BEIJING, Oct 29 - China's return lunar orbiter, a precursor to the Chang'e-5 mission, has escaped lunar gravity and is approaching the Earth after 114 hours of flight in space.

As of 8:00 pm Tuesday, the unmanned spacecraft was flying in a good condition at a height of 360,000 kilometers and is expected to return to the Earth on November 1, said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

It was launched early Friday to test technology to be used in the Chang'e-5 mission, a probe that will conduct China's first moon mission and return to Earth.

SEJONG, Oct 29 - South Korea ranked fifth in terms of business environment this year thanks to improvements in regulations and the system for starting a business, granting construction permits and protecting minor investors, the finance ministry said Wednesday.

The ranking by the World Bank rose by two notches from that of the previous year, marking the highest since the "Doing Business" report started to be compiled in 2003, according to the ministry.

Every year, the World Bank analyzes 189 countries' business environments by breaking them down into 10 broad categories involving the business life cycle from start to closure.

South Korea was listed among the top 10 for four consecutive years. It also ranked first among the group of 20 emerging and advanced countries and came in third among the member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

South Korea saw its ranking climb from 34th to 17th in terms of the environment for starting a business. In construction permits, it came in 12th, up from the previous year's 18th.

Its ranking in protecting minor investors improved sharply to 21st from the previous year's 52nd.

In property registration, however, the ranking dropped from 75th to 79th, while its standing in terms of getting credit fell from 13th to 36th.

The finance ministry here expects that the improved ranking in business environment could have a "positive" impact on luring more foreign investment.

The ministry added that it will keep up its efforts to enhance the overall regulations and system to help people start a new business and protect minor investors.

Meanwhile, Singapore maintained its top status in the business environment, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong and Denmark.

BANGKOK, Oct 29 - Intra-Asean trade increased at a faster pace, with annual growth rate averaging 10.5 per cent, as compared to either overall Asean trade (by 9.2 per cent) or extra-Asean trade (by 8.9 per cent) during the period 1993-2013.

The share of intra-Asean trade in overall Asean trade has been on an increasing trend starting from 19.2 per cent in 1993 to 22 per cent in 2000 and 24.2 per cent in 2013, and accounted for 25 per cent of the region's total GDP in 2013, according to Asean Community in Figures (ACIF) Special Edition 2014, launched this month by the Asean Secretariat.

Data on foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in Asean showed that from 2000 to 2013, intra-Asean FDI inflows grew at an average annual rate of around 25 per cent, in tandem with extra-Asean FDI inflows, which posted an average annual growth of 13 per cent.

Asean total FDI inflows stood at US$122 billion in 2013, with extra-Asean countries providing US$101 billion.

In 2013, major sources of FDI inflows comprised EU-28 (with a 22 per cent share of total), Japan (18.7 per cent), Asean member states (17.4 per cent), China (7.1 per cent) and Hong Kong (3.7 per cent).

Economic activities under the services sector accounted for the bulk of FDI inflows to Asean, with an average share of nearly 70 per cent in the last four years, followed by FDI in manufacturing.

BANGKOK, Oct 28 - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that his government would award petroleum exploration and production concessions on 29 blocks with transparency.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:42

BMA applies strict measures to prevent Ebola

BANGKOK, Oct 27 -- The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is alert to the possible entry of Ebola to Thailand and has deployed staff at Don Mueang Airport and the Bangkok Port to screen visitors and to educate local communities on Ebola symptoms.

PHUKET, Oct 27 - Residents of this province did not panic when the tremour from the earthquake in Indonesia's Northern Sumatra was felt here this morning.

BANGKOK, Oct  27 - Thai Minister of Industry Chakramon Phasukavanich quoted a top Ford Motors executive as confirming that Thailand remained as its major automotive production base in the region and it would expand its eco-car production here.

SINGAPORE, Oct 28 - Singapore was amed Destination of the Year at the eighth Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards, which recognises achievements in the global cruise industry.

Singapore is the first Asian country to win this prestigious award.

Other nominees included contenders from the Mediterranean, such as French Atlantic Ports and Cruise Net Hamburg, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in a statement Monday.

One of the reasons Singapore was selected was for its work in promoting cruise not just within Singapore, but in catalysing the whole region, it said.

Editor of Seatrade Insider, Mary Bond, said the judges commended STB cruise promotion efforts, both within industry circles and in consumer marketing to raise awareness of South-East Asia cruising.

"The republic has played an integral role in championing regional cruise development through Asean," she said.

STB assistant chief executive, Neeta Lachmandas, said the board was honoured to receive this award and would like to share it with its stakeholders and regional partners.

"This award is recognition not just for Singapore, but for the whole of South-Eeast Asia, as it underscores our collaborative efforts in promoting our region as an attractive cruising destination," she said.

SEOUL, Oct 28 -- South Korean golfer Park In-bee has regained the No. 1 ranking in women's golf.

Park moved up a notch to the top spot in the latest women's world rankings released this week.

She has 11.09 points, nudging past Stacy Lewis of the United States, who dropped a spot to No. 2 with 10.86 points.

Lewis had been at the top for 21 weeks. Before that, Park was No. 1 for 59 weeks.

Park spent most of 2013 as No. 1 on the strength of six victories, including three majors. She slowed down in the second half of the season and had a so-so start to 2014, while Lewis picked up pace with four victories between August 2013 and June 2014.

Lewis hasn't won since the end of June, while Park won her first tournament this year in early June and added a second in August at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, one of the tour's five major tournaments.

Park has been in the top 10 in 15 out of 20 tournaments. Lewis has done so 16 out of 24 times.

Lydia Ko, a teenage sensation from New Zealand, remained at No. 3. Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Michelle Wie of the U.S. rounded out the top five.

Ryu So-yeon was the next-highest South Korean at No. 7. Kim Hyo-joo, a 19-year-old with an LPGA major title this year, stayed at No. 10.

In the world rankings, players earn points from tournaments over a rolling 104-week period, and points are weighted more heavily over the most recent 13 weeks.

BEIJING, Oct 28 -- China's police chief on Monday urged tight security checks to prevent terrorist attacks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.

China's minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun asked police to tightened up on patrols and ensure the "absolute safety" of leaders and senior officials to the meetings.

Volunteers should be mobilized to join street patrols, said Guo.

He also pledged to minimize the influence on the public by informing them of traffic controls in advance.

Beijing police have been engaged in eight weeks of inspections and preparatory work to guarantee security for the meetings. Measures include management of hazardous articles, anti-terror training and publicity.

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