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Posts Tagged ‘wake’

S.Korea names new defence minister in wake of shelling

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

SEOUL, Nov 26, 2010 (AFP) – South Korea named a presidential security aide and former career soldier as its new defence minister on Friday after the previous minister quit over North Korea’s deadly artillery bombardment.

Lee Hee-Won takes over from Kim Tae-Young, who resigned Thursday amid strong criticism that the military had reacted feebly to Tuesday’s attack.

AFP files – This file photo taken on November 7, 2005 shows US General Leon J. LaPorte (R), then-commander of the United States Forces Korea, and his South Korean counterpart Lee Hee-Won (L) inspecting an honour guard during a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the Combined Forces Command at US military headquarters at Yongsan in Seoul. AFP

The shelling, the first to hit civilian areas in the South since the 1950-53 war, killed four people on a border island and set homes ablaze. South Korea fired 80 shells at the North from the island in response.

Lee, 61, is a former four-star general who became deputy chief of the US-South Korea Joint Forces Command in 2005.

He retired from the military in 2006 and was appointed presidential security aide in May, after the sinking of a South Korean warship.

The South accuses the North of torpedoing the ship, a charge it denies. The incident fuelled cross-border tensions, which became acute after the artillery barrage.

Both the government and the military have been widely accused by the media and legislators of a weak response to the bombardment.

Seoul has said it will send more troops and guns to border islands and change the rules of engagement to let the military hit back harder in the event of another North Korean attack.

Source: SGGP

Big farms told to increase fertile herds of swine in wake of blue ear epidemic

In Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 at 7:27 am

Large livestock farms in Ho Chi Minh City should increase, not reduce, their stock of fertile pigs for later use after the danger of blue ear disease has passed, a senior official said.

The statement came even as the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) – also known as blue ear disease – hit pigs heavily in neighboring provinces as well as the districts of Binh Chanh, Cu Chi, 9 and 12.

Vets  take dead pigs to bury in the central province of Quang Nam

Due to the serious outbreak of the blue ear pandemic in southern provinces and the threat posed to other provinces, city People’s Committee deputy chairman Nguyen Trung Tin instructed relevant agencies to ensure the safety of herds of over 30,000 fertile pigs in big farms.

However, Mr. Tin also said that governments should not let small household farms engage in breeding and selling pigs.

The city’s Department of Animal Health reported that 29 slaughter houses butchers over 7,500 pigs a night but only 1,000 come from farms in the city.

The remaining come from southern provinces including Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Long An and Tien Giang, all of which have announced severe epidemics of the blue ear disease.

Moreover, tests of pigs in slaughterhouses have shown that 70 percent of pigs in southern provinces are positive for the dangerous virus. The city is therefore at high risk of suffering a severe epidemic as well. Vets in the outlying districts of 9, 12, Binh Chanh and Cu Chi have decided to immediately kill diseased pigs on detection to curb spreading.

Meanwhile, Van Duc Muoi, General Director of Vissan, a major producer and trader in processed meat, fresh frozen meat and meat-related foods, expressed concern that consumers would turn their backs on safe pork because of wrong information about the disease.

The disease is not believed to be transmittable to humans.

Markets in the city and other localities have seen housewives opting to buy fish and poultry instead of pork, local reports say.

Meanwhile, enterprises who’d pledged to keep the prices stable until next March fretted that the reduced supply of pork would push up prices in the upcoming lunar new year season.

Vissan said it has taken proactive steps to buy more pigs for stockpiling, from 2,200 to 2,800 pigs a day, as instructed by city People’s Committee Chairman Le Hoang Quan.

Chairman Quan has asked lower level administrations to raise public awareness about the disease as well as prepare herds of safe fertile pigs for breeding after the danger has passed.

Fresh outbreaks of blue ear disease at the Co Do Agriculture Company in Mekong Delta City of Can Tho’s Co Do District have so far infected 108 pigs, the Department of Animal Health reported on August 16, bringing the number of affected provinces in Vietnam to 22. The disease has spread widely in central and southern Vietnam.

