Asia

Asia seeks a bigger say in global financial cleanup

Asia seeks a bigger say in global financial cleanupBangkok - Six months ago, when the financial crisis started in US and European markets, there was still hope that South-East and East Asia would prove immune to the latest hiccup in capitalism.

The region suffered its own financial crisis in 1997-98 when weak financial systems, overborrowing and ballooning current account deficits led to plummeting currencies, widespread bankruptcies, mountains of private and public debt, and a massive financial cleanup sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and pushed by the West.

WHO calls for intensified campaign against TB in Asia-Pacific

WHO calls for intensified campaign against TB in Asia-Pacific Manila - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday urged governments in Asia and the Pacific to boost their national health systems, which are vital in the fight against tuberculosis (TB), especially drug-resistant cases.

The Manila-based WHO Western Pacific Office said that effective TB control has been hampered by weaknesses in national health systems, such as chronic staff shortages and inadequate financial resources.

Nuclear free zone in Central Asia enters into force Saturday

Nuclear free zone in Central Asia enters into force Saturday New York  - The first nuclear weapon free-zone in the northern hemisphere will enter into force Saturday, which calls on the five Central Asian states to forswear nuclear weapons and abandon all nuclear activities.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the event, saying it is of particular significance because it encompasses a region where nuclear weapons previously existed.

Third undersea cable planned to bring faster internet to Asia

Taipei  - Several Asian countries plan to jointly build a third Asia-Pacific undersea cable to bring faster internet service to the region, Taiwan media reported Thursday.

The countries plan to jointly invest 500 million dollars to lay the Asia-Pacific Cable Network 3 (APCN3), according to the Economic Daily News and the Commercial Times, which cited unnamed Chunghwa Telecom Co sources.

The APCN3 would link Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The main companies involved in the venture - including Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom, China's China Unicom Ltd and China Telecom Corp, Singapore's Starhub Ltd and Japan's KDDI Corp - were expected to sign a contract next month.

Global slump costs Asia's richest man 10 billion US dollars

Global slump costs Asia's richest man 10 billion US dollars Hong Kong  - Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest man outside India, has lost more than 10 billion US dollars of his fortune in the past year, Forbes business magazine said Thursday in its list of the world's richest people.

The 80-year-old Hong Kong tycoon has seen his wealth fall from 26.5 billion US dollars to 16.2 billion US dollars this year, the magazine said.

The loss saw him drop from 11th to 16th on the list of the world's wealthiest, but he remained the richest man in Asia outside India, the annual survey concluded.

Arrivals to Asia-Pacific down 2.8 per cent in last quarter of 2008

Arrivals to Asia-Pacific down 2.8 per cent in last quarter of 2008Bangkok  - Tourist arrivals to the Asia-Pacific region fell 2.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2008, with Thailand leading the plunge with a 28 per cent decline, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) revealed Wednesday.

PATA compiles travel statistics for 37 destinations in Asia, the Pacific islands and the Americas.

The association noted a "dramatic downturn" in arrivals last quarter of 2008 in Japan, Thailand and Sri Lanka, reflecting "both the worsening global economic climate and regional/national issues."

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