SEJONG, Feb 2 South Korea may face an oversupply of rice this year as its output reached a five-year high while rice consumption continues to shrink, government officials said Monday.
According to the officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the country's self-sufficiency rate for rice is expected to reach 97 percent in 2015.
The country's overall output of rice inched up 0.3 percent on-year to some 4.24 million tons in 2014.
South Korea is also required to import at least 408,700 tons of rice every year under a special agreement with the World Trade Organization (WTO), which had allowed the country to postpone opening its rice market over the past 20 years.
South Korea liberalized its rice market through tarrification at the start of this year.
The oversupply problem will likely be further accelerated by a drop in the country's rice consumption, the ministry officials noted.
In 2014, the country's annual intake of rice per person dipped 3.1 percent on-year to a record low of 65.1 kilograms.
The per capita consumption is again expected to shrink this year, continuing its steady decline over the past 40 odd years since 1970 when it hit a record high of 136.4 kg, officials said. (MCOT Yonhap)
BEIJING, Feb 1 Swimmer Ning Zetao and tennis superstar Li Na won the Best Male and Female Athletes of the Year resepectively at the prestigious China's Central Television (CCTV) Sports Awards here on Sunday.
The annual CCTV Sports Awards, recognized as the Chinese version of the Laureus World Sports Awards, is taken as the premier honors on the Chinese sporting calendar.
Ning beat out other four nominees, including badminton superstar Lin Dan and 2014 Table Tennis Men's World Cup winner Zhang Jike, to claim the honor.
The 21-year-old Ning claimed four gold medals at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea and also broke men's 100m freestyle Asian record.
Li claimed both the Best Female Athlete of the Year and the Sports Special Contribution, for serving as a great milestone for the development of Chinese tennis.
Li Na won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open earlier in 2014 and ranked world No. 2, the highest ranking that an Asian player, male or female, has ever achieved, but she retired from tennis at the age of 32, citing injuries as reasons to force her out.
Female skater Zhang Hong, who claimed China's first ever Olympic speed skating gold after winning the women's 1000m title with a large margin at the Sochi Winter Olympics, won the honor of Best Breakthrough of the Year, while the quartet of Chen Shiwei, Xie Zhenye, Su Bingtian and Zhang Peimeng, who broke the Asian record and won the men's 4x100m relay at the Asian Games, won the Best Relay/Pair of the Year.
The volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping and her Chinese national women's volleyball team became the biggest winners here for the silver medal at the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Championship in 2014. Jenny claimed the Best Coach of the Year, the women's volleyball team won the Best Team of the Year, and the 18-year-old young star Yuan Xinyue received the Best Rookie as well.
Chen Penbin, who became the first Chinese to claim an international ultra-marathon title and also the first runner to compete in all seven continents, claimed the Non-Olympic Athlete of the Year.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak expressed his sympathy for the families of passengers and crew of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, following the announcement by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) that it was an accident.
He said search for the aircraft will however, continue.
"Today my thoughts are with the families of those on MH370. The search will continue. Malaysia, Australia and China remain committed to finding the plane," he said in his latest tweet.
Earlier this evening, DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman through a televised broadcast announcement said that the missing MH370 was deemed an accident with all its 239 passengers on board presumed dead.
Flight MH370 which was bound for Beijing, China, disappeared from the radar an hour after it took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41am on March 8, 2014.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in his latest tweet also said: "My thoughts and prayers goes out to family members of those onboard MH370. It has been and continues to be difficult times for them and the nation," he said. (BERNAMA)
SEOUL, Jan. 30 - The chairman of Korean Air Lines Co. was to take the stand Friday for his eldest daughter who is on trial for alleged obstruction of aviation safety for forcing a chief steward off a taxiing plane last month, court officials said.
Cho Yang-ho will testify on whether the senior crew member, who was allegedly assaulted by his daughter and forced off the Seoul-bound Korean Air flight from New York last month, will be able to keep his job, the Seoul Western District Court said.
His testimony will likely bear a significant influence over his daughter's sentence, experts say.
The second hearing on the so-called "nut rage" incident is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
The incident was given the nickname, as Cho Hyun-ah, former vice president of South Korea's largest full-service carrier, allegedly caused a scene after she was served her macadamia nuts in a bag instead of on a plate. She had claimed the service was in violation of the proper nut-serving protocol.
Another witness to appear at Friday's hearing is the female flight attendant who had served the nuts to Cho.
It would mark the first time the woman, identified only by her surname Kim, made a public appearance.
Court officials said she will be escorted into the court room through a private hallway.
It is unclear whether the chief of the cabin crew will take the witness stand this day.
BANGKOK, Jan 29 -- Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government would strictly enforce martial law measures, ban overseas trips and check the financial transactions of inciters unless they stopped their movement.
HARBIN, Jan 29 - A large Russian culture theme park is expected to be built in Harbin, capital of China's border province of Heilongjiang.
Construction of the Sino-Russia Friendship Park will start this year, said Wei Minfang, general manager with the Harbin Volga Manor Cultural Tourism Co., Ltd.
