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Archive for November 19th, 2008|Daily archive page

Cuba to build nanoscience and technology centre

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Havana (VNA) – A nanoscience and nanotechnology centre will be built in Cuba based on achievements in biological and scientific and information technologies that the country has attained so far.

The announcement was made at the 2nd International Seminar on Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies in Havana late last week.

The event was attended by 35 prominent experts from Germany, France, China, Japan, Britain, Spain and Russia who came to talk about nanoscience and its practical applications.

Cuba has a system of 65 specialised research centres and 220 scientific institutions, which provides a solid foundation for fast development of nanoscience and technology researches as well as their application in a wide range of areas including health sector, agriculture and environmental protection, said Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, scientific aide to the State Council of Cuba, at the opening session on November 15.

As for the nanotechnology development, Cuba has set a strategic target of promoting investments for research and expert-training activities and developing new technologies, he added.

Nanosciences and their applications have brought about a wider and more diversified goods and services, including beauty items, disinfectants, dental adhesives and many other medical products.-

Japan to lead joint Asian satellite project

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Tokyo (VNA) – Japan will lead a group of Asian nations seeking to jointly develop, construct and launch a satellite, local media reported.

The move is aimed at bolstering Japan’s standing in space development and helping to improve the engineering expertise of its regional neighbours, Asahi newspaper said.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will invite engineers from other Asian countries to Japan during the next fiscal year to begin work on the satellite, the paper quoted officials as saying.

JAXA will make a formal announcement at the meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum slated for Hanoi on December 9-12, according to Asahi. –

Brazil, Indonesia to bridge closer ties between trade blocs

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Buenos Aires (VNA) – Brazilian President Luiz Lula da Silva and his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono have agreed to increase cooperation and dialogue between the Common Market of South America (MERCOSUR) and the Association of Southest Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In a meeting on November 18 with visiting Indonesian President, President Lula da Silva pledged to raise the issue of intensifying cooperation between the two trading blocs at MERCOSUR summit in Brazil in December.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian President also promised to put the issue on the table at the ASEAN summit in Thailand next month.

The two leaders expressed their support for a ministerial meeting between MERCOSUR and ASEAN to be held for the first time in Brasil next week.

During the three-day visit, the Indonesian leader and his counterpart signed a strategic partnership aimed at promoting their political, economic, scientific and technology as well as culture cooperation.

The two sides also inked three Memorandums of Understanding of cooperation in agriculture, energy and mining and poverty reduction.

Two-way trade between Brasil and Indonesia were recorded at 1.5 billion USD in 2007 and is expected to reach 2 billion USD by the year end.-

Cuba, China increase bilateral cooperation

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Havana (VNA) – Cuban President Raul Castro and his visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao signed five biltaral cooperation pacts on November 18.

Among those agreements, China pledged to provide the Latin American country with 10 million USD to help implement its socio-economic projects. Besides, President Hu signed the second credit agreement of 70 million USD to renovate Cuban hospitals.

China’s President also met with former President Fidel Castro and visited a school for Chinese students on November 18.

On the ocassion, a Cuba-China trade forum was held, drawing participation of 40 Chinese businesses of communications, construction and mining.

Cuba and China signed seven trade pacts on sugar, oil and nickei exploitation earlier at the 21 st summit of China-Cuba Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Commercial Relations in Havana on November 17.

With bilateral trade topping 2.3 billion USD in 2007, China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela.-

UN Secretary-General seeks 7 billion USD aid

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:46 pm

Geneva (VNA) – The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for 7 billion USD to provide urgent humanitarian aid to 30 million people in 31 countries worldwide.

Speaking on November 19 about the Humanitarian Appeal 2009, the UN Secretary General said that the appeal aims to help the world’s most vulnerable people to survive the coming year, and enable them to begin working their way out of vulnerability and despair towards the dignity, safety and self-sufficiency to which every human being has a right.

The appeal marks the culmination of a vast undertaking in which 360 aid organisations including United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations and other international organisations have united to meet the world’s major humanitarian challenges in a strategic, coordinated, effective, and prioritised way.

