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Posts Tagged ‘Zero’

Zero percent tax on Cambodia’s rice, tobacco

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2010 at 9:32 am




Zero percent tax on Cambodia’s rice, tobacco


QĐND – Wednesday, December 15, 2010, 21:6 (GMT+7)

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT) has decided to apply import tariff of zero percent on rice and tobacco imported from Cambodia under quota for 2010 and 2011 between November 1, 2010 and December 31, 2011.

Accordingly, 250,000 tonnes of rice equivalent and 3,000 tonnes of dry tobacco leaves imported from Cambodia in 2010 and 2011 will enjoy zero percent tariff rate.

Beneficiaries are requested to submit Cambodian certificates of origin and import the products via Vietnamese border gates namely Le Thanh in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai; Hoa Lu in the southern province of Binh Phuoc; Moc Bai, Xa Mat, Trang Riec, Ca Tum, Phuoc Tan in the southern province of Tay Ninh; and Binh Hiep in the southern province of Long An.

The decision will take effect from Jan. 17, 2011.

Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Controversy swells as Obama supports Ground Zero mosque

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

US President Barack Obama’s support for the right to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero poured fuel Saturday on a raging debate over religious freedom and sensitivities over the 9/11 terror strikes.


Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at an Iftar meal at the White House for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast late Friday.


That includes “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”


Obama had remained silent over plans to build an Islamic cultural center, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from the gaping Ground Zero hole where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

The proposed site of the Islamic community center, pictured after The Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled on August 3 that a 152-year-old building is not a historical site and can be demolished making way for the construction of a mosque a few blocks from the Ground Zero site in Manhattan

But after a New York city commission on August 3 unanimously approved the plans, the president came out to support the right to build the mosque.


“This is America,” Obama said, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”


Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that the 9/11 terror attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”


Planners say the multi-story “Cordoba House” will include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, and restaurant, and would be open to the public to show that Muslims are full community members.


Saturday the group 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, which represents some relatives of attack victims, said it was “stunned” by the president’s remarks.


Obama “has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” the group said.


Building the mosque “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah.”


This president “declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must … stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots,” the group said.


Another group representing other relatives of 9/11 victims, the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said in May that it “strongly supports” the Islamic center.


The proposed location has touched raw nerves — and on Saturday Obama clarified that he was not addressing the appropriateness of the mosque’s particular location.


“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” Obama said on a visit to Florida.


“I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about,” he said.


A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed the Islamic center plans, while only 29 percent favored them.


Congressman Peter King, who represents New York in the US House of Representatives, said the Muslim community was “abusing” its rights and “needlessly offending” many people.

“It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of Ground Zero,” said King, a Republican. “Unfortunately the president caved in to political correctness.”

Obama said the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the attacks do not represent Islam.

“It is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said late Friday. “In fact, Al-Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US advocacy group, welcomed Obama’s “strong support for Muslim religious rights.”

Nihad Awad, a senior CAIR official, said he hoped the remarks will encourage “those who are challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in our society,” and he urged “other national political and religious leaders” to speak out.

One of those reacting Saturday was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion,” Bloomberg said, adding that the proposed site “is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime.”

Passions over the issue run high across the country.

A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 — which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the end-of-Ramadan holiday.

Obama himself is a Christian, but according to a Harris Interactive online poll from March, nearly one-third of all Americans, including 57 percent of Republicans, believe that he is a Muslim.

Source: SGGP

Obama endorses mosque plan near Ground Zero

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2010 at 11:21 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama has waded into a bitter controversy over a plan by Muslims to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero, endorsing the project on religious freedom grounds.


“As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said late Friday.


“That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”


Obama’s remarks, delivered at a White House Iftar meal for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast, were the president’s first on the controversial project, which has become a test of tolerance for Islam in post-9/11 America and sparked a national debate on freedom of religion.

