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Myanmar continues to attract strong foreign investment

Posted by Rattana_S On April - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Myanmar has continued experiencing an increase in the foreign direct investment (FDI), as it attracted US$2 billion in the first quarter of this year, according to the data from the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).

Out of the total, $300 million was going to the commodity manufacturing sector, in light of increasing domestic demand. These include the investment in garments, foodstuff, value-added rubber products, beverage and agricultural equipment.

At the end of last year, combined foreign investment to the country had amounted to more than $44 billion.

Most of the investment has been channelled to the energy, oil and gas exploration and production, commodity production, mining, hotel and tourism, transportation and telecommunications, housing, livestock and fishery, agriculture and construction sectors.

During January and March of this year, the transportation and telecom sectors saw $1.1 billion in investment.

The country just recently awarded the long-awaited telecom licences to two foreign investors – Norway’s Telenor and Kuwait’s Ooredoo. Telenor reportedly plans to invest $1 billion to roll out its commercial second- and third-generation mobile service in Myanmar this year.

There was record interest in the licence-award process, with more than 91 companies expressing interest in participating. Following the announcement last June of the successful applicants, Telenor entered into consultation with the authorities to finalise details of the policy framework.

Meanwhile, the energy sector will remain attractive to foreign investors. Myanmar is now sitting on some 7.8 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves. The Ministry of Energy also revealed that the probable and possible reserves could reach 0.42 trillion cubic feet onshore and 10.24 trillion cubic feet offshore.

The ministry’s recent bidding of offshore oil and gas blocks drew interest from 68 companies from across the world. Thirty firms eventually submitted proposals and 20 blocks were awarded late March. This would generate $226.1 million to the ministry as a “signature bonus” from the firms once exploration begins on the 10 shallow water and 10 deep water blocks. Of total, $91 million will come from shallow water exploration blocks and $ 135 million from deep water exploration blocks.

Among the winners, Chevron and Total are two major Western companies which established their interests in the country during the sanction period. In the latest auction, Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group won the most awards. Other big names include Norway’s Statoil, and more investment is expected.

Currently 34 countries are investing in Myanmar, with China ranking first and followed by Thailand.

Nearly 42 per cent of foreign investment has been channelled to Myanmar’s lucrative energy sector. In contrast, the construction sector receives the least.

The Myanmar Investment Commission, which strives to create job opportunities for local citizens, supervises foreign investment projects mandated by Foreign Investment Law and Citizenship Investment Law.

Desert dig uncovers huge Atari games dump

Posted by Rattana_S On April - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Video game archaeologists have found a cache of Atari games that were buried in the New Mexico desert 30 years ago.

Before now reports Atari had dumped millions of game cartridges were widely believed to be an urban myth.

But a three-hour dig at a landfill site turned up many Atari cartridges, including copies of the game ET: The Extra Terrestrial.

Atari made millions of copies of the ET game, but it sold poorly and helped to contribute to the demise of the firm.

“For a lot of people, it’s something that they’ve wondered about and it’s been rumoured and talked about for 30 years, and they just want an answer,” said Zak Penn, director of a documentary being made about the search for the site and its uncovering.

The documentary by Fuel Entertainment is being prepared for Microsoft’s Xbox TV channel.

Cash crunch

Atari was thought to have dumped truckloads of unsold games in the landfill site on the outskirts of Alamogordo in 1983 as the company was winding down.

The game maker’s descent from its position as the dominant force in home gaming in the late 1970s and early 1980s was swift and has been partly blamed on the gamble it took on making a game of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 hit film ET.

The game was made from scratch in five weeks for the Atari 2600 console. Even before the game was finished Atari, committed huge amounts of money and resources to it and produced millions of copies when it was done.

The ET game has been described as one of the worst ever created. Its challenging game play and poor graphics put people off buying it and left Atari with huge amounts of unsold inventory.

The search to see if the rumours about the dump were true was given new life by the efforts of one unnamed game enthusiast who did the detective work to narrow down its location.

