Some state officials, however, remain cautious. "I worry whether we can afford the cost due to the constrained budget," said an official from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. Wichien said that the rate is cheap and that all ministries would save on the operating costs of their own call centres. A Justice Ministry official wanted to know how committed the ICT Ministry is to the project. "If there's a change among those in charge, who will take care of this? It always happens that when there's a change at the head, these kinds of projects are delayed," she said.

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

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Multimedia: Plans for Digital Center

Content providers to get financial help The Information and Communications Technology Ministry yesterday outlined a five-year plan to turn Thailand into a regional digital content leader.ICT Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said animation and multimedia companies would get financial support to create digital content. Television stations and entertainment firms would also be called upon to broadcast and promote the content, Surapong said. "We will also invest in research and development," he said during Thailand's first Animation and Multimedia fair. The fair, held at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre until tomorrow, is co-hosted by the ministry and the Software Industry Promotion Agency (Sipa).The ministry is currently negotiating with several foreign multimedia software vendors to co-produce software to support the industry. Sipa director Manoo Ordeedolchest said his agency would play a major role in the industry's development by finding foreign companies to co-produce local animated films to create global recognition of Thai products. One US animation expert said the government should also focus on training Thai animators to produce long scripts. "It's important to teach animators how to produce good scripts so that they can produce attractive TV animations like those made in Japan," he said. One mobile game maker was more interested in IT text books than animation. "If they can make IT text books cheaper, that would be good. Most developers do not graduate directly from animation departments but pick it up from textbooks. The cheaper the books, the easier it is to access the knowledge," he said. The ministry and Sipa also plan to train 3,500 digital-content developers in the next three years, Surapong said."If we can achieve our target, our animation software industry will soar in value to Bt80 billion in five years," he added. Sipa has already requested Bt440 million from the government to finance all projects in the next six months. The ministry has also held talks with some US directors to support Thailand's plan to become the "Hollywood of Asia". But Surapong and Manoo admitted their goal would not be easy to achieve. There are only 30,000 software developers in Thailand and only 7,600 software graduates. "We are a long way from achieving the IT goals of countries like Ireland, which boasted 200,000 IT professionals in 2000 and a software export value of Bt320 billion," Manoo said. Sipa plans to boost the number of software developers to at least 100,000 in the next five years, he added.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 01/10/2004

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MAYALISA: Enact Laws Against Online Porn, Govt Urged

The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation has proposed that the Government enact laws against online pornography. MCPF vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said the Government had in the past stated that it did not intend to censor the Internet. However, he added, if cyber smut continued to be circulated, particularly indecent images_5 of children, it might be time for the Government to take a second look and see whether it could do something about it. The recent surge in violent crimes including rape, sodomy and brutal murders, were sending shockwaves throughout the country and the root of these crimes need to be addressed, he said in a statement yesterday. "The time has come for us not only to fight crime but to also find out the causes of these horrendous crimes," he said, suggesting that the issue be discussed in-depth at a seminar. Lee said the learning of information technology must be followed by moral education and urged the Government to step up efforts to inculcate good morals in youths to prevent the rise of computer criminals.

From http://thestar.com.my 01/20/2004

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BANGLADESH: BTTB Reduces Overseas Call Charge

In a dramatic move, state-owned Bangladesh Telephone and Telegraph Board (BTTB) has reduced its call charge for overseas to Tk 7.5 for each minute. Initially, call charge has been reduced for USA and Canada and the service would be expanded to eight other countries-UK, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong-by next three months. The new call rate has been made effective from Tuesday which will enable caller from Dhaka only. Post & Telecommunications Minister Barrister Aminul Huq formally inaugurated the service by calling Bangladesh's Ambassador to Washington Syed Hasan Ahmad over phone from his official residence this (Tuesday) morning. Talking to reporters after introducing the new reduced call charge, Barrister Huq said people from Bangladesh would be able to communicate with other countries of the world within June next. "It's a milestone achievement for us. We have reduced the call charge as soon as we came to power and this step has been taken to fulfill our commitment," he said. "At this reduced rate, call charge is same round the clock. Gradually this service would be expanded throughout the country," Huq said adding that the facility has been provided for all NWD land phone users. According to the rate, a call to cell phone in USA or Canada is also same as fixed phone (Tk 7.5). Call to cell phone of Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia is also same but it is Tk 18 for UK, Australia, France, Italy and Germany. BTTB officials said they would be able to provide this service for the mobile phone users of the country after agreement with the cell phone operators. The dialing system at reduced rate is: Code 012+country code+area code+telephone number. Users may face some sort of congestion initially, which BTTB is trying to solve quickly, said an official. Post & Telecommunications Secretary Faruque Ahmad Siddiqui, BTTB Chairman M Nurul Islam and other senior official of the organisation were present.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 12/30/2003

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INDIA: Pay Your Property Tax on Internet

The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) is all set to make the procedure for filing property tax faster and more convenient by allowing assesses to make payments through the Internet. The coming month will see this facility become a reality. Announcing this after releasing the 30th issue of Korvigil, a newsletter released by the Koramangala Residents' Civic Group, BMP Commissioner M R Sreenivasa Murthy, this evening, said that all property records had been computerised. Computer systems of all the BMP offices had been connected and property details could be availed from any BMP office. "Soon, property tax can be paid sitting at home, through the Internet", he added. Referring to the on-going computerisation of records, Mr Murthy also noted that birth and death certificates, of the past 50 years had been databased. In a fortnight's time, print copies of such certificates would be available at a nominal price of Rs 10-15. Bangloreans who had to undergo a long time-consuming process of accessing birth and death certificates would now get copies in a few minutes, he noted. Talking about the garbage problem, Mr Murthy said that he had asked for 300 acres of land to develop landfills and had received tenders from private companies who would develop these pits. About the perpetual problem of the Koramangala storm water drain, he said that it needed to be widened and deepened and a bypass was being planned out so that it would not have to go through the Koramangala valley. The newsletter that was released and distributed among the area's citizens, had a list of the three-year activities and achievements of the residents' association.

From http://www.deccanherald.com/ 11/02/2003

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Meghalaya, Nagaland to Frame IT Policies

Meghalaya and Nagaland will soon have their own IT policies. The initiative is aimed at attracting investment in the IT sector in the two States. This was stated by Mr D.D. Lapang and Mr Neiphiu Rio, Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Nagaland, respectively. They were participating in a Round Table of Chief Ministers and IT Ministers of the North-Eastern States and West Bengal organised on Monday under the aegis of Infocom 2003. Assam and Tripura already have their own IT policies. Mr Lapang said that a beginning had been made in the IT sector in Meghalaya. An IT policy would be announced soon even as a memorandum of understanding has been signed with Software Technology Parks of India for the setting up of a Software Technology Park in Meghalaya. The Centre has already sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for purchase of high-speed data link network equipment. Mr Lapang urged industry to take advantage of the special industrial package that the Centre has announced for the North-East and invest in the region. Development would go a long way in facilitating the economic integration of the region with the rest of the country, he added. Mr Rio said that the Nagaland Government had already created a separate department for IT and an IT policy was being prepared. "Application of IT helps overcome the problem of remoteness and is a tool for good governance." Mr Bhuvaneswar Kalita, Assam's Minister for Industry, appealed to the IT industry to invest in the State and strengthen its value proposition. He guaranteed prospective investors "high-quality infrastructure, skilled manpower and a supportive environment". The Minister for Industry in Tripura, Mr Pabitra Kar, said that the State's IT Policy 2000 allows the IT industry exemption under certain Acts. An IT Park and community information centres have been set up in the State as well. Mr Kar sought suggestions from the IT industry on how to make the State attractive to prospective investors.

From http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/ 11/17/2003

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No More Optical Illusions for Telcos

The government today abolished customs duty on specified infrastructure equipment used by basic, cellular, internet, VSAT, radio paging and mobile radio trunking services. Earlier, the duty varied from 5% to 15%. Customs duty on specified raw materials used for the manufacture of electronic components, optical fibres and cables has been reduced to 5% from 15%, and to 0% where it was 5%. SAD of 4% has been abolished on all the items. Telecom operators have welcomed the new duty structure as it reduces the cost of setting up networks, while the indigenous telecom manufacturers have strongly opposed it, saying that a lower duty on finished equipment would discourage local manufacturing. Indigenous manufacturers have said that it goes against the objective of the national telecom policy (NTP) in 1999, which promotes India being encouraged to manufacture and export telecom equipment. "This objective will no longer be accomplished with the import of finished products attracting lower customs duty than the import of raw material," said NK Goyal, president, Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA). "We welcome the reduction in duty on inputs used for telecom equipment and optical fibre cables. But it still doesn't address the basic issue of the lack of a level playing field," said Sanjay Aggarwal, chairman, Paramount Communications and vice president, TEMA. "SAD has been removed on finished goods, whereas we end up paying sales tax of 4%. We are disadvantaged vis-¨¤-vis any imports," said Mr Aggarwal. Telecom operators have welcomed the government decision. "This is very good for the telecom industry. It will help in lowering the cost for infrastructure and further allow tariff reductions for the benefit of customers," said Sunil Mittal, chairman, Bharti Televentures. "The government decision will help in the growth of the industry. The capital expenditure cost will come down enabling the telecom operators to expand their networks, which will increase tele-density in the country," said RSP Sinha, chairman, MTNL. NK Mangla, BSNL added that it would boost investment in the telecom infrastructure and make services more affordable for customers.

From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 01/09/2004

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IT Minister Urges Asian Countries to Unite Against Anti-Outsourcing Laws

HYDERABAD - India's Information Technology Minister Arun Shourie Monday urged concerted action among Asian countries to ward off restrictions on outsourcing by western countries. Addressing the second Asia-IT ministers summit in the southern tech-savvy city of Hyderabad, Shourie said Asian countries should unite against the challenges thrown by those planning laws against outsourcing due to massive job cuts. "Today protectionist measures have started in Europe, Australia and the US," Shourie said. "For this all of us should take concerted action. It is a matter of concern even in the World Trade Organization. "They (the west) cannot expect us to keep opening our markets for goods and put protectionist measures on goods and services where other countries have strength." Relocation of work from Europe and the US to Indian cities including New Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad and Bangalore can cut costs for global firms by up to 40 per cent, figures show. US-based technology research house Gartner has predicted India will represent two-thirds of the international "offshore market" - jobs done outside a client's region - within three to four years. A slew of foreign firms have exported call centre, computer operations, research and other activities to India. India has the largest pool of English-speaking graduates outside the US, who are willing to work for salaries which are far less than those paid in the west. Last year, outsourcing accounted for about one-fourth of India's total software export revenues of $9.5 billion. In his speech, Shourie said like most Asian countries, India too was emerging as a knowledge island. Outlining the strength and contribution of Indian professionals in the IT field, Shourie said one third of all IT start-ups in Silicon Valley were by Indians, while 35 per cent of Microsoft's research and development engineers were Indian. "110 out of the Fortune 500 companies have set up research and development centres in India. Intel's sixth generation chip is designed here," he added. He said IT professionals were changing the world and people's perceptions of it. The minister urged delegates at the conference to take up one project in Asia which could affect large numbers of people in the shortest period of time. Delegates and ministers from a number of Asian countries, including Israel, Kuwait, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Vietnam and Tajikistan are attending the conference. Issues such as digital divide, construction of broadband network, Internet affordability and security are to be discussed and debated at the two-day meet. The first such summit was held in 2002 in South Korea.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 01/12/2004

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MALDIVES: Dhiraagu to Give Special Reductions on Occasion of Hajj

MALE - Dhiraagu is to give a special reduction in call charges to Saudi Arabia from Jan 9 to Feb 9 on the occasion of Hajj. The reduced rate of Rf10 per minute will apply for IDD calls made from fixed telephone lines, cardphones, mobiles (including pre-paid) and for calls received by mobile customers using international roaming while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Also on the occasion of Hajj, Dhiraagu will offer pilgrims a 50 percent reduction in the roaming deposit when the Hajj ID card is presented with the application. Dhiraagu will also, subject to availability, lend a mobile handset for new mobile customers who wish to subscribe to roaming services, the telecom company said in a press release on Sunday.

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 01/04/2004

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NEPAL: Govt to Pass Electronic Transaction Act Soon

KATHMANDU - Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa has said that the government is committed to the development of information and communication technology (ICT) and would pass the long-pending Electronic Transaction Act very soon. Inaugurating a two-day seminar on Building e-Business Competencies for the Information Society, jointly organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC's) Regional e-Business Forum for Asia and the Pacific here today, Prime Minister Thapa said that despite the unfavourable situation the government would not stop the development process of ICT. Rural information and tele-centers were being set up and the Information and Technology Park would be completed this year, he assured. A High Level Information Technology Commission has been constituted in order to promote ICT industry and business to create sound environment for foreign and domestic investment in this sector, he added. "ICT might be an effective tool for transparency and good-governance and the government introduced IT Policy 2002 with this spirit, but security condition and lack of resources has hindered the growth," said PM Thapa. Sharad Chandra Shah, Vice-President of the High Level Information Technology Commission, expressed the views that countries like Nepal should reach out towards the development of a society based on knowledge. Speaking on the occasion, Lochan Lal Amatya, President of Computer Association of Nepal (CAN), expressed the views that the forum would further promote trade and business dimensions of the digital economy and bring the voice of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of the developing countries into the global ICT policy making. Kiran Karnik, President of NASSCOM, India, delivering a keynote speech, said that e-commerce saves approximately 16 percent of cost while procuring goods and services on average, improves image and transparency of companies, citing examples of some Indian companies. He also said that key barriers to e-commerce is the access to Internet and the mindset, people still hesitate to use Internet for their transactions and the governments in the Asia Pacific region face similar hurdles including resource constraints. Ramamurti Badrinath, Director International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO also spoke at the inaugural session of the seminar. Lakshminarayn, Additional Secretary, Department of Information Technology, India, presenting a paper on e-Business in India: Lessons Learnt and Vision said that India has the largest talent pool of people supported by research and development and investment-friendly government policies, which is expected to push the total IT exports of India to 35 percent by 2008 from 20.4 of fiscal year 2002/03. Dr Vadim Levitin, CEO, e-Commerce Institute, USA, making a presentation said that the 'Brave New World' driven by developments in science and technology is dominated by intangibles- ideas, people and information assets. It is the huge intellectual potential of the Nepalese people that must be unlocked and set free, he added. Rajib Subba, Member of CAN also presented a paper on e-Business in Nepal: Lessons Learnt and Vision in today's technical session. Altogether 16 papers, one each from 16 participating countries, would be presented during the seminar being participated in by 48 representatives. The objective of the seminar is to enable the SMEs of the region, ease online payment, boost regional cooperation and to give inputs to the World Summit of Information Society to be held in Geneva this December. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between national Association of Software And service Companies (NASSCOM) and CAN and Kiran Karnik, President NASSCOM and Lochan Lal Amatya President CAN signed the MoU on their respective behalf.

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 11/14/2003

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PAKISTAN: Jamali Calls for Bridging Digital Divide

Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali on Wednesday called for bridging digital divide so that the rich and the poor take benefits from the technology alike. Addressing the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) here, he said, "The enormity of the digital opportunity is marred by a vast digital divide. To bridge this divide is the challenge of our time, It must not be allowed to grow further." He called for a global accord and partnership so that the "fruits of technology are evenly distributed". Prime Minister Jamali said his government was engaged in harnessing digital technology for the economic advancement of the country. He said a significant part of country's limited resources have been earmarked to build the necessary infrastructure. This, he added, would promote computer literacy and widen IT applications in health, education and public sector management. Jamali said that Pakistan needed support of the international community to achieve these goals. He termed the digital divide a multidimensional phenomenon that separated people within and between countries. "The speed of global technological and economic transformation demands concerted global action," Jamali added. He stressed the need to create an information society, which would embrace everyone. "Poorer regions of our planet are threatened with structural irrelevance associated with their technological obsolescence." He urged the world leaders present there to work together to evolve a "digital Development Agenda". "The presence of so many world leaders should provide the political impetus to translate hope into action." The prime minister gave a set of proposals, including creation of an information society, which is inclusive and provides equal opportunity to everyone everywhere, develop tools and mechanisms that would open the doors of technology to the poorer segments of mankind, encompass a commitment to assist the developing countries in developing their IT infrastructure, to protect universal norms, particularly the moral and spiritual values, ensure security of information systems free from threat of infiltration, allow all the people to imbibe the knowledge which the IT promises and harnessing the digital revolution to lift the dispossessed from the throes of deprivation. Prime Minister Jamali while thanking the Swiss government for hosting the event said that the human mind, which created the computer, must be given due respect and dignity.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/11/2003

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BANGLADESH£ºJS Body Finds No Wrong in BTTB Mobile Project

The parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication has asked the government to take necessary measures to enable the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) to operate a mobile phone network of its own. The committee at a meeting on Monday was told that the cabinet committee on purchase slowed down the process of commissioning the BTTB's mobile project that would cost Tk 459 crore to develop an infrastructure for a million mobile connections. "Although initially a total of 2.5 lakh mobile phones will be offered through the system, the infrastructure will be developed for 10 lakh cell phones," said committee chairman G.M. Fazlul Haq. Referring to news reports published recently about "a smell for irregularities", he said that the committee examined the statement of the ministry and found no irregularities in the project. In this regard the committee rejected the idea of a re-tender and asked the cabinet committee to finish scrutiny of the BTTB proposal to award work for the first phase of its mobile phone project to Siemens of Germany and Huawei Technologies of China. However, the cabinet committee on purchase on Saturday sent back to the ministry concerned the BTTB proposal to award work for the first phase of its mobile phone project to Siemens of Germany and Huawei Technologies of China asking to further scrutinise the proposal as the committee had 'smelt' irregularities in the biding process. The BTTB was scheduled to complete work for operating 2.5 lakh cell phones lines in the first phase by June this year. The meeting also recommended that the authorities fix the call charge for mobile phones in consonance with the rates being maintained in neighbouring countries like India and Pakistan. The meeting also put forth a recommendation to the ministry to make necessary arrangements to bring phone calls between different upazilas under a district into a local call-rate regime, said Syed Mehedi Ahmed Rumi, a member of the committee. At present, phone calls between upazilas are charged under the nationwide dialling rates. Posts and Telecommunication Minister Aminul Haq assured the committee of taking necessary steps in this regard by holding discussions with the finance ministry. The committee also asked the ministry to take punitive action against those officials and employees of the postal department who were recently found involved in misappropriating funds. A total of 21 officials and employees were found involved in embezzling an amount of around Tk 4 lakh recently. The amount was extracted from the sale of BRTA forms. The minister told the meeting that the ministry has suspended one officer and transferred 20 employees to non-revenue sectors of the department. A suggestion was also put forth to computerise the revenue section of the postal department so that records could be examined regularly. Professor Kazi Golam Morshed, Abdul Momin Talukder and Abul Hossain Khan, among others, attended the meeting. (by Moazzem Hossain)

From http://www.bangladesh-web.com/ 01/27/2004

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AUSTRALIA: ACA Starves on $300,000 Spam Budget

AUSTRALIA'S telecommunications watchdog only has a budget of $300,000 to carry out its anti-spam duties in the first year. The Federal Budget supplied the Australian Communications Authority with the funds in the lead-up to the introduction of anti-spam legislation - which is yet to pass through the Senate. The ACA is already working on anti-spam measures, including a recent agreement with Korea, and will introduce a team to police the laws once the Bills pass. It is unclear what budget the ACA will ultimately need to enforce anti-spam measures, but the most costly activity will be prosecuting spammers, consumer and universal service obligation executive manager John Haydon said. The anti-spam measures are expected to become law before the end of the year, after some tinkering by opposition parties. The ACA may have to put up some extra funds, Mr Haydon said. Much more money would be needed in coming financial years, once the anti-spam team was in full operation, he said. All sides of the Parliament appear to support the broad intent of the two related spam Bills, but there is some disagreement on details. Most seem relieved that the law will be reviewed after just two years. Even Government senators have admitted, in a committee report released last week, that adjustments may be needed. "There may be elements in the legislation that, without the benefit of perfect foresight, are found with experience to need correction," a report by the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee says. "This is almost inevitable with any groundbreaking legislation," it says. But the Government is loath to make changes now. It is keen for Australia to become one of the first nations to introduce anti-spam law. Labor and the Democrats will work hard to change Government senators' minds, and have released minority reports on the proposed Bills. Some areas, such as search and seizure powers, are a common concern. Others, such as exemptions from the spam ban, are more contentious. Labor is concerned about provisions allowing the ACA to search and seize a computer without a warrant or the owner's consent. It also wants to allow individuals or organisations to send single emails that may be of interest to recipients. Labor senators will seek an amendment requiring commercial emails to contain a functional unsubscribe facility. Labor wants exemptions to include trade unions and not-for-profit political lobby groups. The Democrats agree current search and seizure provisions are too extensive, but want to remove exemptions for government bodies, political parties, religious organisations and charities. The Democrats say the scope of the Bill should be expanded to include non-commercial unsolicited email. They want the Bill amended so recipients of spam can seek damages and costs from the sender. (by Selina Mitchell)

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

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ACA's Hand Forced on Privacy

THE telecommunications watchdog has been "forced" to set new rules to protect sensitve consumer information stored in a huge national database. The Australian Communications Authority will create a standard controlling the use of information stored in the Integrated Public Number Database, after discovering phone directory companies were misusing the information. The Database contains the personal details of every Australian with a telephone number, including home, holiday, mobile and all other possible contact details. The information is used by police and emergency services as well as for the production telephone directories and directory assistance services. Until now use of the information in the database has been governed by an industry code administered by the Australian Communications Industry Forum. The ACA discovered consumer information was being used for purposes other than those set out in the code by a number of companies after it began investigations into an incident which occured earlier this year. (by Selina Mitchell)

From http://australianit.news.com.au 11/13/2003

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IT Start-ups May Get More Aid

THE federal Government may extend funding for its troubled BITS incubator program. A plan is being considered to roll the scheme into the next round of funding to be announced under the Prime Minister's Backing Australia's Ability initiatives. The BITS - Building on IT Strengths - program was originally conceived as a one-off, four-year program with $78 million in so-called "social bonus" funding from the T2 sale of second-tranche shares of Telstra. Helping technology start-up companies, the BITS program was due to finish in the middle of next year. But after indicating for much of the past year that it had no plan to extend funding of the program, the Department of Communications, IT and the Arts has shown that it is actively considering future funding. A source close to the department said that former IT minister Senator Richard Alston had changed his view on the value of the BITS program in the months before stepping aside from the portfolio last month. Senator Alston had signalled early in the year that the BITS program would not receive funding beyond its original T2 money. But following a pilot report on the program conducted by the Allen Group, and another by research group Econtech, Senator Alston and his DCITA advisers are understood to have begun favouring retention of the scheme. The department was due to take delivery last week of an evaluation report on the program undertaken by the Allen Group. It is understood that when the Allen Group submitted its draft evaluation in August, which is thought to have been largely favourable of the scheme, DCITA had requested that additional research be conducted to bolster the case for the scheme's extension. A source close to the evaluation said that DCITA was investigating a variety of ways to extend BITS. These included having the scheme rolled into the next round of Backing Australia's Ability announcements, which is being referred to within Government as BAA II. The next round of initiatives is subject to discussion at cabinet level as the Government establishes future funding priorities that would be reflected in any forward-looking financial statements in the next federal budget. Under questioning from Opposition IT spokeswoman Kate Lundy last week, DCITA officials said no decision had yet been made on rolling BITS into the BAA II funding initiatives. Senator Lundy said she supported the extension of the BITS scheme, but added the Government had taken too long to make a decision, making it difficult for the IT start-ups under BITS to plan for the future. "It's just devastating. They really needed to know (about future funding) five months ago," Senator Lundy said. "Given that the evaluation report is so late, it's unlikely that they will find out before the end of the year - and that's really a worst-case scenario for them." (by James Riley)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/13/2003

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Rural Broadband Fund Open

THE Federal Government has opened the purse strings on its $23.7 million Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund (CCIF), calling for proposals for health, education and other government broadband infrastructure projects in regional communities. Part of the federal Government's response to the Estens inquiry in regional telecommunications, the CCIF will provide $22 million in actual funding over four years, with the remaining $1.7 million spent on administration. Minimum project funding is $500,000, with a maximum of $2 million. Applicants must demonstrate that federal funding will be at least matched by funding from other sources, which may include other federal programs. Projects outside health, education and government that can be shown to have broad community benefits will also be considered. Funding can be used for the purchase of capital equipment, network operating systems; network engineering and design, last mile connectivity or purchasing or leasing managed network services. Funding can also be put towards related expenses such as community awareness and training costs. The request for proposals issued by the National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) encourages collaboration across sectors: "Collaborative partnerships may be formed between state and territory governments, telecommunications carriers, service providers or other companies, other government agencies including local government, heath and education service providers and not for profit organisations. "Proposals should be based on open and interoperable education and health information standards," the request for proposals says. Expressions of interest must be lodged with NOIE by Monday December 1. Feedback on expressions of interest will be provided by December 19. Full project proposals will be due in February 2004. The National Broadband Strategy Information Group will then assess the proposals, taking on board advice from other government agencies and business, technical and legal advisers. Final assessments will then be submitted for ministerial approval. Final assessment of the proposals is due by the end of March 2004. The request for proposals comes just days after damning auditor general's report into the allocation of funds realised by the sell-off of Telstra. Both the Networking the Nation (NTN) and Rural Transaction Centre (RTC) programs were roundly criticised for a range of management issues, including a lack of accountability. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/13/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: About-face Sees Regulator Rule Against Local Loop Unbundling

In an about-face on its earlier draft determination, the Commerce Commission today said Telecom should not be forced to open its "local loop" or copper wire network to competitors. "The Commission does not recommend the specification or designation of unbundling of local loops," the Commission said in its report on the issue to Communications Minister Paul Swain, released today. "The Commission is no longer recommending unbundling of the local loop, because of what we have learnt about the costs and difficulties of that solution in comparison with the potential benefits," said Telecommunications Commissioner Douglas Webb. "Instead, the Commission considers that a direct focus on high-speed internet access produces higher benefits for consumers, through lower prices and innovation, and will also act as a spur to further improvements in Telecom's efficiency," said Mr Webb. The Commission has recommended that regulation be introduced to improve competition for broadband internet services in the residential and small and medium-sized business markets. The Commission found there is insufficient competition in those markets for broadband, and is recommending that Telecom be required to provide new entrants with a wholesale DSL service to allow entrants to develop and offer to consumers their own range of broadband products. The Commission therefore has recommended: * unbundling of, and interconnection with, Telecom's fixed Public Data Network in the form of access to an asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) bitstream access service, with the initial pricing and final pricing principles based on a retail minus methodology; and * access to a backhaul transmission service used in conjunction with an asymmetric DSL bitstream service. The Commission recommends that the initial pricing principle should be based on benchmarking and the final pricing principle should be based on cost-based pricing (TSLRIC methodology). Mr Webb said the Commission is not recommending the unbundling of other elements of Telecom's fixed Public Data Network beyond those supporting the asymmetric DSL bitstream service. "The decision not to recommend unbundling of other elements has been influenced by Telecom's recent announcement of an Unbundled Partial Private Circuits services offer that has the potential to provide a commercial solution to a competition problem in the supply of high grade data services to corporates and other large users. "The Commission would have favoured further unbundling had Telecom not offered a market-led solution. We think the Telecom proposal has potential to meet the needs of the industry and major business users. The Commission intends to monitor these developments. Should a suitable outcome fail to eventuate within the next six months, the Commission considers the case for regulated unbundling in that market should be revisited."

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/23/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Guidelines for Internet Access

GUIDELINES to prevent students from accessing inappropriate websites, books and other materials will be introduced into South Australian government schools this year. The guidelines will be used in conjunction with internet filters already in place, which prevent entry to more than 15 million inappropriate sites. SA Education Minister Trish White said the guidelines established the role and responsibilities of teachers and the ultimate right of parents to make their own decisions about the learning materials their children use. "They set out processes for selecting materials to be used in schools and ways to limit the chances of children being exposed to inappropriate material or language," Ms White said. "As well, there are clear procedures that parents or members of the public can use if they have concerns about the selection and use of particular materials in their child's class."

From http://www.australianit.com.au/ 01/12/2004

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Open Source Boost Unlikely

AUSTRALIA is unlikely to ever introduce pro-open source software policies at a federal level, despite a successful move to mandate the consideration of OSS in the ACT.That was the message from both the federal Government and the federal Labor party at the Open Source in Government conference in Adelaide today, as part of Linux.conf.au. While the Democrats in South Australia and the ACT would require government agencies to give preference to open source software in technology decisions, the major parties remain firmly averse to any such move. The ACT Democrats were successful in passing a private members' bill last month requiring the territory government to "consider" open source software, although the original wording had said "prefer" OSS. The federal Government used today's forum to talk up its general approach to software and technology selection, calling it one of "informed neutrality" in the open source versus proprietary software debate. Adelaide MP Andrew Southcott, delivering a speech on behalf of Communications and IT Minister Daryl Williams, said the growing popularity of open source software could be "a good thing, even putting to one side the merits of individual open source applications, because it increases competition among software vendors".

From http://www.australianit.com.aul 01/13/2004

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AZERBAIJAN: Chamber of Accounts Opens Web Site

The Chamber of Accounts of Azerbaijan opened its official web site at www.ach.gov.az. It includes pages on the archives, reports and news, and activity of the Chamber's experts. However, there are several shortcomings. E.g., most of the information on the web site is old and not operative. The unit on the order of preparing information of the Chamber's activity and releasing it to the mass media is inactive. The quality and appearance of the web site could hardly make the activity of the Chamber of Accounts transparent and operative enough.

From http://www.bakutoday.net/ 12/27/2003

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CHINA: Hong Kong E-Cert, Your Key to Secure Online Business

In the real world, we can use our smart ID cards to identify ourselves. But how can we deal securely in cyberspace? Recently, cyber crime, like fake online auctions and fraudulent websites, has increased. So when we conduct online business, how do we know people are really who they claim to be? How can we better protect ourselves from these cyber fraudsters? To eliminate these worries, under the Government's ID card replacement exercise, Hongkong Post offers smartcard holders a year's free usage of the e-Cert within the card.
Identifying yourself online Hongkong Post General Manager, Electronic Services, Allen Mok said an e-Cert serves as an online identity card. It authenticates the online identity of the user and enables electronic commerce to be conducted securely. Encryption and decryption ensure the information transmitted is not tampered with, thus providing top security, confidentiality and integrity. "With the digital signature offered by the e-Cert, one can prove they are the right person for doing the online transaction," Mr Mok said. "Under the Electronic Transactions Ordinance, digital signatures have the same legal status as their paper-based counterparts. Digital signatures are protected by law."
A host of benefits With the e-Cert, you can use your smart card to enjoy various online services. These include e-Government services, like changing your address, applying for a driving licence or registering as a voter. You can also enjoy various commercial online services, such as e-banking, online stock trading, shopping, auctions and betting. The latest service available is online access to personal credit reports. All 35 authorised institutions offering e-banking services now have digital certificates installed on their e-banking servers to allow customers to verify the authenticity of the websites. Hongkong Post has been issuing the e-Cert since January 2000. As at October, over 220,000 e-Certs have been issued. Among them, over 60,000 are e-Certs in smart ID cards.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 11/14/2003

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Hong Kong Secure E-Business Inspires E-Option Confidence

The Government has implemented a range of measures to establish a secure and reliable e-business environment to inspire public confidence in e-options, the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, said today (November 17). Opening the Information Security Summit 2003, Mr Wong shared with experts from all over the world what the Government was doing to ensure information security in Hong Kong. Beginning with information technology infrastructure, he said the Government had enacted the Electronic Transactions Ordinance to provide a clear legal framework. It had also established the public key infrastructure and the voluntary certification authority recognition scheme as an architectural framework for secure e-commerce. To enhance Hong Kong's information security incident response capability, the Government had set up the Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Co-ordination Centre. Another important innovation was the multi-application smart identity card, which enables the business sector, public organisations and Government departments to deliver electronic services in a more secure and cost-effective manner on a common and convenient platform. Within the Government, a range of technical security measures had been adopted to guard against various types of cyber attacks. These measures include installing firewalls, anti-virus software, intrusion detection systems and other security mechanisms to monitor, detect and block attacks on Government computer networks. Necessary patches and fixes are also applied regularly to keep Government information systems up-to-date. In order to keep abreast of the trends in computer security attacks and solutions available, the Government closely monitors and disseminates related information published by international and local organisations. This enables bureaus and departments to take effective and prompt action to protect their information assets. All government computer systems are subject to periodic security reviews and audits to ensure that they keep up with technology advancements, development of international and industry best practices as well as systems and organisational changes. With the increasing number and complexity of Government computer systems, the Information Technology Services Department had developed comprehensive IT security policies, procedures and relevant guidelines for Government computer users, Mr Wong said. The Baseline IT Security Policy was first published in January 2000 under which an Information Security Management Committee and IT Security Working Group were established to oversee the information security management and operation within the Government, and help enforce the IT security policy in Government departments. Such policies and guidelines are regularly reviewed. The baseline policy also requires all departments to appoint a senior officer as the Departmental IT Security Officer responsible for the department's overall information security management and operation. To co-ordinate and support departments in handling information security incidents, the Government has established the Government Information Security Incident Response Office. The office monitors computer virus and information security incident outbreaks over the world and issues virus alerts and security reminders to departments. Administrators of major Government infrastructure systems are required to submit to the office a weekly information report on the security status of their systems and other issues relating to IT security, thus allowing the office to monitor closely the security level of these systems. Valuing the importance of the people factor, Mr Wong said the Government encouraged its IT professionals to acquire IT security knowledge and seek professional qualifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional and Certified Information Systems Auditor. "We are also developing a community of practice within our knowledge management framework for knowledge and experience sharing among security professionals, systems developers and managers as well as IT users," he added. To promote public awareness of IT security, the Government collaborates with various agencies in organising activities, such as exhibitions, seminars and conferences. The Infosec website (www.infosec.gov.hk), leaflets, radio and TV features were produced to get the message across.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 11/17/2003

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Online Security Vital to E-Government

Cyber attacks have struck terror in the hearts of information technology experts around the world. Unsurprisingly, security is the topic that dominates conversations in meetings between the Hong Kong government IT officials and Janet Wallace, Unisys' president for global infrastructure services. It is obvious that the government is very serious about protecting its various web sites against cyber attacks, Wallace says. Online security is becoming an increasingly pressing issue as the government is pushing ahead with the development of E-government by providing more and more public services on the Internet. The government already provides electronic options for more than 70 per cent of its services; and has set a target to increase the percentage of electronically-available services to 90 per cent by the end of 2003. In addition, the government has made major progress towards providing a one-stop and customer-oriented service scheme enabling Hong Kong people to access all government-related information and services through a single entry point. Such efforts have been well-received by Hong Kong's IT-savvy population. Computer penetration rates in homes and establishments are 61 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively. Some 80 per cent of households and 75 per cent of establishments having computers are already Internet connected through more than 250 licensed providers. Some 31 per cent of Hong Kong's population has used government online services, the highest rate of usage among all Asian economies. Security and privacy have always been seen as important elements of Hong Kong's E-government effort and the government has introduced various measures to safeguard information integrity and security across and within government systems. There is, of course, the protection against illegal hacking which, according to Unisys, is more common than many people think. About 90 per cent of the 500 businesses and government agencies in the US responding to the company's 2002 survey reported that they had experienced breaches in their computer security in the previous 12 months. Of those, 50 per cent quantified their losses at a combined estimate of about US$455 million - only a small fraction of total losses to US businesses and institutions. Industry sources say that security budgets are expected to rise from less than 2 per cent of IT expenditure in 2001 to as high as 8 per cent by 2006. In the past, security was seen as a bothersome overhead that should be kept to the minimum. Now, security is slowly making its way from being just a departmental issue to one for the boardroom, according to Wallace. The Unisys approach to IT security is based on its zero-gap security planning methodology that provides its clients with a complete view of their security needs, Wallace says. The planning process begins with an examination to identify potential threats and risks based on gaps in several key areas - physical, operational, cyber and financial. The physical area covers the processes and systems that identify the people and organization who interact with the clients. It protects buildings and physical boundaries. For instance, Unisys has been providing biometric and personal identification solutions since 1994. In the operational area, the company devises the business processes and plans that enable the client to create and execute its security strategies. It also seeks to protect the client against cyber attacks with processes and technologies that shield its information systems from internal and external abuse. There are the systems, people and processes that mitigate the client's risk against financial theft. The question often asked by IT managers is how much security is enough, Wallace says. The company's customers are interested in metrics and key performance indicators that would support their budgets in security. Unisys, she says, has already begun to correlate data within its own organization, and with customers and partners to determine a baseline for industry metrics. The problem of determining expenditure on security is further complicated by the fact that many organizations are tackling the issue at a technical level and not at a business level. At a recent conference, a group of 120 IT managers were asked if they could make business decisions on security. Only four said they could. (by Liang Hongfu)

