Global air freight sees major slump in January

Kuala Lumpur  - International demand for air freight recorded a dip of 23.6 per cent in January because of a lull in world trade amid the global economic downturn, the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said Friday.

The drop in freight ton kilometres was seen from the same month a year ago as total cargo loads registered a mere 56.6 per cent of capacity, a dip of more than 7 percentage points, the association said in a statement.

Asia-Pacific airlines also suffered a drop in passenger volume in January of 7.8 per cent from last year to stand at 11.4 million passengers.

Sex survey finds people in Asia-Pacific a dissatisfied lot

Kuala Lumpur  - Fifty-seven per cent of men and 64 per cent of women in the Asia-Pacific region responding to a survey reported dissatisfaction with their sex lives, news reports said Wednesday.

People in only three of the 13 countries where the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc conducted its survey reported satisfaction rates of more than 50 per cent.

India ranked the highest with 73 per cent of respondents to the Asia-Pacific Sexual Health and Overall Wellness survey saying they were satisfied. It was followed by the Philippines at 52 per cent, Taiwan at 51 per cent and New Zealand at 40 per cent.

Japan ranked the lowest at 10 per cent.

Asia urged to act against economic impact of aging population

Manila - Asia must act swiftly to counter the huge economic impact expected from an aging population as the region is poised to become the oldest in the world within a few decades, an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report said Tuesday.

The report, "Aging in Asia," noted that Asia's share of the global elderly was projected to rise to 62 per cent by 2050, with the demographic shift more advanced in such developed economies as Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

"Population aging will touch every aspect of our lives and unless we start making difficult policy choices soon there is very little chance that Asia will age gracefully," said Jayant Menon, co-author of the ADB report.

Singapore shares fall 2.11 per cent

Singapore FlagSingapore - Singapore share prices fell 2.11 per cent

ILO warns rising unemployment to push millions into poverty

ILO warns rising unemployment to push millions into povertyManila  - More than 140 million people in Asia could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2009 as unemployment surges due to the global economic slowdown, an International Labour Organization (ILO) report warned Wednesday.

According to the report, The Fallout in Asia, the number of unemployed in the Asia-Pacific region could rise by as many as 23.3 million in 2009 while vulnerable employment could grow by an alarming 60 million.

Great Eastern insurance profit halved due to financial downturn

Singapore - Following the global economic downturn, profits at Singapore's largest insurance group, Great Eastern Holdings, halved in 2008, the company said on Tuesday.

Full year profit for 2008 tumbled to 272.4 million Singapore dollars (178.56 million US dollars), a 50 per cent drop compared to the record high of 546.9 million Singapore dollars the group achieved in 2007.

"For 2008, the group's performance was affected by the financial downturn which directly impacted the investment performance of all the funds," the company said in a statement.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, Great Eastern reported a profit of 76.5 million Singapore dollars, a drop of 47 per cent on a year-on-year basis.