Red tape surrounding the uncovering of the landfill site held up the start of the dig but once permission was granted excavations began on 26 April.

Three hours of digging with a backhoe uncovered significant amounts of Atari 2600 game cartridges – many of which were still in their original packaging.

Only a limited amount of material could be retrieved from the dump because the dig was only allowed access for one day. The local authority of Alamogordo ordered the dig site to be refilled on 27 April.

Deadly tornadoes devastate US states

Posted by Rattana_S On April - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

At least 17 people have been killed by tornadoes as a huge storm system swept across the central and southern United States.

Sixteen of the victims were in several suburbs of Little Rock in Arkansas, officials said.

There’s just really nothing there anymore. We’re probably going to have to start all over again”

Frank Mitchell Vilonia schools chief

One other person was killed in the town of Quapaw in the north-east of Oklahoma where officials said many buildings were badly damaged.

Tornadoes also struck in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.

President Barack Obama, on a trip to the Philippines, offered his deepest condolences to those affected and said federal emergency officials would be on the ground to help: “Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild, as long as it takes.”

‘Mass casualty situation’

Most of the casualties were in suburbs west and north of Little Rock. The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said 10 people died in Faulkner County, five in Pulaski County and one in White County.

Mayflower and Vilonia, two small towns in Faulkner County, appear to have borne the brunt of the damage. In Vilonia, the County Sheriff’s office spoke of a “mass casualty situation”.

The Arkansas tornado touched down about 10 miles (16km) west of the city of Little Rock and left a 40 mile (65km) path of destruction.

It is said to have passed through several northern suburbs – including Mayflower where a witness described a twister half a mile wide crossing Interstate 40 on Sunday evening, the National Weather Service said.

Congressman Tim Griffin told Reuters news agency an “entire neighbourhood of 50 homes or so” in Faulkner County had been destroyed, with many “completely gone except the foundation”.

Many homes and businesses, including a new secondary school worth $14m (£8.3m), were left in ruins in Vilonia after the storm.

“There’s just really nothing there anymore. We’re probably going to have to start all over again,” said Vilonia schools chief Frank Mitchell after inspecting the wreckage of the school.

First reports from Oklahoma said two people had died in Quapaw but officials later revised the figure down to one. Another six people were injured.

Quapaw, which has a population of about 900, was badly hit by the tornado, Ottawa County Emergency Management director Joe Dan Morgan said.

“Looks like about half of town got extensive damage as well as the fire department,” he said.

The tornado then headed northwards into the state of Kansas where it struck Baxter Springs, injuring several people and causing further damage.

Over the weekend, storms struck the eastern part of the US, killing a child in North Carolina.

Dtac launches cheapest smartphones

Posted by Rattana_S On April - 28 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Total Access communication (Dtac) launches “Joey Jump” smartphones, claimed to be the cheapest with a price tag of Bt1,990 for the 3.5 inch screen model.

The 4 inch screen model costs Bt2,990.

“Today there are only 16 million users of feature phone by dtac, which had shrunk 6 per cent from the previous year while smartphone users had risen by 54 per cent with the main reason for more customers to switch to using smartphone being the rapid increase 3G network coverage as well as the growth of social media, such as Facebook, LINE, Instagram. Hence users want a mobile phone that can easy connect to social media and take photos,” said Prapaprot Puprasert, senior vice president, Device Management and Business Operation Division.

He added that the product was developed with superior function and lower price. The main target markets are the new smartphone users and current feature phone users who wants to switch to using a smartphone.

Joey Jump is a touchscreen smartphone with Dual Core plus front and back camera (front camera for Jump 4.0 only) with Andriod 4.2 Jelly Bean OS, supporting 3G 850/2100 MHz which runs at maximum speed up to 21.Mbps, plus FM radio and HD Voice.

Dtac’s goal is to increase the number of retailers which sells dtac TriNet phone to at least 50 per cent of retailers which sells SIM card, or about 10,000 retailers within 2014, in order to meet the customer needs for smartphone and dtac TriNet usage.