From http://www1.chinadaily.com.cn/ 11/25/2003

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Hong Kong IT Sector Embraces Project Management

The Government values the adoption of project management methodologies in assuring the quality of government projects and is actively promoting the practice in the private sector, Information Technology Services Director, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, said today (December 4). Opening the Project Management International Conference 2003, Mr Wong said the Government adopted established project management methodologies and tools in the planning, implementation and review of projects, particularly in the building, construction, engineering and IT fields. He said the Government placed particular emphasis on project control and quality assurance in the development of its IT projects. All government IT projects are managed under internationally recognised or commonly used project management and quality management methodologies incorporating industry best practices. Government contractors are also required to adopt project management tools to ensure the quality of service delivery. Noting that although the IT industry was less mature than its counterparts in the construction and engineering industry in the deployment of formal project management methodologies, Mr Wong said that IT practitioners were becoming increasingly aware of its importance and were keen to upgrade their capabilities. To promote the adoption of international quality standards such as ISO 9000 and the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) by the local industry, the Government has established a number of funding schemes, including the CMM Assessment Grant. Other funds include the Innovation and Technology Fund and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Fund, which support local enterprises in conducting research and development, overseas promotion, training and development. Mr Wong said that project management was among the range of professional services that gave Hong Kong companies a competitive edge to extend their operations into the Mainland and to capture the business opportunities presented by the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between the Mainland and Hong Kong. Last year, the Government established the Professional Services Development Assistance Scheme with an allocation of $100 million, with a view to providing financial support for activities that enhanced the standards and competitiveness of Hong Kong's professional services sector. Fifty-five projects, with total funding of $22.6 million, have been approved under the scheme. Organised by the Hong Kong Chapter of the Project Management Institute, the conference forms part of the institute's program to promote project management as a profession and upgrade the standard of project management in Hong Kong. The two-day conference is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. It showcases the latest trends in the development of new tools and skills in project management. It also provides a forum for project management professionals, business executives and industry practitioners to exchange knowledge and experience.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 12/04/2003

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Online Survey Prods Government Response

The public's dissatisfaction with some municipal governmental organs in Beijing has prompted authorities to adopt quick and effective action for improvements. An online survey of 60 governmental branches revealed that local authorities in communications, urban management, urban planning and public health received the most negative votes from the public. The highest dissatisfaction rate reached 86 per cent by Wednesday. But experts pointed out that governmental performance should not be evaluated exclusively on the basis of the poll results because spiteful and emotional voting takes place. The survey, conducted by the Beijing Municipal Supervision and Evaluation Office, had tabulated over 110,000 online votes by Wednesday. Started in mid-November, the online investigation is expected to be finished this month in accordance with the year-end comprehensive appraisal of governmental organs' annual political achievements, said Xu Dong, the office's deputy director. Even if the poll figures are not accurate so far as ineligible votes will not be deleted until the end, the departments that have received many negative votes have already begun adopting effective measures to improve their work. Liu Xiaoming, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Communications, which has been blamed most for the city's terrible traffic congestion, vowed that a press conference will be held to answer queries from the public. Meanwhile, an overall solution to Beijing's traffic headaches will be released later this month. The Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning, which has received 75 per cent negative votes, has established a complaint column on its official website. More than 600 people had availed themselves of the column by yesterday. "We have attached great importance to the online vote, but the survey organized by the evaluation office only shows the dissatisfaction rate, with no detail," said a commission official who requested anonymity. He said the commission wants to hear detailed complaints from the public in order to make effective improvements and explanations. "This is a good beginning for making government affairs transparent as well as for expanding the channels for the public to participate and discuss political issues," said Fang Zhulan, a professor with Renmin University of China. "The high rate of dissatisfaction shows that further communication is needed between residents and the government," she said. Fang also stressed that some citizens vote as a way to express their negative moods and some even vote online again and again for fun. "Residents are always informed by government to do this, do that, but there are few channels for them to communicate with government," said Fang. "The online appraisal provides a good channel for residents to express opinions, although some of the voters are maybe too emotional in voting." The researcher also said the government should attach great importance to dealing with complaints, adding: "The government needs to inform residents appropriately on improvements after the survey."

From China Daily 12/04/2003

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E-Book to Simplify Customs Procedure

Shanghai Customs has introduced an electronic accounting book to conduct distant management for domestic export processing companies, cutting the time for import declaration of manufacturing materials and parts from four days to a mere 15 minutes. he first e-book was launched Monday with Shanghai Shenhang Import & Export Co Ltd and Shanghai Appearance Co Ltd. Aimed at facilitating local companies to undergo the Customs procedures, it's expected to help export processors raise efficiency. With the book, it will take one or two days to complete the entire customs procedures for imports, compared with the previous a few working days. Export processing has grown to account for nearly 40 percent of Shanghai's total foreign trade, according to local customs officials.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 12/17/2003

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HONG KONG: NET Teacher's Innovative Efforts Pay Off

Native-speaking English teacher Elizabeth Cottone from Australia takes a great interest in changing the reading culture in Hong Kong, and her efforts have paid off. Her reading scheme has nurtured a writing spirit among her students of Po On Commercial Association Wong Siu Ching Secondary School in Tsuen Wan. The school adopts Chinese as the medium of instruction for Forms One to Three students.
Reading feeds writing The school magazine recently published her students' wide-ranging works, including their reflections, poetry, letters, short stories, plays, book reports and reviews. "Reading feeds your writing; listening feeds your speaking. They are the four elements to the language," she went on. That's why Mrs Cottone also encourages her students to make use of available resources outside the curriculum to improve their English standards, including playing board games during lunchtime and listening to the radio before class. She takes advantage of world events to promote English learning. The war on Iraq and the 9-11 terrorist attacks, for example, provided opportunities for her students to engage in discussions and write-ups. Rather than correcting her students' writing exercises, she prefers to give encouraging or positive remarks. She also recognises excellence, always circulating outstanding pieces to her students.
Reading sharpens critical thinking Mrs Cottone's reading scheme promotes reading for pleasure and personal development. Having observed the Hong Kong education system for the three and a half years that she's taught at the school, she sees the culture here as very anti-fiction. She also thinks dictation interferes with English learning, causing kids stress and triggering conflicts between parents and children. That's why her scheme features unabridged top quality fiction stories sampled from all corners of the world, including George Orwell's Animal Farm, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Jack Canfield's Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul, and even the popular Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. They deal with teenage and adolescent issues such as sex, relationships, generation gap, divorce and friendships. "Fiction teaches other cultures and helps adolescents to understand their development," she said. She also uses cartoons. "They are excellent teaching materials, as they test your interpretation skill. This is the highest level of thinking," she said. "The process will sharpen one's critical thinking and discussion skills."
Teacher's influence 'a drop in the ocean' Mrs Cottone said a teacher's influence is only "a drop in the ocean". It will have an effect only if students work hard and are committed to learning. The path to improvement is slow, she admits. After a shaky start, her students have become receptive to her approach, making good steady progress. "There is a wonderful sense of joy and happiness in students. I was impressed by their love for education and respect for teachers."
From no English ability to top student Form seven student Catherine Lau arrived in Hong Kong from the Mainland eight years ago, and has certainly benefited a lot from Mrs Cottone's teaching. She spoke no English before, but now is a top student in seven subjects - including English. Catherine and her classmates converse in English during their lunchtime and discussions so as to brush up their interactive skills. She also likes to join other students to listen to BBC news before school starts. She is now confident enough to strike up a conversation with a foreigner. English is her favourite subject. She reads regularly and writes her diary in English. She may want to become a writer some day, she said.
NET scheme 'irreplaceable' Mrs Cottone believes the NET scheme has a lot to offer Hong Kong students and is irreplaceable. But for the scheme to be successful, it needs support. She particularly thanks Principal Lee Man-piu for his trust in her, allocating many resources for English teaching. "Given the situation we are in, and the requirements our students are expected to meet, English language is probably the most difficult subject to teach and to learn," Mr Lee said. He added that the school's efforts had been rewarded with numerous academic and extracurricular achievements, as he pointed to the many trophies and prizes the students have won at public examinations and inter-school speech and debating contests. A total of 472 NET teachers have been recruited from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, Britain and other countries to teach in secondary schools in the territory in 2003-04.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 12/19/2003

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HONG KONG: Gov't E-Trading Competition to Start January 1

Global e-Trading Services will start providing Government electronic trading services for the submission of import and export declarations on January 1. The Commerce, Industry & Technology Bureau said move will see it compete with the other service provider Tradelink Electronic Commerce. The bureau expects the competition to benefit traders with more competitive prices, and better service quality and value-added services. Since 1997, Tradelink has offered services in a number of Government-related trade documents under an exclusive franchise which will end on Wednesday. In March, pursuant to a tendering process, a contract was signed appointing Global e-Trading as an additional provider of Government electronic trading services from January 1 for import and export declarations and dutiable commodities permits. A separate contract has been signed with Tradelink for it to continue providing Government electronic trading services beyond 2003. Under the contract signed in March, Global e-Trading will provide services for dutiable commodities permits also. The Government expects it to roll out the services later in 2004.

From http://www.news.gov.hk/ 12/29/2003

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JAPAN: Sony Wants to Expand Merit-Based Pay System

TOKYO - Sony Corp plans to expand a merit-based pay system it has introduced for managerial-level employees to all of its rank-and-file employees, beginning next April, in a bid to stimulate workers' motivation, company sources said Tuesday. Since 2000, Sony has gradually introduced the merit-based pay system for about 5,000 employees in positions of section chief or higher.

From Kyodo News 11/12/2003

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Japan Ranks 14th on ITU's Rankings on Information Access

GENEVA - Japan ranks 14th on a list of information and communications access-friendly nations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said Wednesday. Sweden topped the list, followed by Denmark. The rankings are based on the ITU's Digital Access Index, calculated on 2002 data to rank information and communication technology access.

From Kyodo News 11/20/2003

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Japan Ranks 12th in Networked World

GENEVA - Japan ranked 12th in 2003 in the world in its use of information and communication technology, the World Economic Forum said in a report released Tuesday. The United States was ranked first and Singapore second in the so-called "networked readiness index" of 102 economies in the forum's "Information Technology Report 2003-2004."

From Kyodo News 12/09/2003

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Broadband Overtakes Dial-Up Internet Access in Japan: Survey

More Japanese are using high-speed Internet access services amid a growing divide among different age groups and locations, according to a survey by the Ministry of Telecommunications. People accessing the Internet via ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) accounted for 41.7% of the sample in September. Dial-up access followed at 35%. Only 4% accessed the Net via fiber-optic lines. The survey also revealed that many people aged 60 or older and those living in Kyushu are still unable to enjoy broadband Internet access, which enables smooth downloading of video and other high-volume content. Dial-up access was used by 48.8% of the sample aged 60 or older and 50.7% of the people living in Kyushu.

From The Nihon Keizai Shimbun 01/04/2003

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South Korea Ranks 2nd in E-Gov't Ranking in Asia

GENEVA - South Korea ranked second in Asia and 13th in the world in terms of its use of electronic technology in providing public services, the Yonhap News Agency reported quoting a United Nations report released here Tuesday. Singapore, in fourth place overall, was the only Asian nation ahead of South Korea in the electronic government ranking of the 2003 UN World Report on the Public Sector titled e-Government at the Crossroads. Japan came in 23rd out of the 191 countries listed. South Korea, which moved up two notches from 15th place last year, has carried out one of the most dramatic projects in instituting electronic transaction services and networking, while Japan didn't achieve its full capacity to help its citizens live more conveniently in terms of online public services, the report said. A South Korean official said that the government completed its "electronization project" last year. "In most cases, people don't need to bother to go to public offices to pay their bills or get their official documents. Almost every transaction between an individual and the government can be made online," said Lee Gui-hyun, deputy director of the information Support Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Communication. "Electronization has also made the government operate in a more transparent way when collecting taxes and issuing purchase orders to private businesses, since things are not done by hand but by computer system," he added. The e-government report evaluated each nation on how effectively its government uses electronic means to provide public services. The criteria included whether the government possesses a website, the quality of public services provided through the Internet and the penetration rates of electronic services and devices such as broadband Internet access, personal computers, telephones and mobile phones. The U.S. government topped the ranking, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. European nations, including Britain, the Netherlands and Denmark, filled out the top 10. A total of 173 nations out of the 191 U.N. member nations had a government website, an improvement from 143 in 2001. The remaining 18 countries without government homepages were mostly in Africa. The annual report, launched last year, is a co-project between the UN and the American Society for Public Administration, an organization that studies how to make governments and public services work better. Even though the development and the existence of e-government do not necessarily reflect the quality of life in a country, the facilitation of electronic tools by governments can make public services more convenient and transparent and "positively impact human development," the report concluded.

From http://search.korea.net:9000/ 11/06/2003

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Seoul Ranked as Best 'E-Gov'

The Seoul Metropolitan City Government announced on Sunday that it has been selected as the best "e-government" out of 100 cities worldwide, in a recent survey on assessing websites and measuring the e-government indexes of global cities. The survey was conducted on 100 cities worldwide, from last March until October, jointly by the Global e-Policy and e-Government Institute of Korea's Sungkyunkwan University and the e-Governance Institute of Rutgers University, in the United States, under the sponsorship of the United Nations' Division for Public Administration and Development Management, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Appraisals were made in five areas: security, usability, content, service and citizen participation. The survey listed Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Shanghai, Rome, Auckland, Jerusalem, Tokyo and Toronto, ranking second to 10th. "It was the first research comparing e-government indexes of international cities. Seoul City was awarded top place as a result of its work since last year to remake its Internet homepage," a city official said. The award ceremony is to take place at the 600th Anniversary Hall of Sungkyunkwan University on Nov. 21. (by Shin Hyung-joon)

From http://english.chosun.com/ 11/17/2003

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Korea Ranks 4th in Digital Access Index

Korea was recognized by a world organization for its easy access to digital environments, including cable and wireless communications. The International Telecommunication Union announced Wednesday Korea's Digital Access Index or DAI stood at 0.81, the fourth highest among 178 nations surveyed. Rounding up the top three, Sweden secured the top spot followed by Denmark and Iceland. This marks the first time that Korea ranked among the top ten in the level of Internet and information technology developments in what analysts say reflects the country's notable strides in digital advances.

From http://english.chosun.com/ 11/20/2003

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The No.1 E-Government in the World, Seoul City

The award ceremony for Seoul, which was selected as the No.1 E-government in the world on November 21, was held at Sungkyunkwan University 600-Years-Memorial Building along with a detailed case study. e-Government Institutes of Sungkyunkwan University and Lutcus University, US carried out "Evaluation of e-Governments in 100 Cities from 100 Countries" under the joint leadership of UN and the US Administration Academy. Seoul scored 73.48 to rank the No.1 among the contestants. In the award ceremony, Mayor Lee Myeongbak stated that "e-Government allow the citizens' participation in making of true democracy, and it bridges neighbors for exchange and cooperation with one another." He shared his wish that efforts by many cities from all around the world to promote e-government projects lead to administrative advancement through fair competition. Mayor Lee also expressed that "The city has strived to realize more efficient administration and to provide the No.1 service to the citizens through adopting tactics of business operations since last year." He emphasized the importance of "Future growth using today's accomplishment as a stepping stone with a continued effort to utilize digital administration in promptly responding to the people's voice." Some 100 e-Government officials from 20 countries and 200 Korean officials such as Mark Holcher, World Metropolitan e-Government Evaluation Committee President, Gwon Leehyeok, Sungkyunkwan University Board Director, Byeon Jaeil, Deputy Minister of Information and Telecommunication, Ahn Munseok, Vice President of Korea University, Park Seongdeuk, President of e-News, attended the award ceremony and the International Information Strategic e-Government Forum that immediately followed. This evaluation was the first that compared different cities from different countries for their e-Government operations; the only precedents have been evaluations on separate countries or regions. he top nine cities to follow Seoul are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Shanghai, Rome, Oakland, Jerusalem, Tokyo and Toronto: including 6 Asian cities. In categorical evaluation, Seoul scored the highest in online Tax collection and administrative service categories, leading Hong Kong and Singapore. Also, in the citizens' participation category, Seoul scored five points higher than Rome, which was ranked No.2. The city official stated "Seoul's No.1 ranking is a result of Korea's overall advancement in informatization, and the city's successful web page coordination project since last November." The award ceremony is to be held on November 21 along with the International Information Strategic e-Government Forum in the presence of 80 government officials and experts from 20 countries at Sungkyunkwan University 600-Years-Memorial Building. The Presentation on successful case study will be held as a part of the program.(by Lee,Seung-hyun)

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 11/28/2003

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Government to Build Around-the-Clock E-Commerce Trading System

The government plans to build an e-commerce system in which all Korean enterprises can engage in trading through the Internet around-the-clock by 2006. E-commerce related businesses would also be consolidated under a single national command in order to facilitate the implementation of measures to spur the development of e-commerce. Prime Minister Goh Kun hosted the first National E-Commerce Commission meeting on Tuesday (Dec.2) to finalize concrete measures to put the three-year plan for the development of e-trade in place. Under the plan, the government will form an all-Korea e-commerce infrastructure in harmony with an Internet environment by 2006. During the period, priorities will also be placed on realizing e-commerce services without interruptions, promoting international cooperation to conduct paperless trade across national borders and accelerating the spread of e-commerce among Korean companies. The measures have been prompted by the international trend in which cyber trade is gaining popularity, while face-to-face export consultations became difficult due to the threat of SARS in East Asia and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The need for improving the existing trade process has also been raised in the wake of the unionized truckers' strikes last August.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 12/03/2003

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LG Electronics Announces Eco-Friendly Management

LG Electronics on Monday (Dec. 8) announced a range of environmentally friendly management policies to address rising global concerns over pollution and natural resources depletion. The company's chief technology officer Paik Woo-hyun said the Environmental Technology Committee at LG Electronics has finalized its environmentally friendly management strategy and will begin implementing it from 2005. "Developed economies are taking the initiative in global trade with their advanced environmentally friendly technological competitiveness," Paik said. "With our eco-friendly management strategy, LG Electronics will seek to establish green production systems and proactively cope with the rapidly changing global business environment." The nation's second largest electronics maker decided to stop using environmentally hazardous substances in manufacturing products from the start of 2005, keep the composition of harmful materials at below global standards and use a lead-free soldering process at all its manufacturing plants. Recognizing that corporate responsibility for the environment is becoming more important than ever before, LG Electronics has also decided to establish a recycling system for discarded electronic appliances. The company's eco-friendly management scheme is aimed at meeting the environmental management guidelines of the European Union Commission, which will go into effect from August 2005. From July 2006, the EU Commission will ban sales of electronics goods containing materials harmful to the human body, such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Simultaneously, LG Electronics will also spur development of environmentally friendly products with fewer pollutants and improve the recycling ratio. Regarding lead-free soldering, all electronic appliances made by LG Electronics and parts made by its subcontractors or business partners will be lead-free by the end of 2004, Paik said.

From http://www.korea.net/ 12/09/2003

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Government OKs W-CDMA Quality

With the launch of the wireless Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) services slated for Monday, a top information official on Wednesday (DEc. 22) staged a successful field test of the third generation solution in Seoul. Minister of Information and Communication Chin Dae-je held an outdoor test of the service, along with KTF president Nam Joong-soo and SK Telecom president Pyo Moon-soo. The two firms will facilitate the launch of the services. During the one-hour trial, Chin checked the quality and stability of voice and video calls, as well as wireless Internet applications such as downloading video-on-demand materials. ``The quality of services is much better than expected,'' Chin said after the test. ``I expect there will be no teething troubles in the implementation of W-CDMA.'' The envisioned launch will make South Korea the fifth country to establish W-CDMA, following Japan, Britain, Italy and Australia. It remains to be seen, however, if the new solutions will be as popular as the existing alternative 3G technology of CDMA 1x EV-DO (evolution data optimized). W-CDMA was once touted as the future of wireless technology. In 2001, Japanese giant DoCoMo launched the service for the first time with much fanfare. But its limited coverage area, bulky handsets and poor battery life discouraged customers from signing up for the service, and the company had lured only 1.6 million subscribers until last month. Things here in South Korea are not so different as technical glitches and uncertainty over demand have cast doubt over the success of the service. Equipment availability is another stumbling block as currently only two kinds of handsets, made by Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, are compatible with the services and their prices hover around 1 million won. Because of such hitches, an alternative EV-DO solution was commercialized here last year. SK Telecom and KTF embarked on the EV-DO platform under the banners of ``June'' and ``FIMM'' respectively with both brands attracting more than 1 million subscribers apiece to date.

From http://www.korea.net/ 12/24/2003

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Electronization of Customs Adm. Brings Savings of 2.5 Trillion Won Yearly

The number of customs administration electronic documents treated this year until December 19 exceeded 120 million, the Korea Customs Service (KCS) said over the weekend. To reduce corporate expenses involving trade, the Korea Customs Service has pursued electronic data interchange (EDI) for automatic customs clearance since 1992, completing EDI covering export clearance in 1994, import clearance in 1996 and freight and refund the next year. As a result, the National Computerization Agency put the annual savings of corporate expenses at 2.5 trillion won, according to KCS. A spokesman also said KCS has been building an environment under which clients can use customs administration service anytime and anywhere to reflect rapidly spreading information technology.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 12/29/2003

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TAJIKISTAN: Local NGO Wins Grant to Construct Dental Clinic in Kulyab

On December 5, Habibullo Rahmatov, of the local NGO Atfol, visited the IATP access site in Kulyab, Tajikistan, to share a success story with IATP Administrator Bakhtiyor Zuhurov. With IATP's assistance, Rahmatov won a grant from the USAID-funded ZdravPlus project to construct a dental clinic. Thanks to an IATP course on computer and Internet basics, which he completed on September 26, Rahmatov was able to conduct research online at the IATP access site on applying for a grant. Among the resources he found were a set of proposal writing guidelines at www.surc.iatp.org.ua/project.shtml and detailed information on methods of preventing dental problems among young people at www.medicus.ru/?cont=students. Both websites helped him to write a solid, well-researched proposal, in which Rahmatov described the deficiencies in professional medical care in Kulyab and identified his strategies for improving dental care. He then typed and printed the proposal at the IATP access site and submitted it to ZdravPlus. On November 25, Rahmatov's proposal was selected over more than 20 others for funding, and construction of the clinic has already begun, with completion expected by the end of December. Rahmatov remarked, "I am so happy that the IATP access site exists in our city and I hope it will further expand so that more people will have a chance to benefit from its resources. It is great how IATP helps our society to further develop and reach higher peaks of accomplishments."

From http://www.irex.org/ 12/12/2003

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CHINA: Information Platform Launched for University Graduates

Local university graduates betting on their exaggerated resumes or false certificates should be more cautious, as employers can check the authenticity of their provided information through a newly-launched network platform, the Shanghai Morning Post reported today. The Shanghai Career Guidance Center for Graduates established an employment information platform for local university graduates, with various kinds of student information recorded. Besides basic information such as name, university, discipline, school report, foreign language and computer capabilities, graduates' personal information such as special skills and self-recommendation will be recorded in the platform as well. Local university or colleges will be responsible for the reliability of the information, which graduates cannot alter by their own. To date, more than 3,000 university graduates in Shanghai have been included in such information platform, and employers can quickly check the electronic archives of graduates through the network. With job recruitment via Internet gaining popularity, establishing such network platform is indispensable, said a spokesman with the Shanghai Career Guidance Center for Graduates.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 01/25/2004

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China to Issue Smart ID Cards

China is planning to issue new intelligent ID cards for its 1.3 billion people, and some citizens will be issued computer readable cards as early as March. According to officials with the Ministry of Public Security, the new ID card will hopefully be an effective way of preventing rampant forging of old ID cards in use. The new card contains a module that integrates a special chip containing information on the card holder. The chip-module was jointly developed by the Institute of Microelectronics under elite Qinghua University and Qinghua Tongfang Microelectronics Co. Ltd., a subsidiary controlled by Qinghua University. According to ministry officials, the thumbnail-sized module will make the new card greatly superior as information within the module can be read and processed by computer. This will greatly increase security because police can use a card processing machine to check if information in a new card matches a preset code storedin the machine. The information stored in the chip includes digital data for management and anti-counterfeiting. The new ID card, 85.6 mm by 54 mm, will be put into use in March in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Changsha, according to ministry officials. The ministry expects that the nationwide replacement program will be fully completed by the end of 2008 when a total of 1 billion ID cards will be given out. China started to issue ID cards since 1984 in light of a fledging market-oriented economy that required more traveling while it was still restricted by the household registration systemset up in 1958. The 1958 system specified where each Chinese person should live, normally where they were born. If they moved away, they lost rights to cheaper education and missed out on job opportunities. The system is considered outdated as millions of Chinese have left their homes to find work in the past two decades of economic reform. Rural residents have moved to cities in large numbers to bolster their farming incomes but often left their children behindbecause of higher fees they would face at city schools. The country therefore is preparing to change the system to allow free movement of population. However, a huge floating population poses risks of effective management and lends difficulties to maintain public security. The use of the new ID card will enhance the ability of the government to manage population changes and movements while allowing freer migration, according to ministry officials. This will be beneficial for rural people who come to cities for work. The new ID card is made of a new polyester plastic that is eco-friendly, recyclable and hard wearing said an official of the company that developed the material developer, Huaxin Plastic Industry Development Co. Ltd, based in east China's Jiangsu Province.

From http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/ 01/28/2004

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INDONESIA: Wireless Internet Era Comes to Big Cities

Wi-Fi. What on Earth is that? Wi-Fi is still little known in Indonesia. Only three out of ten businesspeople in Jakarta, randomly asked by The Jakarta Post last week, said they had tried this new technology. However, many believe it will have a bright future. Wi-Fi, which stands for "wireless fidelity, is a wireless broadband technology, which allows people to connect to the Internet without using phone lines: at hotels, conference rooms, offices, airport lounges, cafes, and other public areas. Rather than phone lines, users of Wi-Fi technology can access the Internet via radio frequencies. People just need to locate the whereabouts of a radio transceiver, which functions like a modem. Internet connections can be made within a radius of about 50 meters from the location, better known in the industry as a "hotspot". People should equip their laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) with a PC card, called 802.11b, to get Internet access near hotspots. Stephanus Jonatan, marketing manager of CBN -- one of the hotspot providers here -- said PC cards, like the ones produced by Intel, were available here for between US$100 and $150, while Chinese-made products were much cheaper. According to Stephanus, most of the latest laptops and PDAs are now manufactured with built-in Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi Alliance -- a global industry trade group including Sony, Microsoft, Nokia, Cisco, Dell and many more -- estimates 40 percent of all laptops shipped worldwide this year will be equipped with Wi-Fi. In Indonesia, although their number is still small, hotspots have been developed at popular hangouts and major hotels in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bali and Batam, thanks to providers, such as CBN, Telkom and BiZNET. Facilities with hotspots usually display stickers reading "Wi-Fi Zone". Last October, several companies established the Indonesian Wi-Fi Consortium, dedicated to the development and promotion of Wi-Fi across the country. CBN, Acer Indonesia, Cisco System Indonesia, Elexmedia Komputindo, Intel Indonesia Corporation, Microsoft Indonesia and Polaris3NET are in the consortium. Telecommunication expert Roy Suryo said it would take some time before Wi-Fi is widely used in the country. However, as more Wi-Fi-ready laptops and PDAs are now entering the market, along with the promotion of the hotspots, "I believe Wi-Fi will have a good future here," he said. Normally, people have to pay to connect to the Internet. However, WI-Fi connection is free of charge at most hotspots, except for Hotel Mulia in Senayan, Central Jakarta, which charges Rp 50,000 for an hour use and Rp 30,000 for 30 minutes of use. CBN requires a login name and password -- which may be obtained for free at the location -- for users who are not their internet service subscribers. "We plan to provide pre-paid cards for our Wi-Fi users, starting February 2004. We will charge users about Rp 25,000 per 30 minutes," said Stephanus. Separately, Telkomsel's head of packet data network, Ivan C. Permana, told the Post that they may also start charging Wi-Fi users by January 2004. Telkomsel is a subsidiary of Telkom. "We plan to charge Rp 2,200 per five minutes for simPATI users and Rp 2,000 for the same duration for kartuHALO subscribers. A pre-paid card will also be available from Telkom," he said on Sunday. BiZNET prepared several pre-paid cards for 30 minutes, an hour, five hours and one-day use, priced at between Rp 25,000 and Rp 125,000. Analysts say Wi-Fi is expected to be an alternative solution for businesspeople who travel. Instead of looking for an internet caf?, (which takes time to find), or using phone lines at hotels or cellular phones, (which is expensive), businesspeople can access the internet at a hotel, caf? or restaurant at a much cheaper price. Wi-Fi is already popular in many big cities across the world. In Singapore, for instance, almost all cafes and shopping malls have Wi-Fi. Hundreds of people gather near hotspots every day, especially during lunchtime. In Indonesia, Ivan from Telkomsel said there were on average 10 users per day at their hotspots. Stephanus said 10 to 15 users were using theirs. The technology research house IDC reported that by June of this year, hotspots in the Asia-Pacific region were being used by 400,000 subscribers, (excluding Japan), generating $13 million in revenue. The market is projected to hit close to seven million by the end of 2008, with total revenue exceeding $600 million. Leading players come from both China and Korea. Hotspot locations in Jakarta 1. Graha Surya Internusa, Jl. HR. Rasuna Said - Marche Movenpick Restaurant 2. Wisma BNI 46, Jl. Jend. Sudirman No. 1 - Fashion Caf? - Bakmi Keriting restaurant - Java Bay coffee shop - Foodcourt 3. Plaza Senayan, Jl. Asia-Afrika, Senayan - Coffee Club - The atrium 4. Plaza Indonesia, Jl. M.H. Thamrin - Lamoda Cafe - Starbucks 5. Cilandak Town Square, Jl. TB Simatupang - Mister Bean Coffee 6. Hotel Mulia, Jl. Asia-Afrika, Senayan 7. Hotel Gran Melia, Jl. HR. Rasuna Said 8. Hotel Intercontinental MidPlaza, Jl. Jend. Sudirman 9. Pasaraya Grande - Milenia Net Caf? 10. Mal Taman Anggrek, Jl. S. Parman - Telkom Teleshop 11. Presidential Palace - Press Room 1, President Office 12. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport - Sunda Kelapa Restaurant, VIP Lounge

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 12/08/2003

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MALAYSIA: Political Parties to Woo Voters Via SMS

Political parties are gearing for a battle for votes via the short messaging service (SMS) in the next general election. However, they also warned of possible SMS abuses as unscrupulous parties could sow mischief by sending crank messages. MCA deputy president Datuk Chan Kong Choy said this "powerful and effective communications tool" could make a difference in the election, adding that SMS had a high penetration rate. "Even before the onset of election, many election-related SMS have been circulating," he told reporters after opening an MCA pre-election training camp for grassroots leaders at Wisma MCA here yesterday. Recently, a widely circulated SMS speculated that Parliament would be dissolved soon to make way for an election, with nomination date fixed on Dec 11 and polling on Dec 20. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has since quashed the rumours. Chan said the use of mobile phones had increased since the last election in 1999 and the SMS had changed the way people lived and provided a whole new platform of easy access to everyone. "The playing field is quite level now and we have to be prepared for the challenge and not be caught off guard. "That is why I am alerting all members to pay attention to new technologies and beware of a wave of SMS propaganda, where the information could be right or wrong," he said. Several politicians interviewed here said SMS had been used in recent times as a publicity and operational tool for political activities. DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock said SMS would be helpful during a general election but he cautioned that it could cause panic and chaos when lies and mischievous messages are spread. "I can foresee SMS being sent as reminders and party slogans when the election approaches, apart from keeping people informed about the campaign trail. "However, it can also be open to abuse. What if prior to polling day, some mischievous messages start to circulate and create panic among the public? "I suggest the Election Commission hold a meeting to look into possible abuses of the technology and come up with ways to avoid confusion and chaos during the election. "Anybody can get hold of a pre-paid SIM card and start sending messages without being traced and this is open to abuse," he said. Pokok Sena MP and former PAS Youth chief Mahfuz Omar said SMS would be a powerful tool for contesting candidates to relay messages and election slogans to voters. "It really depends on the creativity of political strategists in turning SMS to their advantage. "SMS can be used for reverse psychology where doubts and anxiety about certain issues can be raised among voters. "It can also be manipulated when a political party disguises itself as some other group and spread messages to undermine others," he said. Umno Youth public relations officer Isa Nikmat said SMS had proven to be an effective and economical communications tool for political activities. "During the recent Ramadan and Hari Raya celebration, we used SMS to invite people to break fast and attend open houses, apart from using it to announce other events. "However, the service is not always reliable and sometimes there are delays. "I fear there might be line congestion because of the increased use of SMS when the election comes," he said.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 12/08/2003

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Balloting for National Service Fair

The balloting exercise to select national service candidates yesterday was a fair process "devoid of human interference," Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said. He said the fully computerised random selection was based on data provided by the National Registration Department. "There is no way to pre-determine who will get selected or not selected," he said after witnessing the balloting held at National Service Department in Menara TH Selborn yesterday. He hoped that all those selected would go for the training with an open mind. "Those who have the intention to further their studies overseas should also see this programme as an opportunity to train them to be more independent," he said. For some 7,000 Chinese born in 1986 who may not have completed Form Five next year because they had to spend one year attending Remove classes, he said he had proposed to the Cabinet Committee to allow them to defer undergoing the programme until they have completed Form Five. "I urge those affected to put in their appeal to the National Service Programme Council," he said. A non-governmental organisation observer at the balloting exercise, Dr Denision Jayasooria, said he believed that the process was fair with all data fed into the computer system. "The department has also exercised transparency by inviting interest groups to come for briefing on how the system works and to witness the process," said Dr Denision, who is Yayasan Strategik Social executive director. He said that there was "no question of escape" for all individuals born in 1986 to undergo the random selection unless omission happened at the source of data from the National Registration Department. Dr Denision hoped that the programme would be extended to all Malaysians in the future when the country had sufficient resources and facilities. Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, a newly appointed member of the National Service Council, said the process had proceeded smoothly. "What is important now is to ensure the whole implementation of the programme will be smooth as well," he said.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 12/09/2003

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E-Government Gains Ground in Malaysia

The use of e-government services by the public is growing in Malaysia, according to a recent survey. Analyst firm Taylor Nelson Sofres' Government Online (GO) 2003 report shows that around 15 percent of Malaysian citizens have accessed on-line government services in the last 12 months, up from 12 percent the year before. The majority of those who accessed e-government services were young people, according to TNS Malaysia: 25 percent were under 25, 19 percent were between 25 and 34, while 13 percent were aged between 35 and 44. Usage of government e-services was more popular in households with higher incomes and higher levels of education, although middle-income households upped their usage by 6 percent from the year earlier. Interestingly, the percentage of Malaysians who considered it safe to provide personal information to the government over the Internet decreased, from 35 percent in 2002 to 32 percent in 2003.

