Vietnam to remain at centre of Asian supply chains: EIU #SootinClaimon.Com

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Vietnam to remain at centre of Asian supply chains: EIU

Jan 18. 2021

A garment and textile production line at Kydo Company at Pho Noi A Hung Yen Industrial Park. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien

A garment and textile production line at Kydo Company at Pho Noi A Hung Yen Industrial Park. — VNA/VNS Photo Pham Kien

By Viet Nam News/ANN

Viet Nam will remain at the centre of Asian supply chains and one of the most competitive manufacturing locations in the Asia-Pacific region, said analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit in a report on the country released this week.

The report entitled ‘Rising star: Viet Nam’s role in Asia’s shifting supply chains’, focused on examining Viet Nam’s labour market, investment attraction policy, and trade relationships.

Accordingly, low-skilled manufacturing wages will rise at a moderate pace relative to Viet Nam’s regional competitors. However, specialised labour in manufacturing and services professions will remain scarce. In the field of investment, high-tech manufacturers will continue to enjoy incentives for many years to come. In addition, Viet Nam has joined many trade agreements and maintained good relations with trading partners, helping to reduce transaction costs for local businesses.

EIU Senior Analyst John Marrett said tax and foreign direct investment policies, as well as measures to control foreign trade and exchange, are the main strengths of the Vietnamese business climate compared to other countries in the region.

These are underpinned by the country’s domestic political stability, which is higher than that of most other Southeast Asian countries with similar economic development level, he added.

The EIU is a global leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. — VNS

Moon believes S. Korea will achieve faster herd immunity formation than other nations #SootinClaimon.Com

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Moon believes S. Korea will achieve faster herd immunity formation than other nations

Jan 18. 2021President Moon Jae-in speaks during a New Year's press conference at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)President Moon Jae-in speaks during a New Year’s press conference at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

By The Korea Herald/ANN

President Moon Jae-in forecast Monday that South Korea will be able to achieve the formation of collective herd immunity against the new coronavirus faster than other countries under the government’s inoculation program.

“South Korea will definitely not lag behind (in achieving herd immunity), but rather will be able to achieve it much faster compared to other nations when considering the inoculation period and the time frame in achieving herd immunity,” Moon said during a New Year’s press conference held at Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon said he predicts the country will achieve complete herd immunity no later than late November.

“By beginning from February, we plan to complete preliminary vaccinations by September. I believe we will be able to reach a general level of herd immunity by then,” Moon said.

The president said the secondary phase of national inoculation, centered around those who hadn’t had the chance to be vaccinated, will be carried out in the fourth quarter.

Moon also cautiously projected that the government’s inoculation time schedule could be sped up if shipments from the World Health Organization’s global vaccine project, known as COVAX, arrive earlier than expected.

“There is a possibility that the shipments from COVAX could arrive the earliest. I’ve been briefed that the vaccine shipment inoculation period could be sped up if that is the case,” Moon said. (Yonhap)

Game-like app allows public to help study climate change in Japan #SootinClaimon.Com

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Game-like app allows public to help study climate change in Japan

Jan 18. 2021

The Environment Ministry’s event is seen on the Biome app. (Courtesy of the Environment Ministry)

The Environment Ministry’s event is seen on the Biome app. (Courtesy of the Environment Ministry)

By The Japan News/ANN

Using a smartphone app that has the feel of a video game, the Environment Ministry has launched an ongoing event to encourage people to contemplate climate change.

Called “Kikohendo Ikimono Daichosa” (Great survey of living things and climate change), the free event is hosted on an app called Biome and asks participants to upload photos of local flora and fauna. To participate, users must download the app, created by a company in Kyoto. After downloading it, they simply choose a “quest,” take photos of the assigned plant or animal and upload them.

There are 25 quests to choose from, including one where you can help track the flight patterns of a duck whose migration and wintering spots are said to have changed and another that asks users to investigate an invasive species, the stink bug. Many quests pertain to living creatures that have been impacted by global warming.

Around 11,000 photos have been uploaded to the app since the event began in November. The deadline to join the first round is the end of this month. The ministry plans on keeping it going until fiscal 2022.

The Environment Ministry plans to compare uploaded photos with previous data and present its findings on any environmental changes it discovers.

“With the government’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, we hope this event will help young people to see directly what climate change does to their surroundings,” a ministry official in charge said.

