KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 Malaysia exported halal products worth RM9.2 billion in the first quarter of this year, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek.

He said this showed that local companies involved in the manufacturing of halal products had the capability and capacity to cater to the needs of the global market.

"Malaysia is already the world's leading exporter of halal ingredients required in various industries such as food and beverages (F&B), cosmetics, medical and wellness," he said when addressing the National Conference on Marketing Halal and Funding Solutions 2014 here Tuesday.

Hasan pointed out that the halal F&B continued to be the leading sector, with exports valued at RM3.5 billion or 39.9 per cent of total halal exports.

This, he said, was followed by halal ingredients worth RM3 billion, palm oil derivatives (RM1.4 billion), cosmetics and personal care (RM573 million), industrial chemicals (RM524 million) and pharmaceuticals (RM113 million).

Hasan said the top five halal export markets were China, the United States, Singapore, Indonesia and Japan.

He noted that Malaysia's halal exports of between RM30 billion and RM32 billion a year could be significantly enhanced by strengthening the country's position as a halal trading centre.

The two-day conference beginning today is jointly organised by Angkatan Koperasi Kebangsaan Malaysia Bhd (Angkasa), Koperasi Rakyat Indah Kuala Lumpur and AYS Group.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 17:17

Facebook head visits Samsung's Suwon office

SEOUL, Oct 15 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Samsung Electronics Co.'s key factory complex in Suwon, south of Seoul, industry sources said Wednesday, a day after meeting with company officials.

Although Samsung has not formally provided confirmation, Zuckerberg is believed to have met with Samsung's heir-apparent Lee Jay-yong during his visit to Samsung Group's Seoul headquarters Tuesday evening.

The head of the world's largest social network firm is said to be accompanied by around 40 executives, an indication that the two would engage in broad discussions on business cooperation.

Industry watchers say Samsung and Facebook may exchange ideas on cooperating in the virtual reality business, with the South Korean company, the world's No. 1 maker of smartphones, recently rolling out Samsung Gear VR.

Providing views that rotate 360 degrees in all directions, the device provides a life-like experience to users. It is currently linked to the Galaxy Note 4 through a micro-USB.

Facebook acquired Oculus VR earlier this year, reflecting the firm's efforts to tap the virtual reality business.

"Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming, and we have a chance to build it together," Zuckerberg said in March upon the acquisition of Oculus VR.

In June last year, Zuckerberg also visited Seoul, meeting with Lee as well as President Park Geun-hye.

GUANGZHOU, Oct 15  Chinese scientists have extracted a virus known as M1 that could kill cancer cells without harming normal cells, giving hope for future research and development of cancer therapies.

A research team led by Yan Guangmei, a professor from the Zhongshan School of Medicine under the Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangdong Province, found the virus, extracted from a certain kind of mosquito in the tropical Hainan Province, can curb cancer cells' growth without damaging normal cells.

The discovery was published in the October edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Animal tests found that the M1 virus worked well on cancer cells of the liver, bladder, colon and rectum.

Cancer is a growing threat to health in China due to unhealthy lifestyles and a deteriorating environment. China reports 3.5 million new cases of cancer each year. And 2.5 million people, nearly the population of Kuwait, die of cancers each year in China.

BANGKOK, Oct 14 Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha asserted that the British government has no doubt regarding Thailand's investigation of the murder of two British tourists on Surat Thani's Ko Tao island last month. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 16:58

PM to focus on trade barriers at ASEM

BANGKOK, Oct 15 -- Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha intends to discuss solutions to trade barriers during his participation at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) scheduled in Milan, Italy, from today through Saturday.

The interim government is expected to start collecting inheritance and land taxes beginning next March, said Chartchai Na Chiangmai, a member of the National Reform Council.

Commerce Minister Gen Chatchai Sarikulya has ordered the International Trade Promotion Department to find ways to boost Thailand’s exports for 2015 by at least 5 percent, up from an earlier projection of 4 percent and from this year’s expected growth of 1.5-2 percent.

About 66.5 percent of respondents in a survey conducted recently by Bangkok University’s Bangkok Poll said they are worried over the rising cost of living in Thailand.

The survey on 1,194 people nationwide showed that 37.3 percent of total respondents were stressed over falling prices of agricultural products, followed by the narcotics problem at 36.7 percent, and 33.9 percent indicated social divisiveness over political differences.

Some 34.7 percent of the total respondents said they wanted the government to solve the high cost of living, followed by 18.2 percent who wanted the government to shore up agricultural product prices, 15 percent indicated suppressing corruption, 10.5 percent on solving drugs and crime, and 9.9 percent on resolving social divisiveness.

After the government having administered the country for almost two months, 57.3 percent of the total respondents said they were satisfied with the performance of Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha’s administration.

About 55.5 percent of the respondents admitted they have become less stressed over political differences among people in the country now, compared to before the military seized power in the May 22 bloodless coup.

Surprisingly, 31 percent of respondents claimed they had never been stressed over Thai politics.

PATTANI, Oct 13 -- Primary education officials in this insurgency-impacted southern province met urgently early today with directors of six schools burned by insurgents on the weekend in the hope of finding temporary classrooms for the affected students. 

BANGKOK, Oct 13 --   As the political situation in the country has improved, Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul projects that the number of tourists during calendar 2014 would reach 24.9 million persons while the country would earn at least Bt1.85 trillion.

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