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News Roundup


VOL.6 December 2014
News Roundup


Beijing Roadmap

Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member countries have reached a consensus on the Beijing Roadmap for APEC to push forward the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process. The APEC Ministerial Meeting agreed to "launch and comprehensively and systemically push forward the FTAAP process," according to China's Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng. The meeting also agreed to try to formulate the post-Bali work program and take substantial actions for strengthening regional integration and advancing the FTAAP building, Gao added. The FTAAP would be one of the largest free trade areas in the world, covering about half of global economy and trade

West Africa

Single Currency

A 2020 deadline has been set for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) starting its single-currency policy in the region. The announcement was made at a meeting in Calabar in early November by Essien Abel Essien, Director of Strategic Planning, ECOWAS Commission. He said the commission is working hard to ensure it succeeds in meeting the target set for the use of the currency in the subregion. According to Essien, the commission would see to the modalities for the implementation of the monetary policy, while the implementation itself would depend on the heads of state of ECOWAS member countries. 


Affordable Houses

Uganda is planning to build low-cost houses early next year to benefit local people, according to the Office of the Prime Minister. Under the proposed five-year project, 4,000 housing units and a number of schools, health centers and waste management facilities will be constructed on land owned by the Uganda Land Commission and the private sector. At least 20,000 Ugandans will benefit from the $200-million housing project.


Mega Radio Telescope

Nine African countries have agreed on the conditions for setting up one of the world's largest radio telescopes that will revolutionize space science on the continent. Government officials said policies and laws have been harmonized to facilitate the installation of the radio telescope dubbed Square Kilometer Array. "The appetite for radio astronomy initiatives in Africa has increased exponentially. Countries have agreed to cooperate in this venture that will have profound impacts on the economy," said Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Education Jacob Kaimenyi. The nine states - South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Mauritius, Ghana, Madagascar, Zambia, Botswana and Kenya - will contribute funds and manpower to implement the mega project in each country.


Space Agency

The Kenyan Government is reviewing the method to establish an agency to coordinate space exploration. Margaret Maimba, Chief Scientist at the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovations, said a space agency is in the works pending cabinet approval.


More Students Abroad

The government-sponsored China Scholarship Council (CSC) will send 25,000 students abroad next year, 17 percent more than in 2014. The expansion will include up to 8,000 more Chinese graduate and doctorate students. The CSC sent 20,400 students abroad in 2014. There are 46,000 students in the 85 countries supported by it. It has also established programs with some international organizations such as the UNESCO with which it signed an agreement in July to send interns.


Constitution Day

China's top legislature has designated December 4 as Constitution Day amid efforts to advance the rule of law. Nationwide activities to promote the Constitution will be held on the day, according to a bill adopted at a bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) from October 27 to November 1. The Fifth NPC adopted the current Constitution on December 4, 1982, based on a previous version promulgated in 1954.


Stock Connects

The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect was launched on November 17. The stock connect plan was proposed by Premier Li Keqiang on April 10 during a speech at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Boao Forum for Asia. Li said efforts will be made to create a Shanghai-Hong Kong stock market trading mechanism to promote healthy, two-way development between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong capital markets.


Quantum Network

China will build a global quantum communication network by 2030, according to Pan Jianwei, a Chinese quantum scientist and professor at the University of Science and Technology of China. "China's quantum information science and technology is developing very fast and China leads in some areas," said Pan. The field of quantum communication, the science of transmitting quantum states from one place to another, has grabbed global attention since the discovery of quantum cryptography, a way of creating "unbreakable" codes. China will achieve Asia-Europe intercontinental quantum key distribution in 2020 and build a global quantum communication network in 2030, Pan said at the 2014 International Conference on Quantum Communication, Measurement and Computing in November.


Combating Climate Change

Tanzania has announced it would plant millions of trees in the next 16 years to combat climate change. The announcement comes at a time when there is rampant tree felling for fuel and timber, causing unprecedented changes in local weather patterns. "The tree planting program is part of the government's mission to address deforestation that leads to high emission of carbon dioxide," said Binilith Mahenge, Minister of State in the Vice President's Office for Environment.






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