KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 - Boeing set a global industry record for the most commercial airplanes delivered in a single year at 723 in 2014, maintaining its position as the world's largest airplane manufacturer for the third consecutive year.

Last year, Boeing booked 1,432 net orders, valued at US$232.7 billion at list prices.

The company also grew its backlog of unfilled commercial orders to a historic high of 5,789 airplanes.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and Chief Executive Officer Ray Conner said what the Boeing team achieved in 2014 was truly unprecedented, especially in the face of fierce competition.

"Boeing's achievements are based on the dedication of our talented employees, the trust that our customers place in our products and the partnership with our suppliers," he said in a statement today.

Boeing's widebody family of airplanes -- the 747-8, 767, 777 and 787 Dreamliner -- accounted for more than 60 per cent of all twin-aisle deliveries last year, further strengthening the company's position as the industry leader in widebody airplanes.

The Next-Generation 737 programme delivered more of the single-aisle airplanes than ever before with 485 deliveries in 2014.

BEIJING, Jan 14 - Chinese people's activities online will be subject to reinforced scrutiny as authorities expand the real-name registration system across more social networks and websites.

China's Cyberspace Administration (CCA) will "comprehensively" promote the management of real identities online, with social networks -- including microblogging platforms, forums and instant messaging services -- all having to enforce a real-name registration system, CAA official Xu Feng said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Real names will only be seen by backend administrators and users may still choose a screen name.

Chinese Internet authorities have been pressing for a real identity system since 2011, and new users of WeChat and other instant messaging apps have, since August, been required to provide their real names.

Xu was quoted as saying in a China News Service report that his administration checked instant messaging services at the end of last year, and found more than 80 percent of the WeChat users had already registered with their genuine identities.

China has more than 275 million users on microblogs with Sina Weibo leading the pack, and 459 million users of mobile instant messaging apps, led by WeChat.

The CCA also announced on Tuesday that over the last two months it had shut down 17 public WeChat accounts that masqueraded as government organs or media, and 33 websites involved in the circulation of pornography.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 13:35

Two more Rohingyas dead in Nakhon Si Thammarat

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT, Jan 13 -- Police are looking into a human trafficking cartel sending Rohingya migrants through Thailand to Malaysia as two more Rohingyas died in Nakhon Si Thammarat province last night.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 13:30

Smuggled carcasses, meat destroyed

PATHUM THANI, Jan 13 - The Department of Livestock Development burnt 85 tons of smuggled carcasses and meat to control diseases and maintain the standard of Thai imports and exports.

BANGKOK, Jan 13 -- Thailand's Deputy Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will visit Myanmar to boost economic cooperation.

Ms Apiradi said she will visit Myanmar tomorrow and Thursday January 14-15 to meet her Myanmar counterpart and discuss active economic cooperation, especially a project to develop a special economic zone in Thailand's Mae Sot district and the adjacent town of Myawaddy town in Myanmar.

She and her Myanmar counterpart will open the Thailand Week 2015 fair in Rangoon.

Present at the fair will be 177 Thai companies and 35 Myanmar operators importing Thai products. There will be business matching discussions and an exhibition of Thai products.

The fair is expected to attract 30,000 visitors.

Ms Apiradi said that the planned special economic zone in Mae Sot and Myawaddy could be conveniently connected to the port of Mawlamyine and Yangon (Rangoon) and the Myanmar government has introduced incentives to attract foreign investment.

She referred to five-year exemption of the corporate income tax and personal income tax reduction from 15 per cent to 10 per cent for workers of companies receiving investment promotional privileges.

Ms Apiradi commented that Mae Sot district in Tak has high potential as it was already an investment location and had sufficient transport facilities and labour for labour intensive industries such as textiles, processed farm products and furniture.

The Ministry of Commerce will hold a business matching and trade fair in Mae Sot beginning January 28 through February 1.

She pointed out that Thai businesses with bright prospects in Myanmar were suppliers of consumer products, farm machines, auto parts, construction materials and lifestyle products as well as tour services and restaurants.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 - Airports operated by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) recorded 83.3 million passenger movements in 2014, a growth of 4.7 per cent over 2013, despite the unprecedented Malaysia Airlines' aircraft incidents.