From http://www.enn.ie/ 01/07/2004

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Court Proceedings Soon Over Internet

THE monitoring of cases as well as records from the courts may soon be as easy as checking e-mail in the Internet. The Makati City government gave this assurance today following the signing of a memorandum of agreement creating the country's first e-court. Mayor Jejomar Binay, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and the Supreme Court administrator, Presbitero Velasco, signed the accord. Binay said the pilot electronic court project will be initially set up in Branch 140 of the Makati Regional Trial Court, a family court, headed by Judge Leticia Morales. Makati will be the first local government unit in the country that will avail itself of the advantages of the e-court process, which seeks to improve the judicial system. He said the city government initially appropriated P2 million as an additional fund for the project and is ready to spend more once the program is fully implemented in all branches of the Makati RTC. Among the benefits the e-court will provide is easy access to court records as well as information on cases through trial court websites, which can be accessed through the Internet. Binay said the conversion of Branch 140 into an e-court could now be applied during the trial of all Family Court cases such as adoption, legal separation, custody of children, annulment and child support. He cited as example the testimony of a child witness that can now be conducted in a separate room with the use of a video camera that will be linked to an ongoing courtroom trial. With such method, Binay said, the court can protect and safeguard the child from the influence and threats of elders, sparing him or her from undue emotional and psychological stress. "I hope that we will be able to carry out the pilot e-Courts project in the three other Family courts and all other branches of the Makati RTC and Metropolitan Trial Court because it would guarantee a fast, fair and efficient delivery of justice," Binay said. The project is part of the judicial reform program of the Supreme Court initiated by Pimentel, which is geared toward the computerization of the judiciary for easy tracking of court proceedings and speedy administration of justice. The project will also be launched later in other cities and municipalities nationwide. (by Jefferson Antiporda)

From http://www.manilatimes.net/ 11/19/2003

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PHILIPPINES: Automated Polls Junked

The Supreme Court on Tuesday nullified a contract awarded to a private consortium to computerize voting procedures, raising fears that the May election might be delayed. Nine of the 14 justices said the deal between the Commission on Elections and the Mega Pacific Consortium should be scrapped owing to bidding irregularities, officials said. Voting with Panganiban to invalidate the contract were Associate Justices Reynato Puno, Leonardo Quisumbing, Angelina Sandoval Gutierrez, Maria Alicia Austria Martines, Conchita Carpio Morales, Consuelo Ynares Santiago, Antonio Carpio and Romeo Callejo Sr. Associate Justices Renato Corona, Adolfo Azcuna and Dante Tinga dissented. Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. and Associate Justice Jose Vitug said they wanted more factual basis and more time to be able to decide on the issues raised before them. The deal allowed for the consortium to supply the Comelec's automated vote-counting machines and forms for the election. The decision, written by Associate Justice Artemio Panganiban, was 101 pages long. In it the Court also ordered the Office of the Ombudsman to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Comelec officials responsible for the failed bidding and award. The Court also ordered the Solicitor General to "protect the government and vindicate public interest of the ill effect of the illegal disbursement of public funds" related to the deal, the Court's spokesman, Ismael Khan, said. "In a sense the order says we should get back the money" paid to the consortium, Khan said, alluding to the P1.2-billion contract. Officials had said that by doing away with the cumbersome manual count, the new system was expected to name the winning president within 30 hours of balloting instead of after several days or weeks as in previous elections. Computerization was also seen to curb rampant cheating, especially in the countryside, where corrupt politicians often use nonexistent names to register ghost voters. The contract covers hardware, software and satellite links to register voters, count ballots and bounce official returns to the national canvassing center, election officials said. Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos had yet to read the Court's ruling, but said: "Definitely it is a setback." The National Movement for Free Elections, a civilian body deputized to ensure the honest conduct of elections, said the ruling has "put the credibility of the Comelec in question." "The decision has placed all of us in some kind of a dilemma," Guillermo Luz, Namfrel leader, said. A member of the House of Representatives on Monday filed a bill seeking to delay the election by 10 days to May 20, saying the Comelec would need more time to revert to a manual vote count. The Comelec has spent P850 million to buy close to 2,000 computers. The Court noted that the Comelec awarded the contract to the consortium despite an evaluation report by the Department of Science and Technology giving the counting machines failing marks. It said Mega Pacific also failed to meet another key requirement, which is that the counting machines' software program should be able to detect previously downloaded precinct results and prevent them from being entered again into the counting machines. The Court said these defects could result in a massive and large-scale election fraud. "We are thus confronted with the grim prospect of election fraud on a massive scale by means of just a few key strokes-the marvels and woes of the electronic age," the Court added. The case stemmed from the petition filed by the Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines and several individuals on August 6, seeking to annul Comelec Resolution 6074, which awarded the automated counting and canvassing system phase of the modernization project to Mega Pacific. Mega Pacific Consortium comprises Mega-Pacific e-Services Inc., ePLDT, election.com, WeSolv Philippines and SKC&C. Itfp, one of the 57 bidders, claimed that the contract awarded to Mega Pacific on April 15 is invalid, because the consortium is not a legal entity. Out of the 57 bidders, the Comelec's Bids and Awards Committee found Mega Pacific and the Total Information Management Corp. eligible. The two bidders were referred to the award panel's technical working committee and the Department of Science and Technology for technical evaluation. The full Comelec promulgated Resolution 6074 awarding the project to Mega Pacific despite getting failing marks. The itfp wrote to Abalos Sr. protesting the award of the contract. In a reply dated June 6, Abalos rejected the protest and declared that the award would stand up to the strictest scrutiny. The itfp went to the Supreme Court. Abalos declined to comment on the decision "until we receive the copy." He said, however, that the election would push ahead even if the supposedly computerized precincts will revert to manual counting. "We will stand by our constitutional mandate to conduct an honest, fair and credible election," he said. (by Joel R. San Juan)

From http://www.manilatimes.net 01/14/2004

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SINGAPORE: Govt-Funded Super-Computing Grid Launched

It may still be far from the likes of the Matrix, but Singapore's landmark project to connect the island's computing systems into a super network could open doors to endless possibilities. International engineering and life sciences companies have already expressed interest in taking part in the project. From improving high tech satellite monitoring pictures to cutting down the time it takes to produce an animated movie - all part of the promise of the things the National Grid Pilot Platform hopes to achieve. Minister for Trade and Industry Brigadier-General George Yeo said: "It will link computers, sensors and other IT resources into a single virtual pool or market which can be shared by geographically dispersed users. In this way, the system becomes much more than the sum of its parts. "Several multinational companies like Rolls Royce and BAE Systems, which require super computing resources for engineering and design processes, have signed up for the project. And it can even help develop cures for diseases like SARS which require complex modelling. But the fear, of course, is what happens if security is breached. "You have police, you have ostracism, so this is something we got to learn as we go along. I think the grid itself must have a culture. But how all this will evolve, we don't know now. This is a very exciting experiment that is taking place in Singapore," said BG Yeo. The project costs tens of millions of dollars and 90% of the funds come from the government. The authorities are upbeat that the private sector will help to share the cost of developing the grid, which they say, might eventually allow Internet users to tap on the power of the grid. (by Ken Teh)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 11/01/2003

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Environment Council Launches Online Eco-Office Rating System

How green is your office? You can now find out using Singapore Environment Council's online audit which calculates how much you and your colleagues reuse or recycle materials. The new Singapore Environment Council website will hopefully help office workers think and act green. After all, when it comes to using paper around the world, Singaporeans are second only to the Americans. And most users are in the administrative departments of local offices. Howard Shaw, executive director of Singapore Environment Council, said: "We have very little specific detailed data on the performance of office workers on Singapore - how much electricity we use, how much paper we use, how much paper we throw away, how much we recycle. Over the long term, we hope to gather that detailed information which will allow us to better understand what areas we can improve in. "Besides tips, the website also offers an online audit, the first of its kind. Companies can use the Eco-Office Rating System to evaluate how green their offices are and if they meet the mark, earn a green label. Property firm City Development is supporting the initiative with recycling cages in 37 buildings. "CDL launched this project at 9 buildings last year and this year we are pleased we have been able to expand it to 37 buildings. Of these, 12 of the buildings are non-CDL buildings. So, we have managed to get fellow developers to come on board," said Jean Khoo, CDL's Head Corporate Communications. (by Patwant Singh)

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 11/05/2003

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Singapore Government Bonds Go Online to Improve Reach to Public

Online investment portal Fundsupermart.com is Singapore's first Internet distributor of government bonds. Investors can now buy Singapore government bonds at the click of the mouse. The Triple-A rated SGS bonds are considered among the safest investments in the world. They have been available to the public for some time now but have yet to gain popularity among Singapore retail investors. Of about S$65 billion of outstanding SGS bonds, only S$32 million, or a paltry 0.05 percent, of the total is in retail hands. Presently, retail investors can only buy government bonds at auctions or "over-the-counter" in the secondary market. With Fundsupermart's new initiative, retail investors can simply log into its website to buy the bonds. What Fundsupermart does is to aggregate all the retail orders thus enabling it to offer the retail investor a better price for the SGS bonds. Lim Chung Chun, Executive Chairman, Fundsupermart, said: "For Singaporeans who want to buy into bonds, first of all, even if you have the awareness, you actually find that in practice the steps you have to go through to actually buy the bond is a very inconvenient process. Right now we have that available online. Certainly by a big margin the convenience goes up."

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/15/2003

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THAILAND: E-Government: More Services to Be Offered Online

Bang Rak post office to have 10 different services People will soon be able to access more official services from post offices in line with the government's one-stop service policy. Khunying Dhipavadee Meksawan, permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry, said yesterday that on January 9, Thailand Post Co's head office in the Bang Rak area would begin providing 10 services from different state agencies as part of a pilot project. Apart from paying bills for utilities and insurance policies, people will also be able to pay their personal taxes or request a personal-data document. They will also have instant access to information on tourism, job openings and even the latest weather forecasts. In February, Thailand Post will expand the services to four other branches - and gradually cover all of its 1,100 offices nationwide, she said. The ICT Ministry will also offer similar services via automatic kiosks belonging to Thailand Post and TOT Corp Plc in remote areas and airports. Dhipavadee said the new services were made possible after all relevant state agencies linked information together via one online network. "Soon people will be able to access all the state services at one home page, ecitizen.go.th," she added. Today there are around six million active Internet subscribers in Thailand. Meanwhile, the ICT Ministry, together with the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre, in October secretly surveyed the readiness of all 283 state units to promote the services on their home pages. But the result shows that most of the pages can only offer the organisations' information. Only a minority can interact with visitors. "None offers the services of different organisations on their sites or has a capacity to intelligently interact with the users, which are the highest goals," Dhipavadee said. The survey should trigger the agencies' urge to compete with one another to improve their IT-based services, she added. The ministry plans to check their progress again next month.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 12/20/2003

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Viet Nam Steps Closer to ICT Strategy

Viet Nam is putting the final touches on a national information and communications technology strategy to improve the country's growth leading up to 2010. The Ministry of Post and Telematics released the strategy's outline at a meeting on Thursday. The outline suggested Government, businesses and the public would play an important role in carrying out the strategy. Economic, cultural and political sectors should use information and communication technology by 2010. This technology would be one of the most important factors in determining Viet Nam's growth, it said. The outline also set targets for improving the quality of information technology training and knowledge. "Meetings like this offer us a unique window of opportunity to exchange knowledge and improve our understanding of how information and communications technology can best be used as an effective development tool," Mai Liem Truc, standing vice minister of the ministry, told participants. Jordan Ryan, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme, said the strategy would help Viet Nam reverse the growing digital divide and shrink social and economic differences. He said the programme viewed information technology as a tool that could help Viet Nam reach its goals. Organised by the ministry and the programme, the meeting was the last of a year-long series in which the national strategy took shape. The meetings brought policy-makers, donors and members of the public together to create Viet Nam's first comprehensive strategy. Previous meetings focused on improving the information technology sector's applications, infrastructure and human resources. Viet Nam's information technology market grew 17 per cent in 2003. It earned US$530 million, excluding profits from the consumer electronics sector. Computer hardware accounted for $325 million of the total, while telecom equipment was worth $130 million. Software chipped in $75 million.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 12/20/2003

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Youth Should Drive Growth of IT Sector, Says Prime Minister

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai wants the young to become the vanguard in the development of information technology so that Viet Nam can match the region and the world. Information technology was playing an increasingly important role in improving the productivity and efficiency of State and corporate management and was crucial to sharpening the national economy's competitive edge, he said. The prime minister was speaking in Ha Noi last Wednesday while presenting Golden Globe prizes to 10 youngsters chosen as the year's most outstanding information technology practitioners. "You are still very young but good at your job," he told them. We believe in you and hope you will continue learning to become first-rank IT workers," he told them. "You should have the ideals and zeal to turn Viet Nam into an IT power." The prime minister said that the Government supported IT and would spend more to foster its quick development. The young award winners pledged to do their best to reach the pinnacle of their industry and so contribute to industrialisation and modernisation. Awards were also given to 40 outstanding female IT students. The ceremony was held at the Government Office and was attended by Science and Technology Minister Hoang Van Phong, Post and Telematics Minister Do Trung Ta and Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union Central Committee First Secretary Hoang Binh Quan.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 01/02/2004

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INDONESIA: Party Goes on Line

Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) member Didik Supriyanto said over the weekend that a political party had benefited from the absence of regulations on campaigning on the Internet.Didik, an editor at detikcom, said that the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) had put banner ads on the detikcom news portal in the absence of any regulation against it. "There is no regulation on Internet campaigning, so we cannot take action," Didik said at a discussion organized by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) here on Saturday. Article 73 of the Election Law says that printed and electronic media is to give equal space and time to political parties for campaigning purposes. Didik disclosed that the PDS was ready to drop the banner ads should the KPU object to them. According to the KPU, only radio and television stations are considered electronic media.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 01/19/2004

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INDONESIA: Job Opportunities Web Site Launched

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta As part of its efforts to reduce unemployment, the government introduced on Wednesday a national website offering information about job vacancies and a nationwide job-seeker database. Officially launched by President Megawati Soekarnoputri, www.infokerja.web.id provides information about vacancies in companies and factories owned by both the government and the private sector. With the website, the government also wants to facilitate the recruitment process for both companies and jobseekers. "We hope this will be a breakthrough and hope that each province will have its own website for job opportunities in the next few months," Minister of Manpower and Transmigration Jacob Nuwa Wea said after the launch. He said the online service would simplify the recruitment process as people could apply online. Reducing the unemployment rate is one of the major problems the country faces as it struggles to fully recover from the economic crisis that has been beleaguering the country since 1997. According to Central Statistics Agency (BPS) head Soedarti Surbakti, the number of unemployed in Indonesia is around nine million people. "This is the number of jobseekers and those who work fewer than three hours per day," said Soedarti, adding that Indonesia had 100 million people of productive age. However, she said, there were different perceptions about the definition of unemployment. Some considered those who work less than 36 hours a week as jobless. "For us, we say that those working in the formal sector have 42 working hours per week, so those working in the informal sector could be more or less than that number," Soedarti said. Jacob insisted, however, that the number of unemployed people was not as high as BPS had disclosed due to differing definitions of joblessness. "I do not believe in the figure that BPS disclosed; I think it is less than that," the minister said without revealing his estimate. The ministry has also worked together with several organizations to open up more websites for job opportunities. With the Indonesia Accountants Foundation (YAI), the ministry launched www.yai.ac.id, while the Karawang municipality operates www.disnakerkarawang.go.id, which provides information about job opportunities in the area. "We hope that more municipalities will follow Karawang's example in providing a website service," Jacob added. (by Fabiola Desy Unidjaja)

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 01/29/2004

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THAILAND: IT Help for Political Parties

The Election Commission will work with the National Defence Council's brain bank to develop a computer programme which matches problems affecting the country against political parties' policy platforms. The move is aimed to make political parties more policy-oriented at the next general election and to help voters gain better understanding of election campaign issues. Election commissioner Gen Charupat Ruangsuwan said the EC would join hands with the National Defence Council's brain bank to compile and summarise problems plaguing the country, and the policies of political parties to deal with those problems. The data would be stored in a programme that allowed voters to check and find out which parties had the policies that responded to their needs. Gen Charupat said the brain bank would list six main categories of problems. The EC would then discuss those problems with academics and jointly prepare a questionnaire for political parties, which would be asked to give their suggested solutions.

From http://www.bangkokpost.com 01/22/2004

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BANGLADESH: City IT 2003 Inaugurated Make Use of Local Software Mandatory at Govt Offices

A 12-day Computer Fair, dubbed "City IT 2003" was inaugurated at the BCS Computer City at IDB Bhaban in the city yesterday with a fervent appeal to the government to make the use of locally made software mandatory at government and non-government organisations. Speakers at the inauguration ceremony urged the government to withdraw VAT and taxes on the import of all kinds of telecommunication and networking equipment as well as computer spare parts to ensure easy availability of computers. "Government may take necessary steps for re-exporting computers after assembling in the country," they said. Speaking on the occasion, Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury said that the government would extend all-out support for flourishing the hardware export business in Bangladesh. "The cabinet is actively considering export bound warehouse so that the imported components of the computer can be re-exported after assembling in the country," he said. Khosru said Bangladeshis has a great co-ordination between hand and head, which is acutely rare across the globe. "For this very reason, an illiterate woman of the country can sew the same as the provided sample in the garments factory, though she has never seen it before." He urged to start generating different hardware components at local level, at first easier ones and gradually all others, so that Bangladesh could export self-produced hardware materials. Giving stress on campaign of IT learning, he said, "Literacy can not be fulfilled without the IT knowledge." Computer has already become a buzz-word in Bangladesh, the Minister said adding that "The IT campaign should be carried to every corner of the country." Referring to the duty-free access of Bangladeshi products to some foreign markets, Khosru said the IT businessmen should avail the opportunities. He called to establish another computer city in Chittagong. He said, "I believe to my heart that Bangladesh has the possibility to be the major global player in IT sector." President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdul Awal Mintoo spoke at the programme as special guest, while present President of Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) Md Sabur Khan, President (elect) of the BCS SM Iqbal, President of Internet Service Providers' Association of Bangladesh Md Akhtaruzzaman Manju spoke as guests of honour. President of the BCS Computer City Ahmed Hasan presided over the programme and General Secretary Azim Uddin Ahmed made the welcome address. Abdul Awal Mintoo emphasised that the use of local-made software should be made mandatory in all government and non-government organisations. SM Iqbal urged the government to waive VAT and tax on imports of computer spare parts. "The demand for computers all over the country, which is now about one lakh per year, should be broadened to protect this business by arrangement of computer training, compulsory computer education at school level and others," he said. Sabur Khan said, " At present only 0.2 per cent of the total power of computer is used at different levels, including government and non-government institutions in the country." Every fair must be accompanied with commitment, contribution and a long-fetched plan to get maximum from the fair, he suggested. The 12-day fair will continue up to January 10. The fair remains open everyday from 10 am to 8 pm.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 12/30/2003

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INDIA: Govt Allocates Rs 5,000 Cr for E-governance Projects

MUMBAI - The government has allocated Rs 5,000 crore for its e-governance projects for the next five years. Speaking at a Confederation of Indian Industry session on Digital Maharashtra, department of information technology additional secretary S Lakshminarayanan quoted from the latest UNDP report on the e-government index for 133 countries which gave India 1.29 points on a scale of 0-4. "This index places India below countries like Poland, Armenia and 60 other countries. We are aware of this and hence the allocation of funds," he said. Emphasising the importance of transparency, he indicated that the government systems have to be re-engineered. He added, "Unless we do this, the hype about India becoming a superpower will soon disappear." Commenting on some of the e-governance projects already implemented in the country, he touched upon the benefits accruing from these projects. These were namely in areas like land records, registration and treasury department. Some e-governance projects implemented in the southern states and in Maharashtra are doing well, he added and the government is looking at providing funds and setting up the necessary infrastructure for e-governance projects. At the Centre, there is a nationwide roll-out in the railways, customs, central excise, postal department, passports, direct taxes sectors. On the payment gateway scenario in India, Mr Lakshminarayanan said the Central Certifying Authority (CCA) has received about 4,500 applications from different public sector and private firms for the appointment of a Digital Signature Certifying Authority (DSCA) and has till now appointed Tata Consultancy Services, Safe-scrypt, National Informatics Centre and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd as certifying authorities. He added that the CCA has decided to decrease the bank guarantee for companies applying for DSCA from the current Rs 10 crore to Rs one crore. "The decrease in bank guarantee will lead to a decrease in the cost of digital signature at the retail end. We want to see to it that the customer cost for a digital signature should come down from Rs 3,000 to Rs 30 and we think that it is possible. That is the reason why we recently issued a notification on this issue," he said.

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

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Indian State Shows IT Forte

More than 20,000 people use the Andhra Pradesh e-governance system, E-Seva, daily to settle their utility bills, including applying for licences, Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Veena Sikri said. "I don't think there is anywhere in the world where there are so many hits for an e-governance system," she said at the opening of Andhra Pradesh Day at the Incredible India 2003 trade exhibition yesterday. The five-day exhibition, held at Putra World Trade Centre beginning Tuesday, showcases the strengths of Indian industries. Sikri said there had been an upsurge in the business relationship between Malaysia and Andhra Pradesh following the visit of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad two years ago. "Andhra Pradesh contributes almost 25% of the information technology skilled personnel in India. Malaysia and India can build a strong relationship in this area," she added. She said IT-enabled services were also fastest growing in Andhra Pradesh, with numerous call centres and an influx of multinational companies setting up operations in Hyderabad. "Microsoft has set up their software designing centre in Hyderabad following the visit of its founder Bill Gates. Since then, other big companies have also moved there," she said. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, in his message read out by Andhra Pradesh Commissioner for Industries G.N. Rao, said: "The government has formulated an investment-friendly and progressive industrial policy that is aimed at seeking investment from all sources. The state is offering liberal concessions and incentives to entrepreneurs." Confederation of Indian Industries former president V. Srinivasan said the group had been associated with various joint initiatives with Andhra Pradesh. Srinivasan said the confederation and the state government had set up two centres of excellence: the Andhra Pradesh Technology Development Centre, which focuses on solving technology problems and technology development for industries especially small and medium enterprises; and the CII Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, which focuses on awareness on the environment.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 12/04/2003

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MALDIVES: Some Government Websites Fall Behind in Updates

MALE - A Maldivian student studying in Malaysia recently required some information for a college project. The student surfed into the website of the relevant Maldivian authority but to his utter dismay, the information was not updated on the website despite the fact that the authority was required to make the information public. This is just one among a few cases where some government websites have not been updated, preventing students and other members of the public from getting easy access to information in the Maldives. Recently, a student doing law in the United Kingdom suddenly had to fly all the way back to Maldives because he could not get the relevant information. Even then, some bureaucratic procedures and hurdles prevent members of the general public from getting information they require. Government offices need to embrace new technologies, especially at a time when government offices and almost every home has personal computers with Internet access. It is necessary that government authorities keep up with these communication technologies, and maintain user-friendly websites with easy access to up-to-date information. About 30 or so government offices and companies have websites on the World Wide Web. Though some websites update information contained therein, others have been under construction for a long time, while still other websites have been completed but left at that -- there have been no updates on information whatsoever. Only a handful of websites, like the President's Office website, has daily updates. Some websites have so out-of-date information that those who surf in have to leave frustrated. For instance, as of Dec 24, the Atolls Ministry website has no further information except for an index page proclaiming "Welcome to the website of the Ministry of Atolls Administration." The ministry had undergone a name change on Nov 11 to "Ministry of Atolls Development." The website of Foreign Investment Services Bureau, one of the authorities responsible to attract much needed foreign investment into the Maldives, had information dated 1994. Other websites which need regular updates but have failed to do so include websites of Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, and Maldives Customs Service. Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC), and State Trading Organization (STO) which float their shares to the public, also do not regularly update their websites. Why are some government authorities so out of touch with the Internet? An official from the information technology section of the Atolls Ministry said that its present website was designed in 2000 but that the webmaster had left Maldives. "We have now trained some staff (in IT) and hopefully we can launch a new updated website in four months," the official said. An official from the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) said that the company has started work on a new website in December and that hopefully they can launch it in February. The website of the Fisheries Ministry has also been "under construction" without any updates for sometime. An official from the FISB said that the websites of some government authorities which had provided a link to FISB's website had mistakenly linked to an old website of FISB, and that there is a new website of FISB which is presently functioning. But a visit to the new website of FISB also showed information dating 2002. Many offices have IT sections, including IGMH. An official from IGMH told Haveeru that if there is a job announcement, it will be immediately posted on its website. However, information that is of necessity to the public such as consultation schedules are not updated daily. An official from the IT section of MTCC said that its website was an old one, and that the company was in the process of constructing a new website. Some offices claim that they do not have information that require to be posted on their websites on a daily or regular basis. The website of Maldives Tourism Promotion Board had, as of Dec 24, posted tourist arrival figures for the month of August though MTPB has already publicized the latest tourist arrival figures for November. If Maldives is to function soundly with regard to economic and social development, it is essential that government offices make a committed effort to provide easy access to information. As Internet websites can make this access more easy and efficient, it is important that all government authorities maintain websites that are functioning well and updated regularly. (by Ismail Naseer)

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 12/31/2003

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NEPAL: Concept of E-Governance Must to Cut the Red Tape

KATHMANDU - Administrative experts have stressed on the fact that the government must introduce the concept of 'e-governance' to provide the public services in the fastest and most efficient manner. Though the government shows readiness to introduce the concept, lack of the infrastructures and initiation on the part of civil servants bars it from launching the computer based governance program, they said. In a program to discuss the preparations and the present status of e-governance in Nepal Thursday, it is informed that the government offices don't have enough computers to launch the service. "Among the government ministries, only 48 percent have LAN (Local Area Networking) facility and 40 percent have made their presence in the web," said Manohar Bhattarai in his working paper presented at the program. Similarly, only 0.37 percent of the population enjoys the basic telephony services while 0.2 per thousand people have access to the Internet. Improvements in the sectors like human capital, legal aspects and organizational structures are required to introduce the concept, said Bhattarai. Likewise, Chief of Public Administration Campus Dr. Govinda Prasad Dhakal stressed on the optimal use of information technology to provide the government services in an effective manner and also to win the hearts of the people.

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 11/13/2003

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BHUTAN£ºNPPF Launches Its Website

January 26, 2004-National Pension and Provident Fund (NPPF) members can now view their contributions, pension, and even provident fund benefits on the web, www.nppf.org.bt. Members will have to punch in their NPPF account, citizenship identity card, house and thram numbers to access the required information on the website. The members can also get access to information relating to his/her personal, spousal, children, nomination, and even basic pay details. The greatest advantage of the website, according to an NPPF official, is that it can benefit geographically disbursed members by making information readily available to them through the website. The NPPF website, which was launched today by its chairman, finance minister Lyonpo Wangdi Norbu, is the result of queries and suggestions received during its publicity campaigns. The pension plan has about 30,000 members.

From http://www.kuenselonline.com/ 01/26/2004

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INDIA£ºE-Government Will Not Eliminate Jobs

CAIRO - Governments that employ e-government will not eliminate jobs but will provide their citizens with a more efficient and transparent administration, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has said. In a speech to an Arab technology conference, Gates said on Sunday e-government has been a "huge focus" for Microsoft. He tried to allay fears that it would drive governments to cut jobs. "It will simply allow government to provide better service. There is a lot of demand for things to be done better. This simply should contribute into that in a very strong way," Gates added. Gates and Egyptian Prime Minister Ate Obeyed launched the e-government portal in Cairo on Saturday. The founder of Microsoft is making his first visit to the Middle East. E-government aims to cut through bureaucracy and facilitate government operations by allowing people to communicate via computers. Citizens can do research, obtain information and make transactions online. Red tape is endemic in the Arab world, particularly in Egypt , a country of 70 million with a huge, multi-layered bureaucracy and more than 5 million civil servants. In a question and answer session at the conference on Sunday, Bahraini Commerce Minister Ail al-Saleh said the region needs the help of Microsoft and other computer firms. He urged the Seattle-based company to open a center in the Middle East similar to those it has in China and the Far East.

From http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ 01/26/2004

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AUSTRALIA: State Quest for Internal Corporate Data Net

THE NSW Government has followed its search for a statewide broadband network with a request for internal data carriage and managed services for its expanded Department of Commerce. The project has been broken into two packages to match the requirements of the department's two business units - Corporate Commerce and Central Corporate Services. Corporate Commerce includes the Offices of Government Business, Procurement and Information, and Communications Technology, and Central Corporate Services provides a range of centralised services, including IT, financial management and human resources to 35 government agencies. The Department of Commerce has issued a single request for proposals for both packages, but said it may award contracts to multiple vendors. The package for Corporate Commerce, which spends more than $1.3 million annually on managed data and ISP services, will include a fully managed WAN to 63 sites, internet services to all Corporate Commerce offices and WAN connections to the NSW Office of Fair Trading. Also required are point to multi-point ISDN services and remote access services, along with a range of network management, optimisation and security functions. The second package, for the CCSU, includes fixed-data carriage services, adding and removing agencies to the WAN as required. The CCSU's existing WAN is made up of Telstra frame relay and ISDN links and Uecomm DSL links. Other sites use dial-in access in place of dedicated data links. ISPs have been excluded from bidding for the second package. In October, the NSW Government called for proposals to build a broadband network for the state, with the aim of using government-owned fibre to bring broadband links to agencies operating in rural and regional areas. To avoid conflict with the government's wider regional broadband plans, contracts in that project's non-metropolitan "catchment areas" may be limited to 12 months, but other areas may have terms of up to 36 months. The department will receive proposals up to December 2. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/18/2003

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SA Police Looking for Prints

SOUTH Australia Police is moving ahead with the $2 million Livescan electronic fingerprint project that will automatically compare prints with a national database. As announced in the South Australia State budget in May, 14 Livescan devices will be installed in six station houses across the state, as well as the force's Fingerprint Bureau in Adelaide. Fingerprints collected by the network will be automatically compared to the national database maintained by the federal CrimTrac agency. South Australia connects to the CrimTrac National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (CrimTrac NAFIS) via a Telstra ATM link and the Australian Federal Police Network. At present, prints are taken via either the traditional ink method, or from "latent" prints left over at crime scenes. South Australia Police have issued a request for tender for the project, and will receive submissions until December 8. Evaluation is expected to be complete in January. The selected units will take a 256-tone greyscale image of a finger or palm print, and store up to 100 images_5 locally to prevent their loss in the event of a power failure. The prints will then be forwarded to the CrimTrac NAFIS where they will be matched against a national database of prints taken from crime scenes. A successful match may not only see a charges laid over a current offence, but could see action taken over unsolved cases and offences committed in other states. The system will have to comply with CrimTrac NAFIS standards, along with the Criminal Justice Information Service Electronic Fingerprint Specification, as well as the Data Format for interchange of Fingerprint and Facial Mark and Tattoo Information. Developed by French firm Sagem, Livescan is already in use in NSW. The use of Livescan technology is part of a wider push by South Australia Police to use biometric information to fight crime. The May Budget was also used to announce a $5.7 million increase in funding for the expansion of the state's DNA database. Announcing the funding increase, Premier Mike Rann said that more than 12,000 DNA samples would be added to the state's DNA database in the first year of a four-year program. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/21/2003

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Victoria Appoints CIO and CTO

THE Victorian Government has appointed Australia's first state chief information officer and chief technology officer. Australian Defence Force CIO Patrick Hannan has been headhunted for the role of Victorian CIO, while former Victorian Department of Human Services Information Services Branch executive officer Tony Aitkenhead has been appointed CTO. No other state has either a CTO or a CIO. The government allocated $33.3 million in funding in this year's budget on the creation of the Office of the CIO. The role will be responsible for overall eGovernment policy, internal government ICT policy and architecture and implementing a whole-of-government IT strategy. The CTO, who will work from the Department of Infrastructure, will oversee the delivery and administration of shared ICT initiatives, such as the Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS) and purchasing. Mr Hannan will start in his new role on December 8, and Mr Aitkenhead's first day will be December 1. (by Kelly Mills)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/24/2003

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WA Calls for Shared Services Comment

WESTERN Australia has taken the next step in its massive state-wide software shared services initiative, issuing a draft request for proposal for industry comment. Comments will be incorporated in a final request for tender due to be delivered January 7 next year. The request for proposal is the second stage of a five stage process that will eventually see systems for human resources and financial management, e-procurement and electronic document management shared across five government-run service delivery clusters. "Those business systems will be installed in infrastructure that will be managed and supported by government employees in an ICT business unit. That will be then delivered as a business system service to the shared service centres," the WA Department of Treasury and Finance's functional review implementation team ICT project manager Tony Mills said. The departments of Health and Education will form their own clusters. These will operate alongside three "general agency clusters" that will serve approximately 110 other government agencies. Each cluster will employ 300 to 400 full time employees. The WA government intends to deliver services via an application service provider (ASP)-type model and tenderers will be required to "have a clear development path and commitment to industry standards XML," the draft request for proposal says. Along with business system packages, the request for proposal calls for middleware that will include data integration, security, identity and privacy management and "a standard web portal which will act both as an integration and as an access layer". Also part of the request for proposal are "tactical systems" to support the operation requirements of the clusters, and the infrastructure and services to support the initial configuration, testing and rollout of systems within each cluster. What contractors and government will not be required to provide is development. "We won't be doing a great deal of development work. Our view is that we will buy packaged systems as much as we can, delivered out of the box but configured to our requirements," Mr Mills said. "We will have a team of government and private sector people in the development stage that will be doing the configuration of government processes and government business rules -but that's configuration of a system. It's not tailoring or customisation," he said. The next stage of the project will be the procurement of consulting services for the roll out of business systems, followed by computing infrastructure and services and communications infrastructure and services. The scope, scale and cost of the project put it outside Western Australia's mainstream SPIRIT IT procurement framework, Mr Mills said. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/28/2003

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Defence Rolls Out E-learning

THE first phase of the Defence Department's $3 million e-learning system has gone live to about 9000 civilian and military personnel. The aim of Defence Online Management and Instructional Network (DOMAIN) is to provide the Australian Defence Organisation with an integrated management system (LMS) and learning content management system (LCMS) for technology supported training and educational opportunities. The first phase of the project, which is one of the largest e-learning projects ever undertaken in Australia, went live last month to Defence Material Organisation (DMO) and Army staff. The 9000 defence personnel with access to the system are now able to access online Legislative Required Learning, a series of NETg courses, as well as a number of custom developed courses. The system is being rolled out over four years and will eventually service about 91,000 defence personnel and use over 200 content developers. The phased rollout for the Navy, Army, Air Force and 11 defence civilian groups are scheduled for completion by December 2004. Deloitte was selected as prime integrator for the project in May 2003, and partnered with THINQ Learning Solutions for the LMS, OutStart for the LCMS and Thomson NETg for the online training courseware. (by Kelly Mills)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/11/2003

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Victoria Funds Software Accreditation

