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SEOUL, Feb. 23 - The global smartphone market share of South Korea's top smartphone maker Samsung Electronics Co. fell below 20 percent in terms of value for the first time in three years in the fourth quarter of 2014, data showed Monday.

Samsung, which has recently suffered a setback in its market share due to the rise of Chinese firms eating into its low-end handset sales, took up 17.2 percent of the world's smartphone market in the October-December period in terms of revenue, according to the data compiled by Strategy Analytics.

U.S.-based Apple Inc., on the other hand, posted a record high in terms of revenue, accounting for 48.9 percent of the global smartphone market, apparently boosted by the rising global popularity of the iPhone 6.

For all of 2014, Samsung took up 25.1 percent of the global smartphone revenue, hovering far below Apple's 37.6 percent, the data showed.

Samsung, which jumped into the smartphone industry in 2010, had been making strides to narrow its gap with the U.S. giant, garnering 34.1 percent of the smartphone market in 2013, when Apple posted 34.2 percent.

Its foothold, however, has recently been challenged by Chinese players rolling out low-end models, while Apple continued to weigh down on Samsung in the high-end sector as well.

LG Electronics Inc. saw its shares edge up 0.2 percentage point on-year to reach 4.3 percent to stand in the third spot. LG was followed by China's Huawei and Japan's Sony Corp. at 3.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively. (Yonhap)

SINGAPORE, Feb 23 - PanaHome Corporation today announced it will establish PanaHome Asia Pacific, a new regional headquarters in Singapore, effective April 1, 2015 to expand on its housing business in ASEAN.

In a statement, it said PanaHome, through its housing business, would contribute two trillion yen to the overall growth of Panasonic Corporation which has set a target of 10 trillion yen in consolidated sales for the financial year ending March 2019.

PanaHome aimed to account for a quarter of the targeted housing sales or 500 billion yen, of which 50 billion yen will be generated overseas.

To attain these goals, PanaHome, which currently has two bases outside Japan, one in Taiwan and the other in Malaysia, would accelerate its overseas housing business by expanding to cover the entire ASEAN region.

Starting with the smart town development projects, currently under negotiation in Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia, the regional headquarters would step up the development of its housing business in the Asia Pacific region.

The statement also said PanaHome Malaysia would concentrate in the Malaysian market and transfer projects it has been conducting in the ASEAN region to PanaHome Asia Pacific. (BERNAMA)

Monday, 23 February 2015 10:24

Foreign tourists still pack Hat Yai

SONGKHLA, Feb 23 - Despite the car bombing incident in the trouble-plagued southern province of Narathiwat last Friday, foreign tourists, mostly Malaysians, remain packed nearby Hat Yai district celebrating the Chinese New Year, said Panu Woramit, chief of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Hat Yai office.

BANGKOK, Feb 23 - As the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has decided to hold Thailand’s next general election on a mixed-member proportional system (MMP), the German government has invited nine high-ranking officials to observe an election in Germany March 15-20, Thai parliamentary sources said. 

Jakarta, Feb 20 - Indonesia must be firm and strong in facing the threats of the Australian government and people regarding the planned execution of two Australian drug convicts in death row, a law expert of Padjadjaran State University (Unpad) said.

"Print and electronic media in Indonesia must also give full support to the Indonesian Government because the same thing has massively been done by mass media in Australia," Dr.Atip Latipulhayat, Unpads law expert, said here Friday.

Indonesia’s consistent stance on executing convicted criminals in death row, including those found guilty of drug offenses, is legally legitimate because it is explicitly stipulated in the country’s legal system, he said.

Therefore, foreign governments, including Australia, must respect Indonesia’s sovereignty, he said adding that it is, however, the right of Canberra to defend the lives of Myuran Sukumaran (33) and Andrew Chan (31) by requesting for pardon.

"When Indonesia refuses Australia’s request, it is not acceptable if Australia keeps disrespecting Indonesia’s sovereignty," said Atip Latipulhayat, head of Unpads Department of International Law.

He further argued that those advocating the dismissal of death penalty just look at the rights of the convicts but fail to understand the position of victims who are actually those who suffer the biggest losses from the drug convicts acts of crime.