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia, the airport operator said this was the first time that passenger movements exceeded the 80 million mark.

"Despite the unprecedented incidents that affected sentiment and traffic performance from May 2014, there was a progressive recovery in the air travel market towards the end of the year," it said.

For the whole of last year, international passenger traffic increased by 4.9 per cent, while domestic movements rose by 4.5 per cent.

"Aircraft movements recorded a growth of 7.3 per cent while cargo movements grew by 8.0 per cent, registering a volume of 1,011,904 metric tonnes, which is the highest cargo volume handled by MAHB since 2006," it said.

Of the 83.3 million passengers, AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines accounted for nearly 80 per cent while foreign carriers accounted for just below 15 per cent.

However, in terms of growth, the largest contributor for 2014 was Malindo Air, followed by AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines while foreign carriers as a whole registered a decline, partly due to the MH370 incident, which affected the China sector traffic and the MH17 incident, which caused a dent in the Europe sector.

Passenger movement in December 2014 was better-than-expected at 8.2 million, up 0.3 per cent over December 2013 while average load factor at 76.5 per cent was the highest in 2014, potentially portends to recovering industry demand in 2015.

MAHB expects 2015 passenger traffic to increase by 3.0 per cent year-on-year to 85.8 million, assuming Malaysia's economic growth remained between 5.0 per cent and 6.0 per cent, as well as stable fuel prices.

"There is room for further optimism in 2015 with the opening of Southeast Asia's largest modern outlet mall at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the middle of the year as well as the return of British Airways to Malaysia.

"We also foresee another major carrier returning to Malaysia this year," it added.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 14:23

S. Korea's import prices fall in Dec

SEOUL, Jan 13 - South Korea's import prices again fell in December from a year ago as global oil prices continued to slide, central bank data showed Tuesday.

In local currency terms, import prices tumbled 13 percent on-year last month, quickening from a revised 8 percent fall in November, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea. It marks 28 straight months of an on-year fall in import prices.

From a month earlier, import prices fell 5.1 percent in the cited period, also picking up from a 0.9 percent dip in the previous month.

The fall was blamed on weakening oil prices. The price of Dubai crude oil, South Korea's benchmark, plunged 21.9 percent on-month in December.

Export prices fell 4.3 percent on-year, accelerating from a 2.2 percent fall in November. On a monthly basis, they declined 2.4 percent, turning around from a 1.2 percent rise in the previous month.

The central bank explained export prices fell as a drop in the price of oil products outweighed a strengthening U.S. dollar.

The average won-dollar exchange rate reached 1,104.33 won against the greenback in December, rising 0.8 percent from 1,095.1 won the previous month.

BEIJING, Jan 13 - China will ask the nation's blood stations to employ more accurate testing methods to detect viruses this year, a health official said on Monday, following reports that a girl contracted HIV through a blood transfusion.

It has been confirmed that a five-year-old girl in Fujian Province contracted HIV through a blood transfusion during an operation four years ago.

"It is a heart-wrenching case," said Mao Qun'an, spokesman for the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), adding that China will lower such risks in the future through nationwide adoption of the Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) by the end of 2015.

The NAT, a technique used to detect viruses or bacteria, can shorten the "window period" when viruses or bacteria go largely unnoticed by blood tests.

Using traditional testing methods, it takes about 20 days for HIV antigens to be detected after the virus enters the human body.

HIV-positive blood donors unaware of their status may pass the virus to others if donations happen during that 20-day window period, as the virus cannot be detected by tests.

Mao said the NAT can shorten the window period for HIV to 10 days, reducing risks in blood transfusions.

The NAT can also be used to control risk for other blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis, Mao added. The method has been used in trial runs in recent years.

The young girl was just eight months old when she underwent heart surgery for congenital heart disease in May 2010 and became infected.

She tested positive for the virus during a physical examination in September 2014.

BANGKOK, Jan 12 --  Several foreign financial institutions are keen to offer lending to Thailand, according to Kritsda Udyanin, director-general of the Public Debt Management Office. 

BANGKOK, Jan 12 -- The Gold Price Sentiment Index continued to increase for the second consecutive month in January and the domestic gold price is expected to range from Bt16,800 to Bt20,500 per baht weight in the first half of this year.

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