THE Victorian Government has announced $1 million in funding for the state's software developers to gain Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) level 2 accreditation. Information and Communication Technology Minister Marsha Thomson also announced funding today of $50,000 to Software Engineering Australia to develop a Software Quality Centre of Excellence in Melbourne. It will be the first European Software Institute-accredited centre in the Asia Pacific. Ms Thomson said the software accreditation grant was open to small and medium-sized development businesses. The grant will pay for about half the costs associated with achieving a CMMI level 2 rating. It will be capped at $10,000 for each organisation. Grants will commence from 1 February 2004. Eligible companies must be headquartered in Victoria or have their principle place of software development located in Victoria, have less than 200 employees and have had successfully completed four projects in the last 18 months. "Victoria has a very talented software development industry, but without world recognised accreditation, these companies are placed at a competitive disadvantage," Ms Thomson said. "It is now apparent accreditation is becoming increasingly important in global contracting." The CMMI was developed by the US Software Engineering Institute and describes the principles and practices underlying software development and is intended to help organisations meet world's best practice in software development and business standards. A list of certified appraisers will be available on the Multimedia Victoria website from 1 February 2004. (by Kelly Mills)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/11/2003

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E-defence Project Nears End

THE first phase of the Australian Defence Force's multimillion-dollar e-Defence project is coming to an end, after completing the corporate directory service and roll-out of a secure email system. But it still must acquire a secure gateway product with public key infrastructure functionality to enable military messaging interoperability with allied forces. The new system will replace the Defence Integrated Secure Communication Network (Discon) which was built in the 1980s and links the secure networks of the navy, army and air force. "We already have secure email and Discon running in parallel and we will be getting rid of Discon as soon as we can," a Defence spokesperson said. "It is an interesting exercise, as military messaging requires a lot of functionality that is not normally available in email systems you buy off the shelf. "The current military messaging system is very text based. We now have an email system that enables images_5 and attachments to be sent, but it (the military messaging system) has to be interoperable with allied messaging." The aim of the e-Defence pro ject is to give Defence a secure organisational and interpersonal electronic messaging and directory service. Phase one deliverables included a secure email system, a directory service and an electronic authenticity and identity framework. Phase two, scheduled for 2007-2008 will include biometric technology. And a smart-card pilot for Canberra-based personnel is under way. The implementation of the cor porate directory, which provides White Pages information to defence personnel and organisational units has also been completed. (by Kelly Mills, Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/16/2003

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Queenland Turns on Hotspots

THE Queensland government has switched on its wireless hotspot service in Brisbane, with a plan to launch regional services next year. The 20-hotspot network uses government buildings including Brisbane's Central Railway to provide 802.11b wireless access to the internet. Other locations include the 'Gabba cricket ground, Suncorp Stadium and locations in Cleveland and Toowoomba. The hotspot service is being treated as a trial to evaluate a wider rollout through the state. "This is a fantastic initiative, a first by a state Government, and we're hoping to extend WiFi to regional Queensland after the 12-month trial," Queensland Minister for Innovation and the Information Economy Paul Lucas said. The project was first made public in March when the Queensland government announced a request for tender. At the time, Mr Lucas said the government was not interested in becoming a service provider, but was keen to facilitate a service provided by third parties. The hotspots will provide web access to government services and information free of charge, while internet accessed can be obtained via third-party providers. The government-owned wireless access points will be open to roaming by subscribers of a number of internet services - including IntraPower, Sirocco Broadband and i-Tel - with billing handled by clearing house Hotspot Global. Negotiations were underway with a number of major national internet service providers to join the consortium providing access through the government infrastructure, Hotspot Global senior vice president Kurt Nasarenko said. The government is also keen to explore using wireless to overcome local loop restrictions in regional areas, and has indicated that voice-over-wireless services could be made available over the network should enough interest be shown by government departments. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/17/2003

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Melbourne to Get a CIO

THE City of Melbourne is looking for a chief information officer following a review of its IT operations. The newly created position will combine responsibilities currently managed through two separate positions, bringing together customer service and project management and technical functions. The incumbents of the existing positions have both been invited to apply for the chief information officer post. The change aligns Melbourne with the Victorian Government, which also recently appointed a chief information officer, said acting Lord Mayor Susan Riley. The City of Melbourne undertook a major IT review in mid-2000, under the guidance of the then IBM Global Services Australia. Earlier this year, a follow up review was undertaken, which identified the need to create a new chief information officer position. "We are keen to further align our information systems to the business requirements of our organisation and to provide a range of enhanced online services to and for our community," Ms Riley said. Applications for the chief information officer post close on Tuesday, with the council planning to conduct interviews in early January. A successful candidate is expected to be announced in late January or early February. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/18/2003

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Victoria Reviews E-procurement

MULTIMEDIA Victoria is about to undertake the first major review of its government-wide 'eServices' procurement framework. Established in March 2003, the Whole of Victorian Government (WoVG) eServices Panel provides for centralised procurement and supply of online services across Victorian government agencies. The panel of suppliers was contracted following a tender selection process in 2002. The refresh - scheduled before the panel contract commenced - allows Multimedia Victoria (MMV) to re-evaluate services provided under the contract and how those services are classified. At present, eServices are grouped into four key categories, including strategy development, web development services, online management services, and quality assurance and miscellaneous services. As part of the refresh, Lotus Notes-related services will be grouped into the Web Development Services category, which will be expanded to a general applications development grouping, encompassing J2EE, .NET, Lotus Notes and general web development. The refresh will also allow MMV to evaluate the performance of the 106 panel members, providing the option to delete contractors or to add new companies to the panel. Prospective new panel members have been invited to apply via a request for tender. Meanwhile, MMV is also calling for researchers to conduct a study into collaboration between the tertiary education sector and the ICT industry in Victoria. The research, which is to include a number of case studies, will then be used to produce promotional material promoting collaboration. The study will also address findings of the June 2003 ICT Skills Snapshot survey, which reported the ICT employers "feel that student expectations do not match the realities of the workplace, especially in the areas of the latest technology".

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/05/2004

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1.3m in ITOL Grants to E-firms

EIGHT e-businesses have been awarded grants totalling more than $1.3 million in the latest round of the Federal Government's IT Online (ITOL) program. Round 10 funding was for projects in the strategic areas of chronic disease management, hospital supply functions and transport logistics. Transforming diabetes healthcare, National Health Sciences Centre: $200,000. Pilot of a health knowledge management tool, known as the Protocol Hypothesis Testing system, which allows online sharing of treatment information between patients, medical professionals and other researchers. Optimising the grain supply chain, Standards Australia: $200,000. Project to create transparency of national grain flow with the aim of improving returns to growers by cutting costs. Empowering cancer patients, VirtualCancerCentre. com: $198,950. Perth trial of collaborative care program based on a patient-managed online medical record. Wireless telecare in the home, MedCare Systems: $194,701. ACT hospitals testing wireless technologies to receive critical data sent from remote monitoring devices worn by patients. Secure freight, P2P Community: $188,250. Web-based transport industry authentication and real-time resource location to allow more efficient use of existing freight capacity. Cold chain validation, Global Licensing and Innovation: $176,000. Use of radio frequency identification tags and web-enabled software to track handling of temperature-sensitive goods, such as vaccines and blood, during transportation. Global standards for logistics, EAN Australia: $121,000. Demonstration project to test EAN.UCC standards in the flow of goods and associated data through the grocery logistics chain. Job scheduling for casual nursing, CasualPool: $88,047. Perth-based pilot to manage supply of casual staff to hospitals and aged care facilities through a co-operative online scheduling system. (by Karen Dearne)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 01/06/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Attempt to Put Laws Online Runs Out of Funding

The Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) has become the latest government agency to run into trouble after failing in an $8 million attempt to put its work online this year. A select committee review of the law drafting agency has found it has run into problems trying to set up a website containing all of New Zealand's laws. The Public Access to Legislation (PAL) project was meant to have been running at the beginning of this year but was described as having been "in pause mode since May 2003". "The main problems that prevented it becoming operational as planned were systems issues (which we were told have now largely been resolved), and a large number of format and layout issues that affected paper and electronic output," the committee said. After spending about $8 million of the budgeted $8.17 million a review was under way to see if it should proceed at all. The final technical review was delivered to the PCO in October, but the committee was told they couldn't see the report because of commercial sensitivity. The justice select committee said problems with PAL had preoccupied senior managers' time leaving them unable to focus on other issues of importance to the PCO. The organisation did not have enough law drafters to do all the work that would be required of it in the current year, the committee said. The PAL problems join a long list of other government agencies who have overspent on computer project (such as Land on Line) or failed to get them going at all such as the State Services Commission's attempts to set up an electronic procurement system. There are currently two private organisations providing extensive electronic access to legislation. Comment from the minister responsible for the PCO was not immediately available.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 11/12/2003

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Councils Score Well for Internet Access

Aucklanders have a relatively advanced online relationship with the Government, according to a global survey which placed it seventh out of 100 in e-governance. Most Aucklanders still carry out the nitty-gritty of local government business such as paying rates and applying for consents via mail, phone or in person. But the survey, by Rutgers University in New Jersey and Sungkyunkwan University in Korea, sponsored by the United Nations, gave Auckland's official website high points for usability and content. Auckland came in behind Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Shanghai and Rome as a high scorer in "digital governance". Sydney was 19th. The researchers did not name the Auckland site surveyed, but it is likely to be either www.aucklandcity.govt.nz or www.aucklandregion.com. Auckland's six official districts are reasonably well-served by separate websites. Most of them link to services such as local libraries and allow people to check accounts or access town planning information. The more general website www.arc.govt.nz also has a good deal of regional information. Factors considered in the research included how easily information about the city council, mayor and executives could be accessed and to what extent citizens could interact with the council online. (by Peter Griffin)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/06/2003

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Mallard Seeks Improved IT Buying

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard has asked the Ministry of Economic Development to work formally with industry groups and others to improve the way the Government buys information technology. Information Technology Association (ITANZ) president David Irving said the move should address widespread industry concern. He has met informally with key officials since July to work through industry gripes. "A working party has met once a fortnight to kick ideas around," said Irving, who is the chief executive of Wellington systems integration and software development firm Synergy. "While we are not saying 'Here's the answer', we have suggested areas where things could improve." The buying process can start with a request for information, or RFI, being broadcast to the market, followed by a smaller group of vendors being invited to submit a request for proposal, or RFP. Up to 100 vendors may be involved in the RFI stage, and up to 30 at the RFP stage, which can involve each vendor in several days of work to prepare the required paperwork. If companies are shortlisted, they may then have to invest tens of thousands of dollars building a proof of concept. With no prizes for coming second, Irving said the process could waste time and money. "From an industry perspective, some Government departments overuse the process in an attempt to ensure transparency," Irving said. "They start with an RFI when they can go straight to an RFP, or even just select the people they know can deliver. "It would reduce the number of people in the bids. I doubt it would change the outcomes, but it would reduce the amount of effort expended on both sides. "If, for example, you wanted to redevelop the Swift system that runs benefit payments, you know only four or five companies could do that work." Given the membership of ITANZ, which includes New Zealand and multinational vendors, the association is not pushing a "buy New Zealand" approach. "If all else is equal I believe you should buy local, but you should not weight the choice towards a New Zealand solution," Irving said. But with the Government accounting for a third of the IT market, support from departments was essential if the industry was to meet the ICT Task Force aim of 100 New Zealand companies achieving $100 million in earnings each year within 10 years.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/16/2003

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Servers to Boost Welfare Management Systems

The Ministry of Social Development has bought two powerful Unisys servers from IT vendor EDS in a multimillion-dollar deal that boosts capacity for the Government's benefit assessment and debt recovery. But the long-term status of the systems, which manage thousands of financial transactions and beneficiary records, is still up in the air as the Government weighs up the pros and cons of spending between $87 million and $178 million replacing or upgrading the systems. Capital funding of $60 million has already been allocated for future development of the two systems known as Social Welfare Information for Tomorrow Today (SWIFTT) and debt recovery system Trace. But the Government has yet to play its hand, mindful of the large sums of money and the ever-vivid memories of the INCIS police computer debacle. Replacing its out-dated Clearpath NX5800 mainframes, the ministry is switching to Libra 185 servers, also from Unisys. But they don't come cheap. Depending on configuration, each server can carry a price tag of between US$1 million ($1.55 million) and US$20 million. The ministry would not say how much it paid for the servers, saying the information was "commercially sensitive". The price tag is likely to be at the lower end of the spectrum. The servers will host the complex SWIFTT/Trace system, which manages all beneficiaries' records and payments - from unemployment benefits through to sickness and superannuation benefits and log debts for recovery. By moving now to upgrade its hardware, the ministry says it can save money. "The ministry has struck an excellent deal with EDS to purchase two Unisys Libra 185 mainframes, and by buying now rather than later we have been able to get trade-in discount on our current machines," said chief information officer Christine Stevenson. The cost savings are the main reason given by the ministry for shelling out on new hardware now, rather than waiting for the upcoming SWIFTT/Trace overhaul, which the ministry estimates will take between three and six years to complete. (by Peter Griffin)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/23/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Mobile Towers Hit by Political Flak

THE South Australian Opposition has waded into the row over Hutchison Telecommunications' 3G roll-out in the state, proposing legislation that could make it harder to install mobile phone towers. Martin Hamilton-Smith, the shadow minister for innovation and the information economy, is working on a private member's bill that would require carriers to consult more widely with the affected communities before installing base stations. Mr Hamilton-Smith is a vocal opponent of the Hutchison 3G roll-out in his electorate of Waite, where the City of Mitcham is currently taking Supreme Court action against Hutchison and electricity company ETSA Utilities. The council claims ETSA has installed higher power poles so Hutchison can use them to build low-impact phone towers. The case will be heard this week. A spokeswoman for Hutchison said the company had "gone above and beyond what is required by both legislation and the industry code for responsible deployment". "That has been acknowledged by the ACA and commended by a number of local councils," she said. "Like other carriers, where possible we have sought to co-locate with existing infrastructure, including light poles, power poles, buildings and other structures. This is consistent with the spirit of deployment regulation and what all in the industry regard as in line with community interests." An ETSA Utilities spokesman declined to comment. Meanwhile, the SA Government said it was "exploring measures" to ensure carriers and utilities use state planning regulations "appropriately". Mr Hamilton-Smith earlier told state parliament the Hutchison towers were "an abuse". He highlighted the fact that ETSA and Hutchison were part-owned by the same corporate parent, Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, through Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings. "ETSA is removing power poles that have a low impact, and replacing those power poles with very high-impact infrastructure, for the purpose of sub-leasing that high-impact massive infrastructure to Hutchison 3G Australia, so that it can put telecommunications towers on top," he said. "Not only that, as it transpires there are joint ownership and joint financial arrangements between Hutchison 3G and ETSA that are very cosy in relation to this deal. "This should be something that stops every metropolitan member in Adelaide in their tracks." Mr Hamilton-Smith said he was considering a private member's bill to amend state planning regulations, making it more difficult to establish base stations. "The view of the Opposition is that the SA Government should show some leadership," he said. "If they won't get involved, we will need to look at some other action through the parliamentary process. "There may be scope to consider a private members' bill. We may tighten the planning regulations. This is not just a problem for Mitcham." Urban Development and Planning Minister Jay Weatherill said he was considering the Government's options on the base stations. "This area of planning law is governed by the Federal Telecommunications Act, which constrains the state planning laws," he said. "We may explore measures to ensure that the parties use the state's planning regulations appropriately in relation to state electricity structures." A spokeswoman for Federal Communications Minister Daryl Williams said the government was awaiting a review of the industry code of practice by the Australian Communications Industry Forum "The government will obviously pay close attention to the outcomes of this review, and any changes that ACIF might propose to the code," she said. (by Simon Hayes, Chris Jenkins)

From http://www.australianit.com.au/ 01/13/2004

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Online Visas 'Gaping' Security Hole

THE simpler visa system for tourists from rich countries was a "gaping hole" in our national security and should be radically curtailed to prevent terrorists using it to sneak into Australia, an immigration expert has warned. William Maley, director of the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, says to close this hole Australia should cull the list of countries whose nationals can apply online for a visitor visa. Any country where there was evidence of terrorist cells should lose access to automatic visas even if it caused a diplomatic retaliation, Professor Maley says in a research paper for the Centre for Independent Studies, released today. This would force nationals from countries including the US, Britain, France, Singapore and Malaysia to undergo more rigorous vetting procedures, including submitting a written visa application with their passport and, in some cases, an interview. In turn, these countries would likely impose similar conditions on Australians travelling there. The US, Britain and Singapore are in Australia's top five sources of inbound tourism, partly thanks to their inclusion on the list of countries eligible for the Electronic Travel Authority system. Professor Maley says the case of Willie Brigitte should serve as a "wake-up call" to Australian authorities. Mr Brigitte, a French national, arrived legally in Australia last May with an ETA. He was detained and returned to France in October after French agencies warned he may have links to al-Qa'ida. "Australia's borders, far from being rigorously protected, actually contain a gaping hole," Professor Maley writes. "It is a hole through which tourists travel - but as the Brigitte case shows, others with more sinister agendas can use it to enter Australia as well." Travellers from 32 "low-risk" countries can apply for an ETA online from outside Australia for $20, or through a travel agent or airline. France was added to the list of ETA-eligible countries in 1997. The Department of Immigration website instructs travellers "all you need to do is enter the details from your passport and your credit card information . . . in most cases, we will be able to approve your ETA in less than 30 seconds". Professor Maley told The Australian yesterday the list of ETA-eligible countries was based on the risk of people lodging refugee claims while in Australia but ignored potential terrorist links. (by Sophie Morris)

From http://www.australianit.com.au/ 01/14/2004

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WA Seeks Procurement Renewal

THE Western Australian government is shopping for an off-the-shelf whole of government procurement package as part of its wide-ranging "functional review" shared services initiative. The system envisaged by the state's Department of Treasury and Finance will use the existing Government Electronic Marketplace (GEM) tendering portal and applications, but migrate them to a new whole of government platform. The new procurement systems, along with other reforms recommended by the state's Functional Review Taskforce, are expected to save $230 million in procurement costs by 2006-07. Implementation cost for the new procurement and corporate services arrangements will total $50 million by the end of 2004-05. A request for information issued by the Department for the procurement system states a specific preference for an "out-of-the-box" e-procurement system that is "ready to be implemented with minimum customisation". The government's "Functional Review Implementation Team" has previously its preference for systems that can be configured with business rules suitable for use in the clusters but that require minimal or no development work. New components required for the e-procurement revamp include a reporting suite, procurement data warehouse, a whole of government catalogue, project management and costing and analytics functions. Procurement will eventually be joined by human resources and financial management functions and electronic document management shared across five government service delivery clusters in the state. The state government, through its will deliver the shared services to government agencies via an application service provider (ASP) style model, with a strong leaning towards XML-standard applications. Also part of the project are middleware and integration systems and "tactical" systems that will address the operational requirements of the five clusters. Computing and communications infrastructure will follow the acquisition of business systems for the initiative. (by Chris Jenkins)

From http://www.australianit.com.au/ 01/16/2004

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NEW ZEALAND: ICT Graduate Numbers Up by a Third in 2007

The increasing number of graduates in information and communication technology is set to bolster the country's ability to lure high-tech investment. A survey by Investment New Zealand projects that by 2007 there will be more than 5000 ICT graduates, up 32 per cent over 2002, when the figure was 3818. Paul Gestro, Investment New Zealand's manager for investment in ICT, said the country had to show growth in technical graduates for the environment to appear attractive to potential investors. While the numbers were never going to match many of the countries New Zealand competed with for investment, strong graduate growth numbers added to other factors, such as a great environment to work in and stable politics. These could be powerful investment arguments. He said Investment New Zealand had recognised that the country was not going to compete just by offering low-skills call centres and needed to make more of its capabilities in the ICT space. "We cannot compete in that area like India so we are now also looking at how we can create smaller higher-value organisations." Twenty-four tertiary institutions were surveyed, including the eight universities. They were asked to identify ICT-related qualifications being offered at the three-year undergraduate, four-year undergraduate and post-graduate level, the actual numbers that graduated in 2002 and projections of graduate numbers over the next five years. "The graduate projections are one element of the total investment business case that we prepare to encourage multinationals to consider a New Zealand arm to their operations. "New Zealand graduates are a particular drawcard. They are seen as clever and capable, with a unique approach to problem-solving." Investment New Zealand worked closely with tertiary institutions, regularly taking potential investors to see what was being done in them and their technology parks and business incubator centres. (by Richard Pamatatau)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 01/20/2004

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CHINA: Chinese Unveil Schedule for Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcasting

(YOKOHAMA) -- During "FPD International 2003," held at Pacifico Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, on October 29-31, 2003, lectures were conducted by administrative directors of China, which is promoting digital TV broadcasting and Chinese major research institutes' representatives. According to Bai Weimin, director/senior engineer, department of electronics & I.T. products, division of broadcast & television, the Ministry of Information Industry of China, China plans to initiate digital TV broadcasting in 2005, and intends to determine specifications by then. He added the nation projects it will industrialize digital broadcasting in 2008, and test HDTV broadcasting at Beijing Olympic Games. Digital broadcasting across the nation is scheduled in 2010, with the termination of analog broadcasting slated for 2015. "We decided to divide our research on HDTV into two phases. The first one is to establish stock of key technologies by manufacturing prototypes, and the second is to promote industrialization and accumulate intellectual property." Bai said the administration will promote digitalization of cable TV at the same time. Cable TV test broadcasting is currently implemented in 30 prime cities and three provinces, with approximately one million households said to have subscribed to the service. The administration aims at total subscriptions of 10 million in 2004 and 30 million in 2005. Consequently, core developers delivered the outline of the two key digital terrestrial broadcasting standards in China. Robert Wang, professor/vice director, digital television technology research center of Tsinghua University, explained the Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Television Broadcasting (DMB-T) under development and led mainly by the university. The technology combines a header for the relevant period with the guard interval for orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM). The header uses direct sequence spectrum spread (DSSS, a PN sequence appears to be used as the spread code), which was stated as more in favor of mobile receivers as those mounted on cars, given the improved reception. They already have completed a third-generation receiver LSI and exhibited photos of an evaluation board with every receiver functionality on it, and prototypes created by TV manufacturers in China, reporting that their experiments to receive radio in cars worked smoothly. As a reason that China is developing its own method, Wang explained, "Although China is the biggest TV consumer and at the same time the biggest producer in the world, manufacturers in China are struggling with the rat race caused by price competition. This is because we did not have our original core technology." They seem to be aiming to accumulate core technologies by selecting spec plans and developing prototypes. Sun Jun, professor and vice head of the department of electronic engineering of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, delivered a lecture on "Advanced Digital Television Broadcasting Terrestrial (ADTB-T)," the other proposed method based on a single carrier wave. He said its mobile reception "was unavailable when the receiver moved last year, but we have greatly improved it this year." He referred to the required reception rate as -82dBm (maximum 20Mbps) to -92dBm (maximum 5Mbps).

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 11/05/2003

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Hong Kong Develops into Digital City

Thanks to Government initiatives, Hong Kong has made great strides on the road to becoming an e-business community and a digital city, the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Alan Wong Chi-kong, said today (November 13). Mr Wong gave an overview of the SAR Government's recent information technology (IT) measures in a speech to the 9th Joint International Computer Conference in Zhuhai. A key principle of the Digital 21 Strategy is that the Government must lead by example in the adoption of e-business. As at the end of June this year, the Government has provided e-options for 86% of public services amenable to electronic delivery. It is confident of achieving its aim of 90% by the end of the year. The smart identity card launched this June is a major component of e-government strategy. Offering increased security and various value-added applications, the new ID card supports e-business and e-government transactions. To provide the logistics industry with a neutral and open electronic platform for information and data exchange, the Government is exploring a Digital Trade and Transportation Network. It is hoped that operating costs can be lowered by improvements in the speed and reliability of information transmission. To help the public navigate Government websites with ease, the "Common Look and Feel" website guidelines and specifications were introduced at the end of last year. All Government websites come in English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese versions. The Government plans to develop a "Text-to-Speech" sound version to improve access for the disabled. The Electronic Service Delivery Scheme has been well-received, logging more than 3.5 million transactions since its launch at the end of 2000. The scheme offers 170 kinds of Government services online and has significantly improved quality and efficiency of delivery. "The Government plans to join up a number of related cross-departmental services with a view to providing the public with more direct access and better search functions. Projects under study include the Business Entry Portal, the Property Information Hub and the Integrated Criminal Justice System," Mr Wong said. As Government services go online, more information must be stored electronically. To establish policies and guidelines for data storage, the Government set up the Electronic Record Management Working Group in May 2001. It has recommended development of an Electronic Record Management System to manage and store records reliably and consistently. The Government has actively promoted the development of open source software in recent years. At present, servers and desktop computers in 30 Government departments use Linux systems. To foster the growth of the wireless and mobile communications industry in Hong Kong, the Government is setting up a Wireless Solutions Development Centre at the Cyberport where software developers can test their products and obtain industry news. To promote IT usage in the community, the Government has strengthened IT programmes in the schools and made 5,000 computers available throughout Hong Kong for public use. The IT Hong Kong Campaign begun in September 2000 also provides training and seminars for different groups in the community. "The Government has always supported the use of IT in commerce and industry to enhance productivity and operational efficiency," Mr Wong said. Measures include organising an IT awareness campaign, setting up support centers, and launching the IT Easy Link for Business, which provides both a hotline enquiry service and face-to-face consultations. To encourage IT vendors to participate in government IT projects, the Government has adopted a vigorous outsourcing strategy. Information and business-matching services are also offered via supporting organisations to help vendors expand into overseas markets. With the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement, 18 sectors including telecommunications services will enjoy closer trading ties with the Mainland. The Commerce, Industry and Technology Bureau is discussing with the industry a mechanism to strengthen co-operation between the IT and communications industries on both sides of the boundary. "Information technology is part of the drive for economic restructuring," Mr Wong said. "To maintain Hong Kong's prosperity, reinforcing Hong Kong's IT connection with the Pearl River Delta and investing in IT education is crucial." The Government is conducting a public consultation on the 2001 Digital 21 Strategy and plans to announce a new strategy in early 2004.

From http://www.itsd.gov.hk/ 11/13/2003

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Shanghai Marks Successful Bid for World Expo



Dancers perform at a soiree held on Nanjing Road last night to mark the first anniversary of Shanghai's successful bid to host the 2010 World Expo. The Exop is expected to attract more than 70 million visitors from home and abroad.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 12/03/2003

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Law Website Launched in Shanghai

Shanghai and the other six East China provinces formally launched a website East124.com yesterday to promote law awareness as well as provide law information and services. A monthly program of online law contest started on the site targeted at over 1 million Internet users. To mark the opening ceremony, key leaders of these areas' judicial department signed an inter-provincial cooperation agreement for the website. Yin Yicui, vice Party Secretary of Shanghai, and other provincial government leaders expressed their congratulation for the launch through the video channel via the website.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 12/08/2003

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Used Cell Phones Can Help the Elderly

The city's Civil Affairs Bureau is asking local residents to donate their old mobile phones so they can be turned into emergency first-aid alerts for the elderly. The request is part of a project called "emergency nurse" launched by the Shanghai Research Center on Aging and the Sunshine Service Center for the Aged, a local private company. The old phones can be refitted with an emergency button to contact the Sunshine Center if an elderly owner has an accident, such as someone who has fallen and can't get up. The central supervision room can locate the owner according to the information received and call hospitals as well as contacting the senior's family members, officials said. The alerts will also be able to function as ordinary cell phones. China unicom, the project's technical supporter, says it is considering offering discounts on phone charges to users of the device. The project is scheduled to be launched early next year. The sunshine Center declined to disclose how many phones it has received so far. Donors can take their old phones to the center at 201 Tianshanzhi Road or call 6259-0780. "The emergency nurse is specially designed to aid local empty nesters, as well as finding a solution to the increasing number of obsolete cell phones in the city," said Sun Pengbiao, vice director of the center. Currently, more than 1,000 old cell phones are abandoned in the city every day. Local youngsters pick up a new cell phone every 18 months on average, according to the Shanghai Morning Post. "Since old phones are often left idle at home, I would be glad to donate my old phone and do something for the seniors," said Yu Jia, a local office worker.

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 12/10/2003

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Largest Software Park Planned

Plans are in the works to build the largest software service center in northeast Asia in Dalian, a major port city in northeast China's Liaoning Province. "We have chosen one of the best areas in the city for software development," said Mayor Xia Deren speaking at an examination and appraisal meeting of the concept planning committee of the Dalian Lushun Southroad software industrial belt. As part of the second phase of the Dalian Software Park, the city invited six famous design and planning firms from around the world to develop a master plan for the belt. "The software industry needs lots of professionals. We have always considered creating an ideal environment for their work and living accommodations," said Xia. For the 10-square-kilometre space, located among hills and beautiful scenery, the planning stage is challenging, said Klaus Kohlstrung of the German-based Obermeyer Consulting Engineers, which presented a prize-winning plan. "After a thorough analysis of the area, we fell deeply in love with the great and beautiful software project," said Kohlstrung. Obermeyer's plan featured an environmentally friendly eco-concept that includes software research and development, production, neighborhood and leisure. Another prize-winning plan by the US-based Gensler Consulting and Architects is also human friendly and gives full consideration to nature and access to the belt.

From China Daily 12/13/2003

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China to Begin Building IPv6 Network Due for Completion by End of 2005

(TOKYO) -- China has begun preparations to construct a commercial IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) network. Bids for the project are soon to be received from telecom equipment makers, with the actual work of constructing the network to begin in the first half of 2004. China's telecom authorities used the second China Internet Expo, which ran from the end of November into December, to make known their plans to start concrete moves to realize the "China Next Generation Internet" (CNGI) project. The CNGI plan, which is expected to cost around 1.4 billion yuan and will run until the end of 2005, calls for the construction of a backbone IPv6 network linking China's major cities. Commercial services utilizing the network infrastructure will then begin in 2006, at which time China will be able to boast the world's largest IPv6 network. Six telecom operators and research institutes are participating in the IPv6 network -- China Telecom, China Netcom, China Unicom, China Mobile, China Railcom, and the China Education and Research Network (CERNET). Of the project's 1.4 billion yuan (20 billion yen) cost, 400 million yuan will come directly from the Chinese government, with the participating telecom operators set to provide the remainder. Work to actually build the network will be carried out jointly by the operators. China's mass media is featuring articles about IPv6. Some compare the telecom network to the high-speed railway that will soon link Beijing and Shanghai, calling it the "IPv6 Bullet Train." In others, experts are quoted warning that IPv4 addresses will wither away because all of China's 250 million mobile phone users will soon be able to access the Internet using their phones. The US Department of Defense said in June that by 2008 all of its existing IPv4 network infrastructure would be replaced by IPv6. The announcement signaled to equipment makers that they should start concentrating on IPv6, and was reinforced in October by the start of Moonv6 trials. Recently in Japan, there has been quite a lot of skepticism concerning IPv6. However, now that these large-scale IPv6 projects have been announced in China and the US, Japanese telecom operators and equipment manufacturers, which have grappled IPv6 in early stages, could stand to benefit if they seize the opportunity.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 12/31/2003

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China to Put 10 Satellites into Orbit in 2004

China's growing space program will take another great leap skyward this year. With a record number of satellite launches planned for 2004, the space program is entering a pivotal period. "We are looking to place 10 satellites into orbit in 2004, more than any other year in China's space history,'' Zhang Qingwei, a top aerospace official, told China Daily yesterday in an exclusive interview. The launch of new "stars" is the dramatic climax of the drive to boost China's aerospace industry. A new next-generation satellite, currently under development, is expected to help the country entrench itself firmly within the world's small but technologically demanding space community. The new model is a large-scale satellite based on a new platform. It has an expected mission life of 15 years, Zhang said. Zhang's comments were the clearest official statement to date concerning China's space plans for 2004. Last year the nation not only blasted six satellites into orbit but also joined the very small club of nations who have put men in space. Other than China, only the former Soviet Union and the Unites States have accomplished the feat. Including Probe-1, the first Sino-European joint satellite launched last week, there are 16 Chinese satellites still operating in orbit. That's far short of the surging needs created by economic growth and national defense requirements, Zhang said. Satellites with different functions, from weather to remote sensing and geographic information as well as scientific research ones, are key to speeding up the country's economic growth and communication systems. That's why more than 30 satellite launches were planned for the period between 2001-05 period alone. The 10 in the pipeline for this year include meteorological, natural resources and marine observation and geospace exploration satellites, Zhang said. The first of them, a small one carrying scientific experiments, will blast off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan Province around the end of this spring. But China's plans to boost its orbital presence go far beyond 2004. A constellation of small environmental monitoring and disaster forecast satellites will be established by 2010, said Yuan Jiajun, president of the Chinese Academy of Space Technology. Also, by leveraging the country's proven launch expertise, China is seeking to provide in-orbit delivered satellite solutions for foreign countries, said Jiang Weixing, vice-director of CASC's Aerospace Department But despite the number of launches, China's satellite manufacturing industry will have to jump some hurdles to boost sought-after exports. For years, the country has worked to export made-in-China satellites. To date, however, it has only managed to export satellite components under a 2002 agreement Yuan's academy signed with France's Alcatel Space. China's latest Dongfanghong satellite series, Dongfanghong-III, stands at only 3,000 watts in output power and has a working life of eight years. That's sometimes below the world's average, Jiang said. Mindful of the disparities with similar industries in other space-faring nations, the State Council has approved a massive plan to develop China's new-generation communications satellite platform. The new models have longer life spans, are more reliable and have a higher capacity, he said. Investment in the platform to date has amounted to 1.3 billion yuan (US$156 million), he said. Satellites based on this "most sophisticated" platform are expected to last for 15 years, carry up to 50 transponders and weigh about 5,100 kilograms at takeoff. Its end-of-life power output is expected to reach 10,000 watts, which will put it in line with the most advanced systems currently in use, Jiang said. More than that, China's newest platform will be capable of performing similar functions as the world's leading satellite platforms. That includes the world-leading Boeing702 of the Boeing Co, SB4000 of the Alcatel Space and A2100 of Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, said Hu Zhongmin, another official of the CASC. The Chinese platform could be used to develop large communication systems, live broadcast satellites and other types purposes, Hu said. Ultimately, the new satellites will deliver cleaner signals to ground based platforms even if they use smaller antennas, said Zhang. The first satellite system and the first satellite -- Sinosat-II -- to be built on this platform will be launched in the first half of 2005, Zhang said. He said satellites based on the new large-scale platform will find a niche in the global commercial satellite market. In fact, CASC is close to an agreement with the APT Satellite Co in Hong Kong to supply a backup satellite based on the new platform for APSTAR VI, a telecommunications array scheduled to be launched this year, Jiang said.

From China Daily 01/06/2004

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Website: Pay for Your Lost Wallets

A for-profit lost and found Website has been launched in Shanghai, drawing both praise and condemnation. The site - www.shswzl.com - posts detailed descriptions of lost property and objects that being found, together with the time and place objects were found. Those who discover items and people who lose belongings are both encouraged to post descriptions of objects on the Website. "We wanted to establish an information exchange platform for owners and founders to benefit both sides," said Wen Minggang, the service initiator, who was inspired by similar businesses he saw in other parts of China. If a match is made, losers can get back their lost property by contacting the Website. If you lose an ID card and you want it back, you'll need to pay 100 yuan (US$12), 50 percent of which goes to the founder. The remainder goes to the Website. As for other property, such as wallets, briefcases and cell phones, the fee is negotiable. To date, four lost items, including a cell phone, a driver's license, a graduation certificate and a digital camera, have been returned to their owners since the site was launched last month, leaving Wen with 330 yuan in commission. Seventeen lost items are still posted, together with nearly 80 items from founders; none of them have been matched yet. "Making the match has been more difficult than we first expected. The result has been sluggish business," said Wen, who originally expected some 90 percent of all posted information to be quickly matched. The Website is teaming up with local railways stations, parks and other public places to promote the service. The concept of a for-profit lost and found doesn't sit well some Chinese. "In China, people are taught to return lost property without compensation," said a local office worker surnamed Liu. Such profit-taking, she warned, could ruin traditional, noble values. But Wen insists the Website will inspire locals to do good deeds. "If it weren't for the reward, founders of property would unlikely return property. Our service encourages people to give back items that are dear to those who lost them," the service provider said. Gu Jun, a sociologist from Shanghai University, echoed that sentiment: "Returning lost property to its owner is always a worthy deed, whether a reward is offered or not."

