Myanmar publisher wins Golden Pen press freedom award

3 June, 2013
Culture

A newspaper publisher who created a sports paper and used coded headlines to call for democracy in Myanmar has won the Golden Pen Press Freedom Award from the World Editors’ Forum. Dr Than Htut Aung, chairman and chief executive of the Eleven Media Group, received the award at a more than 1500 newspaper executives at the World Association of Newspapers Conference in Bangkok. “After 50 years of dictatorship, the road to democracy will not be smooth. We are living under fear. The Golden Pen means I am not working alone and the people of Myanmar are not working alone. It means the international community is with us,” He said during his speech.

Myanmar ‘reaches truce’ with Kachin rebels

30 May, 2013
Politics

After three days of negotiations, the Myanmar government has reached a preliminary ceasefire with the Kachin rebels, raising hopes of ending two years of fighting. Min Zaw Oo, the director of the Myanmar Peace Centre, told the AFP news agency that Kachin and government representatives had signed a seven-point plan, including an agreement to halt hostilities.

WEF in Myanmar this week

31 May, 2013
Economy

The 22nd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia will take place in Naypyidaw from 5-7 June. Over 900 government officials, business leaders, civil society representatives and academics will meet and discuss issues facing Myanmar and East Asia today. Sushant Palakurthi Rao, senior director and head of Asia at the World Economic Forum, said the event would help ensure that development in Myanmar translates into “inclusive growth”, as the country continues on a path of “bold economic and political reform”. Mr Sushant added that Asean integration would be another major theme of the conference.

Laos Deports 9 North Koreans to China

28 May, 2013
Political Security

Nine North Koreans who fled their homeland has been found in Laos and sent to China. This raises fears as China is likely to repatriate the North Korean nationals, where they are likely to face harsh punishments. South Korea has requested for Laos to send the defectors to Seoul, but this has been rejected by the Laotian government.

China Oil Supply to Bypass Malacca Straits

28 May, 2013
Trade and Investment

Leading state owned Chinese energy group China National Petroleum Company has completed six out of twelve oil storage tanks on an island off western Myanmar from which two pipelines will transfer oil supply to China. The pipelines are set to begin operation in 2014, and will allow China to bypass the Malacca Straits, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and supply oil from the Middle East and Africa straight to China.

China-Singapore Steps up Cooperation in Intellectual Property

28 May, 2013
Trade and Investment

The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the State Intellectual Property Office of the People’s Republic of China (SIPO), aiming to speed up patent application procedures. Singapore and China will be piloting a two-year Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme which will start on 1 September 2013. IPOS has also reached similar agreements with the United States, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN.

New China-ASEAN direct routes

28 May, 2013
Trade and Investment

Chen Wu, chairman of Guangxi province, told a China Southern Air Holding meeting in Guangzhou, the airline’s hub, that while Guangxi airports had seen record traffic, they lag gateways in neighbouring provinces. Chen Wu on China Southern to open additional air routes between Nanning and ASEAN, to which the chairman of China Southern responded that there have already been such plans and routes will be opened soon. A new terminal at Nanning is also due to operate from 2014.

Chinese Firm Invests in Indonesian Power

28 May, 2013
Trade and Investment

Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Jero Wacik said China Power Investment Corp has committed to investing US$17 billion in hydropower plant projects in North Kalimantan of Indonesia. The first project with a planned capacity of 7,000 megawatt would be built across the Kayan River, and construction is expected to start next year. Wacik said that the Chinese firm also expressed interest in funding the construction of smelters in Indonesia and development of renewable energy.

Thai KBank Moves towards Local Chinese Bank

28 May, 2013
Trade and Investment

Three years after a first branch in Shenzhen, Thailand’s Kasikornbank (KBank) opened a second branch in China, located near Tianfu Square of Chengdu. KBank chairman Banthoon Lamsam announced his plan to obtain licences for more branches, in order to become a truly local bank in years’ time. Head of Kbank’s China business division Pipit Aneaknithi says 10 more cities are shortlisted for new branches including Jiangsu, Wuhan, Xian, Fujian and Nanning, most of which have direct flights from Bangkok.

GE to light up Myanmar

23 May, 2013
Business & Investment

US energy giant General Electric (GE) announced on 23 May that it has joined forces with two local companies to develop electricity solutions in Myanmar. GE signed a Memoranda of Understanding with Lighting Co Specialist Pte Ltd to develop lighting solution and a deal with Partners Associates to create storage solutions for the local telecommunications industry. The company opened its first office in Myanmar on Wednesday and expects to announce two further deals with Myanmar companies over the coming weeks.