The southern province of Ba Ria – Vung Tau has seen two further outbreaks in districts Xuyen Moc and Dat Do while the central province of Nghe An has reported a fresh outbreaks in district Dien Chau. Nghe An has so far killed 7,379 pigs with the disease.

The southern province of Tay Ninh has reported new outbreaks in the districts of Go Dau, Tan Bien, Tan Chau, Ben Cau, Duong Minh Chau and Hoa Thanh that have infected a total of 12,911 pigs.

Source: SGGP

Toyota to reshape global operations in wake of recall crisis

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

TOYOTA CITY, Japan, March 30, 2010 (AFP) – Beleaguered Japanese carmaker Toyota said Tuesday it will reshape its global operations as part of efforts to “regain consumer confidence” after its mass safety recall crisis.

Stepping away from a traditional reluctance to involve foreigners in its highest decision-making bodies, it has included seven non-Japanese executives in a new team charged with “radically” improving global operations.

Fans watch from behind a fence during qualifying for the Toyota NAPA Bonus Challenge on March 27, 2010 in Roseville, California. AFP photo

The committee, which will investigate defects that necessitate recalls and quality control issues, held its inaugural meeting Tuesday, company president Akio Toyoda said at a press conference at the Toyota City headquarters.

Its focus will be on speeding up the recall decision-making process, boosting transparency and “listening carefully to the voice of the customer as a crucial key to regaining customer confidence”, he said.

He added that the firm would also enlist “third-party experts” in each region, including business leaders, academics, consumer group representatives, scientists and engineers. Their findings will be released in June.

The move comes as Toyota looks to restore its battered reputation after recalling more than eight million vehicles worldwide, mostly for problems with sudden acceleration which have been blamed for 58 deaths in the United States.

Despite the crisis-hit company seeing global sales rise 13 percent year-on-year in February, the figures have caused little surprise given the low basis of comparison a year earlier as the economic downturn eroded demand.

Heavily criticised for being slow to react to initial reports of problems, Toyota was encumbered by the fact that “decisions on recalls can only be made at the headquarters in Japan,” said Mamoru Kato, senior analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center.

“The committee on quality now has foreign members. This should help the company learn accurate information from customers and ground personnel and make decisions swiftly.”

Among other measures, Toyota said it will incorporate globally a “brake override” safety system from this year onwards that reduces engine power to prevent runaway car accidents.

In North America it will expand the use of event data recorders (EDRs), which can record information regarding vehicle condition and driver operation, it said.

It will also increase information-sharing between regions, boost onsite inspections and promote safer driving.

In an effort to demonstrate its new quest for transparency, Toyota gave journalists a tour of its testing facility where cars were put through their paces in simulated weather and road conditions and tested for defects.

Such an effort represents “a major change from the past,” said Kato. “It is unthinkable if you consider how things were years ago”.

Kato added that the recall crisis “might have served as a good opportunity for Toyota to become truly a global company in a speedy manner.”

Source: SGGP

Electronics industry suffers in wake of market woes

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm

Electronics industry suffers in wake of market woes

By Thien Ly

Many electronics importers and retailers are going to see a much smaller turnover this year than the 25 per cent increasc that was predicted earlier this year.

Since May, the electronics market’s valve decreased between 30 and 50 per cent, depending on the type of good, compared with the same period last year. Electrical engineering products, IT items and mobile phones saw the biggest drops.

Market fluctuations, often out of distributors and retailers’ hands, are mainly to blame for the slowdown.

In mid-June, the exchange rate on black market between the US dollar and dong climbed to a record high of VND20,000 per dollar. This led to rising prices for most imported electronics since they were sold in dong.

Likewise, consumer trends of “tightening purse strings” suppressed electronics goods consumption. Meanwhile, companies could not cancel the import contracts signed with their foreign partners.

As a result, most companies, including distributors and retailers, have high volumes of stockpiled goods worth trillions of dong. Worse yet, these goods are in low demand as their prices are higher than more recent imports.