From http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/ 01/06/2004

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Shenzhen to Become China's First City Without Rural Areas

A couple of weeks ago, 129 senior villagers in Bao'an District of southeast China's Shenzhen City received their first monthly pension, each one with 813 yuan (US$98) or more. Just the same as urban retirees, they now have a retirement certificate, a social security card and a pension deposit book. With the issue of Transitional Measures on Basic Pension Insurance of Urbanized People in Shenzhen's Bao'an and Longgang Districts on December 8, 2003, 152,000 villagers of former agricultural household registration in these two districts have joined in the social security system. It is reported that by the end of 2004, the existing and also the final 270,000 peasants in Shenzhen's Bao'an and Longgang districts will all complete their identity change from rural to urban residents. Shenzhen will become China's first metropolis to fully say goodbye to rural areas. "There are mainly two channels in developed countries to realize urbanization. One is the gradual transfer of a rural population to large or super-large cities with the development of industrialization. Compared with some cities in China, the total economic volume and city construction level in Bao'an and Longgang are no way inferior," said Huang Liman, the Party chief of Shenzhen. According to her, 11 years ago, the total agricultural output value of the two districts accounted for 10 percent of the GDP. The rural laboring population accounted for 10 percent of the total population. However now, the total agricultural output value only accounts for 2 percent of GDP. All farm work has been carried out by people hired from other places. All this indicates that currently the urbanization conditions for the two districts is fully mature. In 1992, Shenzhen extended the range of special economic zone to include Bao'an County. The county was accordingly divided into two districts of Bao'an and Longgang. Nowadays, the outlook of the two districts is nothing different from the city. The economic resources of most families come from commerce, house renting and profit sharing from the stocks of rural collective enterprises. But the organizational system of towns under these two districts remained, therefore the management system kept both models of city and rural areas. This has lead to many problems in city planning, construction and management and seriously restricts the development of the two districts, dragging the pace of modernization of Shenzhen in some extent. It is estimated that there are over 2,000 villages in Shenzhen, of which 200 more are in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. There are a total of 300,000 private buildings in the special economic zone, which have seriously affected the development of Shenzhen and the city outlook. According to relative departments, due to the existence of villages in the urban area, a series of social problems such as traffic jams and environmental pollution as well as complex social public security usually bothering only cities with long history have occurred in the young Shenzhen City of 20-year history. Huang Liman used "tumor" to describe the existence of villages in the city. Policy-makers have realized the reconstruction of villages in the city is not only the reconstruction of buildings, but also the transformation of living modes and lifestyles. The municipal authorities have nailed down 10 work focuses and policies covering administrative management, development planning, land resources, city planning, city management, household registration, family planning, social security, employment, education and Party building. Changes of these 10 aspects will be first piloted in Bao'an and Longgang and then comprehensively extended to other districts. Currently urbanization pilot work in these two regions has entered a crucial period. Land is the most complex and crucial problem in the work of urbanization. The land ownership of the two districts will be returned to the state after urbanization according to relative regulations. However, taking the real situation into consideration, the municipal government is deliberating to provide appropriate compensation to collective economic organizations during the alternation of the land right. The community residents' committees set up after the dismissal of administrative villages will break away from former collective economic organizations of villages. The wages of work staff and office expenses in the residents' committee will be shouldered by the committee according to the property they hold, and district finance will be responsible for the deficient part. Office land over 150 square meters and land for community service no less than 200 square meters will be taken out from the property of former villagers' committees. The property belongs to the community residents' committee. Currently 78 percent of administrative villages and 88 percent of village teams in these two districts have completed reconstruction of joint-stock cooperation systems. Previously, the ratio of rural insurance premiums paid by villagers in these two regions was very low with low return. Villagers received the pension every 10 years with each one only 10.8 yuan (US$1.3) every month. The transitional measures regulate that the ratio of pension insurance premium is 14 percent, of it the join-stock company pays 9 percent while the individual pays 5 percent. It is reported that according to the lowest standard, a 55-year-old woman villager who pays 71 yuan (US$8.5) insurance premium a month, can receive 830-yuan (US$100) pension every month after she is qualified for receiving conditions. According to the regulations, the basic pension insurance treatment of villagers includes pension, funeral subsidies, and pensions paid in one lump sum to sustain the life of their lineal relatives and medical insurance premium equal to the city employees. Once they are ill, they can enjoy the highest reimbursement of 312,000 yuan (US$37,695) just like employees in city enterprises. The municipal and district governments will allocate 660 million yuan (US$79.7 million) within five years to pay social security fees for over 70,000 former villagers who have reached retirement age and paid the premium regularly but haven't reached the number of years required. (by Wang Qian and Daragh Moller)

From http://www.China.org.cn 01/07/2004

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IRAN: Computer Gives Slideshow of Nameless Victims

Iranian authorities and the national Red Crescent society on Tuesday began an effort to identify the hundreds of nameless bodies being buried en masse in quake-hit Bam with a computer running a slideshow of sometimes gruesome digital photographs. At the mass burial site in Bam, where close to 20,000 have been buried in large trenches dug by mechanical diggers, a small white van has been positioned with a laptop computer placed next to the back window. The computer is running a looped sequence of some 500 digital images_5 -- and the number is growing -- showing the faces of victims who have been buried without anyone knowing who they were. As the Microsoft Powerpoint software flips from portrait to portrait, a growing group of people crowd around. Officials set up the facility to answer appeals from families pouring into the city to hunt for missing relatives but cannot find their names on official lists. One photo seen showed an icy-faced moustachioed man, probably in his 30's, in a black Red Crescent body bag. Next to his face, a latex glove holds a scrap of paper indicating where the body was dug up. Other pictures were of women and children of all ages, with the stench of death from the grave site adding to the gruesome, but essential, service provided by Iranian official. Meanwhile, a steady stream of bodies continued to arrive at the mass grave site, a former wasteground of some three to four square kilometers close to the edge of the city.

From http://iran.ru/ 12/30/2003

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'Intelligence Petrol Card' for Cars

The Oil Products Distribution Institution in Qeshm has distributed intelligence gasoline cards for forty percent of the cars plying in the southern region, the director of the institution said Sunday. 'We predict to provide the entire cars with such cards,' Davoud Arabali said, adding that the intelligence cards have given rise to 20% reduction in gas oil consumption. He put the daily gasoline consumption at 130-160,000 liters and the diesel fuel use at 140 to 180,000 liters per day in the region and said, 'Low fuel prices in Iran feed smuggling along the borders and the intelligence cards would safeguard national assets.' '1,000 fishing boats and 500,000 marine buses have also received intelligence cards,' Arabali said, Iran will need to import more gasoline in the next calendar year starting March as fuel consumption is up and the country is facing the prospect of serious petrol shortages in the coming months. Iran is OPEC's number two exporter, but its skyrocketing local consumption as well as the smuggling of subsidized fuel across to Afghanistan and Pakistan is rapidly eating away at local supplies. Recent official figures put petrol consumption at 57 million liters per day, a 13 percent increase on last year. The Islamic republic's refineries, however, can only put out 38.5 million liters a day, meaning the remainder is imported at an annual cost to the government of 1.5 billion dollars. Overall subsidies cost the government an estimated 3.5 billion dollars a year, a hefty chunk out of the national budget.

From http://iran.ru/ 01/12/2004

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JAPAN: Research Team Sets World Record in Fast Data Transfer

TOKYO - A Japanese research team said Monday it has set a world record in long-distance data transfer by transmitting data at 6.8 gigabytes per second over a distance of 15,680 kilometers between Japan and the United States. The speed is equivalent to transferring data from a two-hour movie contained on a digital versatile disc (DVD) in less than five seconds, said the joint team of researchers from the University of Tokyo, Fujitsu Laboratories and other institutions.

From Kyodo News 11/11/2003

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Japan's DSL Subscribers Expected to Surpass 10 Million in December

TOKYO -- The number of subscribers of xDSL services in Japan, including asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL), reached 9,590,349 at the end of October, up 361,663 from the figure recorded a month before, the government said. A monthly gain of around 360,000 was higher than the previous month's 340,000, according to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. If this momentum continues, the total number of xDSL subscribers will exceed 10 million within this year. By service provider, Softbank BB Corp's Yahoo! BB gained 151,000 subscribers since the end of September. Softbank had a total of 3,399,000 subscribers at the end of October, with the market share of 35.4%. Meanwhile, NTT regional companies, NTT East Corp and NTT West Corp's "Flet's ADSL" gained 117,177 subscribers for a total of 3,552,295 at the end of October (1,967,895 subscribers for NTT East and 1,584,400 subscribers for NTT West) with a combined market share of 37.0%. The gap between the market shares of Softbank and the NTT camp narrowed. Japan's xDSL service providers are now making more efforts to gain subscribers in December when most Japanese companies give their employees bonuses. NTT East and NTT West are staging a special campaign from October 1 to the end of December, in which newcomers to any of NTT's Flet's ADSL services can enjoy the services without paying for three months at the longest. Meanwhile, Softbank announced October 30 that it would continue a similar campaign through the end of November.

From http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/ 11/21/2003

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Digital TV Broadcasting Starts

TOKYO - Terrestrial digital television broadcasting services started on Monday in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, with Japan Broadcasting Corp (NHK) and private TV stations broadcasting special commemorative programs. The services will initially be available to around 12 million households. At 11 a.m., Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, telecom minister Taro Aso and various celebrities marked the countdown to the start of digital transmissions in a nationally televised ceremony at Tokyo's Akasaka Prince Hotel, along with news announcers from seven major TV stations.

From Kyodo News 12/01/2003

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Broadband Tops List of 10 Hottest Items of 2003

TOKYO - This year's 10 hottest products and items chosen by Japanese consumers reflect their expectations of an increase in optimism and changes in their lifestyle as economic activity continues to improve, advertising agency Dentsu Inc said Tuesday. The top 10 list is headed by "broadband" communications. Ranked second and third are health-oriented "amino-acid beverages" and the film "Odoru Daisosasen (Bayside Shakedown) - THE MOVIE II." Then came compact digital cameras, Japanese players in MLB, HDD and DVD hybrid recorders, "Spring of Trivia" TV program, thin-panel TVs (plasma and liquid crystal), products related to the "Harry Potter" books and Internet auctions.

From Kyodo News 12/10/2003

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Resident Registry Network Vulnerable to Hacker Attacks

NAGANO - Hackers can break into Japan's online resident registry network and change personal data on the registry, Nagano Gov Yasuo Tanaka said Tuesday. Although the government has defended the system, known as Juki Net, as comprehensively protected, testers successfully hacked prefectural servers without having personal access numbers, the reformist governor told a press conference in announcing interim results of Juki Net security tests.

From Kyodo News 12/16/2003

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University's Computer-Game Course Enjoying Popularity

OSAKA - Japan's first university course in computer-game studies is proving such a hit that it has been oversubscribed 20 times over. Hirotaka Uoi, a professor at Osaka Electro-Communication University, said Monday that more than 950 people applied to the school's Department of Digital Games for just 40 available places.

From Kyodo News 12/16/2003

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Sony Develops Humanoid Robot Capable of 'Running'

TOKYO - Sony Corp said Thursday it has developed what it claims to be the world's first humanoid robot capable of "running" at a speed of 14 meters per minute or 0.84 kilometer per hour. The consumer electronics giant said it has greatly enhanced the central processing unit controlling the robot, named QRIO, which can also jump, move sideways and make circling movements.

From Kyodo News 12/19/2003

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Subscription Contracts for BB Net Services Top 13 Mil

TOKYO - The tally of subscription contracts for broadband high-speed Internet connection services came to 13.15 million as of Nov. 30, eclipsing the 13 million line for the first time ever, the government said Friday. The total signified an increase of 432,000 contracts over the preceding month, the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications said.

From Kyodo News 12/27/2003

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Toyota to Unveil Robot for Practical Uses at 2005 Expo

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp plans to unveil a humanoid robot developed mainly for practical uses at the 2005 Aichi World Exposition, a major Japanese business daily reported Tuesday. The robot, which will likely play a horn instrument and provide some form of entertainment at the expo in Aichi Prefecture, is mainly developed for practical uses, such as relieving physical burden of factory workers and provide help in nursing care and in rescue situations, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.

From Kyodo News12/30/2003

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27% of Major Firms Using IP Phone Networks

TOKYO - More than a quarter of 110 major companies in Japan have introduced low-cost Internet-based IP telephones and half are planning to do so, according to a Kyodo News survey released Saturday. IP telephony, which is spreading in Japan with the growth of broadband communications, enables companies to cut operating costs. Hitachi Ltd told Kyodo its annual calling expenses have dropped to 500 million yen from 1.71 billion yen.

From Kyodo News 01/04/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: Sangam Digital Street



Imagine yourself approach a street lamppost at night and the light is automatically on, with music being played. Your laptop computer is connected to the wireless Internet. At a payphone booth, you can have a file downloaded, listening to music, or do a business with a bank or a government office. Fantastic? This will be realized in the DMC (Digital Media City) in Sangam-dong as early as 2006. For the three-phase project for establishment of the DMS (Digital Media Street) whose work will be started from March 2004, the Seoul City plans to put 1.8 billion won by 2006 in erection of a structure symbolizing the DMC, intelligent "IP-Intelights", media boards and info-booths. The IP-Intelights are automatically on with a person approaching and off as he walks off. Music that goes well with the street atmosphere is played. People can be freely engaged in wired/wireless communications. The media boards fixed on buildings will replace existing signboards. People can use the info-booths for multi-purposes, i.e. as payphones, cash dispensers, web-kiosks and PC bangs. With all these realized, the DMS is expected to be an arena for businesses to demonstrate their new digital technologies and applicational products. In the research project entrusted by the Seoul City, teams at MIT, KAIST, Sungkunkwan University have participated for a year. (by Lee, Seung-hyun)

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 10/31/2003

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77 Villages Are Added to the List of Information Network Villages

The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs(MOGAHA) decided to carry out the 'Information Network Village(invil)' fosterage project in earnest starting from 2003. This decision reflects positive evaluation on the first and second pilot projects of information network village fosterage, and local residents' strong will to promote the project. 214 villages applied for the project nation-wide, and 77 villages were selected. A total of 27 billion won has been budgeted for the project. In order to select information network villages impartially, MOGAHA revealed the evaluation standards to the public before the selection, including self-governing body's will to promote the project, residents' will to participate, the profit model and the village environment. The evaluation committee made up of experts from the governmental and private sectors visited the candidate villages and selected the project villages through an actual inspection. The pilot project of information network village of developed country type fosterage placed priority to realization of competitive farming and fishing villages. The pilot project carried out fosterage of Internet usage environment and establishment of information contents for two years from 2001. As a result, the project succeeded in achieving the objective, namely, 'activation of local economy and balanced local development' through residents' information life style and substantial profit creation. In order for this project starting from 2003 to find and foster various models by developing achievements of the pilot project the following actions are to be done.

From NCA IT e-Newsletter 11/04/2003

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Seoul City Maps Out New Town Project

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced yesterday a plan to build a dozen new towns in northern and southwestern parts of the capital. It also designated five sites in the relatively underdeveloped parts of Seoul as hubs for promoting balanced urban development. Announcing the plan, Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak said the city would push for a comprehensive project to link the construction of roads, parks and transportation facilities to the creation of new towns and balanced development hubs. The new town project is designed to enhance the development of northern and southwestern areas of Seoul, which lag far behind the posh southern districts of the city. The city government designated three neighborhoods in the city's northeastern zone as exemplary places for new town development last year and plans to start construction work on them by next February. The mayor said detailed plans for developing the 12 additional new towns would be drawn up by the end of September in 2004. Construction work on the towns will begin as early as the end of next year after consultations with residents and other citizens who are interested in the project are completed. The designation of the five balanced development hubs will help disperse commercial and business ventures, which are now excessively concentrated in Seoul's southern districts of Gangnam, the mayor said. Lee said the city would continue to designate additional new towns possibly in the latter half of next year. "We plan to develop as many as 25 new towns by 2012, although there can be some changes to our plan," Lee said in a briefing to reporters. In connection with the new town project, the city is planning to build a well-conditioned high school in 14 wards in the northern parts of the capital, city officials said. "The comprehensive plan for developing new towns will be the best way to promote the development of the northern zones of Seoul to match the living conditions of the Gangnam area," Lee said. He said he also hoped the new town project, which would entail massive housing and other construction projects, would help boost the sluggish economy and reduce unemployment, especially among young people. "I'm sure Seoul will be a more comfortable place to live in when the new town project is complete, along with another project to restore the Cheonggyecheon(Stream)," the mayor said. (by Kim kyung-ho)

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 11/19/2003

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Online B2C Deals Drop

Frozen consumer sentiment resulting from the ongoing economic slowdown led business-to-consumer (B2C) online transactions to decrease in the second quarter for the first time in the past two and a half years. The National Statistical Office (NSO) said on Sunday that the B2C volume in cyberspace amounted to 1.46 trillion won in the second quarter of this year, down 0.3 percent from 1.47 trillion won in the preceding quarter. B2C business had been growing some 3-36 percent since marking 525 billion won in the first quarter of 2001, 588 billion won in the second, 656 billion won in the third, 811 billion won in the fourth, 1.14 trillion won in the first quarter of 2002, 1.24 trillion won in the second, 1.28 trillion won in the third and 1.42 trillion won in the last quarter of 2002. The volume of online business transaction totaled 57.15 trillion won in the April-June period, up 7.9 percent from January-March and 31.8 percent from the same quarter in 2002. Although B2C trade on the Internet has dropped off, business-to-business transactions rose 6.3 percent to 50.34 trillion won quarter-on-quarter. Those of business-to-government surged 30.2 percent to 5.25 trillion won for the period. The number of online shopping malls registered 3,320 in the second quarter, up 4.1 percent from the first quarter and 36.8 percent from a year ago, despite the B2C volume decrease. The number of online-only businesses accounted for 41.3 percent, or 1,370 Web sites, while businesses operating both on- and offline numbered 1,950 sites, or 58.7 percent of the total. The former increased 6.9 percent, or 89 businesses, in the second quarter over the first as the latter saw a 2.3 percent rise, or 43 businesses. (by Bae Keun-min)

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 11/23/2003

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E-commerce Capital

Seoul upgrades Telecom infrastructure in a bid to be the most wired city on earth. The upgrades link directly to the city's booming e-commerce sector. Despite what citizens here commonly say, Korea is in fact not the most wired nation on earth. As noted below in the chart below by the International Communication Union, Korea actually finishes fourth, behind Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland. However, Seoul is making a bid to reach the top slot, with recent announcements of major telecom upgrades. The Korean government recently announced a plan to spend over 2.1 trillion won on a project to upgrade the nation's broadband services, with a little over half that investment to be induced from the private sector. When completed in 2010, the speed of Korea's broadband system will be 100 mega bytes per second (mbps). The goal of the Korean government is to push a great deal of commercial and government services online, from education to hotel reservations. Online services reduce the cost of doing business in the country, and have the potential for substantially upgrading the nation's human capital as well. One competitive danger Seoul is in fact now facing is that the Scandinavian countries above it are intensifying their own efforts at deepening their telecommunication infrastructures. These nations are also backed up by the deep pockets of the EU, which has slated Telecom as a key sector for growth. While Korea does in fact have the world's highest per-capita Internet and cell phone usage, the economic advantages in the sector come to nations who can most effectively leverage their telecom infrastructure to improve business services. Personal recreational usage of the Internet alone does not push development; only when the Internet is used as an aid to commerce does it become a real tool for economic growth. To help realize this, the national government has taken the right step in attempting to deepen the country's national broadband infrastructure. Likewise, the Ministry of Information and Communication has moved to spend large sums of money to give the nation a wireless Internet capacity for passenger vehicles; this capacity is known as "telematics." Already widely popular in the West and Japan, Seoul is running to catch up in this area, creating a national traffic database that travelers will be able to access in their cars. The wireless car-based Internet will also provide the full range of Web services, from e-mail to news to online gaming. To this end, Seoul will play host to a large number of information terminal sites which will broadcast the information. The retail e-commerce sector has taken off dramatically in Korea, totaling 1.7 trillion won in the second quarter of 2003 alone, an increase of 16% over the same period last year. More importantly, the critical Business to Business (B2B) sector is growing quickly. The most recent statistics below show that Korea's B2B sector is developing apace, with B2B e-commerce in the republic now taking up the lion's share of total e-commerce in the country. This increasing B2B e-commerce, along with the nation's intensifying efforts at developing the nation's broadband infrastructure, keeps Seoul in the race to be number one in Internet-based economic growth. However, one thing that needs to be addressed is the Business to Government (B2G) sector. One of the key hindrances to economic growth in the Seoul-Incheon corridor is the inordinate amount of bureaucratic red tape that firms, both foreign and domestic, must go through in order to operate here. Putting government business forms on the Web would be an excellent way to help grow investment, and would be a special attraction for foreign firms. Streamlining such documentation is as important as putting it online, however; simply maintaining the current amount of documentation in a Web format is of no significant assistance to companies. The city-state of Singapore, for example, has received high praise for its advanced and streamlined e-government tools. There is no reason Seoul cannot do the same, especially as e-commerce continues to boom in the country, and Seoul's Internet infrastructure upgrades continue. (by C.S. Brantley)

From http://www.seoulnow.net/ 12/01/2003

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Portal Site on IT Export Information Opens

A portal site exclusively devoted to export information for IT companies (ITX:www.itx.or.kr) went into operation on Wednesday (Dec. 10). On hand at the ceremony to celebrate the construction of IT export information database and kick off the site operation at the Information Ministry building in Seoul were scores of related figures including Chin Dae-je, Information Minister. Existing export information was scattered among different institutions, which made it difficult for smaller IT companies to get the information necessary to explore overseas markets. Accordingly, small- and medium-sized IT firms have repeatedly called for a system that will provide information on overseas markets. The site available in Korean and English languages provides information on trade, marketing, distribution and prices at 65 countries and their export information and related statistics on 70 detailed items in 18 categories. The ministry expects that the site would contribute to increased exports at 40,000 smaller IT companies by solving the paucity of information.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 12/13/2003

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Huge New Urban Center Planned for Daejeon

The government plans to develop a new residential area on 4.65 million pyeong (15.34 million square meters) of land in Daejeon city's southwestern region. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation (MOCT) said Monday that the ministry has fixed a plan to develop 1.77 million of the total 4.65 million pyeong as a housing complex, as the first phase of an overall development plan. About 70,000 houses and apartment units are to be built in the area, to accommodate 230,000 residents, according to the plan. The city will be smaller than Gyeonggi Province's Bundang district, which occupties 5.94 million pyeong and houses 97,580 families, and similar to Ilsan city, which spans 4.76 million pyeong and has 69,000 families. According to the ministry, a total of 23,676 housing units, including 21,188 apartment units and 2,120 houses, will be built in the first-phase region of the planned city. Of the houses planned in the first phase development plan, 5,698 units, or 26.9 percent, are to be built as low-cost rental housing to be supplied to families that do not own a house. Sales of the apartments and houses planned in the first-phase region will start in June 2008 and families can move in beginning in June 2010, the ministry said. (by Cha Hak-bong)

From http://srch.chosun.com/ 12/15/2003

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ROK Creates Virtuous Circle for Informatization

South Korea has created a virtuous circle for the development of an information-based society thanks to the concerted efforts of the government, the corporate sector and individuals, Minister of Information and Communication Chin Dae-je has said. Chin made the points when outlining Korea's progress toward the information age on the last day of the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS), which ran Dec. 10-12 in Geneva, Switzerland. He told delegates representing 175 countries that strong government leadership coupled with individual and corporate efforts provided the momentum for Korea's building of an e-inclusive society. Chin said the government has overhauled the relevant laws and regulations as well as removed obstacles as part of the steps to promote the maturing of an information society. Chin also pointed out the massive investment in information technology (IT) industries by companies, a large consumer base for the IT market and the knowledge technology-savvy Koreans as the main factors behind the nation's rapid advancement to the information age. Korea is touted as the most-wired country in the world with more than 10 million broadband Internet subscribers. On the sidelines of the UN-sponsored conference, Chin met with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Boon-yang and the two agreed that their countries should quickly forge a free trade agreement (FTA) to accelerate IT-related exchanges.

From http://www.korea.net/ 12/15/2003

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Government to Support Local Universities' Recruitment of IT Experts

The Ministry of Information and Communication reported Wednesday (Dec. 17) that it would allocate a total of 5.37 billion won next year to finance a grant program to help local educational institutions recruit IT experts. Under the program, a total of 250 IT experts will be teaching or conducting research at local universities or junior colleges across the nation next year. This year, 196 experts were dispatched to 77 schools. The program initiated in 1998 is aimed at producing specialized IT manpower to meet the industrial demands. Institutions interested in receiving grants can download an application form from the homepage of the Institute of Information Technology Assessment (ww.iita.re.kr). Applications are due by January 15.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 12/28/2003

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Handbook on Overseas IT Organizations Published

The Korea Association of Information and Telecommunication (KAIT), an affiliate of the Ministry of Information and Communication, has recently published a handbook on overseas IT organizations. The publication carries detailed information on the IT organizations of such IT powerhouses as the U.S., Canada, Britain, Germany, Japan, China and Singapore. It specifically provides information on the history, founding purposes, responsibilities, functions and membership status of the organizations. Contained in the handbook also are accounts on the OECD Future Forum and Rome Club, and the current status of economic indicators and statistics announcement of various countries. In this regard, the ministry said that the handbook would serve as references for the formulation of government policies and corporate management strategies. KAIT will distribute copies of the handbook free through IT organizations and public institutions. The book's content is also available on the KAIT homepage (www.kait.or.kr).

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 12/22/2003

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Free Business Form On-line Service Launched

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy launched a free business form online service on Friday (Dec. 26) through the websites of the 35 Electronic Commerce Resource Centers nationwide (www.docu-ecrc.or.kr of www.bizform.or.kr). The service is designed to help small- and medium-sized companies to handle usual accounting affairs. The service enables users to easily write out and deliver various kinds of business forms including tax bill and specifications of transaction, as well as providing information on past records. The ministry expects that the service will contribute to improving productivity of smaller firms by reducing cost and time necessary for handling various documents.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 12/26/2003

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Pyongyang Goes Online, with Help from a German Investor

A German entrepreneur signed a contract on Feb. 16 with North Korea to provide the country with Internet access in time for North Korean leader Kim Jong Il's birthday, the German newspaper Tages Spiegel reported Saturday. Former banker Jan Holtermann, 49, entered into a contract in January with North Korea's KCC. So far, Holtermann has invested about 700,000 euros to build an Internet communications network in North Korea. Through the network, Holtermann plans to provide data transmission and software development centers run by North Korean KCC professionals, to take orders and sell products to the German and European market. Holtermann said that North Koreans have better management skills, and a lower income, than Indians. Moreover, he said that because of the time difference in Europe and in North Korea, a European client can ask for urgent data solutions in the evening, and KCC could provide answers by the next morning. To do so, Holtermann has also established KCC Europe, located at the office of the North Korean Embassy in Berlin. A server, two monitors and a pile of other equipment are installed at the office. In Pyongyang, a proxy server is connected to a satellite for Internet access. After the unification of Germany, Holtermann moved to Berlin and ran his own business exporting used machinery, made in East Germany, to Asia. He first dealt with North Korea when he brought over German cellists to the country for a concert in 2000. Realizing that North Korea had no Internet access, Holtermann decided to be the first to jump into the market.

From http://srch.chosun.com/ 12/28/2003

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KAZAKHSTAN: New Generation Mail Boxes in Almaty

New generation street mail boxes, equipped with a digital system of control over collection of mail are being placed on Almaty streets, Kazpost press service reports. The first of such mail boxes has been placed at the crossroads of Seifullin Ave. and Bogenbai batyr Street by the building of the central office of "Kazpost" OJSC. BY the end of the current year around 30 such mail boxes will be placed in the city. These new generation mail boxes, equipped with an autonomous code device, are produced at Almaty plant "Etalon". They are bright yellow. Traditional blue mail boxes will continue functioning - there are 193 of them in Almaty - until they are replaced by the new ones. Kazpost workers, collecting the letters, will be equipped with special digital checking devices. Each collection of mail will be registered and after passing the whole route, the information on the collection of mail will be transferred to a computer - the time of mail collection, the schedule of collection, if the collection has been carried out from all the mail boxes as per the schedule. The new generation mail boxes will allow to carry out additional control over timely and good quality collection of letters. In CIS such mail boxes have been already placed in Ukraine and Estonia.

From http://www.gazeta.kz/ 12/19/2003

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TAJIKISTAN: TV and Radio Broadcasting Expanding in Eastern Tajikistan

Twenty-four television stations broadcasting Tajik state television programs and seven rebroadcasting programs from Russia's RTR began functioning in eastern Tajikistan's Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast in 2003, Asia Plus-Blitz reported on 8 January. Radio and television reception in the mountainous region has always been a problem for broadcasters. According to an official at the regional radio and television center in Khorog, the administrative capital of the oblast, the new stations reach 70 percent of the oblast's inhabitants. Previously, only slightly more than one-half could receive television signals. The entire population of the oblast is supposed to be able to receive television and radio by 2007. BB

From http://www.rferl.org/ 01/09/2004

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TURKMENISTAN: Alumni Create New Website about Turkmen Culture in Ashgabat

On December 3, Ahmed Abdurahmanov (Muskie 03), Bibi Meredova (FSAU 03), Gulyalek Amannazarova (FSAU 03), and Murad Sariyev (FSAU 02) created a new website about Turkmen crafts at the IATP Alumni Resource Center in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The alumni had participated in IATP's Web design seminar and decided to use their new skills to provide a good source of information about Turkmen crafts online. The website's authors had access to numerous print materials with extensive information about Turkmenistan, but saw a pressing need for an online resource on the subject. After careful consideration, they decided to publish the first version of the website in Russian, in order to reach both a foreign and a domestic audience simultaneously. The website, which is the only online resource of its kind, contains a concise history of Turkmenistan's traditional crafts and a gallery with photographs of Turkmen jewelry, embroidery, rugs, and carpets with annotations at www.iatp.edu.tm/tmart. The group took pride in the fact that, although the Turkmen craft culture has existed for thousands of years, they are the first people ever to post significant information about it online. They feel that they have only scratched the surface, though, and eagerly look forward to expanding the website, opening to the world a wider window on Turkmenistan's culture.

From http://www.irex.org/ 12/12/2003

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UZBEKISTAN: Telephone Operators Face Illegal Competitors

Tashkent telephone operators have faced unexpected competitors. On the results of the first 10 months of 2003, losses from this competition have already made up 60 million soums. Illegal private providers are the main competitors of Uzbektelecom joint-stock company, which owns 52 points of international and long-distance communication. The scheme of their work is simple: a mobile phone and a VIP-package of any cellular company are bought. For clients, calling from such phone is cheaper than from any city telephone booth. Last year, earnings from city telephone mini substations made up 325 million soums, of which 45 million soums were assigned as taxes. The development of illegal call services in 2003 was one of the main reasons for losses of Tashkent telephone operators, Ahborot reported.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 11/18/2003

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Istiqbolbank Issues over 1.13bn of Credits in 2003

Open joint-stock bank Istiqbolbank issued credits to 52 clients worth 1.13 billion soums as of 1 December, of which 224.43 million soums were given to 17 businesses, 702.86 million soums to 31 enterprises and organisations and 2.67 million soums to 4 individuals as car credits.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 12/26/2003

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INDONESIA: Survey Shows Retailers Increase IT Spending

Retail companies around the world with annual revenues of more than US$100 million, including four companies in Indonesia, spent 2.1 percent of their total sales on information technology (IT), higher than last year's total of 1.7 percent, according to the 2003 Retail CIO Survey. The survey, conducted by IBM Business Consulting Service in association with Executive Technology magazine, shows that the increase in IT spending is driven by an increased focus on business initiatives such as outsourcing, revamping of Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems and improved enterprise reporting and analysis. These initiatives are expected to deliver benefits, such as improved customer responsiveness, greater productivity, cost reduction and increased enterprise flexibility. ASEAN/South Asia Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail chief Patrick Medley said on Monday that retailers globally were focused on improving business results through IT investment and were increasingly aligning technology investments with their business strategy. This is represented by the findings that indicates 59 percent of the retailers' main reason for increasing IT spending is enhancing employee productivity and improving customer satisfaction. Thirty percent of the companies surveyed are from the Asia-Pacific region, with the remainder located in North America and Europe. Seventy-nine percent of the Asia-Pacific retailers have prioritized executive reporting and analytics, while Data Warehousing is a corporate priority, according to 75 percent of the retailers in the region. Nearly 40 percent of retailers are expecting to allocate at least 20 percent or more of their IT budgets on outsourced projects in the next three to five years. The survey indicates that the motivation behind IT outsourcing is to reduce operating costs as it was chosen by 37 percent of the respondents. However, the retailers are still focused on solving fundamental challenges, such as the lack of IT integration and outdated POS systems. Today's retail environment, with its increasingly competitive intensity, unforgiving financial pressures and unpredictable threats, requires retailers to fuse IT with business strategies to compete effectively and survive. (by Eva C. Komandjaja)

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

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Bring Wireless Connection to Your Home and Office

People can now more easily and comfortably log on to the Internet at homes and offices, thanks to Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi transceivers, which have been set up in various cafes, hotels, restaurants and airports in big cities across the country, are now available on the market for home and office use, industry players said on Wednesday. "People are now free from the hassles caused by wire connections to get connected to the Internet. Thanks to Wi-Fi technology, they can log on to the Internet wirelessly," country manager of Intel Indonesia Corporation Budi Wahyu Jati said at a technology showcase. A branded and high-quality Wi-Fi transceiver, known in the industry as an access point, costs US$200 to $500, while nonbranded ones are available more cheaply, said Budi. Wi-Fi technology, which is already popular in large cities across the world, has just been introduced to Indonesia. But so far, it is available only at public places here. In such places, wireless connectivity can be found at locations termed "hotspots" by industry players. These enable people to connect to the Internet using their laptop or personal digital assistant (PDA) wirelessly in cafes, restaurants and airports within a radius of 50 meters of an access point. Separately, Stephanus Jonatan, marketing manager of CBN, one of the largest Internet providers here, told The Jakarta Post the Wi-Fi transceiver was about 15 centimeters (cm) by 25 cm in size and easy to place in homes or offices. To make a connection with Wi-Fi transceivers, people should use laptops and PDAs that are "Wi-Fi ready." Otherwise, they have to buy a 802.11b PC card for their laptop. These are available on the market at $100 to $150. Users should also subscribe to an Internet service provider for an Internet connection, according to Stephanus. Users thus need only pay Internet connection costs, which are as much as normal Internet connection costs, but do not have to pay for phone connections, he said. Intel, the world's largest chip maker, produces its Wi-Fi chip for laptops under the brand name Centrino and has spent $300 billion on promoting it worldwide. Most laptops produced this year have been equipped with the Intel Centrino chip. Separately, head of marketing support at Toshiba Novi Suryadi told the Post that of about 2,000 Toshiba laptops sold every month in Indonesia, 20 percent to 25 percent were equipped with Centrino.

