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Southern bus terminal closed

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The southern bus terminal on Boromratchachonnani road will be closed from 6pm today due to flooding, Transport Company president Wuthichart Kallayanamit said on Monday.

He said the area around the bus terminal had been flooded, making it difficult for passengers to reach and leave the terminal.

The company will open a temporary terminal at the Holland beer hall on Rama 2 Road, which can take about 60 buses at a time, Mr Wuthichart said.

HP decides to keep its PC business

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Hewlett-Packard announced Thursday that it will continue selling personal computers after all, reversing an earlier decision to exit one of its core business lines.

The company shocked Wall Street and the tech industry alike when it announced Aug. 18 that its board was exploring “strategic alternatives” for its Personal Systems unit. That division mainly comprises HP’s PC business, which is the world’s largest. A sale or spin-off were two of the options being considered.

“It’s clear after our analysis that keeping the Personal Systems Group within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees,” Meg Whitman, the new CEO HP named last month, said in a written statement. “HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger.”

The company said it believes the PC business is too ingrained in the company’s supply chain and other key HP operations to let it go. Computers also help promote HP’s brand, and are a crucial part of the company’s “one-stop shop” services that it offers to corporate customers, HP said.

HP’s analysis also showed that spinning off the division would be so costly that it outweighed any benefit of dropping PCs.

The decision to ditch PCs came two months ago from then-CEO Leo Apotheker, who favored HP’s fast-growing, highly profitable software and server businesses over its low-margin computer business. HP’s PC unit was one of the industry’s most profitable, but the company still only squeezed out about a 5% margin on the devices.

Apotheker also noted that PCs aren’t flying off the shelves any more. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have begun to eat into PC sales.

“The tablet effect is real,” he said in August. “Consumers are changing the ways they use PCs.”

HP’s announcement sparked an uproar from many technology analysts. They called an all-in bet on software and services a risky decision for HP, considering that its services business has gone practically nowhere and its software business makes up just 2% of the company’s sales.

Hardware has long been HP’s cornerstone, and PCs making up a third of the company’s revenue. Despite its recent struggles, HP still sells more PCs than any other vendor, shipping 16.2 million PCs last quarter — enough to give it control of 17.3% of the market, according to Gartner.

Killing off the PC could confuse HP’s customer base, some analysts noted — particularly after the high-profile merger with Compaq 10 years ago that made HP the world’s top PC maker.

Apotheker was fired the month after his strategy announcement, though current CEO Meg Whitman said upon her hiring last month that Apotheker’s plan to exit PCs would still be considered.

But the company on Thursday drove a final stake into the heart of the Apotheker era.

“As part of HP, PSG will continue to give customers and partners the advantages of product innovation and global scale across the industry’s broadest portfolio of PCs, workstations and more,” said Todd Bradley, head of HP’s Personal Systems unit. “We intend to make the leading PC business in the world even better.”

Plodprasop: West to be hard-hit

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Between 80 and 90 per cent of the Thon Buri side of the Chao Phraya River is certain to be flooded while the water is being drained more quickly through the western floodway, Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi said on Monday.

Mr Plodprasop, chief of operations at the government’s Flood Relief Operations Centre (Froc), said there were still about eight billion cubic metres of water in the vast flooded area north of Bangkok.

This amount of water would gradually spread to the east and west of Bangkok. A large amount of water from Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani was flowing flow down through canals in Bangkok and the west.

“The area west of Bangkok will be hard-hit. About 80 to 90 per cent of Thonburi will be flooded, including where the house of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung is located,” Mr Plodprasop said.

Mr Plodprasop said the amount of water in the Rangsit area had stabilised last night. This could indicate that the flow from the North was slowing and more water was being diverted east of Bangkok.

These were good signs that there the pressure on the flood walls would also lessen.

The minister said he believed the water being diverted to the east would not flood the Lat Krabang industrial estate because it would be flowing slowly, unlike when it approached Ayutthaya.

The Lat Krabang industrial estate would probably be safe, he said.

UNESCO to vote on Palestinian membership request

Posted by arnon_k On October - 31 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Paris (CNN) — The general conference for UNESCO gets underway in Paris Monday when the U.N. agency is expected to vote whether or not to accept a Palestinian bid for full membership.

In September, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a bid for the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state. And UNESCO is the first agency that the Palestinians have sought to join.

At the conference Monday, the agency’s 193 members will vote — with a two-thirds majority approval required for the Palestinians to be considered a member.

Since Palestinian leaders made the request for membership to UNESCO earlier this month, U.S. lawmakers have urged the agency to reject it.

UNESCO promotes peace through educational, scientific and cultural collaboration among states, and 40% of its funding comes from the United States.

“Any recognition of Palestine as a Member State would not only jeopardize the hope for a resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, but would endanger the United States’ contribution to UNESCO,” said an October 13 letter signed by members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, which appropriates UNESCO’s U.S. funding.

Kay Granger (R-Texas), who chairs the subcommittee, said she will “advocate for all funding to be cut off.”

“This is consistent with current law and I will consider additional actions as needed,” she said this month. “There are consequences for short-cutting the process, not only for the Palestinians, but for our longstanding relationship with the United Nations.”

She was referring to a provision of “22 USC 287e” which states: “No funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act or any other Act shall be available for the United Nations or any specialized agency thereof which accords the Palestine Liberation Organization the same standing as member states.”

Abbas’ bid for statehood to the United Nations is also opposed by Israel, which says it is premature without direct talks that address its longstanding security concerns.