The appeal is the largest launched since the creation of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) in 1991. It comprises 12 consolidated appeals for the Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kenya, the occupied Palestinian territory, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda, the West African region, and Zimbabwe.-

Malaysia to continue negotiations on FTA with US

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia will continue negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States, local media reported.

Although eight rounds of negotiations have been held on the FTA, an agreement when concluded, will lead to improved two-way trade between both countries, Malaysia’s Bernama news agency quoted Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Jacob Dungau Sagan as saying on November 18.

“The government will definitely emphasise to the US that Malaysia will not compromise on any request or suggestion which was not reasonable, touched on the sovereignty of the country or which was in conflict with the policies of the country which needed to be maintained,” Deputy Minister Sagan said.

“Both sides are negotiating in the spirit of wanting to achieve an agreement that is mutually satisfying and with the readiness to be flexible where necessary while taking into account the respective sensitivities and position,” he said.

The Malaysian government would ensure that the FTA negotiations yield tangible benefits for Malaysia over the long term while contributing towards developing Malaysia’s economic interests, he added.

According to the official, one of the benefits to be attained from the FTA agreement with the US is the access to a bigger market for Malaysian exports such as textiles, wood products, ceramics and rubber.

Other benefits include, overcoming the non-tariff barriers specifically the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, enhancing foreign direct investments (FDI) and co-operation to enhance competitiveness in specific sectors, he noted.–

Thailand to seek loans from ADB, WB

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s Finance Ministry plans to seek loans worth one billion USD from the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance the country’s basic infrastructure projects.

The application for the loans is part of an international borrowing plan to support implementation of 13 state-supported projects initiated to help boost economic growth, the Thai news agency (TNA) quoted Finance Minister Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech as saying on November 18.

In case the ADB is reluctant to lend or slow the loan extension, the ministry would seek the entire loan amount from the WB with a 15-24 year term and a grace period of 3-6 years, the minister added.

Once the borrowed funds are injected into the system, he said, they would help boost liquidity in the economic system and ease the impacts of the export slump due to the global financial crisis.–

Cambodia plans rises in 2009 budget for security, education

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Phnom Penh (VNA) – The Cambodian government plans to increase funding for defence and education sectors in the 2009 fiscal year, Cambodia Daily has reported.

According to the newspaper, the 2009 national budget totals 1.8 billion USD, 19 percent of which, or 223 million USD, will be earmarked for national defence and internal security.

Most of the money will go toward salary increase for military and police officers and marks a 64 percent increase on such spending compared to the 2008 budget law.

The increased defence budget will be used to reform Cambodia’s defence sector and implement a conscription law, the paper said.

The 2009 budget also allocates 34 percent of the total, or 399 million USD, to the ministries of health and education, a 22 percent rise over last year.

The Cambodian National Assembly is set to discuss the draft budget law with non-governmental organisations on November 20 in preparation for its final approval at unspecified date.-

Malaysia to build three more seismic stations

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia will build three more seismic stations aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the earthquake detection system in real-time, local media reported.

The three new stations would be located in Kota Gelangi (Pahang), Bakun (Sarawak), and Sepulut (Sabah), Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Fadillah Yusof was quoted by Malaysia’s Bernama news agency as saying on November 19.

“The ministry had also placed two ‘strong motion’ equipments in Putrajaya to study the impact of earthquakes on the structure of buildings. Ten more such equipments will be set up in the Klang Valley in early 2009,” the minister said.

At present, Malaysia has 14 seismic stations, according to Bernama. –

Laos’ economy to remain stable growth for next few years

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Vientiane (VNA) – Laos’ economic growth is expected to remain stable over the next few years despite the global financial crisis, said Lao Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Bounthavy Sisouphanthong.

The MPI official made this forecast on November 18 while undertaking the mid-term review of the sixth national socio-economic development plan for the period 2006 to 2010.

The forecast was based on the robust growth of Laos’ hydropower and mining sectors, the Deputy Minister said.

According to the MPI’s report, Laos registered an average annual growth rate of 6.5 percent during 1990 and 2005. In 2006 and 2007, the growth rate reached 7.9 and 8 percent, respectively.

Deputy Minister Bounthavy said he believed that economic growth would remain strong at the end of the sixth five-year plan.-