In response to Indonesia’s firm decision to go ahead with the Bali Nines execution, Canberra has threatened Jakarta, as indicated in Prime Minister Tony Abbotts statement.

Abbott was quoted as saying by ABC that his government "will find ways to make its displeasure known if the executions are carried out." The Australian prime minister also wanted Indonesia to remember Australia’s generosity when a deadly tsunami hit Aceh in 2004.

"I would say to the Indonesian people and the Indonesian government: We in Australia are always there to help you, and we hope that you might reciprocate," he was quoted by BBC as recently saying.

Certain elements in the Australian society also echoed calls for boycotting the Indonesian resort island of Bali’s tourism industry if Jakarta went ahead of its plan to execute Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, ringleaders of the Bali Nine.

The two were arrested along with seven other Australians when they were attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Sydney, Australia, in 2005. President Joko Widodo had recently rejected Sukumarans clemency petition.

In response to the Australian threats, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika urged his people to remain calm over Australias threat to boycott the resort islands tourism industry.

"Please remain calm. It (the execution) will not be a problem, and I believe that it will not badly affect Balis tourism industry. This case is related to our nations sovereignty and dignity," he said.

Indonesia had recently executed six drug convicts as part of its serious efforts to combat drug trafficking in the country.

The six convicts were Namaona Denis of Malawi, Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira of Brazil, Daniel Enemuo, alias Diarrassouba Mamadou, of Nigeria, Ang Kiem Soei, alias Kim Ho, alias Ance Tahir, of the Netherlands, Rani Andriani, alias Melisa Aprilia, of Indonesia, and Tran Thi Bich Hanh of Vietnam.

Vice-President Jusuf Kalla recently assured that the execution of foreign convicts for drug offenses will not affect Indonesias bilateral ties with their respective countries. (ANTARA)

Saturday, 21 February 2015 12:38

Thailand needs new energy sources

BANGKOK, Feb 20 - Energy Minister Narongchai Akrasanee said the government would be able to decide on the fate of the planned opening of the 21st round of oil and gas exploration concession bidding after the one-day public forum on the issue ends later today. He stressed that Thailand needs to find new energy sources.

Saturday, 21 February 2015 11:53

'Cobra Gold 2015' joint military exercise ends

LOP BURI, Feb 20 - Thai Defence Forces Chief Gen Worapong Sanganetra today said he was satisfied with the ‘Cobra Gold 2015’ joint military exercise as it met the programme's planned expectations, and that every other participating country was also satisfied and would join the war games again next year.

CHON BURI, Feb 20 - Police are looking for a Chinese tour guide who swindled and abandoned 33 Chinese tourists in this province's famous resort of Jomtien Beach, police said Friday.

Saturday, 21 February 2015 11:47

Tourists celebrate Chinese New Year in Thailand

SONGKHLA, Feb 20 -- Hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists, especially from China, Malaysia and Singapore, are now visiting Thailand to celebrate Chinese New Year.

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 - A Japanese commander who had helped with the search-and-rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Flight MH370, will be in charge of two patrol aircraft from the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) calling at Butterworth later this week.

Cdr Hideki Jufuku and 37 crew will be on board the two P-3C aircraft that will be at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base there on Feb 20 and 21 for airport call and replenishment of supplies, the Embassy of Japan in Malaysia said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur, Thursday.

"The P-3Cs have been actively taking part in anti-piracy operations (search operations) off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden since October 2014. The crew have carried out their mission under challenging temperatures of over 50 degrees Centigrade," the embassy said.

The statement said this would be the first time that the Japan Self-Defence Force (JSDF) was calling at an RMAF base except for the search-and-rescue (SAR) operation for the missing MH370 last year.

"It is our honour to inform that Cdr Jufuku was the commander for the SAR operation for MH370 in March and April 2014. He and the crew transited at the Subang airbase, and proceeded to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Pearce to continue the operation," the embassy said.

Jufuku's return to Malaysia this time was to mark a symbolic event for future relations between the JSDF and RMAF as well as between Japan and Malaysia, the statement added.

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