Malaysians in S’pore hope vaccinations will ease travel curbs #SootinClaimon.Com

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Malaysians in S’pore hope vaccinations will ease travel curbs

Jan 18. 2021

By The Star/ANN

SINGAPORE: A number of Malaysians working in Singapore have started receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Some of them shared their experience getting their jabs on the Malaysian-Singapore Border Crossers Facebook page, which has almost 82,000 members.

According to Imra Astata Ibrahim, who works in the marine sector, he had his first injection on Jan 13 and would get the second dose after 21 days.

Imra Astata, 40, who is renting a room in Jurong West here, said he did not hesitate to get the vaccine with 10 of his Malaysian colleagues.

In fact, the father of three has high hopes that by getting vaccinated, it will be easier for him to travel back and forth to Johor.

“Who knows, there will be an understanding between the two countries to facilitate the movement of commuters, namely workers who have received this vaccine, ” he said.

Imra Astata, from Johor, only returned to the republic on Sept 24 last year after strict measures at both borders were introduced in March to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked if there were any side effects from his vaccination, Imra Astata said before taking it, he and his colleagues had been informed of the possible side effects.

“So far, my friends and I are healthy after getting the jab. Only on the first day did I feel slight numbness and pain at the injection area, ” he said.

The Singapore government has made provisions for all Singaporeans and long-term residents in the republic to get vaccinated by end-2021.

Singapore received the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Dec 21 last year.

To ensure accessibility of the vaccine and enable the republic to achieve a higher rate of inoculation for the population, the vaccination will be given free.

According to its Health Ministry, as of Jan 12, more than 6,200 individuals have received their first dose of the vaccine.

These numbers are expected to rise substantially in the coming weeks as it continues to ramp up its vaccination operations, it said.

In line with the recommendations by the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination to prioritise vaccinations of groups that are most at risk, Singapore has begun vaccinating healthcare workers progressively from Dec 30,2020. — Bernama

Travelers to Beijing to undergo extra 7-day health monitoring #SootinClaimon.Com

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Travelers to Beijing to undergo extra 7-day health monitoring

Jan 18. 2021

By China Daily/ANN

BEIJING – Beijing has required inbound travelers to undergo health monitoring for seven additional days following 21 days of medical observation, authorities said Saturday.

The latest requirement was announced following a meeting of the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control leadership group held on Friday.

The anti-epidemic management at the centralized quarantine venues will be further strengthened and nucleic acid tests targeting related personnel and surroundings will be conducted more frequently, according to the meeting.

Recently, there have been cases in Beijing and other cities across the country in which inbound travelers were confirmed as COVID-19 patients after 14 days of isolated observation, which led to a rebound in indigenous cases.

In response to the problem, Beijing extended the COVID-19 observation period for inbound travelers earlier this month to 21 days following sporadic locally transmitted cases.

Mask-wearing raises imports of eye makeup from S. Korea #SootinClaimon.Com

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Mask-wearing raises imports of eye makeup from S. Korea

Jan 17. 2021

By The Yomiuri Shimbun

With widespread mask-wearing drawing more attention to people’s eyes, imports of makeup such as eye shadow and mascara, mainly from South Korea, are on the rise.

According to Osaka Customs, nationwide imports of cosmetics as a whole fell in the January-October period of 2020. Lipstick imports were down 28.2% and powder imports were down 23.5% from the same period in the previous year.

On the other hand, eye makeup imports grew significantly, up 10% to 2,246 tons. The annual import volume for 2020 appears to have surpassed that of 2019, the highest year on record.

Especially on the rise are imports from South Korea, which rose 19.9% to 599 tons in the January-October period, one of the factors pushing up the total volume of eye makeup imports.

At Nanohana Ebisubashi, a cosmetics specialty outlet in Chuo Ward, Osaka, South Korean products account for one-third of the about 200 brands displayed in the store. Many of the products are brightly colored and come in attractive packaging resembling magazine covers.

“The area around my eyes is important because I always wear a mask. South Korean brands are more affordable than Japanese products and the colors are bright,” a 24-year-old woman from Osaka said.

Behind the trend is a Korean boom in Japanese popular culture that began before the coronavirus crisis, spurred by South Korean TV programs and K-pop idol groups. There is even a magazine that gives advice on how to apply makeup like actress Son Ye-jin of the drama “Crash Landing on You.”

