Snapchat becomes latest tech firm to pick London despite BrexitMessaging app Snapchat said it would make London the home of its international operations, delivering another vote of confidence in Britain's tech standing as the country prepares to leave the European Union. Despite the uncertainty sparked by the Brexit vote, London has remained attractive to global tech firms due to its pool of talent in the creative and tech sectors, many of whom have come from Europe and further afield. "We believe in the UK creative industries," Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap Group in the UK, said on Tuesday. Snapchat started in 2012 as a free mobile app that allows users to send photos that vanish within seconds. The additional tech jobs may be dwarfed by the number of jobs that could go in the financial sector if banks relocate to remain in the bloc, and tech firms have expressed concern about how Brexit could affect them.
Thai floods cause 200-kilometer traffic tailback; death toll up to 25Flash floods in southern Thailand washed out a bridge on the country's main north-south highway on Tuesday, backing up traffic for 200 km (125 miles) as the death toll from days of unseasonable rain rose to 25, media reported. A bridge damaged by floods is pictured at Chai Buri District, Surat Thani province, southern Thailand, January 9, 2016. Thailand's rainy season usually ends in late November but this year heavy rain has fallen well into what should be the dry season. Southern Thailand is a major rubber-producing area and the wet weather has hit production. In Nakhon Si Thammarat, one of the worst-hit provinces, television footage showed villagers commuting by boat.
Asian shares at two-month high ahead of Trump news conferenceAsian shares stood near two-month highs on Wednesday as investors looked to President-elect Donald Trump's news conference later in the day for any clues to his policies on tax, fiscal spending, international trade and currencies. While his plan for tax cuts and infrastructure spending has boosted U.S. shares and the dollar, his protectionist statements have kept many investors on guard. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was little changed in early Wednesday trade. It stood at its two-month highs, essentially coming back to where it was just before the U.S. election after recovering from their losses of over five percent. The Mexican peso MXN= is taking the brunt of such concerns, hitting a record low on Tuesday.
Trump to Republicans: Act swiftly to replace ObamacareU.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday pressured fellow Republicans working to repeal Obamacare in Congress to pass a replacement for the healthcare law at the same time or soon after they vote to dismantle it. (nyti.ms/2ia9qLk)The law, popularly known as Obamacare, has enabled millions of previously uninsured Americans to obtain health insurance, but Republicans condemn it as a government overreach. With Trump set to succeed Obama on Jan. 20, Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress, face a dilemma. The law extended insurance coverage to uninsured Americans by expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and creating online exchanges where people can shop for health insurance plans. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Republicans were mired in "internecine fights" and called on Trump to publish his own Obamacare substitute.
Over 2,200 sets of martyrs’ remains collected in 2016As many as 2,223 sets of martyrs’ remains were found and reburied in 2016, together with three collective martyrs’ graves, fulfilling 74 percent of the set target for the year, reported the National Steering Committee for Search and Collection of Martyrs’ Remains (Steering Committee 1232) during a conference in Hanoi on January 10. A burial of Vietnamese martyrs' remains in Long An provinceOf the total, 767 sets of remains were tested, with 256 martyrs identified, according to the committee. The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs was requested to complete a database on martyrs’ graves in cemeteries and transfer it to the Steering Committee 1237 for making martyrs’ profiles. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was assigned to coordinate with the Defence Ministry in designing plans to repatriate martyrs’ remains abroad. The Deputy PM also stressed the need to increase investment to search teams, thus speeding up the progress of collecting martyrs’ remains at home and abroad.
International Tennis Federation vows to help with tennis development in VietnamThe International Tennis Federation (ITF) is willing to cooperate with the Vietnam Tennis Federation (VTF) and Ho Chi Minh City to deploy training programmes for Vietnamese tennis players and trainers, helping the country to obtain higher international achievements. ITF President David HaggertyVisiting ITF President David Haggerty made the statement in a meeting with Vice Chairwoman of the HCM City People’s Committee Nguyen Thi Thu on January 10. While sharing his experience in developing tennis, the ITF President expressed his hope that Vietnam will include the sport in education programmes in schools and universities soon, thus improving health of pupils and students. For her part, Vice Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Thu spoke highly of the ITF’s support for Vietnam, which has helped the country gain remarkable achievements in both amateur and professional tennis. She stressed that HCM City has provided many talented tennis players for Vietnam’s sport sector and suggested the ITF continue assist the city in organising tennis events and training courses for local tennis players and trainers.
Business wages rise in Vietnam in 2016: MinistryThe Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs investigated wages in 2,000 businesses with an average of 360 employees in 18 cities and provinces nationwide in 2016, with results indicating an increase from 2015. Average salaries in 2016 were estimated at 5.71 million VND (over 252 USD) per month, representing a year-on-year rise of 7.5 percent. Wages at private companies and foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses stood at 5.47 million VND (242.2 USD) and 5.69 million VND (252 USD) per month, respective year-on-year increases of 10.06 percent and 8.58 percent. Average monthly income in 2016 was estimated at 6.03 million VND (267 USD), up 5.4 percent against 2015. The figure in State-owned enterprises was 7.75 million VND (343.2 USD) (up 2.78 percent); joint stock companies with State capital contributions 6.48 million VND (286.9 USD) (up 0.15 percent); private companies 6.04 million VND (267.5 USD) (up 7.86 percent); and FDI firms 5.7 million VND (252.4 USD) (up 6.74 percent).