From late June and to the end of July, importers were forced to buy dollars off the black market at exorbitant rates to pay for their imports because banks imposed a limit on sales of foreign currencies to companies.

Earlier this month, the prices of many essential goods like oil and gas as well as gold fell overseas, resulting in lower prices of several other goods, including electronics, in Viet Nam.

Making the best out of a no-win situation, distributors and retailers are now trying to generate some revenue by offering big sales and high-end freebies along with their stockpiled goods.

To merge or not to merge

With many new banks set to arrive on the scene after more open policies were passed, experts are recommending the Government to encourage small banks to merge with each other to improve their financial potential and service quality.

By the end of May, Viet Nam had 85 banks, including five State owned commercial banks, six joint venture banks, 36 joint stock banks and 44 branches of foreign banks, the State Bank of Viet Nam reported.

While the total number of banks does not appear to be too small to accommodate the country’s 80 million citizens, the domestic banking system still does not meet the market’s needs as most banks are too small.

The prescribed capital at each of several commercial joint-stock banks is less than VND1,000 billion (US$59 million).

The limited financial capacity of small-scale banks means they are less competitive with others and carry higher business risks. These banks also have a more difficult time in updating banking technology and recruiting staff.

Many extol the benefits of mergers of smaller banks. Their consolidation would not only enrich their financial potential but also raise revenue and cut unnecessary operating costs.

In the case of a bigger bank absorbing a smaller one, shareholders of the smaller bank would reap the standard benefits of such mergers as well as have stakes in a bigger playing field.

The country’s increasing integration into the global economy is set to diversify its financial market as never before. Small-scale credit organisations might not have the resources to overcome the growing pains.

Viet Nam’s existing banks often lack service quality, a service culture, modern banking services and talented managerial staff. New banks will be hard pressed to find experienced workers up to the task of improving the country’s banking system.

Moreover, there is now a certain chaos in the entire banking system as the recent granting of licenses for new banks was quickly followed by a brain drain from existing banks as skilled employees, including high-level staff, were lured away from their old jobs.

In fact, both individuals and economic organisations are more concerned about the quality of banking services than the number of banks.

Inflation control

Viet Nam’s con sumer price index (CPI) in August is expected to be not much higher than last month, which saw a yearly record-low increase of 1.13 per cent.

Figures from the General Statistics Office indicate that the CPI in August may rise less than 2 per cent over July.

This month, Ha Noi and HCM City’s CPI increased 1.92 per cent and 2.09 per cent, respectively, over July. (Ha Noi’s CPI in July was up 1.65 per cent, with HCM City at 0.54 per cent and the whole country at 1.13 per cent.)

The national CPI was not hit too hard by recent price fluctuations in gasoline since the VND4.500 increase per litre on July 21 and the VND1,000 drop per litre on August 14. This is because the changes took place in such a short time that companies were unable to establish new pricing frames.

Recent natural disasters in Viet Nam also do not seem to have affected the CPI, as the provinces most devastated by them play a minor role in the national economy.

Experts attributed the CPI’s stability this month to Government efforts to rein in inflation and stabilise the economy.

Inflation this month was more controlled as people’s confidence in policies to curb inflation increased and fear and uncertainly subsided.

On the whole, experts predict inflation will not increase much throughout the rest of the year as food, fuel and gold prices, the principal causes of inflation, show signs of dropping.

Motorbike market

High fuel prices and financial hardship facing customers are leading to fewer new motorbikes on the streets.

Sales at motorbike shops in HCM City and Ha Noi have been sluggish since early July, especially after the Government decision to hike fuel prices by 30 per cent. Automatic transmission motorbikes sold especially poorly as they guzzle more gas than manual ones.

Despite big discounts last month, the market is still quiet. Sales at some shops are 30 to 40 per cent down from previous months.

However, dealers expect the Ministry of Finance’s decision to reduce fuel prices in mid- August to revitalise business. —