“Due to the influence of the Korean boom, more and more people are adopting eye shadow and other South Korean makeup, which comes in a wide variety of colors,” an official of the store’s operating company said.

Domestic manufacturers are also benefitting from the popularity of eye makeup. According to Tokiwa Pharmaceutical Co., sales of lip gloss and foundation were lower than before the virus outbreak, but domestic shipments of the eye makeup brand Sana New Born rose year on year in the July-November 2020 period.

Shiseido Co. has released a base makeup product that does not stick to masks, and the company has a dedicated website that offers tips on how to apply makeup when wearing a mask.

China to step up protection of rare earth resources #SootinClaimon.Com

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China to step up protection of rare earth resources

Jan 17. 2021

By China Daily

China will reinforce the protection of its rare earth resources, strengthen full industrial chain regulation and establish a mechanism under the State Council to decide and coordinate on major policy measures, according to a draft guideline published on Friday.

The guideline was published on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and will be kept open for public opinion till Feb 15.

“Rare earths are important strategic resources that are not renewable, and it is necessary to reinforce the full industrial chain regulations targeting activities that are currently disrupting the healthy development of the industry and damaging the environment, such as illegal, destructive, unplanned and excessive mining, and illicit trading,” the ministry said.

The guideline aims to regulate the rare earth industry under the framework of laws and regulations, the ministry said.

A group of 17 metallic elements that have distinctive properties such as electrical conductivity and magnetism, rare earths are used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from cellphone batteries, computers, wind turbines and televisions, to fiber optics and missiles, and are widely considered important strategic resources.

Stating the prized resources’ irreplaceable significance for the upgrade of traditional industries, and the development of emerging industries and the national defense industry, the guideline said special measures must be taken to protect the resources.

It mentioned administrative license and project approval procedures for rare earth mining and the process of smelting and separation, and quotas respectively for mining, and for smelting and separation.

According to the guideline, any organization or natural person is prohibited from purchasing or selling rare earth products that are illegally mined, or smelted and separated.

It also stressed that rare earth import and export enterprises must abide by the foreign trade and export control laws and regulations.

As the world’s largest rare earth supplier, China produces around 80 percent of the world’s total supplies.

However, the country’s rare-earth industry faces problems such as smuggling, illegal mining and environmental damage issues.

To protect the important strategic resource, the rare earth industry should have more precise rules and regulations, and the government should encourage innovation and development of high-end rare earth products such as new materials to move up the global value chain, said Bai Ming, deputy director of the Institute of International Market Research at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce.

HCM City sets up cyber security, hi-tech crime prevention division #SootinClaimon.Com

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HCM City sets up cyber security, hi-tech crime prevention division

Jan 17. 2021

By Vietnam News

HCM CITY— The HCM City police on January 12 launched a cybersecurity and hi-tech crime prevention division.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyễn Thế Lâm, deputy chief of staff, heads the division (PA05).

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Nguyễn Thành Phong, chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the city had identified cybersecurity as one of the pillars of building a smart city.

In October last year the city launched an information security centre to monitor, prevent and respond to information security incidents affecting State agencies, he said.

“The city is a ‘special’ urban area and a national hubfor many things, but also faces a great threat from cyber and high-tech criminals,” he said.

Recognising that, the Ministry of Public Security decided to strengthen the city police with the establishment of a cybersecurity and hi-tech crime prevention division, he said.

The city would help the police acquire facilities and equipment for cybersecurity and hi-tech crime prevention, ensuring that they achieve a “dramatic change” right from the beginning of 2021, he said.

Major General Lê Hồng Nam, director of the police department, said with criminals taking advantage of the internet and other technologies to subvert political and social security and social order, the establishment of the PA05 would meet the requirements of fighting crime.

“It is also a milestone in the process of making the city police stronger and more modern,” he added. VNS

US-China trade friction has cost up to 245,000 US jobs, says study #SootinClaimon.Com

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US-China trade friction has cost up to 245,000 US jobs, says study

Jan 17. 2021

By China Daily

The United States’ trade friction with China has caused a peak loss of 245,000 US jobs, but a gradual scaling back of tariffs on both sides would boost growth and lead to an additional creation of 145,000 jobs by 2025, reported Reuters on Jan 15, citing a study commissioned by the US-China Business Council.