From http://www.thejakartapost.com/ 12/11/2003

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MALAYSIA: E-Pay Offers Online Top-Up for Celcom Clients

E-PAY (M) Sdn Bhd will soon be introducing online electronic top-up (e top-up) for pre-paid mobile phone cards with one of Malaysia's leading cellular service providers, Celcom. According to e-pay executive director Mohd Hassan Said, this groundbreaking e top-up convenience means a pin-less and voucher-less auto reload method that is more secure and error-free. He said that consumers now did not have to stress their eyes on the long personal identification numbers and then worry about keying it in correctly. "Now, Celcom customers have an option to just swipe the e top-up card into the e-pay terminal and the talk time credit will be added to their mobile phone. All this happens in a matter of 10 seconds," he added. For Internet access top-up, e-pay's business partners are Jaring and TM Net. Its unique solution is also being accepted by major pre-paid International Direct Dialling operators including DiGi chatz, iTalk, Ring-Ring card, TimeKontact and Flexicall. The e top-up is a method of reloading by swiping a customer's magnetic strip identity card through an e-pay terminal. The user is then prompted to select from the valid denominations. In the absence of a customer card, the mobile phone may be entered manually into the terminal to perform the e top-up. The transaction is then sent to the appropriate network for instant reload of the mobile phone account.

From http://thestar.com.my 11/18/2003

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EMC Sets Sights on Top Spot

EMC Computer Systems (M) Sdn Bhd aims to be the top networked storage company in Malaysia by 2005 by offering a comprehensive range of storage solutions with strong focus on the local small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). "We believe SMEs will be among the key drivers of growth in the storage market especially with major implementation of enterprise applications such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or CRM (Customer Relationship Management)," EMC's new managing director K. Raman said. More importantly, Raman said, enterprises were also expected to move from direct attached storage (DAS) by adopting networked storage like SAN (Storage Area Network) and NAS (Network-Attached Storage) environments in the immediate future. On the outlook for Malaysia's storage market, he said SAN revenue was expected to increase to US$40.1mil in 2007 from US$24.1mil last year. NAS revenue will also grow to US$26.1mil in 2007 against US$3.4mil last year. The external DAS revenue, however, was projected to drop to US$10.2mil in 2007 from US$25mil last year. "The storage industry has moved from an IT issue to acquire a status of strategic importance to enterprises," Raman said at a media briefing on Malaysia's network storage market outlook and EMC Malaysia's strategies in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. According to Raman, businesses are increasingly placing greater focus on good storage systems for business continuity, disaster management, and data replication in view of classical cases like the Sept 11 terrorist attacks and the Enron scandal in the US. For Malaysia, ongoing mergers and acquisitions and expectations of further banking and insurance sector mergers also required good network storage consolidation, he added.

From http://thestar.com.my 11/20/2003

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Accreditation a Must for E-Degrees

All courses, including Masters and PhD programmes, offered by foreign institutions via distance or e-learning will not be recognised by the Government until they are accredited by the National Accreditation Board (LAN). Education Minister Tan Sri Musa Mohamad said companies or institutions that continued to offer these e-degrees in the absence of accreditation would be operating illegally. "To obtain accreditation, the university itself has to apply, not the company," he told reporters after chairing his ministry's post-Cabinet meeting yesterday. Asked about action to be taken against companies and institutions that ignored this directive, the minister said that "reasonable time" would be given for the universities to apply for LAN accreditation as this was a new move. In the past, companies were allowed to enrol students for part-time studies via distance and e-learning without LAN accreditation. "Now, even the act of registering students for online courses will be considered an act of education, and thus, illegal," said Musa. He added that the decision - reached in October by the Public Services Department's Committee on Continuous Assessment and Recognition of Qualifications - was necessary in light of the increased number of sub-standard degrees available in the market. "For example, there is a case where candidates can obtain their PhDs in 18 months by forking out a mere US$15,000. "Using this method, lecture material is mailed to students or obtained from the Internet. "Sometimes, lectures are held in hotels or, at certain institutions of higher learning, in the form of one- to three-week long seminars conducted by local or foreign staff," he said, adding that the usual time to complete a PhD was between four and five years. Musa said that some foreign universities even claimed that their part-time distance and e-learning programmes were recognised by the Malaysian Government, when it was the full-time ones that were recognised. Graduates with degrees obtained through unaccredited part-time distance and e-learning programmes could no longer be employed by the Government, he said, adding that students currently enrolled in these programmes had to assess for themselves the quality of the institutions concerned and if the programmes would be accredited. Musa said the move was not to deny people the right to education but to ensure that qualifications obtained in Malaysia were of the highest quality.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 12/04/2003

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80 Learner Drivers Left in The Lurch Over E-Tes

About 80 learner drivers were dumbfounded when they arrived at the Road Transport Department (JPJ) here for their theory e-test, only to be told that they could not be accommodated due to a "system problem." "It had been a waste of time. We were caught for two hours in the traffic jam. I was rushing for time to come early," said Hashim Che Meh, 40, who left his Sungei Buloh home at 7am to take his daughter for the test. Service providers (SP) were appointed by JPJ to conduct the e-test via a gateway provider (GP). The SP gives every student a booking number when they come for the test, which is downloaded from the GP's site. At the JPJ in Petaling Jaya, the service provider is mySPEED.com Sdn Bhd. Company spokesman Azannizam Azim said they were having difficulty accessing the system to book students as the GP line was very slow. "When the system is okay, it takes three to five minutes to book a student, but when the line is slow, it can take 10 minutes per student, or it can be unsuccessful," he said.

From http://thestar.com.my 12/18/2003

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Hotline, E-Mail Service for Feedback on Roads

Road users in Sarawak can now give feedback on road conditions through a 24-hour hotline and e-mail service. Launched by PPES Works (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd and Sara Road Maintenance Sdn Bhd, the toll-free "Hotline Jeraya" and e-mail service complements the road maintenance operations of the two companies, which together maintain over 4,600km of state and federal roads in Sarawak. PPES Works executive director Jamel Ibrahim said signboards featuring the 1-800-888-666 hotline number would be put up at strategic locations along the roads. The information received from callers would be channelled to the nearest road maintenance unit for action, he said at the hotline launch here on Monday. Jamel added that a dedicated team has been trained to handle complaints or feedback on matters such as road conditions, landslides and floods. PPES Works and Sara Road Maintenance chairman Datuk Talib Zulpilip, who launched the hotline, said the service would help both companies improve the quality and safety of roads in the state. "We want road users to enjoy driving on better roads and we need continuous feedback so that we can keep improving," he said. The e-mail address is hotlinejlnraya@works.cmsb.com.my.

From http://thestar.com.my/ 12/24/2003

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More Plantations Adopt Local IT Solution

Main board-listed TH Group Bhd (www.thgroup.com.my) said it has recently secured three projects with a combined contract value of about RM1.2mil to supply and implement eFLEX Plantware. The software is the flagship plantation management solution developed by TH Group subsidiary iTECH Worldwide Group, the company said in a press statement. The three projects were awarded by Urun Plantations Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of Technopalm Runding Sdn Bhd), Pemandangan Jauh Plantation Sdn Bhd (a member of Rimbunan Hijau Group) and Tradewinds Plantation Services (M) Sdn Bhd. The projects involve the installation and implementation of eFLEX Plantware in a total of 30 plantations across Malaysia, as well as in Kalimantan, Indonesia. "Plantation companies today understand the value-add technology brings to the effectiveness of cost management and productivity, and that our Plantware is a feasible solution," said Lei Lin Thai, group managing director of TH Group. He said the software speeds up the retrieval of crucial information, makes decision-making easier and improves risk management. "We believe that it will enable companies to increase and optimise efficiency at all levels -- operations, administration and management," said Lei. eFLEX Plantware is a web-based plantation management system that enables companies with multiple estates at various geographical locations to access online information from their base locations, and manage these estates remotely using the Internet as a communication channel. Locations that do not possess the requisite communication infrastructure can use the conventional data transfer route, TH Group said. The solution provides for a multi-estate database for any type of crop, has multilingual and multi-semantic support, criteria-driven reports, single logon, module access control, wireless support, a unique auto reconciliation feature and inter-estate billing. eFLEX Plantware was launched in October, 2002, and is also being marketed in Sri Lanka, Ghana and Indonesia. The new contracts are expected to be fully implemented between the second quarter of 2004 and first quarter of 2005.

From http://star-techcentral.com 01/08/2004

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E-Security Company on Road to Mesdaq

E-security systems company CBS Technology Bhd (CBS) said it has received its letter of approval from the Securities Commission to list on the Mesdaq counter of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange this year. "With this approval, we are on target to list on Mesdaq within the first six months of this year," CBS Group chief executive officer C.K. Sun said in a statement issued by his company. CBS' principal activities include software development, capacity planning, system and operational consulting, systems integration, software sales, distribution and marketing. Its main products are its inhouse-developed Paymate Secure Suite and Solmate Suite; the first is a security system that enables files to be transmitted via the public Internet in a secure manner. The system encrypts, compresses and electronically fingerprints documents from a designated site and is only authorised for the designated recipient, CBS (www.cbs.com.my) said. Solmate manages tiny radio frequency identification (RFID) devices, to provide secure operations and logistics (hence SOLmate). CBS began as Cyber Business Solutions Sdn Bhd in July 1996. It established Netgen Sdn Bhd in March 2000 to focus on research and development. Shortly thereafter, Netgen was awarded Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) status, CBS said. CBS Group Bhd was incorporated in January, 2001 to be the holding company of Cyber Business Solutions and Netgen. Its business is largely aimed at large corporations such as banks, finance and insurance companies, semi-government and government agencies, as well as manufacturers. Its clients include the Internal Revenue Dept, RHB Bank and Maybank.

From http://star-techcentral.com/ 01/14/2004

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PHILIPPINES: Amaers Are Now Full 'Netizens'

The AMA Education System, the pioneer and largest IT based education provider in Asia, has further empowered its 170,000 students to take full advantage of the educational benefits of the Internet after recently rolling out its R33 million investment in networking capabilities to make its 200 campuses throughout the Philippines the most interconnected in the country, and perhaps Asia. AMAES president Amable C. Aguiluz IX made the announcement as he pointed out that this means all the system's students from its basic education to university campuses are now global Netizens with each of them enjoying unlimited Internet access by way of the institution's network. "Our recently rolled out investment of R33 million, consisting primarily of state-of-the-art servers and high bandwith connectivity through telco partners, signifies our continuing commitment to use cutting-edge ICT tools to ensure AMAers shall not only enjoy world-class standards in education but shall also have proficiency in the use of information and communications technology that shall make them competitive wherever in the Philippines and abroad they shall work as professionals," said Aguiluz IX.This means all AMAers will soon have wireless connectivity as a result of each campus having at least one hotspot. Presently, there are now hotspots in AMA's Makati City, Project 8 in Quezon City, and Eastern Rizal campuses empowering students there to use mobile devices such as laptops, tablet PCs, PDAs, and whatever other technologies that shall be developed in the future to access the Internet for educational purposes. Aguiluz IX said the seamless network now installed and which will undergo continuous enhancements in the future is in line with AMA's commitment to presently offer its students blended learning services and eventually distance learning services in the future. Blended learning means that students avail of traditional classroom teaching methods and online learning tools as they pursue their education. "The seamless network makes up the delivery support mechanism for AMA's offering of online learning tools with educational partners from abroad, some of them being Intra Learn, SMART Force, and Skill Soft," Aguiluz IX added. The partnerships enable all AMAers - such as nursing students in the system's Eastern Rizal AMA School of Medicine-to access a rich intellectual lode of online books and reference materials that are current and worldclass. Meanwhile, AMAES Chief Information Officer Paulo Noel Paje also mentioned the seamless network also empowers students from various campuses to access educational Webcasts where they engage in interactive learning sessions with a faculty member or groups of faculty members. The network likewise enables state-ofthe-art school administrative methods such as online registration. Paje explained that the network is connected to 30 high-end servers, 12 of these servers are HP's Proliants and are newly acquired. In addition, the network also connects the computer servers that are deployed throughout the country running on Microsoft Windows Server platform. AMA campuses has a DS3 (45 Mbps) connectivity to the Internet and it is powered through the impeccable facilities of Bayantel, Digitel, and PT & T. The available bandwidth is of broadband standards and therefore enables robust delivery of converged services such as data, video, and audio. The AMA Educational System also has a CERT or Computer Emergency Response Team to quickly spot any incidences of illegal intrusions and share this information with fellow CERT teams in the Philippines and abroad. The seamless system also has in place a robust set of hardware and software platforms to prevent any attempts to illegally access the network and/or attack it with viruses.

From http://www.mb.com.ph/ 11/08/2003

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Computerized Audit Reports Could Have Avoided JDF Mess

Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Saturday vowed full support for the total computerization of the Commission on Audit (COA) accounting system "to promote transparency and avert threats of constitutional crisis in the future." The senator noted that the "wrong" interpretation of a COA report on the Judiciary Development Fund had precipitated the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. At a recent budget hearing presided over by Pangilinan, COA chair Guillermo Carague Jr. said the Electronic New Government Accounting System (ENGAS) is already being pilot-tested in the Office of the President, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and in the local governments of Quezon City and Guiguinto, Bulacan. Carague said COA has developed three programs to be used by about 5,000 local government units and national government offices at a total cost of P35 million, or P12,000 per office. He pointed out that one national agency had spent P140 million for its computerization program, obviously referring to the Government Service Insurance System. Carague said that with computerization, auditing can proceed at faster pace while saving the government the cost of tons of paper. Pangilinan quickly endorsed the funding for the COA project. "Accounting and auditing that usually take about 3 to 4 months to finish can be wrapped up in a day," he enthused. He added that differing interpretations of the COA report on the JDF would have been avoided had it been made immediately available on-line, and COA given time to explain its findings.

From http://www.manilatimes.net/ 11/16/2003

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Singapore Developing Electronic Chip Capable of Detecting SARS

Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore are developing an electronic chip capable of detecting almost immediately if a patient has SARS, flu or other respiratory illnesses, the Sunday Times reported. "Patients who have flu, dengue fever or SARS all exhibit similar symptoms in the early stages of infection," the institute's deputy director Professor Ren Ee Chee said was quoted as saying in the report. "The chip will be able to test for all this at once, identify if it's one or the other and doctors will have a clear picture from the start," he said. The size of a 50 cent Singapore coin, the chip can detect the respiratory illness of a patient from a sample of sputum or nasal fluids that it is dropped on it. Ren said the state-funded institute was working with a major US medical device company to test the chip soon. He declined to name the American partner. He said the chip could be launched as early as January. The flu-like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic began late last year and was declared under control worldwide in July by the World Health Organization after infecting more than 8,000 people and leaving nearly 800 dead in 32 countries. Most of the fatalities and infections were in East Asia. Many experts fear the SARS virus could make a comeback during the winter period in the northern hemisphere, as scientists continue to search for a cure and vaccine for the disease.

From http://app.sgnews.gov.sg/ 10/05/2003

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Starhub Wireless Broadband Subscribers Can Use Over 10,000 Global Hotspots

Users of StarHub's wireless broadband or Wi-Fi service can now access the Internet seamlessly at over 10,000 hotspots worldwide via their laptops or personal digital assistants. Under a new initiative announced on Thursday, the hotspots can be found in new locations like South Korea and the United Kingdom as well as current places like China, Australia and Malaysia. Wi-Fi allows users to surf the Internet at speeds of up to 11 megabytes per second. In July this year, StarHub launched a trial with three other members of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, then a global group of 10 international telcos. Two more members in South Korea and the UK have now joined the trial, which allows the telco's WiFi, GPRS mobile and broadband Internet subscribers to roam abroad. So when they log on overseas, the experience is exactly the same as if they were logging on at home. Kyong Yu, Senior Vice President, StarHub, said: "You can use the same ID and password. Let's say you go to Korea. When you open up your laptop or PDA, as long as you identify as a StarHub customer, then you'll have very similar login screen that you experience at home without trying to understand Korean. At the same time, you don't have to worry about paying a bill in Korea. When you come back home, just like a mobile phone, you'll be billed in your local bill." The Wireless Broadband Alliance is also growing. During its latest meeting, which wrapped up on Thursday in London, the group admitted eight more telcos. These include players in Hongkong, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy and Germany. Together they cover over 13,000 hotspots around the world. And they expect that to grow to over 30,000 locations by the end of 2004.That should be good news for StarHub WiFi users who will eventually be able to tap the service at all these places, helping the telco to chalk up more sales. SingTel sealed a partnership with global roaming carrier GRIC Communications in August to provide its Internet customers with high-speed wireless access at 2,000 locations in 14 countries through their laptops. It is now extending this to include its mobile phone customers who can access the Net even if they are not Internet subscribers. They will now be able to surf the Web in more than 2,600 places across 21 countries.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com 12/04/2003

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Entrepreneurship Website Attracts 200,000 Hits Since Sept 2003 Launch

An Internet website recently launched to help guide budding entrepreneurs is proving a hit.In just four months, the web portal www.ace.org.sg run by the Action Community for Entrepreneurship or ACE has attracted 200,000 hits. The site provides tips, contacts and promotes events that caters to a growing numbers of Singaporeans interested in striking out on their own. ACE is a private sector initiative to promote enterprise by providing peer support, networking opportunities and feedback to the government.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 01/13/2004

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THAILAND: First Thai Online Game Debuts

A group of local computer experts yesterday unveiled the first Thai-made online computer game, with the aim of competing with popular foreign games and changing Thai misconceptions about cyber-violence. Puttipong Nakapat and Pongthorn Wongwarawipat realised a lifelong dream when their 3D graphic software company unveiled Arcana, the first Thai multi-player online game. They hope their brainchild will someday change local misconceptions that cyber-games are too violent and unhealthy for youngsters, Puttipong said."Our hope is that the game will encourage social responsibility and promote Thai traditional values," said the Thammasat University economics graduate. The game itself is the very model of polite behaviour. Arcana starts off with the main characters greeting each other with the traditional wai gesture, a million miles away from the usual scenes of violence associated with such games. The game uses Tarot cards to run the story and determine the destiny of each character. Players can choose from a range of facial expressions used during face-to-face conversations with other players. "I think it's time for the whole family to play online games together," said Pongthorn. Four years ago, 29-year-old Puttipong and his friends were just small-time game-developers with no money. But they never let go of the dream that they would one day make it big. Then they were hired by Jowit Co, a joint venture of Japan's CPU Inc and Thai investors, and given Bt10 million to develop Arcana. "If you believe you can do it, one day you will achieve your goal," he said. Dr Wiwat Wongwarawipat, president of Jowit, said he was impressed with the group's determination to develop a Thai-made game. That's why he decided to finance it. Jowit will also promote the game in Japan and Taiwan, through partnership channels in those countries, he said. The company also produces mobile games for the Japanese market. Japan's major cell-phone operator, J-Phone, is one of its customers. Wiwat admitted that Arcana has a long way to go and many features to add, but he said the company would continue to support the group. Last year, Jowit made around Bt95 million in revenue. The first of up to 10,000 players began registering yesterday. The game will be up and running by December 20, and will go fully commercial during the third quarter of next year.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 11/21/2003

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ICT Awards Satellite Contract

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry yesterday awarded the Thai Aerospace Engineering Network a Bt123-million contract to produce Ka-Band communications equipment for its small multimission satellite (SMMS). The project - to be completed within two years - is in line with the government's attempts to explore satellite technology. The government's aerospace engineering network is made up of leading educational institutes - Kasetsart University, Chiang Mai University, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology in Ladkrabang, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology in Bangkok, and Royal Thai Airforce Academy. Sawat Tantiphanwadi, a director with the National Science and Technology Development Agency, will lead the project. Kraisorn Pornsutee, deputy permanent secretary of the ICT Ministry, said the move would pave the way for Thailand to create its own satellite technology and reduce the need to import technology. The project is also part of Thailand's joint venture with China and Iran to build SMMS for remote sensing and communications experiments. The SMMS satellite will carry a low-resolution charge-coupled device (CCD) camera and an experimental telecommunications system.

From http://www.nationmultimedia.com/ 12/27/2003

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VIETNAM: ICT Destined to 'Spearhead' the New Economy

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has called for tighter co-operation between the Government, industry and the community to develop the information communications and technology industry. Such an effort was necessary to transforming it into a spearhead of the economy, he said. The deputy prime minister made the call while opening the Asia-Oceania Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) information and communication technology (ICT) summit in Ha Noi. It is the first time the summit has been held in Viet Nam. "The Viet Nam Government has always considered ICT as a sector of strategic importance," he told the 265 delegates from 28 countries as well as the 386 Vietnamese IT and telecommunication executives and representatives attending the summit. The deputy prime minister reported that in the spirit of " Digital Opportunities for Everyone," Viet Nam was compiling a programme of digital opportunities for the rural young. The programme would see one million Vietnamese volunteer to eliminate IT illiteracy and provide 20 million rural youngsters with access to the internet in the next five years. He emphasised that Viet Nam should develop international standards, legal documents and policies to promote e-commerce and distant training, as well as exploiting labour resources. Viet Nam also highly valued an Asia-link initiative to create favourable conditions for IT workers both in Viet Nam and other Asian countries, he said. Later, National Assembly chairman Nguyen Van An supported the deputy prime minister. Viet Nam would create more favourable policies to accelerate the industry's development, he said. The assembly chairman said the domestic ICT industry had registered remarkable yearly growth of from 20 to 40 per cent. Because young Vietnamese were fond of learning, the Viet Nam government had paid special attention to the training of an IT workforce to increase the number of quality programmers and the number was now growing at 40 per cent a year," he said. ASOCIO speakers at the summit said the organisation's goal was to create digital networking between member countries and to co-operate and exchange information and experience about ICT development, especially in e-government and the economy. They said the summit was an opportunity for Viet Nam ICT companies to network business opportunities and enhance "digital opportunities for everyone." ASOCIO President Manoo Ordeedolchest told the summit: "The whole world has come to realise that Viet Nam is potentially a strong economic player in Asia and it can play a crucial role in ASOCIO's long-term success in the ICT industry in the region." Viet Nam was making efforts to promote socio-economic development and IT application within the Government and the private sector, he said. Delegates will present an IT development master plan with opportunities and challenges, an IT world leaders' plans and cutting-edge IT solutions at the two-day summit. There will also be the Viet Nam IT Leadership Forum, the Viet Nam Software festival, the 12th IT Week and the Sao Khue Awards presentation ceremony. The ASOCIO summit has been organised by the non-government not-for-profit Viet Nam Software Association (VINASA) that comprise 65 of the country's leading software makers.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 11/29/2003

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BANGLADESH: Computer Fair Starts in City

The 11-day Computer Fair begins tomorrow (Tuesday) at BCS Computer City, IDB Bhaban, Agargaon in the city under the auspices of Bangladesh Computer Samity. Commerce Minister Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury will attend the inauguration ceremony as the chief guest at 11 am today, while FBCCI President Abdul Awal Mintoo will be present as special guest. Bangladesh Computer Samity President Md Sabur Khan, President-elect SM Iqbal and President of Internet Service Providers' Association Md Akhtaruzzaman Manju will be present as guests of honour. The Computer Fair will remain open from 10 am to 8 pm everyday through January 10 next.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 12/28/2003

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GrameenPhone Opens Sales Centre in City

A new sales center of GrameenPhone, the largest cellular phone company in Bangladesh, was inaugurated yesterday at Gulshan-2 in the city. This is the first sales centre of the phone company in Dhaka city. Another four centers are located in four divisional headquarters except Barisal. Chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Syed Margub Morshed, Royal Norwegian Ambassador in Dhaka Aud Lise Nordheim, Chief Executive Officer of the Telenor, a Norwegian Company, Jon Fredrik Baksaas, Managing Director of GrameenPhone Ola Ree and others were present in the launching ceremony. Syed Margub Morshed said the government had taken different initiatives to boost the telecommunication in the country. GrameenPhone was one company which made valuable contributions in the expansion of the country's telecommunication sector, he said. Thanking the Norwegian telecommunication company Telenor for giving assistance to GrameenPhone, he said friend ship between Norway and Bangladesh had improved a lot through this cooperation. Urging government to reduce tax for the cell phone company operating in Bangladesh Ola Ree said in that case GrameenPhone would be able to give mobile phones at a reduced rate than the present one. Jon Fredrik Baksaas said Telenor was committed to assist GrameenPhone in making available new technology that are being developed within the wireless sector and it would adopt such technologies into relevant products and services based on the needs and conditions of Bangladesh. There are 350 sales centre of Grameenphone all over the country which operate as the dealers and agents of the company. But only five sales centre in the five divisional cities are being operated directly by the Grameenphone authorities.

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 01/13/2004

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BHUTAN: The Country's First Dzongkha Website

Punch in www.bhutanstudies.org.bt/index-dz-a.htm and Bhutan's first Dzongkha website will greet you. On January 6, the centre for Bhutan studies (CBS) formally launched the Dzongkha version of its website. Designed by a JOCV IT specialist, Sakaida Hideaki, over a period of a month and a half, the website is as informative as its English original. "The technique used is very basic and a reader can read through the pages without any special settings," said the designer. A CBS researcher, Dorji Penjor, said that the need for the Dzongkha version of the website was felt basically because the English website proved useless to those who were only Dzongkha literate. "Our aim is to reach out to the neglected section of the society like monks in Dratshang, gomchens, and anyone who cannot read in English," he said. "The bilingual website will also be useful in translation." The website uses the National Library font Pem Tshewang and contains all the English version's links. "We have translated all our publications in Dzongkha enriching the website for the users," said Dorji Penjor. "People can even have access to the namthars not available elsewhere." The publications that can be accessed from the website includes all the volumes of the bi-annual journal of Bhutan studies, Bhutan's national bibliography, discussion papers on various subjects like the Gross National Happiness, and monographs, a series of publications on various subjects authored by both Bhutanese and foreign scholars. Some of the monographs included in the website are Historical Profile of Dechenphu Gyenyen Neykhang, The Necklace of Pearls: Biography of the 13th Druk Desi Sherab, The Gem-Necklace of Short Biography of Hungrel Dung Dung and His Descendants, and The Introductory Biography of the Hereditary Prince Incarnation (The First Zhabdrung, Ngawang Namgyel). Designing a Dzongkha website at present is actually impossible since Dzongkha is yet to be incorporated into MS Word. As such the new website has its own share of shortcomings. A corporate webmaster said that the CBS Dzongkha website was completely image-based. He added that an image-based website allows limited content and is not user freindly. "Updating information in such a website is also difficult and tedious," he said. "There is also no question of running keyword searches." But Sakaida Hideaki is happy that a break through has been made. "We have finally harnessed the technology to promote the national language and CBS is the right institute to launch such an important website," Sakaida Hideaki said. (by Gopilal Acharya)

From http://www.kuenselonline.com/ 01/09/2004

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INDIA: Simputer for Kerala Project

Kerala's digital divide project Akshaya may use the cost-advantage of simputers, the hand-held computing device developed by Bangalore-based Encore Ltd. The state IT top brass held discussions with the company's chairman Vinay Deshpande in Bangalore. The Simputer team gave a presentation on using simputers on a wide variety of social and economic applications including e-commerce, healthcare and agricultural marketing. As Simputer is a low-cost personal mobile computer with multiple connectivity options, a computer e-literacy project like Akshaya could make good use of it, according to officials associated with the Kerala IT Mission. An important feature of the simputer is the SmartCard Reader/Writer. The SmartCard is emerging as a credible delivery vehicle for financial transactions on the Internet and has become an important tool for electronic commerce. However, simputers might need customisation before Akshaya project could use it. The simputer is targeted as a shared computing device for a local community of users. A local community such as the village panchayat or the village school, or a kiosk, or even a shopkeeper should be able to give this device out to individuals for a specific period of time and then pass it on to others in the community. This requires the device to be personalised for individual use on a changing basis. It is designed to be modular and extensible, and based entirely on free software from the open source initiative. It's primary input is a touch-sensitive overlay on the LCD display panel. The simputer is based on GNU/Linux software technology.

From http://www.financialexpress.com/ 11/11/2003

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Radio Is Back in Fashion and Digital Is the Way Forward

NEW DELHI - It's hardly a secret that radio is back in fashion. In line with the trend, even the government is talking of bringing a radio revolution in India soon. Industry is already there, with the privatisation of FM radio, and is now set for growth in a more liberalised regime. But, FM is just a part of the big radio story. Digital technology, some say, is the key to completing this story board. This is despite digital terrestrial radio not taking off in a big way anywhere yet. BBC, for instance, introduced digital radio in the UK several years ago, but the listener response is still quite mixed to the offering. However, a three-day seminar on digital radio, which was organised by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) in New Delhi recently, focused on how digital was the way forward. Whether its Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) or In-Band-On-Channel (IBOC), there's no way that one can escape the digital wave, participants at the ABU meet opined. From Malaysia to Iran to Australia to New Zealand, speakers from each country shared their varied country experiences on digital radio. India is also in the process of introducing digital radio in terrestrial format. Digital satellite radio is already there, with WorldSpace offering the service in India. According to officials in the information and broadcasting ministry, once medium wave goes on to the DAB platform, clarity of reception will be many times more. The only hurdle would be the receiver cost, which is expected to be much higher than that of traditional radio sets. All India Radio (AIR) is in talks with four receiver manufacturers from abroad before finalising the deal for digital radio. UK-based BBC is among the first to have introduced digital terrestrial radio. Others, including the public broadcaster of India, are using the BBC case as a lesson to fall back on for their respective experiments. According to a report in The Guardian recently, BBC spent 15 million pounds last year alone developing and marketing a range of digital channels broadcast on digital radio, satellite, and cable. "BBC argues that the new stations are aimed at communities traditionally under-served by the BBC and that listening figures are less important than reaching new audiences," says the report. "But despite the huge outlay and copious amounts of radio and television promotion, none of the new stations managed to attract average weekly audiences of more than 500,000," according to BBC digital radio figures. At the ABU meet in New Delhi a few days ago, John Sykes of BBC World Service said that a number of initiatives are currently underway on DRM receiver development. The Corporation is also investigating various reception options for optimum performance in portable radio, said Mr Sykes. Among the initiatives on DRM chipsets, BBC is into collaborative projects with organisations in France and Germany, among others. After all, chips are getting smaller and smaller every other day. Interestingly, according to Mr Sykes, several competitive DRM chipsets would be available soon. He added that receiver manufacturers would integrate DRM with other technologies such as DAB. Another important point that he made was that "don't assume the radio market is the same everywhere". Speaking on the various technologies in digital radio, Mr Alan Untersee of Harris Broadcast said DAB Eureka 147 has been accepted as the standard in many countries worldwide, including the UK. "It's a proven technology, and more than 1,200 transmitters are already on air," he said. On IBOC, he said, receivers would be introduced this December in the US. And in the case of DRM, receivers are expected late next year. While making a comparison between the technologies, Mr Untersee said, DAB and DRM adhere to open standard, while IBOC-AM and IBOC-FM are proprietary in nature. Also for DAB, new frequency band is needed, while for IBOC and DRM, the existing ones would do. Talking of availability of receivers, he said, DAB sets are already there. IBOC receivers would be available sometime this month, and DRM late next year, he added. From a wider perspective, broadcasting services in the traditional mode have been used to the point of saturation, said ABU head of transmission technology and spectrum Sharad Sadhu. "Maximum possible use has been made of service transmission in the lower frequencies, the medium and short waves....Getting into the digital broadcasting environment will change the situation forever. The digital domain does not only alter the way we transmit signals, it completely transforms the manner in which the content is conceived, produced and dished out to the consumers," Mr Sadhu added. But for digital transmission, use of frequency spectrum is a critical issue, according to Mr Sadhu. And his presentation at the ABU dealt with the regulations related to spectrum use for digital radio. For example, to pave the way for seamless introduction of shortwave digital radio broadcasting services in the allocated spectrum using the ITU (International Telecommunication Union)-approved DRM digital system, the 2003 World Radiocommunication Conference adopted new regulatory provisions and also modified some of the existing ones, Mr Sadhu said. The conference also revised radio regulations relating to allocation of additional short wave bands and confirmed the date of availability of these bands as April 1, 2007. Also, there are three ITU agreements governing the use of medium and long-wave band. According to Mr Sadhu, one way forward to use these bands for digital radio emissions would be by amending these agreements, which can be accomplished by holding ITU conferences. Even as there's a severe scarcity of spectrum in several bands, there's no doubt that digital is the way forward. One of the reasons why digital is being encouraged the world over is that it enables data broadcasting. On the other hand, "data broadcasting is vital for the success of digital radio," said AIR director engineering A Shamugam. (by Nivedita Mookerji)

From http://www.financialexpress.com/ 12/01/2003

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Few Takers for Pay TV Channel Boxes in South Delhi

Come December 15, and hundreds of thousands of television viewers in southern neighbourhoods of the Capital may not be able to watch their favourite soaps or sports events on cable television. With cable operators deciding to stop supplying pay TV signals without an addressable set top box from the midnight of December 14, most satellite TV households are likely to receive only a clutch of free-to-air channels. Out of an estimated 500,000 cable TV households in south Delhi, only 10,000 to 15,000 households are likely to opt for set-top boxes needed for implementation of conditional access system (CAS), say industry representatives. "Although we have enough set-top boxes to cover the entire zone, we don't expect more 15,000 cable households to go for the system," said Vikki Choudhry, president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA). "We will block the transmission of all pay channels without set-top boxes from December 15. We are absolutely determined to stick to our CAS implementation deadline this time," Choudhry said. Under CAS, television viewers will pay for an imported set-top box, a flat rate for a group of free-to-air channels and extra for pay channels. Currently cable viewers pay a flat fee ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 300 per month to watch 80-100 pay and free-to-air channels. Armed with a court order quashing the central government's decision to postpone implementation of CAS, cable operators are working overtime to roll out CAS in south Delhi. The Delhi High Court had on December 4 quashed a central government notification issued in August deferring the implementation of CAS in the capital. The judgement came on a bunch of petitions filed by associations of cable operators here seeking the quashing. The court observed that the government had earlier said CAS would be implemented in New Delhi and three other metros because of which cable operators had bought all the needed equipment. Due to the deferment of implementation by the government, cable operators' equipment remained idle for a long time. The government had earlier announced its intention to implement CAS in the four metros -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai -- by the middle of the current year. But till date only Chennai has implemented CAS, while Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata backed out citing political compulsions. Industry officials say even in Chennai, where CAS was implemented on September 1, only a small segment of satellite television households have opted for set-top boxes while most people are watching only free-to-air channels. "Only 10 per cent of the total television households in Chennai have opted for set-top boxes. I don't expect the trend to be very different in south Delhi," remarked Roop Sharma, president of the Cable Operators Federation of India. Price of a set-top box, depending on whether they are analogue or digital, will range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 4,000. The boxes will also be available on a fixed monthly rental from various operators, said Sharma. The free-to-air channels, numbering around 70, will be available for Rs.72, excluding taxes, per month. The average price of pay channels, depending on the package, will come to around Rs 300. "I think most pay channels would be forced to go free-to-air if the demand for set-top boxes remains very low," said Sharma.