The proposed site of the Islamic community center is seen after The Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled on August 3 that a 152-year-old building is not a historical site, and can be demolished making way for the construction of the mosque. AFP file

Intended to include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, restaurant and possibly a day care, the multi-story Islamic center would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community, planners say.


But the proposed location, two blocks from the gaping Ground Zero hole, where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, has touched raw nerves.


Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that 9/11 attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”


But he said American values required that all religious groups be treated equally and fairly.


“This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”


New York City has approved plans for the lower Manhattan building to be turned into a mosque and an interfaith venue called “Cordoba House.”


But hearings on whether the construction should be allowed prompted furious exchanges, with supporters accusing critics of racism and Islamophobia, and opponents warning the plan insulted the memory of the 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks.


Applause erupted when a New York city commission unanimously approved the project August 3, but others shouted “shame,” and waved signs reading “Islam builds mosques at the sites of their conquests.”


Obama acknowledged the “pain and suffering experienced by those who lost loved ones is unimaginable,” but he called on Americans to “always remember who we are fighting against, and what we are fighting for.”


“Al-Qaeda’s cause is not Islam — it is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said. “In fact, Al-Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”


Before an audience of prominent Muslim Americans, including administration officials, and Muslim members of Washington’s diplomatic corps, Obama paid tribute to US history of accepting and engaging Muslims.


He cited the example of president Thomas Jefferson, who he said hosted the first White House Iftar, more than 200 years ago.


But the appeal to US history is unlikely to convince those most opposed to the mosque, which has attracted increasingly strident criticism, raising fears among US Muslims of an Islamophobic backlash.


A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 this year, and Muslim advocacy groups say they have reached out to law enforcement officials seeking extra vigilance.


But Obama said while America’s diversity contained the seeds of conflict, US values were stronger and would always overcome difference.


“Time and again, the American people have demonstrated that we can work through these issues, stay true to our core values, and emerge stronger for it. So it must be — and will be — today,” he said.

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Source: SGGP

Fed’s zero rate policy sparking growing complaints

In World on November 27, 2009 at 2:27 am

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy is provoking growing complaints from some economists who argue it is doing little to spark lending activity and may be fueling new asset bubbles.


Few expect any immediate hike in the federal funds rate, which has been in a range of zero to 0.25 percent since last December in an effort to jolt the economy from recession.








Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (AFP file)

But some economists say the Fed is running the risk of falling into a “liquidity trap” in which monetary policy, no matter how stimulative, fails to spark new lending or growth.


Joel Naroff at Naroff Economic Advisors said holding rates at zero has a psychological impact but probably offers little more for the economy than a rate of 1.0 percent, which would under most circumstances be considered exceptionally low.


“This idea in the minds of so many people that the Fed needs to keep rates at zero through 2010 is very dangerous,” said Naroff.


“I would be concerned if we are still at zero percent next November. It would mean the economy is in trouble, and the potential for bubbles is greater.”


Analysts say most banks are content to borrow “free money” from the Fed and invest in US Treasury bonds for a modest yield, as part of the effort to repair their finances, rather than take the risk of loans to consumers or businesses.


Other banks and funds are able to borrow at ultra-low rates to invest in higher-yielding assets such as commodities, or Asian government bonds or real estate. This so-called “carry trade” has pushed the dollar down to historic lows and drawn complaints from many governments, notably in Asia.


The Fed on Tuesday acknowledged “that some negative side effects might result from the maintenance of very low short-term interest rates for an extended period.”


Ed Yardeni at Yardeni Research said the zero-rate policy is no longer working.


“I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I would like to send another message to the Fed about its current policy: ‘Thanks for nothing,'” Yardeni said in a note to clients.


“The Fed’s zero interest-rate policy may be inadvertently depressing rather than stimulating the economy.”


Yardeni said banks are pulling back on lending “because it makes more sense for them to buy Treasury and agency securities so long as they are certain that the Fed won’t raise interest rates.”


