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Laos to launch first satellite in 2015

Posted by pakin On May - 27 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

VIENTIANE — Chinese contractors will launch Laos’ first satellite next year, state media reported on Tuesday.

China Asia-Pacific Mobile Telecommunications Satellite Company and another unnamed Chinese contractor have started production on the satellite, the Vientiane Times said.

It will be launched into an orbital slot of 128.5 degrees, the newspaper reported. Such slots are normally allocated by the International Telecommunications Union.

“Forty-two young Lao officials have just completed three months of initial training on satellite communications in preparation for the satellite’s operation,” said the government mouthpiece.

Laos signed a $250-million agreement in 2011 with the two Chinese contractors to build and launch the satellite, using a Chinese loan.

The satellite will relay data for television and telephone services.

Myanmar’s military leaders are reluctant to amend the constitution because they don’t trust the people, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said.

“The military doesn’t trust the people, and the people don’t believe in the military,” Suu Kyi told a crowd of 15,000 people gathered on Saturday to hear her speak on the need for changes to the constitution to make Myanmar more democratic.

The 2008 charter, drafted by a committee selected by the former ruling junta, gives the military control over 25 per cent of all seats in parliament, enough to veto any amendments or legislation.

The charter was pushed through by the junta’s former chief, Senior General Than Shwe, who was reportedly worried about retribution for his harsh rule from 1992 to 2010 when thousands of political prisoners were jailed and protests brutally suppressed.

“Some senior person is worried about the future,” Suu Kyi said.

“I understand that they want to keep the constitution the way it is to protect their lives.”

Suu Kyi urged the military top brass as well as rank-and-file soldiers to support a petition campaign to amend the charter.

“I would like you all to consider whether getting more opportunities than ordinary citizens is really fair,” Suu Kyi said. “The main strength of the military forces is weapons. So I would like you to consider whether getting special opportunities because of the power of arms is dignified or good for yourself.”

According to political observers, Than Shwe, although retired, still wields influence over the military hierarchy and current President Thein Sein, a former army general whose pro-military Union Solidarity and Develop-ment Party won the November 2010 polls.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is barred from becoming Myanmar’s next president in a general election scheduled in 2015 because of a clause in the constitution that prohibits Myanmar citizens with foreign spouses or children from claiming the presidency.

Suu Kyi was married to the late Michael Aris, a British professor. The couple had two sons, Alexander and Kim, both of whom were born in Britain and have British nationality.

One year before the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to bring greater mobility to the region, Vietnamese labor productivity has been found lagging behind its neighbors.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) recently announced that labor productivity in Vietnam is among the lowest in the Asia – Pacific region.

A survey conducted last year by the organization found that Singaporean productivity was nearly 15 times that of Vietnam’s, while Japan’s was 11 times higher and South Korean 10 times higher.

Vietnam’s productivity was just one-fifth of Malaysia’s, and two-fifths that of Thailand, according to the ILO study.

The report also pointed out a recent slowdown in Vietnam’s productivity growth.

From 2002-2007, productivity increased by 5.2 percent on average every year, among the fastest in the region.

Since 2008, however, that rate has fallen to 3.3 percent.

One year before the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is set to bring greater mobility to the region, Vietnamese labor productivity has been found lagging behind its neighbors.

During a conference held by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee last August,  Vietnamese labor productivity was described as 61.4 percent of the region’s average and down near the bottom of the list with Myanmar and Cambodia, VnExpress reported Tuesday.

Vietnamese laborers’ were below average, in terms of height, weight and strength, the wire service quoted Dr. Bui Sy Loi, vice chairman of the NA’s Social Affairs Committee as saying.

Loi also claimed that Vietnamese laborers failed to exhibit the physical requirements to operate high-tech construction equipment.

He also said that Vietnamese laborers’ discipline was poor compared to other regional countries.

ILO also recently announced a major concern among employers about the region’s lack of a skilled workforce, even though they believe that greater labor mobility will be among the benefits brought by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which is set to start next year.

The organization said that nearly 50 percent of ASEAN employers interviewed found secondary school graduates do not have the skills they need.

Over 50 percent of respondents, meanwhile, said university graduates had value-adding skills, but enrollment in tertiary education remains low.

The skills most in demand are management and leadership, followed by vocational and technical skills, and customer service, according to the report.

YANGON, May 13 — Hong Kong’s commerce chief on Tuesday expressed hope for earlysigning of ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement to push for the further developmentof economic and trade cooperation between Hong Kong and the Association of SoutheastAsian Nations (ASEAN).

In an interview with Xinhua, Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and EconomicDevelopment Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region(SAR) expressed hope for the early signing of the agreement, which in accordance withASEAN’s previous agreement, needs two to three years’ time.

Hong Kong SAR will host the first negotiation talks for ASEAN- Hong Kong free tradeagreement in July, Greg said ASEAN countries also support the move, said Mr. So.

So stressed the importance of the ASEAN-Hong Kong free trade agreement, saying thatASEAN has already been Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner in terms ofcommodity trade.

He cited that in 2013, Hong Kong-ASEAN commodity trade under the ASEAN economicsystem amounted to 96 billion U.S. dollars.

As ASEAN stands also as an important trading partner of Hong Kong in terms of servicetrade, he said in 2012, ASEAN has become Hong Kong’s fourth largest trading partner interms of service sector, which a trade volume of 14 billion dollars.

He held that the agreement is not only concerned with Hong Kong and ASEAN but alsocontribute to enhancing trade between China and ASEAN.

Of China-ASEAN trade, about over 10 percent go through Hong Kong, registering 45 billiondollars in 2013.

He said China’s strategy of “Going out of the country” can be carried out through the use ofHong Kong and its service profession.

Using global supply link is also a good trend of development, he also said.

Asked about the economic and trade relations between Hong Kong and Myanmar, Sodescribed the way of the development as positive, adding that many friends in the businesscircle are interested in coming and investing in Myanmar, especially in the sector ofmanufacturing, and that Hong Kong attaches importance to the development opportunityin Myanmar.

Myanmar’s small and medium enterprises, using Hong Kong as a platform, can develop itsmarket in Chinese mainland of its traditional brands and local products through packageand distribution in Hong Kong.

So also emphasized the importance of subregional cooperation by adding Hong Kong to thefree trade area that China and ASEAN have already had.

Describing Hong Kong as possessing its own special characteristics playing its special role asa super communicator linking different economic systems, So said Hong Kong’sinternational experience can be used to link the economic systems of ASEAN and otherglobal system.

So attended the 11th forum of ASEAN leaders in Nay Pyi Taw on May 11-12.

According to Hong Kong Trade Development Council, in 2013, Hong Kong exports toASEAN rose 4.1 per cent to 30.4 billion dollars, while imports from ASEAN to Hong Kongincreased 2.4 per cent to 65. 9 billion dollars.

Hong Kong companies still face trade barriers, compared with those in China, Japan orSouth Korea, all of which have FTAs with ASEAN.

Hong Kong’s investment in Myanmar comes after Chinese mainland and Thailand, with 6.4billion USD being injected into Myanmar’s 68 projects as of Jan. 31 this year, accounting for14.92 percent of the country’s total foreign investment.

Hong Kong-Myanmar trade stood at 438.98 million dollars in 2013, of which Myanmar’sexport to Hong Kong took 423.06 million dollars, while its import from Hong Kong wasvalued at 15.92 million dollars.