From http://www.hindustantimes.com/ 12/09/2003

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Delhi Cable Operators Offer Hefty Price Discounts on Pay Channels

Cable operators on Wednesday began offering pay channel bouquets at about 50 per cent discounted prices in South Delhi since most consumers are wary of the steep increase in the cable bill under CAS and are yet to invest in set top boxes. Leading MSO Hathway has offered a package at almost half the earlier rate wherein various pay channels except those on the Zee bouquet are offered for only Rs 149 per month. Siti Cable and other multi system operators are also offering similar packages in a bid to attract consumers and ensure a smooth rollout of the much-delayed CAS, industry sources said. These price discounts follow close on the heels of cable operators announcing a partial rollback on Tuesday by offering three Hindi entertainment channels - Zee TV, Sony and Star Plus - without STBs till January 1 next year. Also, in a related development, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday posted for Friday the hearing on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging CAS introduction in the present manner as envisaged under the amended Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act. The PIL was filed by Consumer Coordination Council (CCC), a national coalition of 50 leading consumer organisations and Consumers' Online Foundation Forum, contending that the impugned Act and CAS scheme fails to address consumer issues.

From http://hindustantimes.com/ 12/17/2003

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Cellular Connections to Touch 56 Million by 2004 End

Global research and advisory firm Gartner Inc expects cellular subscriptions in India to grow by 96 per cent over the current year to record 56 million connections by 2004-end, driven by a "phenomenal growth" in both CDMA and GSM services in the country. "The introduction of full-mobility CDMA cellular services and the aggressive competitive response by GSM operators would result in the industry breaking all records for growth in the Indian mobile market", Gartner vice-president Asia-Pacific Bertrand Bidaud said in a release on Thursday. The pace of growth has been accelerated by the country's adoption of Unified Licensing regime, which has legitimised the use of limited-mobility CDMA services for wide-area cellular operations, he said. An "unparalleled growth" in the CDMA market is driving major changes through the Indian wireless industry, prompting unprecedented cooperation between handset vendors and carriers, Gartner India principal (analyst telecom) Kobita Desai said. These changes are expected to reshape the cellular industry landscape in the country in 2004, "which would result in both GSM and CDMA operators reducing tariffs and bringing down the entry barrier", she added. The CDMA market has been driven by the low price of service tariffs combined with the ready availability of CDMA terminals at "highly-subsidised" prices, she said.

From http://hindustantimes.com/ 12/18/2003

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Byatrayanpura CMC Bytes a Record

Byatrayanapura City Municipal Council (CMC) has achieved the distinction of becoming the first municipality in the country to be computerised replete with a highly accurate Global Information System (GIS) to enable better delivery of services to its citizens. Following computerisation programme, citizens can obtain copies of birth and death certificates, tax receipts and other relevant civic documents from their ward offices on demand, Byatrayanapura CMC President S Srinivas said here on Tuesday. The computerisation process will also help in gathering accurate data on the properties in the CMC to augment tax resources. Digitised maps of all the 31 wards using GIS would be completed by March this year, he said. Under this project, GIS solutions would be linked to the property tax MIS (Management Information System) module for planning and administration applications. As a spin-off, citizens can soon register their complaints on-line by logging on to the website www.byatrayanapura.com

From http://www.deccanherald.com/ 01/07/2004

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BSNL Comes Out with More Services

MANGALORE: With a view to providing value added services to the customers, the BSNL, D K Telecom District, has come out with some more services to its customer. Announcing this at a press conference here today, K J Chacko, Principal General Manager, D K Telecom District, said it has introduced three more services for the benefit of its internet customers such as Direct Internet Access Services (DIAS), multi-protocol label switching virtual private network MPLS-VPN and broad band services of BSNL. The DIAS, the latest state-of-the-art technology, allows the subscribers to access internet at 64 kbps and simultaneously make or receive voice calls using a normal telephone, he said. The system also offers a very high speed of 128 kbps if only internet is used, he said adding it ensures that no voice calls are missed while one is busy surfing the net. MPLS VPN, one of the most sophisticated broadband services offered by BSNL, allows end users to build a VPN without actually taking end to end leased lines on the well protected national network of BSNL, he added. Besides having a " Kisan helpline" for the use of farmers for availing help from the agriculture department, and another help line for the aged in need of help from Police, the BSNL has also introduced a new student internet package with monthly charges of Rs 99 and usage charge of 0.60 for every three minutes, Chacko added.

From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 01/08/2004

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Net4India to Launch Broadband in Big Cities

Hyderabad - With broadband expected to take off in a big way in 2004, Net4India is geared up to launch its broadband services on a nationwide platform. The broadband services have been initially launched seven weeks back on a test-basis in three metros are now being extended to 10 cities during this year. With broadband access services already available in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, Net4India is foraying into the space with its 'triple play strategy' of converging voice, video and data into a single pipeline. Speaking to ET, Net4India's CEO, Mr Jasjit Sawhney said the targeted market segment for the new services would be the SME sector in major cities and already more than 5,000 customers have signed up for its broadband services in three cities. According to Mr Sawhney, Net4India's broadband services will be provided in at least 10 cities by the end of 2004. Much of the penetration would happen through the process of partnering with cable operators to provide the last mile connectivity. "We have recognised that the Indian market is prepared to receive broadband at its doorstep. With the efforts of the government in stepping up broadband penetration will help push the growth of our services this year," Mr Sawhney said. The company's services, Net4Broadband, is an always-on Internet access for small and medium corporates that are looking for a cheaper and faster Internet services. The company's services range from Rs 750 per month for home and small office users to Rs 2,000 per month for corporates with a downloadable access of 30 GB. To achieve last mile connectivity, Net4India is talking to major cable operators in different cities who could serve customers. (by Sunil Rajanala)

From http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/ 01/08/2004

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Cell Phones, Computers, Flying Cheaper

New Delhi - The sudden reduction of customs duties and Central excise on various goods and simplification of income-tax procedures indicate the Lok Sabha polls are round the corner. In an unusual move, the Centre on Thursday slashed customs duties on various non-agricultural goods, cell phones and several IT and consumer electronics items and further simplified the income-tax procedures for low income-groups and abolished domestic and foreign travel tax. Observers feel the concessions indicate the Lok Sabha polls are round the corner. All the concessions on the indirect tax front customs and Central excise would come into effect from Friday, a press note issued by the finance ministry said here. Electronics goods like computers and cell phones are now expected to cost less with excise duty on computers halved to 8 per cent, on cell phones halved to 5 pc. Paying heed to the longstanding demand of tourists and domestic travellers, the ministry abolished the 15 per cent inland air travel tax and also halved the excise duty on aviation turbine fuel to 8 per cent. This is expected to substantially bring down the cost of air travel. The government also abolished the foreign travel tax (FTT) of Rs 500 per passenger to boost overseas travel and business. This reduction and simplification of tax procedures, which more or less give an impression of a mini-budget, signals that the Vajpayee government may go in for a vote-on-account and seek early Lok Sabha elections. However, Finance Minister Jaswant Singh asserted these measures were not being taken with an eye on elections but were part of a continuous fiscal exercise and would not have any impact on the budgetary process. He said the tax cuts would not have any major impact on the revenue front. Instead, they would enhance growth and stimulate investment, he claimed. In an obvious bid to please low-income groups, the government has exempted filing of income-tax returns for people with salary income up to Rs 1,50,000. In cases where the entire tax payable is deducted at source, the salary certificate furnished by the employer to the income-tax department will be treated as a tax return. These people will no longer have to file separate tax returns. It has also exempted pensioners from the purview of the one-by-six scheme indicating that pensioners, who do not have taxable incomes, need not file returns. The government has also proposed several administrative measures with effect from April 1, 2004 to make the direct tax system assessee-friendly. On the indirect tax front too, it has announced some measures to further simplify the procedures. For instance, manufacturers would now be allowed to remove semi-finished goods and finished goods for further processing and testing without payment of excise duties. Electronic filing of service tax returns, currently allowed in 10 categories, would now be extended to all the 58 taxable services and only a simple verification would be made for grant of registration for service tax. The customs duty on non-agricultural goods has been reduced by 5 per cent to 25 per cent, and the 4 per cent special additional duty (SAD) of customs has been abolished. In a bid to promote mobile telephony, the government reduced the customs duty on cellular phones from 10 per cent to 5 per cent. To boost the computer industry, the government reduced the excise duty from 8 per cent to 4 per cent. In a please-the-middle-class move, the government has liberalised baggage rules. Under the new rules, there will be no duty on six items VCD/VCR, washing machines, personal computers, laptops, refrigerators of capacity up to 300 litres and cooking range under transfer of residence.

From http://www.deccanherald.com/ 01/09/2004

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MALDIVES: Is Internet an Effective Medium to Match Employers and Job Seekers in Maldives

MALE - The labor ministry's website, www.humanresources.gov.mv, encourages job seekers to seek employment prospects through the website. This may be a novel form of matchmaking between employers and prospective job seekers in a country which is embracing new communications technologies. However, whether the Internet is an effective medium for job seekers to apply for jobs is another question. There is a high rate of unemployment in the Maldives now. To address this issue, both the government and private parties have set up mechanisms by which information on employment opportunities in Maldives is made available to prospective job seekers. However, the role of the Internet as a medium of disseminating information on the job market to locals is still in its infancy. Even the labor ministry admits that few people use its website to apply for jobs. "This is an area which needs more expansion," an official said. Job Market, a private recruiting agency, said that with more publicity, an Internet website could work. "It will need a lot of advertising and marketing itself," said Mohamed Saleem, a director at Job Market. "Presently, we get emails by people who are seeking jobs" which indicates that the Internet is a medium which can be employed to match employers and job seekers, he said. He said that his agency is also on the verge of setting up a website which can help local job seekers to find employment. A major hindrance for job seekers in getting employment through the Internet is the virtual nature of cyberspace itself: employers are not willing to give jobs to "faceless" people. They can only give jobs to "real" people who can meet them face to face, get to know them personally in order to confidently give a job to a job seeker. Another obstacle faced is that unemployment is not a problem that only Male is facing; a lot of people from the island communities are also seeking jobs, but many of them do not have access to the Internet due to unavailability of phone lines in their own homes. Though the capital Male is where all the revolutionary changes are taking place, much of this development has yet to reach the remote island communities. In other words, the great "digital divide" that exists between Male and other islands, are preventing people in the island communities to becoming part of the Internet revolution. And, ironically, a person who is unemployed, and cash-strapped, cannot be expected to spend on access to Internet which can be a costly process to him or her. (by Ismail Naseer)

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 12/11/2003

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Cable Vision Expands to 35 Channels

MALE - One of the two cable TV operators in Maldives, Cable Vision, has expanded to a 35 channel service. The work on expanding and improving of their service has now been completed, and any problems regarding poor reception is now overcome, an official said. He said that poor reception problems will now be faced only at homes where one cable is connected to many televisions. With the extra three channels now added to Cable Vision, the cable operator said that channels have been organized in order of their popular demand.

From http://www.haveeru.com.mv/ 01/06/2004

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PAKISTAN: ARY Digital Eid Transmission

KARACHI - ARY digital has announced a bunch of non-stop entertainment on Eid-ul-Fitr. According to a press release issued here on Monday the 3-day schedule includes six special Eid plays, three Urdu feature films, one tele-film, two star-studied musical concerts, children shows and a special Eid episode of Loose Talk by Anwar Maqsood. EID DAY 1: Fakhr-e-Alam will appear as a host in a Misbah Khalid's directorial children talk show with all his wits. The show will be aired for all three Eid days in three different episodes. Moin Akhtar will be seen in a very different comedy role after a long time in play Takra Gaya Koi written by Kaif Rizwani. 29veen Ka Chand, a special sitcom directed by Fawad Wyne, includes Saleem Shaikh, Samina Ahmed, Savera Nadeem, Kashif Mehmood, Mehreen Rasheed, Asim Jameel and Mehmood Aslam as its cast. Yeh Dil Hi To Hai, a musical tele-film written by Dr Syed Ali Arsalan and directed by Shahid Zahoor, has vocals of Saira Naseem, Asma Lata and Amanat Ali and music composed by M. Arshad. Aurangzeb Laghari, Masood Akhtar, Rija, Saleena Sipra and others are in the star cast. EID DAY 2: Hanif Raja will be seen as an actor and director of special play Eid 4 u. Raju Jamil, Azra Siddique and Farhan Ali Agha are the supporting artists in the play. Khoobsurat, directed by Barkat Ali Siddiqui and writen by Seema Ghazal, has Sadia Imam, Faisal Qureshi, Sonia Khan, Agha Sheraz, Rabia Noreen and Shafi Muhammad Shah as its star cast. EID DAY 3: Two special sitcoms - Life Main Hai Kutch Twist by Irfan Khoosat's son Sarmad Sultan and Kuch Bhi Na Kaha, directed by Misbah Khalid and acted by Sajid Hassan, Samina Peerzadah and Sonia Rehman - will be watched with interest. Apache Indian has been specially invited for musical show Boom Shaka Laka. Other performers are Aroh, Fakhir, Fariha Pervaiz, Ali Zafar, Rija and Zeba Bakhtiar whereas Fakhr-e-Alam is the host of this show. Anwar Maqsood's Eid special Loose Talk will be aired in three episodes during the three-day transmission. Moin Akhtar and Bushra Ansari will be seen performing in these special show episodes at 7:30 pm on all three Eid days.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 11/25/2003

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Eight Cities and Towns Get Direct Dialing Facility

LAHORE - Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) has provided nation-wide direct dialing facility to eight new cities and towns, and now total number of cities and towns, connected with NWD system, has crossed 2000. A PTCL's spokesman said here on Thursday that seven cities and towns of Punjab including Kahan Singh (0433), Alipur Bajwa (04342), Chak Kala (0433), Jandoki (0438), Mande Ke Berian (04342), Mianwala Bunglow (0691), Thinki (0693) have been given access to NWD while one town of NWFP- Dogar (0926) has also been included. He said that apart from providing more facilities in urban areas, PTCL is in process of further expanding its network in rural areas. The company has earmarked a handsome amount for the development activities in its annual budget, as the company is fully cognisant of the demands of deregulated telecom sector. In line with the Ministry of Information Technology directions, PTCL is continuing its efforts to introduce latest technologies. The Company intends to introduce technologies like Wireless Local Loop (WLL) and internet Protocol (IP), provisioning of Fibre Access Rings and multimedia services in the urban and rural areas, the spokesman added.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/05/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Broadband Gains Momentum

AUSTRALIAN manufacturers are taking up advanced telecommunications including broadband at an astonishing rate, according to a survey by the Australian Industry Group. The report also said that medium and large businesses were outpacing small and regional enterprises in the technological advance. The study surveyed 807 manufacturing businesses last month. It found that the use of broadband (defined in general terms as including ISDN) was high among manufacturing firms, at 58 per cent, and this figure was expected to increase to 72 per cent in the next 12 months. It also found that 38 per cent of the firms were connected by "second generation broadband", defined by the group as depending on ADSL, cable modems and certain corporate and satellite data connections. Nearly three-quarters of firms said broadband had a positive effect on their efficiency and productivity, with speed of download and the always-on connection being the two key factors. One company which reported marked benefits is Sydney-based SMC Pneumatics, which produces pneumatic components for a range of production machinery. The company, which has a significant proportion of its 253 employees interstate, uses a frame-relay system to connect, but plans to upgrade to a virtual private network system. "It will enable us to introduce voice over internet, and have video links between branches, including our subsidiaries overseas, without going through a telephone line," said SMC operations manager Nick Silvestro. The company's marketing manager, Larry Prior, said that even with the existing system, the company was able to track supplies with more accuracy, and monitor jobs through the production system. "Our infrastructure costs have been reduced by millions of dollars in the past 18 months," Mr Prior said. Australian Industry Group chief executive Bob Herbert said the study identified significant policy challenges for the Government. "It was of concern that among small firms surveyed, 61 per cent of those not using broadband felt that broadband technology was not needed or not of benefit to business performance." (by Ean Higgins)

From http://australianit.news.com.au 10/30/2003

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WA Students Get ibooks

THE West Australian government has delivered on its initiative to equip mid-west students with laptop computers. The $3.7 million project will equip about 730 public high-school students with their own laptop at the Highbury Street campus of Geraldton Secondary College. Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter also announced six mid-west schools - Bluff Point, Rangeway, Beachlands, Shark Bay and Yalgoo primary schools and Mullewa District High School - had been added to a state-wide list of schools to receive IT training and infrastructure under phase three of the $20 million 100 Schools Project. The schools will share $11 million worth of technology infrastructure improvements to schools, including improved cabling and internet access. This project is expected to be completed in 2006. Mr Carpenter said under the Highbury Campus Notebook for Students program, the first installment of Apple 12-inch iBooks were delivered to students last week. The rest are due to be in place for the start of the 2004 school year. The laptops will be used by year eight and nine students at Geraldton. "By giving all students access to a portable wireless notebook, we are setting up an environment for a new and ground-breaking way of thinking about teaching and learning," Mr Carpenter said. Project monies funded the installation of fibre optic cabling, security lockers with power points to charge the notebooks, broadband service, wireless internal networks, curriculum software, power and communications upgrades and technical support facilities. A curriculum ICT co-ordinator will also be appointed as part of the program. A spokesman for the Minister said year eight and nine students at Geraldton were chosen, in part, to help improve the image problem the school has. He said there were no plans to extend the program to the higher-level students at Geraldton Senior College or to other state schools. "Resources are finite ... we will have to consider the outcomes of this program first," the spokesman said. Apple Australian managing director Tony King said the contract also included the supply of a "handful" of Xserve servers, "but most of the work will be at a client level". Students will be responsible for their own computer during school hours. The laptops will be locked away at night in the charging lockers. Mr King said the option of students being able to take the computers home would be reviewed in the future. (by Kelly Mills)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/14/2003

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E-travel Books New Qantas Deal

QANTAS has signed a new multi-million dollar five-year contract with online travel company e-Travel to handle the airline's internet travel bookings. e-Travel is the e-commerce unit of Amadeus Global Travel Distribution SA, which provides online travel technology for 1,200 customers, including Qantas, in 90 countries. Qantas did not disclose the exact value of the agreement but it was believed to be a multi-million dollar deal. Qantas group general manager of sales Rob Gurney said the outsourcing booking engine technology, site operations, and web design services from e-Travel had been a profitable strategy for the airline. Joint efforts by the combined e-Travel and Qantas team to improve the online experience had reduced customer technical support phone calls by 70 per cent, Qantas said. The contract for e-Travel would deliver leisure, managed, and unmanaged online travel booking solutions, Qantas said. "E-Travel's expertise has powered millions of bookings for us since we went live in 2000," Mr Gurney said. "We've achieved several key objectives. "Customer feedback has been very positive about the web site redesign Qantas and e-Travel have engineered." Amadeus chief executive Bill Lawler said the agreement showed the company's commitment to Qantas' strategic success had been rewarded. "They are seeing tangible customer benefits and business growth with our industry-leading e-Travel solutions like Planitgo Flex Pricer and Planitgo Web Design Services," he said. E-commerce increasingly became a mainstream channel to reduce costs and build profits, he said.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/19/2003

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Hi-tech Reply as the Nation Talks Back

SYDNEY radio station 2UE, which broadcasts to 64 stations around the country, is using a new computer technology to handle its thousands of talkback calls. Radio stations have moved a long way from the bulky audio tapes of only a decade ago, 2UE chief engineer Alastair Reynolds said. As computers became more user friendly and affordable in the 1990s stations began to transfer their libraries from tape to disc. "This has saved us an enormous amount in storage," Mr Reynolds said. 2UE now stores 20,000 music tracks on computers. Its new system to help its talkback announcers and producers integrates Avaya's IP Office with Broadcast Bionic's PhoneBOX, a broadcast call-handling system developed specifically for radio and television stations. The solution was sold and implemented by Techtel. 2UE counts among its announcers Australia's most famous talkback host John Laws, who last week announced he would stay with the station until 2010. "Details of callers are displayed onscreen for both the producer and on-air talent to see," Mr Reynolds said. This enables full control over caller queues. The system has comprehensive built-in databases allowing instant reporting of caller history, including details of when the caller last appeared on the station, which program they called, and if they won a prize. "This allows us to track the geographic origins of calls using caller identification," Mr Reynolds said. Another benefit of the new system is that it stops call dropouts, which continue to increase with the use of mobile phones. "That is an announcer's worst nightmare," Mr Reynolds said. "But with the new system a dropped call will disappear from the screen almost immediately." While other stations are also installing such systems, Mr Reynolds said 2UE's was unique because of the large number of stations to which it feeds programming across the country. "2UE can have up to 24 callers at any one time, more than double that of other radio stations," he said. Mr Reynolds said the flexibility of the software platform allowed 2UE to ask for tweaks and changes, and they are delivered back within days. (by Michael Sainsbury)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 11/20/2003

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Local Jabber Server Launched

AUSTRALIA'S newest Jabber server has gone live, offering a local exchange point for users of the open source instant-messaging software. Jeremy Lunn, who set up the Jabber.org.au website in May, said web-hosting company Ilisys had approached him after reading about the site in newspapers and on Slashdot, and offered to host a Jabber server for free. "They're giving us free access to one of their servers, and our website and the forums," he said. Mr Lunn said the company had not expressed any concerns about the possible bandwidth demands. "I think they're pretty prepared for it." Jabber can interface with proprietary IM systems such as MSN Messenger, but Mr Lunn said the Australian server would not offer these capabilities because of legal uncertainties around offering such a connection. There have been few attempts to set up an Australian public Jabber server, with only one other local server, jabber.zim.net.au, listed on the Jabber.org website. A Polish public server has more than half a million users. "It's pretty popular across Europe particularly," Mr Lunn said. "A lot of people in Europe want to look at using alternatives that aren't based in the US." There are more than 100 commercial customers of Jabber worldwide, and four million licenced users. The protocol it uses, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), has been submitted to the IETF for ratification. (by Kate Mackenzie)

From http://australianit.news.com.aul 11/20/2003

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Voice-activated Care for Remote Patients

PATIENTS will be treated to a new era of TLC - telephone-linked care - via a computer, under a system to be tested by the Queensland University of Technology. The university will investigate the feasibility of using modified computers, in co-operation with GPs, to "converse" with patients over the telephone, to monitor and manage chronic diseases. The project, which will begin next year, stems from a collaboration with Boston University Medical Centre professor of medicine and public health Dr Robert Friedman. Friedman and QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation have been working to modify the US-developed technology for Australian health practitioners. It is initially expected to be used by patients who suffer from diabetes and heart disease. Professor Brian Oldenburg, who heads QUT's School of Public Health, says the technology is particularly useful for people in rural and remote areas, who have no ready access to GPs. "This is a very sophisticated computerised program that ... actually talks them through the various aspects of their treatment," Oldenburg says. The TLC was similar to voice-activated telephone technology used for for such activities as phone banking, but intelligent enough to respond to a caller's questions, monitor patients, the status of their diseases and whether they were better or worse . But Oldenburg says he does not see this type of system as an alternative to a GP. "We very much see this as an adjunct or an addition to current care that is available," he says. The system, which has more than 90 per cent accuracy, uses a profile and password for each patient. US clinical trials of the technology with sufferers of chronic lung disease, had shown an 82 per cent drop in hospital emergency admissions. "From the work that has been done in the US, they have found that the patients have been extremely satisfied with this system and being able to go through things in a very systematic fashion," Oldenburg says. He says in future the technology could be linked in real time to a patient's own computer or handheld device. (by Jennifer Foreshew)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/16/2003

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Local Webcasting System Debuts

A WORLD first wireless webcasting system to overcome the tyranny of distance was launched in Melbourne today. SquizBiz, developed in Victoria, is a hardware and software package that converts a standard video camera into a wireless webcasting system. Launching Squizbiz, Victorian innovation minister John Brumby said the package developed by Momentum Technologies could be used across a variety of industries. "The technology is currently being used by farmers and vets for virtual consultations," he said. "It aims to overcome the tyranny of distance faced by people living in remote areas." He said the technology would be able to deliver practical benefits across a variety of industries. Applications range from e-health and vet consultations to e-training, remote technical support, virtual communications and collaboration and event webcasting. Momentum Technologies managing director Adele Whish-Wilson said the launch marked the first fully commercial version of SquizBiz. "We all face a challenge of growing and expanding our business in a world where we need to do more with less," she said. She believed the technology was a world first. She said their research had uncovered "nothing that attaches to the standard camera that allows the mobility which is amazing when you think of how much value that mobility adds". The package uses a SquizBiz Transmitter fitted to a video camera which sends video images_5 via radio signal to the SquizBiz Receiver which is attached to a computer. SquizCapture then captures, compresses and streams the video to a web server and onto the internet or intranets. The video footage can be viewed by anyone with an internet connection. Today's launch tops a successful year for Momentum Technologies including winning a Telstra Broadband Fund Grant, signing an export agreement with South Korea and partnering with Telstra Country Wide. (by Diana Thorp)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/17/2003

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Digital Radio Begins in NSW

Digital radio began transmission in Sydney last night for the first time in the 80-year history of broadcasting in Australia. Communications Minister Daryl Williams flicked the switch to send the broadcasts of 11 stations through a VHS format for 18 months. The trial is designed to test listener and advertiser response to the new medium. Initially 100 people will be selected to listen to the broadcast via specially made receivers not yet available in Australia. That number is expected to expand to 500 as the trial goes on. Commercial Radio Australia, which is coordinating the broadcast of the 11 Sydney radio networks, hopes digital radio will catch on because of improved reception and sound clarity. The service also allows listeners to retrieve extra information such as song and artist titles, sport and news updates and weather reports. Mr Williams said the government, despite approving the trial, was not locked in to any permanent model for providing digital radio but would monitor the test very closely. He said digital radio could be the biggest thing to happen to the industry since broadcasters first began using the FM band almost 30 years ago. "(It) may mark the advent of the third generation of radio in Australia," he said. "Digital technology has the potential to transform the radio scene."

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/18/2003

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NEW ZEALAND: Manukau Steals March on Rest

Manukau is set to be the first New Zealand city to require broadband internet connections to new subdivisions. Dr Praful Rambhai, the council's director of community and economic development, said all subdivisions must include a telecommunications network. "That is currently focussed on voice. As part of our Smart Manukau strategy we intend to expand that interpretation of the district plan to include broadband. "In the past infrastructure was seen as building roads. Now we have to get smart and make sure when businesses locate here they can have reasonable access to information." The first area likely to benefit from the policy will be Flatbush to the south of Otara, which will get up to 40,000 new residents over the next 10 years. East Tamaki, Manukau City centre and the expected redevelopment of Manurewa and the Papatoetoe-Hunters Corner area will also be included. Rambhai said the council wanted to avoid a repeat of Dannemora, where residents could not get broadband connections despite Telecom laying fibre along the streets. The council had to identify a demand before Telecom would modify its network so it could offer its copper-based Jetstream service to the 3700 residential customers and 650 businesses in the suburb. Telecom spokesman Phil Love said that Telecom would support Manukau's policy. "We are happy to work with developers on this," Love said. He refused to say whether Telecom would provide broadband-ready connections to subdivisions outside Manukau. Similar problems to Dannemora have been encountered in Rodney. Lloyd Barker of Cabra Holdings, which is developing 500 sites at The Grange in Orewa, said some residents were still trying to get Jetstream into the suburb, more than a year after their homes were built. Dannemora general manager Graeme Causer said compliance with the new policy would depend on Telecom. "In most areas Telecom is the only option,' Causer said. "Part of the problem is Telecom is ripping everyone off with its fees, but if the services are required to be provided, we have to provide it," Causer said. The only companies which have so far been willing to provide fibre connections for homes and small businesses are Wellington-based Citylink and Counties Power's Wired Country initiative in the Pukekohe area. Counties Power chief executive Neil Simmonds said the company would need to assess the business case before agreeing to wire up Manukau subdivisions. "We are considering it. Every subdivision we do is lowering the cost of how we do it, because we learn how to do it better," Simmonds said. He said wiring up subdivisions outside its core area would require it to negotiate backhaul deals with other telecommunications providers. Rambhai said Manukau did not want to get involved in the debate about whether fibre or copper-based services were more suitable for the new networks. "We have to be careful we don't interfere with market. We are not technical experts to say which solution is best, we are just interested in making it sure gets done," Rambhai said. Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis said developers have been invited to a broadband forum on December 3 to find out what sort of broadband infrastructure future residents may be seeking. "I call this future proofing new Manukau development," Sir Barry said. "I believe it is vital for our plans for the continuing growth and advancement of Manukau. We are New Zealand's most rapidly-growing city. "The goal is to have every household in Manukau wired with a choice of high-speed internet, making the city attractive for business. It is vital for new investment and jobs."

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 11/18/2003

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Auckland to Get Linux Centre

IBM has established a Linux centre of competency in Auckland on the back of work it is doing to shift many of Air New Zealand's core applications to the open-source environment. Centre head Chris Phillips said the 10-strong team had built tools and processes to simplify deployment of Linux in large- or medium-sized organisations. "We have built an enterprise infrastructure, a cookie-cutter machine which can deploy Linux guests across the enterprise. Whether it be on mainframe or midrange server, it does not matter, nor does it matter what type of Linux it is," Phillips said. "We see Linux as a key enabler for customers. Lots of companies have infrastructure they have built up year on year on proprietary systems, where they have been told, 'You need this type of machine to put this application on.' "Linux has the ability to change all that. We can take that equipment, centralise and downsize, and lower the total cost of ownership by double-digit figures." Phillips said Linux was particularly suitable for web infrastructure. "A lot of people have multiple servers across the shop floor all running Windows, with all their web infrastructure hooked up. Well, why would you? "Let's get rid of all those servers, put in machines where we can LPar [logical partition] them up to create virtual servers, cut 150 servers to 20, so cut down all those machines you are paying for, all the Windows licences on those platforms." Phillips said his team was building a new web infrastructure for Air New Zealand. "The infrastructure will be live in February, and we will be porting applications to it through to June." That includes a project to move the airline's SAP system to Linux. Phillips said Air New Zealand might split the application so the parts which involve mainly input/output processing could be done on a Linux partition on a mainframe, while more processor-intensive parts could be done on midrange servers; or it could run the whole application on midrange servers on Linux. The application is currently run a large Sun server using Sun's proprietary Solaris Unix operating system. "We are looking at all those options with Air New Zealand because they are looking at dropping their cost of ownership," Philips said. He said big corporates were reluctant to move to Linux despite perceived cost advantages because they were worried about the support. "The last thing you want as a corporate is to put your financial system up on Linux and then have it all fall over, and have to open yourself up to asking for help from the open-source community. "The difference here is IBM will do this for you and stand behind it. We will sign the service-level agreements and provide first, second and third level support, we will represent you to the open-source community if required." Phillips said he had sheaves of resumes from people who wanted to be involved with the competency centre, which would also service clients in Australia and Asia. Among those hired so far is Andreas Girardet, who founded Yoper (Your Operating System), a desktop Linux which monitoring DistroWatch said was the fifth most downloaded distribution over the past 12 months. (by Adam Gifford)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/02/2003

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Fibre Link Plans for Southland

A planned broadband fibre-optic cable link between Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown could be the first of many round the country, says a Dunedin entrepreneur. Independent Networks has resource consents to run cable underground from Dunedin to Invercargill and on to Queenstown, with the final stage from Kinloch running underneath Lake Wakatipu. Director Norman Dally said work laying the cable along the main highway would start in the second half of next year and should be finished by the end of the year. "It depends on how severe the winter is." Independent Networks will sell "dark fibre" to users, probably telecommunications companies, who will provide connections to existing or new networks. "They have to be operating their own networks. They are not just buying bandwidth," Dally said. "Our position is to give vendor-neutral provision of core infrastructure. The economies of scale mean telcos don't have to go through and build infrastructure right through the country. This way they can lease capacity. "Investment in infrastructure in Southland has been almost non-existent. It is a hard business case for anyone to justify." Early reactions from prospective customers had been positive, he said. The likely cost of the project is $10 million to $15 million. Independent Networks will bring other non-telco investors into the scheme, but has no intention of doing a public float, as this could threaten the vendor-neutral status of the business. "We have partners stacked up, waiting for the ducks to come in line," Dally said. The project will be managed by his company,Martel International, whose previous experience includes project management, design and prime contracting on parts of the Cook Strait fibre-optic link project and planning for Telstra Saturn's push into Christchurch suburbs. Dally said Independent Networks had a cost-effective model that would work elsewhere in the country. "Other networks are planned where we believe the core infrastructure is lacking or where it is getting to its use-by date." Steve Canny, Venture Southland's broadband project manager, said the only fibre-optic cable coming into Southland was a single Telecom link. "If it is cut or damaged, we can't get the bandwidth we need. Every region in the modern environment needs to be looking at route diversity." Competition was also needed to drive down prices. "In current market models, pricing suppresses high bandwidth use because of the cost barrier," Canny said. "That will limit our ability to do things like high-end science and research." Bob Smith, of Woosh Wireless, which has the Probe contract to build a broadband service in Southland, said backhaul out of the province needed to be upgraded. Woosh is buying backhaul from TelstraClear, which is using the Telecom fibre to do so. (by Adam Gifford)

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/09/2003

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Kiwis Lead on Net Use

NEW Zealanders use the internet more than their neighbours across the Tasman as well as 30 other countries covered by a new international survey. Both Australia and New Zealand recorded high usage of government services online, although they were outstripped in that area by the Scandinavian countries, according to a government online survey by market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The TNS survey showed that New Zealand continued to have the highest level of internet penetration among the 32 countries surveyed. Seventy five per cent of the 1,000 New Zealanders surveyed in August had used the internet in the previous month, up from 71 per cent in the 2002 survey. Australia came in at number eight in terms of internet usage, with 64 per cent of the population going online. TNS surveyed 32,000 adults in 32 countries to determine their use of government online services. Denmark had the highest level of government online usage at 63 per cent, while the level of uptake in Bulgaria was only one per cent. Australia and New Zealand came in eighth and ninth respectively in terms of government online usage, ranking behind countries such as Norway, Finland, Singapore and the Netherlands. But Australia's 47 per cent and New Zealand's 45 per cent of the population who had used government online services in the previous year still beat the United States (44 per cent) and Hong Kong (43 per cent). TNS said that while government online use in Australia remained relatively stable from 2002, there was some change in the services used by Australians with 29 per cent taking up interactive services such as consulting, providing information to government and transacting. TNS said this was further evidence of trends such as the maturation of Australians' use of online exchange and a reflection of a government focus on encouraging interactive exchanges online. More New Zealanders were using e-government services such as getting exam results and paying GST, at 45 per cent compared to 40 per cent in 2002, which TNS said was likely because of a wider awareness of government online coupled with the further development of online services.

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/09/2003

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Otago University Speeding Up Its Links

Otago University is spending $4.2 million on a superfast 10 gigabit per second network linking campuses in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland. Martin Anderson, Otago University information services director, said the three-year network upgrade from Cisco Systems would help data to be sent more efficiently. Students, lecturers, researchers and administration staff were all becoming increasingly reliant on high-speed networking, he said. Also about to start is a wireless network trial in association with the university's business school. Mr Anderson said "WiFi" wireless connectivity was a natural progression especially with more students now using laptop computers. The upgrade will introduce a range of added benefits for students, including access to course materials from halls of residence and the development of wireless networks that will reduce pressure on computer resource rooms. Also possible on the network is IP telephony, although not immediately. Cisco's partner, Logical CSI, is in charge of integrating and rolling out the network, which will be complete by the start of the new academic year.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 12/16/2003

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Library Deal Gives Free Online Access to Journals and Magazines

A new library deal will give New Zealanders free access to thousands of online magazines, journals and databases, until now only available to paid subscribers. New Zealand's local libraries have joined forces to buy electronic information previously only bigger public or tertiary libraries could afford. From March 4, the deal allows anyone to access the information through their local or school library after the Ministry of Education paid for all primary to secondary schools to join the library group. "This initiative demonstrates the commitment of librarians to deliver the broadest range of information possible to their communities -- however isolated or small," Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) president Mirla Edmundson said. The resources, provided by vendors Gale and EBSCO, will allow library users to access magazines, journals, reference books, historical documents, biographies, maps, photos and graphics as well as a range of reference databases including one providing comparative data on international companies. It will also hold resources specifically compiled for school students. "It will truly impact on the lives of all New Zealanders," Ms Edmundson said. Library users will be able to access the resources from home or work through library websites as well as at their local participating library.

