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Posts Tagged ‘going’

Comic strips going downhill fast

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2010 at 9:06 am

EU leaders split over president going into summit

In World on November 19, 2009 at 9:55 am

European leaders gather Thursday in an effort to overcome political differences and unite behind a single candidate for the European Union’s first-ever president.

Graphic with photos of the leading candidates for EU president and information on the job and nomination procedure.

The leaders, meeting in Brussels for a working dinner from 1700 GMT, will also seek to name a foreign policy supremo, as part of a duo to represent the new-look EU on the world stage from next year.

But the task is far from simple, given the different visions among the 27 nations about what the role the new president should play over what could be a five year term.

On the eve of the talks, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency until the end of the year, appealed to the leaders to keep the horse-trading to a minimum.

“I need of course the collaboration of my colleagues to try to get this through,” he said, adding that the summit “might take a few hours, it might take all night.”

According to the dinner plan, the meeting is supposed to run three hours.

The secretive process has provided fodder for eurosceptics while exasperating supporters of the union who warn that it could sully the EU’s image as a beacon of democracy.Related article: EU under fire over secrecy

“This is the end of the Eurocracy doing it like this, electing one of their own in this manner. I don’t think they’ll be able to get away with this ever again,” Britain’s former Europe minister Denis MacShane was quoted as saying in the Guardian newspaper.

“These secret negotiations are distressing,” Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the deputy leader of the Greens at the European parliament, told the French daily Liberation.

“It is a caricature of democracy. We have the feeling that the 27, especially (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel and (French President) Nicolas Sarkozy are looking for people who won’t overshadow them,” he said.

Experts agree the president should be a technocrat who can build consensus among countries and the EU’s main institutions — the council of nations for the 27 member states, the European Commission and the European parliament.

Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy remains the favourite, but no candidate has emerged who strikes the delicate balance required for either of the key posts, created by the new Lisbon reform treaty.

In recent months a score of names has been raised, and many discarded, as EU leaders sought a personality with charisma yet modest enough not to hog the limelight.

Ahead of the dinner, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who have pledged to push for a common candidate, have planned a press conference for 1630 GMT.

“I’m optimistic that we will have an agreement (Thursday) evening,” Merkel said Wednesday.

Former British premier Tony Blair has been the most high-profile name floated, but his key role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq divided Europe and despite continued backing from London, his star has faded.

Typically, a number of candidates have emerged from mid-sized pro-European nations, such as Van Rompuy and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe’s longest-serving leader, is also in the running, as is former Irish premier John Bruton.

Calls have mounted for women to be nominated, but only former Latvian president Vaira Vike-Freiberga has come forward, and analysts say she may be too pro-American and anti-Russian.

While it is not set in stone, it is widely accepted that the president should come from the centre-right, which dominates the European parliament, and the foreign affairs chief be a socialist, the second formation.

For the latter, Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband was widely touted, but he insists he is not available.

Former Italian premier Massimo D’Alema appears to have the right credentials, and Spain is pushing Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, while Britain’s EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton is another possibility.

After months of speculation, Swedish officials hope for real movement once the leaders are alone at dinner, away from the interest groups driving debate. If consensus proves elusive, the decisions could be made by qualified majority.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

Mobile use going through the roof

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2008 at 11:06 am

Mobile use going through the roof

The Vietnamese telecommunications industry has seen such remarkable expansion over the last few years, that it has been ranked as one of the fastest countries in the world to develop that sector. The country now has 70.4 million telephone subscribers, representing 82 phones per 100 residents. Mobile phone subscribers account for nearly 81 per cent, equivalent to 57 million.

Viet Nam News talks with Nguyen Ba Thuoc, vice general director of the Viet Nam Post and Telecommunication Group (VNPT), the country’s biggest telecom service provider, about the prospects for the telecom industry in Viet Nam along with VNPT’s plan to sustain its dominant position.


How does Viet Nam’s telecom industry compare to that of other countries in Southeast Asia? In the next 10 years, can the country become a top player in the region?

In the view of VNPT, Viet Nam’s telecom sector has achieved significant developments over the last 20 years. Now we have a solid foundation for further development.

Viet Nam chose to develop digital technologies starting in the 1980s and has attracted considerable investment from foreign partners. As of August this year, the country had over 70 million telephones nationwide, 6 million internet subscribers with about 23 per cent of the population having access to the internet.

In April this year the successful launch of the telecom satellite Vinasat – 1 marked a new era for the country’s telecom sector and laid a more solid foundation for the sector’s future.

So, we can say that Viet Nam’s telecom sector is currently not behind the region in terms of basic telecom services, especially in terms of the speed of development.

The Government has created a development strategy for the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector for 2011-2020, after which the development of the telecom sector will be equal to other countries regionally, while the application of the IT sector will be equal to the average of developed countries following 2011.


Capital investment has not been enough to meet the development demand for telecommunications and IT. Is this the main reason for the slow development of Viet Nam’s ICT sector? To meet the development plan, how much capital will VNPT need per year ?

If you look at the overall picture of Viet Nam’s economy, ICT is one of the fastest growth sectors. According to the International Telecom Union, in recent years Viet Nam was one of the fastest countries in the world in developing its telecom industry.

In order to build a national telecom infrastructure which is modern and sustainable, we need to have an overall development strategy for other supporting sectors such as electricity, water supply. We must avoid the overlapping of investment, especially in the urban areas.

In fact, one of the major obstacles for the development of the Viet Nam telecom sector is the lack of investment capital. In 2008, VNPT will need some VND20 trillion (US$1.19 billion).


Since capital from State budget is not enough to meet the investment demand of VNPT, what is the company doing to seek out other financial resources?

Since early this year, VNPT recognised that it should not depend only on capital from the State Budget, and that the company should seek funding from outside sources such as loans and the stock market, FDI and official development assistance (ODA).

FDI would focus on the development of telecom and internet in urban areas, while ODA on the development in rural and remote areas.

Meanwhile, VNPT also participates in telecom infrastructure projects as a major shareholder, and our company always receives good co-operation from both domestic and foreign partners.


How do you compare telecom tariffs in Viet Nam with the other countries in the region ?

The World Bank reported four years ago that the domestic telecom and international phone call tariffs in Viet Nam were on a similar level with other countries in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). An interministerial report in 2004 also stated that telecom tariffs in Viet Nam were lower compared to some countries worldwide.

After four years, we can say that telecom tariffs in Viet Nam have become much more competitive. VNPT in August cut 88 per cent off the international phone call tariff, making Viet Nam one of the cheapest countries to make an international call from.

Meanwhile, taking the tariff for landlines as an example, a subscriber in Viet Nam pays only $4 for 100 minutes of domestic calling per month, one of the lowest levels in the world. —