The USCBC, which represents major American companies doing business in China, said the study by Oxford Economics also includes an “escalation scenario” which estimates a significant decoupling of the world’s two largest economies could shrink US GDP by $1.6 trillion over the next five years.

This could result in 732,000 fewer US jobs in 2022 and 320,000 fewer jobs by 2025, the report said.

The study estimates that US exports to China support 1.2 million American jobs and Chinese multinational companies directly employ 197,000 Americans, while US companies invested $105 billion in China in 2019, Reuters reported.

“With China forecast to drive around one-third of global growth over the next decade, maintaining market access to China is increasingly essential for US businesses’ global success,” the study said.

PH gets P3.72-B grant, 500K vaccine doses from China #SootinClaimon.Com

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PH gets P3.72-B grant, 500K vaccine doses from China

Jan 17. 2021

By Enquirer

China on Saturday provided a 500-million renminbi (P3.72-billion) grant to the Philippines to bankroll various livelihood and infrastructure projects, which might also be used to finance the Duterte administration’s COVID-19 response, and promised to donate 500,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced the vaccine donation during a 40-minute meeting with President Duterte at Malacañang Palace, at the end of his two-day visit to the Philippines, the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

The announcement was made a day after the Senate concluded an inquiry into the administration’s vaccination program and its plan to procure up to 25 million doses of the vaccine made by the Chinese pharmaceutical Sinovac Biotech, which had drawn criticisms from lawmakers for being both costly and less efficacious than other vaccines.

According to the Chinese statement, Mr. Duterte “lauded the continued high-level engagement” between China and the Philippines amid the pandemic and stressed the importance of “delivering on the promises of the comprehensive strategic cooperation” between the two countries.

“The recovery of nations … sits on the back of stronger economies. China plays a very key role in reviving our region’s economy. Let us do all we can to revive economic activities between the Philippines and China,” Mr. Duterte was quoted as saying.

Wang Yi

Wang Yi

For global good

Wang reaffirmed China’s commitment to support the Philippines’ efforts “to combat COVID-19” and Beijing’s “resolve to do everything to ensure that vaccines become a global good,” the statement said.

Wang “underscored China’s commitment under President Xi Jinping to work closely with the Philippines to sustain the positive trajectory of the valued and special bilateral relations,” it said.

Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven said that while the grant was intended to mainly finance livelihood projects, infrastructure and feasibility studies for big-ticket projects, it was “subject to further discussions” on its possible use to support “COVID-19-related activities and response measures.”

While China has yet to provide direct financial assistance to the Philippines during the pandemic, it donated personal protective equipment like goggles, masks and suits, and medical supplies such as ventilators and testing kits, to the country at the height of the longest lockdown in the region.

Wang’s visit was the latest demonstration of China’s support for Mr. Duterte, who has warmed ties between Beijing and Manila after the President set aside a 2016 international arbitral ruling invalidating China’s expansive claims over the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese foreign ministry statement made no direct reference to the maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.

Wang, who arrived in the country on Friday, held a separate meeting earlier on Saturday with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

“Let me emphasize that in the process of the [Philippine government’s] response to COVID-19, China as a friend of the Philippines and your closest neighbor, we will firmly stand with the people of the Philippines until the defeat of this virus,” he said in a speech.

Locsin said the fight against COVID-19 and “the universal acceptance of the new inescapable normal is entering a turning point, with the beginning of vaccinations.”

“With our two nations’ abiding interest in regional stability and the security of our maritime commons, it behooves us to show our ability to rise to the challenge of managing differences peacefully and in accordance with law,” he said.

“Our close cooperation to beat COVID-19 has only further enhanced our overall ties and deepened our friendship,” Locsin said.

Since mid-2016, the Duterte administration received a total of 3.25 billion renminbi (about $496.97 million) in grants from China.

7 grants for BBB

Manila and Beijing have now signed and executed a total of seven grants funding prefeasibility studies, equipment provision, as well as implementation of some infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program.

The Department of Finance said the previous six grants funded the following: construction of Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella-Pantaleon bridges on the Pasig-Marikina Rivers, as well as Bucana Bridge on Davao River; procurement of the container inspection equipment of the Bureau of Customs; and rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City.

China had also extended three loans to the Philippines. One is being used for the Chico River Pump Irrigation project, another is for building the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam, and the third for the Philippine National Railways South Long-Haul projects.