The low rates enable the US government to issue more debt at a relatively low cost, but Yardeni said this may be crowding out private borrowing.


He said that in Japan, the near-zero rate between 1999 and 2006 “enabled the government to issue lots of bonds at extremely low yields. However, this didn’t do much to revive self-sustaining economic growth in Japan. The United States seems to be heading down the same path.”


Because of the low rates and weak dollar, Yardeni said that “asset bubbles are already making a comeback in stocks and commodities around the world. The biggest bubble may be in government securities.”


He said the central bank “should start raising rates and resist providing any guidance on the likely pace of tightening. Providing strong guidance as to the likely direction of monetary policy simply encourages speculators to take more risk.”


Naroff said the economy could withstand a modest hike in rates as long as banks and borrowers have enough confidence to expand credit.


But he said the Fed needs to prepare the public and financial markets with more confident statements about the economy.


“I’d like to see them raise by the middle of next year,” Naroff said. But this means that “by the January or March meeting at the latest they would have to send a signal.”


Cary Leahey, senior economist at the research firm Decision Economics, said the majority of analysts believe it is too soon to even think about raising rates.


“It would be political suicide to raise rates with a 10 percent unemployment rate,” he said.


Leahey said easy money is helping the banking system recover from the crisis.


Any effort to curb speculation “will just take money away from banks” with the potential to deepen the financial crisis, Leahey added.


Leahey said it may be another six to nine months before the Fed considers hiking rates, but that once it does start, the moves may be surprisingly strong.


“The Fed has learned its lesson in the last 10 years, so when they do decide to normalize rates they will do it more quickly than they did in the 2004 to 2006 period,” he said.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

New York to pay 9/11 tribute at vacant Ground Zero

In World on September 11, 2009 at 7:37 am

 New York will lead tributes Friday to victims of the 9/11 attacks in a ceremony at Ground Zero where work on replacements for the World Trade Center, and even a memorial, remains mostly stalled.


On the eighth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda militants riding hijacked airliners, mourners will remember the 2,752 people who died in the destruction of the Twin Towers in Manhattan.


They will also mourn those who died in the attacks just hours later on the Pentagon outside Washington and on a fourth plane, which crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers overpowered the hijackers.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials will attend the now annual ritual at Ground Zero, when every name is read out and moments of silence mark key events, such as the impact of the two hijacked planes, and the collapse of the towers.


Powerful lights will send beams skyward from the site at nightfall.


Despite a deep desire to properly remember the tragedy, constant financial and legal wrangling has slowed work on replacing the enormous Twin Towers to a snail’s pace.








A man looks out toward the World Trade Center site from the Millenium Hotel near the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site August 2009, in New York City

The financial crisis and downturn in the real estate market have made speedy renewal of the neighborhood even less likely and frustration is rising.


“It has become increasingly clear that New Yorkers should be embarrassed by the debacle that is represented by the failure of government officials to have successfully rebuilt Ground Zero,” Barry LePatner, a construction attorney, said.


“Unfortunately, the only conclusion that can be drawn from a careful study of their actions at this important site is an attitude that the public be damned.”


In theory, five new skyscrapers are planned, with a park and memorial in the middle, and a transport hub. But many now think that there is no market for all five towers.


For now, the site strikes casual observers as merely a large hole, although work on foundations of several key elements is well underway and the frame for the future Freedom Tower is rising.


A poll last week by Quinnipiac University found that two thirds of New Yorkers think even the memorial will not be ready in time for the 10th anniversary in 2011.


“They don’t expect to have any part of Ground Zero ready by the tenth anniversary,” Maurice Carroll, director of the university’s polling institute said.


“We’re getting fed up with the continual lack of progress at Ground Zero. And we think it’s important that there be some signs of movement this year,” Carroll added.


According to the poll, 25 percent of New Yorkers said the slow pace made them “ashamed,” the highest number to give that answer since it was first asked in 2006.


Source: SGGP