“I was told that MOIT still has not removed all the business conditions that put difficulties for rice exporters. Under Decision No 6139 issued in 2013, the number of rice exporters must be no more than 150, while rice exporters must meet a lot of requirements in storage, factories and husking capacity. Under Decision No 6139 issued in 2013, the number of rice exporters must be no more than 150, while rice exporters must meet a lot of requirements in storage, factories and husking capacity. This could be the first step for the government to consider removing unreasonable business conditions stipulated in Decree No 109 on rice export management. “While some other rice exporters cannot export rice because their products are refused by importers, we cannot export just because we don’t have a license,” she said.
Payoo has reported that the total transaction value in 2015 exceeded the $1 billion threshold. Fintech firms have been growing so rapidly that they have outdistanced commercial banks in some payment fields. In August 2016, the payment value through agents accounted for 44 percent of its total payment value (900,000 bills with total value of VND2.98 trillion). The figure, in analysts’ eyes, means that cooperation between Japanese NTT Data and Vietnamese VietUnion, which owns Payoo, has been successful. Like NTT Data, other investors in Vietnamese fintech firms hope they can create one more link in the ecosystem.
Vietnam had 131.9 million active mobile subscribers by the end of October 2016, including 83.7 million 2G subscribers and 48.2 million 3G subscribers. MobiFone ranks second with 34 million subscribers, followed by VinaPhone run by VNPT with 25 million subscribers. Gmobile and Vietnamobile are the smallest networks with 6 million and 4 million subscribers, respectively. Three out of five telcos – Viettel, VNPT and MobiFone – have entered foreign markets. It now has 99,500 GSM stations (BTS 2G, 3G node B and 4G) and total length of 365,000 kilometers in fiber optic cable.
TPP’s demise sounds no death knellVietNamNet Bridge – The final doomsday countdown has begun for the Trans Pacific Partnership. “TPP’s dissolution may cause some fluctuations in the global market, but it definitely can’t reverse the free trade trend. RCEP has also attracted the attention of several export economies, including non-Asian TPP members like Peru and Chile. It is already receiving more attention from both TPP members and non-members, including Viet Nam. Over thousands of years, Viet Nam has faced unexpected situations galore, and it has always managed to land on its feet.
Physicians warn about pollution, increase in cancer casesVietNamNet Bridge - For developing countries in the period of rapid industrial development like Vietnam, the increase in the number of cancer cases appears to be a byproduct of fast growth. Experts have every reason to believe that the number of cancer cases would be increasing in Asia. The strong economic development in the region, which is associated with changes in pollution, will lead to an increase in some types of cancer. It is estimated that every year the country would see 200,000 new cancer cases in the next five years. About 115,000 people die of cancer a year, or 315 people a day.Khai said unsafe food and pollution are the major reasons behind the increased cancer cases.
Problems in education sector mountVietNamNet Bridge - The educational sector has been blamed for the unemployment of 200,000 university graduates, among other issues. The educational sector has been blamed for the unemployment of 200,000 university graduates, among other issues. A fourth grader at Vo Thi Sau Primary School in Quang Ninh Primary School was at risk of becoming blind after a friend threw a pen into his eyes. Sexual harassmentA number of cases in which teachers raped, took liberties or sexually harassed female students were reported in 2016. Too many foreign language teaching programsHanoi is running nearly 10 foreign language teaching programs at primary schools at the same time, while the quality cannot be controlled.
Challenges face central bank in maintaining stable interest ratesKeeping stable interest rates in 2017, as in 2016, is considered a thorny problem for the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) amid the constant pressure of increasing interest rates. The rise in deposit interest rates has been attributed to many reasons, partly reflecting less redundancy in liquidity at the year’s end. The increase of deposit interest rates takes place at several commercial banks but still worries borrowers. The devaluation of the dong against the dollar, along with the high pressure of increasing US dollar interest rates will raise the possibility of increasing the interest rates for Vietnamese dong. Curbing interest ratesDespite the pressure of interest rate increases, the central bank can still stabilise interest rates if it carries out appropriate monetary policy.
HCMC to upgrade BTS stationsVietNamNet Bridge – HCM City officials have asked telecommunications companies to redesign or replace more than 5,000 base transceiver stations (BTSs) located on top of houses and other buildings. The city has also encouraged telecom companies to share BTSs to save costs as well as limit the number of BTSs. In June, the plan to improve telecommunications infrastructure by 2025 was approved by the city’s People’s Committee. The plan aims to improve the urban landscape and ensure sustainable development of telecom infrastructure. In April, the Department of Information and Telecommunications sent 16 BTS designs to telecom companies for reference and application.