From http://www.nzherald.co.nz/ 01/15/2004

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AZERBAIJAN: IATP Helps Establish Information Technology Department at Baku University

In November, IATP began offering trainings on basic computer and office systems to five distinguished teachers and eight students at Odlar Yurdu University in Baku. Ruslan Sadirkhanov (CI 00), director for academic programs at the university, asked IATP to conduct the trainings. The university's president was so impressed and inspired by the results of IATP's first training that he established a Department of Information Technology (IT) at the university. Thus, IATP is offering additional trainings to help lay the foundation for this department. The IATP trainer will conduct a series of advanced computer program courses--including MS Office, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Corel Draw--for the department's prospective IT teachers. After completing the courses, the teachers will then begin teaching regular university classes in IT.

From http://www.irex.org/ 12/12/2003

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CHINA: The 134th Congress of BIE Held on 12th December

World Expo Net December 12 Paris: On the 134th Congress of BIE held on 12th, Shanghai vice-mayor and Shanghai World Expo Bureau director Zhou Yupeng briefed the BIE and representatives of each member country about the latest progress of preparations for Shanghai World Expo. He explained that the preparations for Expo 2010 Shanghai have entered a new stage. Shanghai is currently establishing a World Expo operational system that will coordinate Central and local cooperation between the government and enterprises and promotion between China and overseas enterprises. The people of Shanghai and China will surely realize this great undertaking. Chinese representative to BIE and Shanghai World Expo Bureau deputy director, Zhou Hanmin, stated that Shanghai World Expo's preparations have got off to a fine start, including strengthening World Expo's site planning, establishing specialized laws and regulations for the protection of World Expo intellectual property rights, discussion of feasibilities and varieties for World Expo, holding of the first "Shanghai World Expo Forum" etc. Shanghai World Expo has also begun to recruit outstanding talent from China and overseas to collect Expo 2010 Shanghai's emblem, slogan and song. Shanghai has also got all of society working to develop major discussions on "World Expo and Shanghai's new round of development", positively promoting World Expo among all circles and the general public. Zhou Hanmin revealed that the second Shanghai World Expo Forum will be held in Paris with the theme of "World Expo: city, culture variety and culture integration." The Japanese representative briefed participants on the preparations and progress of World Expo Aichi 2005. The 2008 World Expo bidding countries including Spain, Greece and Italy made a new statement at the meeting. (by Hu Zhigang and Yu Zhenyu)

From http://www.expo2010china.com/ 12/12/2003

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China to Hold First Int'l Online Game Expo

China's first Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference will run in Beijing from January 16th to 18th. More than one hundred domestic and overseas companies have applied to attend the expo, including Sony, Nokia, Shenda and Sohu. Last year, China's online gaming industry was worth 2 billion yuan or some 240 million US dollars. But China-made software only accounted for 10 percent of the market. China will wholeheartedly develop the indigenous online gaming industry and fight against digital piracy to enhance the experience for Chinese gamers. (by Li Yunan)

From CRIENGLISH.com 01/08/2004

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IRAN: 'Electronic Government Exhibition' Opens

The First Electronic Government Exhibition was held simultaneously with the Ninth International Fair on Electronics, Computers and E-Commerce, at the permanent venue of Tehran International Fairs, with the slogan of sustainable development and scientific economic system. The Electronic Government Exhibition will be held in order to showcase the state-of-the-art products of the Information Technology and Communications, and to provide swifter and more appropriate services to the people. Establishment of bonds between the governmental companies and private sector and paving the grounds for promotion of novel technologies for information dissemination is another aim of this fair. Governmental organizations, private companies and potential operators of projects introduce the needs, ongoing projects and forthcoming plans and showcase them for visitors. Different sections of the first Electronic Government Exhibition familiarize visitors with the policy-making organization for information technology and communications, introduce electronic publications and specialist information societies and hold seminars and round-table discussions. The Ninth International Exhibition for Electronics, Computers and E-Commerce is held from December 24 until December 28.

From http://iran.ru/ 12/24/2003

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SOUTH KOREA: SMBA Holds Event to Introduce International Procurement Information System

The Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) held an event Monday (November 24) to introduce a procurement information system it established recently to help raise Korean businesses' participation in the international procurement market valued at $2 trillion a year. Some 100 corporate representatives were on hand at the event unveiling the Global Procurement Information System (GPIS) held at Seoul's COEX Convention Center. The GPIS (www.b2g.go.kr) has come into being against the background despite ranking at the world's 11th largest trading country claiming 2.7 percent of the world's export market, Korea barely shares $4 billion, or 0.2 percent, in the international procurement area, a showing far behind the rivals like China or Taiwan. The SMBA hopes the system, which will be run by the Small Business Corporation, will fill the need of the Korean entrepreneurs desiring to find a niche in the world procurement market.

From http://www.kois.go.kr/ 11/25/2003

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Ministry Hosts Symposium on Public Information Projects

In an effort to draw up new regulations and standards concerning the bidding and contracting of government information projects, the Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) has sponsored its first symposium at the Jamsil Lotte Hotel in southern Seoul on November 27. Some 500 local and foreign experts invited spoke about various examples of relevant regulations and systems currently in place in other countries, as well as the pros and cons about those systems. Korean participants took the opportunity to brief on some of the contract/operation rules that Korea`s national and regional agencies are currently using for government projects. The necessity of national-level guidelines, particularly for key software-engineering technologies, was also critical part of the discussion at the seminar. Among the participants were representatives of the Korean Ministry of National Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense, the ministry said. The launching of more stringent regulations that meet international standards will help enhance the competitiveness of the software industry and ultimately improve information technologies in general.

From http://www.mic.go.kr/ 11/29/2003

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UZBEKISTAN: Delegation Attends ICT Forum in Baku

Representatives of UzInfoCom centre participated in the International Forum on National Strategies in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and e-governance, which was held on 6-8 November in Baku, Azerbaijan. The forum was one of three regional meetings organised by the working group of special commission on ICT on national and regional e-strategies under the aegis of the UN, the Azeri government, UNDP office in Azerbaijan and UNDP Subregional Resource Fund on Eastern Europe and Caucasus, according to UzInfoCom. The main aim of the forum was to provide an opportunity for exchange of experience among state organisations and agencies, as well as cooperation with foreign partners. The participants reviewed national strategies of ICT and e-governance as a tool for reforming public governance. The issues of electronic document turnover, standards, implementation of e-democracy, access to information, fighting corruption and others were also considered.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 11/17/2003

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Documentum Presents Its Solutions in Tashkent

The world's largest designer of software in the field of electronic document circulation - American Documentum Inc. - presented its solutions in Tashkent.

From http://www.uzreport.com/ 11/27/2003

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Advanced Web Design Course in Angren

From December 1 to 4, IATP Webmaster Dmitry Polonsky conducted courses for 11 students and teachers at the IATP access site in Angren, Uzbekistan. This advanced training was the last in a series of step-by-step trainings that began with computer and Internet basics. In their final session, participants acquired skills in HTML coding, a database management system, and PHP, a program used in creating dynamic websites. By the end of the course, participants had created eight new websites and updated six old ones. High school student Umid Saribaev developed a new series of entertaining cartoons about Nasriddin Afandi, a traditional Uzbek folk hero who figures prominently in tales and jokes about clever peasants outwitting dull aristocrats. Saribaev placed two previous series of the cartoon online. Saribaev also updated his website by including information on the consequences of alcoholism. College student Timur Atabaev created a website on Japanese, Chinese, and Caucasian cuisine, including a counter, guestbook and a voting system. Programmer Vladimir Alatarcev created a password-protected website with online tests in PHP programming. Rahmon Abdullaev, a teacher, updated the official website of the Angren Academic Lyceum and developed an animated version of the site. Finally, Abror Nazirov, a student at the Angren Academic Lyceum, created a new website about Uloq or Kupkari to provide information about this traditional sport played in Uzbekistan. These websites add to the growing number of creations coming from the Angren access site. Since its opening last November, IATP users have developed over 30 websites, making a major contribution to available online content in local languages.

From http://www.irex.org/ 12/12/2003

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BRUNEI: Sapura Brunei Conducts E-Teaching Workshop

In conjunction with INFORAMA 2002, Institute Technology Brunei has teamed up with Sapura (B) Sdn Bhd to promote the integration of ICT and educational content in the local teaching community. A workshop entitled 'Step Up To e-Teaching' was organized for about 100 Brunei teachers on the meaning and relevance of ICT to their professional lives. Heading the Sapura team in running the workshop was Ms Sally Lim from Sapura's Educational Consulting Services Unit. "I am very excited about the Ministry of Education's directed effort in bringing out the value of ICT in education. The convergence of technology and the vertical economic sectors is happening at a rapid pace. For the education sector, this convergence will have far-reaching ramifications in changing the way we conduct teaching and effect learning.", said Mr Ahmad Isa, Chairman of Sapura (B) Sdn Bhd. Sapura is a key player in the Malaysian Smart School Pilot Project, one of the most successful flagship programs initiated by the Malaysian Multimedia super-corridor Development Corporation (MDC). I believe Brunei can gain from our Malaysian counterpart's experience." Running across 2 days, 17-18 October 2002, the workshop is designed to include a hands-on session where teachers will experience the art and science of content creation in the development of electronic teaching materials. Aptly, the workshop is intended to bring out the role of teachers in content creation rather than to convert teachers into technologists.

From http://www.sapura.com.bn/ 01/09/2003

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MALAYSIA: Visitors Gain Info on Latest IT Products

Microfair 2003 is not only a place for good bargains but a one-stop centre for information-gathering on the latest computers and IT products in the market. Businessman Chew Eh Teong said he had been visiting the biggest computer fair in the north for the past few years mainly to survey and evaluate new technologies. This year, besides gathering information, I'm also looking for a Chinese translator software for my kids,said Chew who was accompanied by his two daughters. Another visitor, Anita Cheah, was busy taking notes while talking to a sales representative from Canon. Usually do some research before I buy something, said Cheah who was looking for a CD-RW and a colour laser printer. For the 43 students of Adtec Institute of Technology in Kulim, Microfair 2003 was the right place to collect information for their course requirements. Said IT student Norhayati Mohd Nor: We have to explore the products available and their specifications before we can write reports for our assignments. The students' lecturer Rokiah Ahmad explained that this was a yearly affair for the institute. We want the students to get a practical view of the IT world, she said. The fair will expose them to the latest IT products, so they will get a better understanding of what they've learned in class, Rokiah added.

From http://thestar.com.my 11/17/2003

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SINGAPORE: More IT Enthusiasts Taking Up 'Self-Defence' Hacking Courses

More IT professionals and enthusiasts are learning how to hack into computer systems in order to protect their own. In the past three months, more than 400 people have enrolled into the Ethical Hacking course offered by Informatics. Ken Chua is an electronics engineer but his passion in IT spurred him to learn more about cyber-security. "I use the Internet a lot, so it's good to know more about such security, so that if people try to hack into my system, I'll be more aware," Mr Chua said. Students learn how to break into computer networks to check for vulnerabilities. With the knowledge of how hackers operate, they can better protect their personal computers or company's systems against potential cyber threats. "It's more on security. Just a five-day course, so you'll learn how they hack into the system. But as to how you hack into others, you'll need more time because there's a lot of programming knowledge needed also," one student said. "At the end of the day, it's like any self-defence school. It is to teach the students self-defence. But they can also use that knowledge and tools to go out and harm people," said Informatics vice president Lawrence Wee. In the past three years, the number of hacking cases in Singapore has more than doubled. There were 24 cases of successful hacking in the first half of this year alone. In fact, hacking tools are readily available on the Internet. So such ethical hacking courses can also act as a check and balance as students will be legally-bound to an agreement that prevents them from hacking into a computer system illegally. Demand for such courses is so strong, that classes at Informatics are almost fully booked till March next year.

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/ 12/20/2003

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VIETNAM: PM Accepts Regional Award Acknowledging IT Progress

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai thanked the Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organisation (ASOCIO) for an award presented to him by its president, Manoo Ordeedolchest, at the closing session of a three-day summit last Saturday evening. Khai said the award showed ASOCIO's appreciation of Viet Nam's development of information technology and telecommunications during the past decade. He said it also showed that ASOCIO recognised the great efforts made by Viet Nam's Ministry of Education and Training in training personnel for research into information technology for the benefit of all people, thus contributing to the improvement of people's living conditions. The Prime Minister presented ASOCIO's information technology and telecom awards to other individuals and nations at the meeting. Viet Nam was among those nations to receive awards, together with Australia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal and Thailand. Professor Dang Huu, head of the IT department of the Party Central Committee, and the general taxation department in the Ministry of Finance also received awards. At the closing ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem awarded Sao Khue prizes to individuals and organi-sations considered to have made valuable contributions to developing and applying IT.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 12/01/2003

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Ha Noi Software Whizzes Share Limelight at Contest

Five software programmers from Ha Noi beat 300 Vietnamese candidates from across the country and throughout the world to take first place in Viet Nam's largest annual information technology competition, Intelligence Viet Nam. At an awards ceremony last Thursday in Ha Noi, Nguyen Cong Kha, Ton Nu Minh Anh, Dang Quang Huy, Nguyen Anh Tuan and Nguyen Thanh Tung were presented with the Gold Cup, VND50 million, a laptop computer worth US$1,500 and a Honda Future motorbike for their design of a website management system. With a Java technology forum, Nguyen Ngoc Minh and Nguyen Huu Mai from HCM City took the second place prize of VND30 million and a $603 computer. The contest, now in its fourth year, organised jointly by Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper, Viet Nam Television and the Financing Promotion Technology company aims to discover talented young IT professionals whose ideas contribute to the development of Viet Nam. Entries dealt with education, industry, and legal procedures. "As many as 85 per cent of candidates' products had practical applications", Lao Dong newspaper's editor-in-chief, Pham Huy Hoan said. Organsing member, Professor Bach Hung Khang noted advancements in the country's technology sector. "This year's contest represents the progress made in the quality of Vietnamese IT products. Almost every entry was better than those of last year." An IT students' group studying in Queensland, Australia and a group of programmers from Ha Noi shared third place and were both given VND15 million and a $603 computer. The Honda Viet Nam will be the official sponsor for the next contest.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/ 01/03/2004

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VN Lecturer Wins US IT Honour

A Vietnamese university lecturer has won the 2003 doctoral dissertation award from the US-based Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Doan An Hai, a researcher in information technology, competed with several hundred candidates from numerous universities in the US, Canada and Europe to win the prize. His dissertation topic, Learning to Translate Between Structured Representations of Data, provided new methods for data analysis and software. He is the second Asian, following a Chinese engineer, to win the ACM prize in the last 20 years. Founded in 1947, the association is devoted to the advancement of knowledge and technical proficiency of information processing professionals. Hai is now completing his doctoral degree in information technology at Washington University. "Living in a foreign country, a Vietnamese like me must work harder to achieve something," he said. One of the top students of Phan Boi Chau High School in Nghe An Province's Vinh city, Hai created several software programmes while in school, and later studied at the University of Wisconsin in the US. He now works as an IT lecturer for the University of Illinois in north-central US.

From http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn 01/10/2004

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BANGLADESH: Dhaka to Play Dynamic Role in WSIS Summit

The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) will be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 10 to 12 December 2003. This is the first phase of the Summit hosted by the Government of Switzerland. The Second Phase of the Summit will take place in Tunis, hosted by the Government of Tunisia, from 16 to 18 November in 2005. This is the first time that ICT is the subject matter of a UN Summit. And Bangladesh already has taken a good initiative with civil society and government jointly to make successful participation at WSIS. Access to ICT is too costly for too many. Poor countries do not have sufficient resources to pay for necessary physical infrastructures, such as hardware, access to Internet, well functioning telecom and power lines, in addition, many of the poorest countries lack the necessary skills and competencies to make use of the new possibilities offered by ICT. Therefore, development of telecommunication infrastructure and a supportive environment to facilitate access at affordable rates is an essential prerequisite for bringing about an IT revolution in any society. The aim of the Summit is to develop a common vision and understanding of the Information Society. The Summit will be adopting a Declaration of Principles and a Plan of Action. The Summit will be officially opened in the afternoon of 10th December 2003. The opening Session will be presided over by the President of the Swiss Confederation Mr Pascal Couchpin. It will be addressed by the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ITU Secretary-General Mr Yoshio Utsumi, President of the Republic of Tunisia (as host of the second phase of the summit). Apart from private sectors and civil society entities, around 150 countries are participating in the Summit. Among them, 50 Heads of States/ Governments, including Bangladesh, have confirmed their participation. The Hon'ble Minister for Science and Information & Communication Technology had participated in several sessions of the Prep Com. Representatives from line Ministries and Bangladesh Permanent Mission in Geneva took part during the Prep Com Meetings. Bangladesh will have a high-level delegation for the Summit. The delegation will be led by Hon'ble Prime Minister Her Excellency Begum Khaleda Zia (She has been invited by the President of the Swiss Confederation Mr. Pascal Couchpin). Other members of the delegation will include Minister for Science and Information & Communication Technology, Sate Minister for Foreign Affairs, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. H E the Ambassador & Permanent Representative of Bangladesh in Geneva, Press Secretary of the Prime Minister, etc. The Honb'le Prime Minister will make her statement at the Plenary of the Summit in the morning of 11th December. The Hon'ble Prime Minister will participate in the Round-table on "ICT as a tool to achieve the Millennium Development Goals" in the afternoon of 11th December. The Hon'ble Prime Minister is a patron of the World Summit Award Showcase event, being organised by International Centre for New Media in the evening of 10th December. She is expected to address the event. It should be mentioned the Md Akteruzzaman selected as Grand Jury for Work Summit Award among all UN countries Expert Panel Member of WSA. The Hon'ble Prime Minister will hold several bilateral meeting with her counterparts at the sideline of the Summit. She will also be meeting Heads of Geneva based international organizations and UN agencies. The Hono'ble Prime Minister will also meet/address the Bangladesh community in Switzerland. It should be mentioned that more than 13,000 registered participants from all UN countries are attending the WSIS. And according to WSIS official port and registration service more than 60 persons from Government and business sector, over 30 from media and over 15 from civil society attending this summit. ICTDPB will arrange a whole day workshop during the summit. And including Bangladesh stand other three organisations named BFES, Proshika and Ekota are also attending with individual stall at the summit. (by Md Abdul Wahed Tomal)

From http://nation.ittefaq.com/ 12/10/2003

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NEPAL: Cable-Net Introduces Optical Fibre Technology

KATHMANDU - Cable Television Network of Nepal (Pvt.) Ltd. (Cable-Net) has introduced optical fibre for transmitting programmes of various domestic and foreign television channels. According to a press release issued by the company on Wednesday, it has successfully transmitted TV programmes through optical fibre in Baneshwor and Chabahil areas of Kathmandu. The service would be available throughout Kathmandu valley within a short period, states the release. The company says that the technology transmits TV programmes with extremely low signal loss compared to the co-axial cable, the existing mode of transmission, which ensures better picture quality. Similarly, the company has said that it has planned to introduce broadband service that includes Internet, email and video conferencing in very soon, states the release.

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 11/05/2003

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Media Education, A Misnomer

After spending years of time and tons of paper to find out the culprit who encourages people, particularly children and teenagers, to do all kinds of nuisances in the family and the society, social scientists are now pointing to a magic box that lives in the living room and which is loved by all the family members. As the communication technology develops it seems impossible to get rid of it. Media education is the only way to reduce its negative impact and benefit from it. But in Nepal media education has become a misnomer. Suicide by an eight year boy for a packet of biscuit, last week (November 10, 2003) has raised concerns among psychologists and paediatricians. Some of them have contributed the incident to sibling rivalry and family environment while some mental health experts have pointed to the mass media, particularly television. Scientific studies and reviews, abroad, conclude that significant exposure to crime, sex, violence and advertisements increases the risk of aggressive behaviour in children and adolescents. Violence appears in various forms of entertainment, such as movies, video games, and television news. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognises that exposure to mass media (i.e., television, movies, video and computer games, the Internet, music lyrics and videos, newspapers, magazines, books, advertising, etc) presents both health risks and benefits for children and adolescents. Media education has the potential to reduce the harmful effects of media. By understanding and supporting media education, pediatricians can play an important role in reducing the risk of exposure to mass media for children and adolescents. (Source: AAP Report) Nepal is not an exception. To grab the limited audience and advertisement market the Nepalese electronic media are increasingly normalising and glamourising, and even glorifying occasionally, crime, sex, violence and use of tobacco, alcohol and junk foods. As a result, juvenile crime and obesity is increasing in the society. Mass media, which is loved and appreciated so much for its role in democracy, development, education, awareness, entertainment, and so on, is replacing the traditional role of parents and teachers in educating children. It has now become the dominant storyteller in our society and as a dominant storytellers media has a powerful influence on our understanding of ourselves and our world. Therefore, it is imperative for young people as well as the parents to understand mass media for the harmony and health of family and societies at large. Learning to question images_5 and messages presented by the mass media is a critical first step to becoming an active, thoughtful consumer of the media, and, consequently, an independent thinker capable of resisting and challenging unhealthy understanding and practice. Media education or media literacy enables people to read, understand and deconstruct media images_5 and messages. It provides young people the tools to construct positive self-images_5 and find healthy relationships. Media education is defined as the study and analysis of mass media. It has potential to reduce harmful effects through the process of educating children, adolescents, and adults about media. A media-literate public is able to decipher the purpose and message of media rather than accepting it at face value. Media educated users can recognise media's potential effects and make good choices about their and their children's media exposure. Nepal is increasingly exposed to all kinds of media messages and images_5 through dozens of global televisions, half a dozen of national channels and more than two dozens of FM stations. However, it is disheartening to learn that the term media education is misused and misplaced in the education sector and by the educators of journalism and mass communication. The syllabus of the Media Studies of the Bachelor of Arts in the Kathmandu University rationalises the education in the following terms: "Apart from further consolidating the knowledge in the area of specialisation, the students will develop the professional skills required in the respective job sectors. The subjects have been chosen so as to meet the increasing demand of skilled and trained human resources in media, education and development and service organisations. The programme has been developed keeping in consideration the contemporary needs and requirements of the possible job areas in various public and private sectors." A study of the syllabi of some of the universities and colleges of Nepal reveal that most of them are teaching mass communication and journalism in the name of media education. Even the educators of journalism and mass communication of the campuses have named their organisation as association of media educators, which is obviously a misnomer. As the objectives and role of media is shifting from social servant and watch dog to a profiteer the importance of media education is increasing every day. Media education should be a part of school education from the lower level. The education planners seem to realise, to some extent, the importance of media education for the young students. However, at the designing stage of the syllabus it was mistaken as the journalism education. As a result the students of Tribhuvan University campuses have to study journalism as a part of Compulsory Nepali. Misunderstanding media education and misnaming it for journalism education has had long-term impact in minimising the importance of media literacy for the audience of modern mass media, particularly the youths. Thus, the most vulnerable section of the audience, who need the media education most are being deprived of it. Its consequences are now visible in the form of suicide, crime, and sexual violence, increase of obscenity, disobedience and erosion of cultural and social values. (by Vinaya Kasajoo)

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 11/13/2003

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ICT Capabilities in Nepal

Digital technology offers an oppor tunityfor socio- economic devel opment to all countries alike for becoming equal members in the new ICT era. On its adoption rate by a country will depend its position in the new world economic order and the capacity of bridging the gap of "digital divide". Widening of the digital divide obviously threatens to increase the already existing development gap between the rich and the poor among and within countries. Huge disparities are quite evident among the countries of the Asia-Pacific Region when one compares the main ICT development indicators, e.g. main telephone lines and cellular subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Out of the 40 countries of the Asia-Pacific Region for which data could be sourced from ITU, only 11 countries have teledensity above 25 percent and Internet users ranging between 10-25 percent. Twenty-0ne countries have teledensity below 10 percent and Internet users varying from 0.02 to 8 percent. Other major barrier as regards the extension of content through the Internet is the language. There are more than 4000 languages in the Asia-Pacific Region, but over 68 percent of the Websites use English language. Japanese and German occupy only about six percent. Very little content is available in other languages. Nepal is adopting a liberal telecom policy that was announced in 2001. From 2004, operation of all telecom services will be made open for private sector as well. In the current fiscal year budget speech of 2003/04, the government has announced that it will convert the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) into a Company and sell its shares to the private sector. The monopoly of NTC in telecom sector so long has been observed to be a hindrance for the development of ICT in the country. Nepal has at present digital radio relay connected in all the districts except five remote ones. The remote ones are connected through Satcom. There are 134 digital exchanges including rural exchanges with 356,000 lines. About 1,761 VDCs have access to telecom services. But some of them have been destroyed during political unrest in the country. For international links there is a fiber optics connection to India and a satellite communication link to rest of the world. NTC has so far monopoly in mobile telecom operation. Last year, the government granted license also to a private party for such a service. However the private party could not as yet come into operation. Currently NTC has provided mobile telephone to major urban area only and approximate customers are 75,000. Recently, an agreement has been signed with India to lay fiber optic cable in Terai from east to west covering a distance of about 500 km. There are 8 license holders for providing paging service in the country, but only five of them are currently operational. Mercantile Private Company established the first ISP in Nepal in 1994. There are at present altogether 18 operating ISPs in the country although there are 15 such license holders. Tele-density is 1.25% and Internet users are approximately 300,000 persons. Regarding human resource development, 52 colleges under the four universities are now offering IT related undergraduate and graduate courses with an annual intake of about 5000 students. The number of students going out of the country to study IT courses is not included in this figure. The number of colleges offering IT courses and their capacity is growing every year. Private institutes affiliated to well-known institutions of India, UK, etc are also offering long-term professional training courses. Computers of major brands and software are readily available in the market. But locally assembled systems, being affordable to the general public, are quite popular. A duty of 20% is levied on all hardware imports. Nepalese software companies have been successful in exporting a small volume of software. Web designing and hosting companies are growing; while e-commerce and e-governance have also been started. Some foreign investment in software development has been coming in since 1983, and there is an increasing trend of opening software companies. Now Nepal is moving towards becoming self reliant in IT related human resources. According to the ITPF Report 2003, 1,200 high level professionals, 7,000 middle level manpower and 25,000 lower level manpower are now available in the country. In addition to that, Ministry of Science and Technology has also sponsored a few training programmes and helped in producing 500 highly skilled; 8, 500 skilled and semi-skilled manpower by spending about 80 million rupee from the government budget. The government had initially targeted to help produce in one year 50,000 manpower at the various levels. But due to financial and managerial constrains, the program had to be curtailed. Ministry of Science and Technology is the topmost policy making body for the development of ICT in the country and National Information Technology Center (NITC) is the implementing organization. Now the IT High Level Commission is responsible for the implementation of the policy. Four Universities are already offering graduate and post-graduate courses in this field and two are in the process of establishment in the private sector. There are at present 177 IT training institutes, 200 plus IT trading business houses, 74 software development Companies and 81 plus IT consultancy services operating in the country. Similarly, there are 18 ISPs, 58 networking, 26-system integrator and 10 V-sat service providers. Moreover, the number of Graphic Designers and Web-service providers are, 24 and 13 respectively. Whereas, the number of service providers is 83, 39 of them and 9 joint venture Companies constitute the major components of IT infrastructure in the country for the ICT development. The figures of the existing IT industries are limited to almost two digits. The number seems to be very low and poor compared to the SAARC region. The major problem of IT sector in Nepal seems to be the digital gaps that exist within the country and those with respect to the outside world. There is obviously a dire need to bridge the gap through the development and extension of IT resources and services by mobilizing internal resources as well as by attracting foreign investment in this sector. The current lack of coordination between the Ministries, the gap between policy and implementation as well as the lack of a clear-cut open policy towards the investors all need to be addressed and resolved. Mere ad-hoc approaches and high sounding objectives in the IT Policy may not help in the development of the IT sector. Perhaps the most crucial factors that could lead to the desired development in the IT sector are security, political stability and leadership with vision. (Mr.Ghimire is Spokesperson and Under- Secretary at the Ministry of Science and Technology) (by Purushottam Ghimire)

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 11/15/2003

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What does It Mean for Countries Like Nepal - World Summit on Information Society

KATHMANDU - A team led by Minister for Information and Communications, Kamal Thapa, today left for the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), taking place between December 10 to 12, at Switzerland. The WSIS will address a broad range of subjects concerning the Information Society and adopt a Declaration of Principles and formulate a plan of action, addressing the whole range of issues related to the Information Society. But, will the voice of Nepal be heard amidst the gala event? Experts say that although the main theme of the summit focuses on information for all, developing countries need to ensure that they do not miss out on the information revolution. "Issues like information should be distributed equally to all," said Mukunda Sharma Poudyal, Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication adding that the SAARC countries would make a unified stand on bringing technology to all. The team consists of Thapa, Joint-Secretary of the National Planning Commission, Mayor of Banepa and the Director of the National Centre for Information Technology. Thapa will be presenting a speech at one of the discussions during the summit on December 11, with the main focus of Thapa's speech being that least developed countries should be given priority for Information Communication Technology. However, Nepal has no separate agenda during the summit. "There is no separate agenda that will be presented by Nepal," said Purusottam Ghimire, Spokesperson at the Ministry of Science and Technology. However, Ghimire added that the views of Nepal would be presented in the South Asian presentation. The main aim of least developed countries like Nepal would be to become a part of the global information technology revolution. The South Asian presentation would be to highlight the fact that developing countries also need their IT sectors to be developed. Similarly, Rishi Shah, who will be leaving tomorrow for Switzerland, is representing the Internet Users Group. He says countries like Nepal should request funds for the development of IT from developed countries. Another issue, according to Shah that would be brought up during the summit, is the control of the Internet. "Breaching of Internet security, hacking are some of the issues that will be discussed," he said. But, Shah believes that the control of the Internet should be left to the governments. "However, for countries like Nepal, who haven't fully utilised the Internet, this is going to be a tough area to control," added Shah. "Besides, we don't even have any control mechanisms developed yet," he said. Experts also feel that the inability for Nepal to even have a cyber law could well mean its voice would be muffled at the summit. The cyber law although in its final stages has not yet been passed. It is pending at the Ministry of Law, which has sent the act to the Supreme Court for verification. Shah also says the outcome of the WSIS for developing countries would focus primarily on the amount of lobbying that can be done. "The government, private organisation and civil society need to lobby for countries like ours together," he said. (by Suvecha Pant)

From http://www.kantipuronline.com/ 12/08/2003

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PAKISTAN: CyberNet Holds Second Draw for E-Payment Extravaganza

KARACHI - The lucky winner of the second and final lucky draw of Cyber.Net E-Payment Extravaganza, Kaiser Shafiullah, walked away with a sensational prize offered by Cyber.Net ie a Toshiba Home Theatre. The draw conducted by Ansar-ul-Haq, COO Cyber.Net, was held at Cyber.Net Customer Care Center, Sarwar Shaheed Road. Cyber.Net is a pioneer in introducing E-payment system in Pakistan. And the Cyber.Net E-Payment Extravaganza was an attempt to encourage online payment amongst the customers. Cyber.Net gave away two Toshiba Home Theatres as the main prize, including 10 consolation prizes of internet hours during the campaign. Thousands of customers participated in the lucky draw simply by creating or refreshing their Cyber.Net accounts online through Cyber.Net E-payment website (www.cyber.net.pk/epayment) using their Master or Visa Credit Cards. This made them automatically eligible for the lucky draw. Cyber.Net congratulated the winners.

From http://www.brecorder.com/ 12/10/2003

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AUSTRALIA: Forum to Address Sluggish Bio-IT

THE possibility of creating a "big science" project to boost Australia's profile in bio-IT and health informatics is to be discussed at a high-level meeting in Melbourne this week. Australia is trailing other nations in the emerging field of informatics in medicine and biology, according to the influential Global Access Partners network. It has convened an invitation-only forum of key government, academic and industry decision-makers for "open discussions" aimed at driving new policies. The event is sponsored by IBM and the Victorian and Federal governments. "Australia's growth in bioinformatics is currently slower than in other countries, especially in Asia," a GAP spokesman said. "Informatics in biology and medicine requires the input of feeder industries, government and investors. It's agreed the industry here is fragmented and there is a need for centralisation." IBM Asia-Pacific bioinformatics specialist Tim Littlejohn said the forum would look at how health and life sciences "have turned into information industries, because they are now so information-driven". Dr Littlejohn hopes participants will agree to co-operate on a project with the potential to showcase the nation's informatics capabilities. "One of the big challenges for Australia is the lack of big life-science projects compared with the US, Europe and Japan," he said. "We're trying to get enough critical mass together to create at least one big project." Although there were no specific proposals on the table, Dr Littlejohn said that given IBM's involvement in information-based medicine, he could imagine a project around health informatics. "But it's up to the forum to decide," he said. Meanwhile, the proposed National Bioinformatics Strategy will have an airing behind the closed doors. Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources general manager of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology Craig Pennifold said the forum was an ideal opportunity for consultation, because the strategy would be finalised early next year. "We're ready to start exploring where the work of the forum could interlink with that of the national strategy," Mr Pennifold said. "Basically, we're looking to capture global opportunities for bioinformatics in health, big pharma, agriculture and the environment. Australia certainly has some strengths in research and in pharmaceuticals already, but we have yet to really exploit the potential." GAP will play an ongoing role in the industry's business and policy development through a government consultative committee to be established this week. (by Karen Dearne)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/02/2003

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ALP to Tackle ICT Trade Deficit

THE ALP will host a forum on Australia's annual $14.4 billion ICT industry trade deficit as part of a program of fringe events to be held in conjunction with the party's 2004 National Conference in January. The author of the Australian Computer Society's ICT Trade Update 2003 report, Professor John Houghton of the Centre for Strategic economic Studies will speak at the lunchtime forum. Shadow IT minister Kate Lundy said invitations to participate in a roundtable discussion at the forum would be sent this week to chief executives of local and multinational firms. The roundtable would include Senator Lundy, state IT ministers and company executives. It is not yet clear whether Labor leader Mark Latham will participate in the ICT forum. Called The ICT Deficit: Where are we going wrong, Senator Lundy said the event aimed to look at industry development mechanisms for boosting local IT businesses. The forum will be conducted at Sydney's Darling Harbour on January 29, the first day of the ALP's 2004 National Conference. "This is really a challenge for some of these multinational companies to come forward and say: 'This is what we're doing (in the local economy), this is what we're contributing," Senator Lundy said. "And we would expect that they would bring their credentials with them." "It will give them the opportunity to sell their point of view about their activity in the Australian economy and the way that they work with local companies." The forum will aim to give smaller Australian companies a platform to voice their needs and concerns about dealing with government and multinationals. It also aimed to drive industry development ideas, Senator Lundy said. "So it will fulfil the role of policy consultation in that respect," she said. Although the organisers will keep the roundtable to a "manageable" size of 20 to 30 executives, Senator Lundy said she hoped to encourage audience attendance from the wider industry. She said the fringe program at the ALP's National Conference hoped to encourage delegates to "expose themselves to other policy areas". (by James Riley)

From http://australianit.news.com.au/ 12/16/2003

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