The 5-square-kilometer park will take six years to complete with the first stage expected to be completed and open to the public by 2017, Wei said.
"The park, based on the history of Harbin City with the theme of Russia culture, will become a new landmark for Sino-Russia cultural tourism," she said.
Total investment is estimated at 5 billion yuan (800 million U.S. dollars).
The company now runs a 600,000-square-meter park called Volga Manor, which has become a major resort for the ice and snow festivals in Harbin. Famous sites include a church, a Russian-style castle and a Russian restaurant. The new theme park will surround the current one with the current park at its center, according to Wei.
Dubbed "Oriental Moscow", Harbin originated in 1898 from the construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway financed by then Russia Empire. Apart from its unique combination of oriental and European architecture styles, the city is also known for its ice and snow festivals in winter. (Xinhua)
BEIJING, Jan 28 - China's Ministry of Education (MOE), together with five other government departments, established a "school football leading group" to ensure football thrives in the country's schools, according to an MOE circular released late Tuesday.
The leading group is tasked with implementing laws and policies on campus football development, outlining annual plans as well as reviewing rules and budgets for promoting the sport among the nation's students and youth.
The other five departments participating in the leading groups are the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Finance, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, the General Administration of Sports (GAS) and the Communist Youth League Central Committee.
The MOE on Jan. 16 announced that it plans to select 20,000 primary or middle schools in which to promote football by 2017. It will also choose 30 counties to serve as trial areas for the development of school football in order to increase the popularity of the sport in Chinese schools and lay a foundation for more talented players.
The move came in response to the poor performance by China's national football team in recent years. The Chinese team has failed to qualify for the World Cup for the past 12 years. (Xinhua)
SEJONG, Jan 29 - South Korea will review some 300 rules governing maritime safety from scratch this year to make it safer for people to travel on ships, the government said Thursday.
The policy goal set by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries comes after 295 people, mostly high school students, died in the Sewol ferry sinking in April last year. Nine are still missing. The sinking of the 6,825-ton ferry is one of the deadliest maritime disasters in the country's history, and it triggered widespread calls for an overhaul of the country's maritime safety regulations.
Those implicated in the tragedy have been arrested and are on trial, with state prosecutors claiming a combination of ship cargo overloading, poor steering and remodeling of the vessel as the cause of the disaster.
Criticism of the government's poor initial response and confusion led to the dismantlement of the Coast Guard.
The ministry said that 800 million won (US$742,000) will be used next month to conduct detailed evaluations on the main sea routes around the country, with another 4 billion won to be spent on establishing new safe operational guidelines around the major ports of Ulsan, Gwangyang and Incheon that are used frequently by oil tankers and other large ships.
The Sewol ferry had left from Incheon on its ill-fated voyage, with port authorities being blamed for failing to check whether the ship was overloaded.
In addition, the maritime ministry said it will follow through on reform measures announced in September that call for the government to directly regulate safety, increase the amount of fines for rule violations from 30 million won to 1 billion won, and reduce the age of vessels that can be used as car ferries from 30 to 25 years.
All crew members will be obliged to wear uniforms, and barriers restricting companies from entering the shipping line business will be lifted in June.
To ensure that companies make a profit, which is critical for upgrading safety rules and crew training, the government will allow fuel surcharges and flexible fare rates for weekend operations.
In addition, the ministry said it will take steps to reduce the number of accidents involving fishing boats, which made up 76.7 percent of all maritime accidents in the past five years.
These steps include automatic location tracking systems, compelling crew members to wear life jackets and implementing mandatory safety instruction for people on fishing boats.
On the peaceful use of waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula, systematic measures will be taken to better manage the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and its continental shelf regions, the ministry said.
KOTA KINABALU, Jan 28 - ASEAN will continue to consider a common time zone for ASEAN capitals, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Speaking to reporters after chairing the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Retreat here Wednesday, he said the matter was discussed during today's meeting as "there were many strong reasons to have a common time zone".
"This is not a new idea. This was brought up by our leaders, as early as 1995, and they discussed it again around 2004.
"With ASEAN forming an intergrated and cohesive community by the end of this year, we believe a common time zone for ASEAN capitals is an idea worth considering," he said.
Among the benefits of a common time zone for the region involve strengthening business links and inter-governmental cooperation among ASEAN and Asian countries.
Besides that, a common time zone will allow more time for communication purposes, tally the stock market activities, enhance airlines operational system and upgrade the business and banking linkages around the Asian region.
Malaysia has taken over the ASEAN chairmanship for 2015, from Myamnar.
The two-day retreat which ended today, is the curtain-raiser for a series of ministerial and related meetings under Malaysia's ASEAN chairmanship this year.
Malaysia has mentioned the idea of a common time zone for ASEAN during a panel session at the World Economic Forum Summit in Davos on Jan 24.
In that session, Malaysia said a common time zone was important towards realising the ASEAN Economic Community.
BANGKOK, Jan 28 - The Ministry of Commerce is sponsoring a Made in Thailand in Focus Fair to bring international buyers to seal business deals with Thai manufacturers.