Asia News


China has reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began, marking a major turning point in the global battle to contain Covid-19.

At a news conference on Thursday morning, officials from China’s National Health Commission announced there had been just 34 new cases in the past 24 hours — all imported from overseas — and eight new deaths, all in Hubei, the province where the virus was first identified. There were no new reported cases in Hubei at all on Wednesday.

The milestone will likely be held up as proof of the ongoing success of China’s sweeping, top-down efforts to control the virus, despite persistent allegations that local officials mishandled the initial outbreak. Just last month, mainland China was reporting thousands of new cases every day, and was considered the most high-risk infection area in the world.

In the weeks following the early spread of the virus, the government enacted draconian quarantine measures and strict travel restrictions affecting hundreds of millions of citizens. In some hard-hit cities, residents have been unable to leave their apartments for more than a month, while transport between major population hubs has been limited or halted altogether.

The unprecedented nature of the measures has exacted a steep toll, however, both on the many millions of ordinary Chinese forced to endure life under lockdown and the country’s economy, which has seen a steep decline in recent weeks.

We can only hope at this point that the pandemic is curbed completely. 

CNN News

United Overseas Bank and Prudential Singapore launched a financial solution for women in Singapore that combines a savings account with complementary medical insurance for six female-related cancers.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) designed a solution for women who may not be placing enough emphasis on their own financial and health needs such as the 37 percent who put the needs of their loved ones before themselves, according to a 2017 survey by UOB and Prudential Singapore. Among married women, this figure went up to 52 percent. The survey also found that close to one in two women (45 percent) say they want a savings account that comes with free critical illness protection.

To help women protect their wealth and health, UOB and Prudential Singapore have worked in partnership to offer women a dedicated savings account that comes with free coverage for six female-related cancers. The coverage amount is based on their monthly average balance over the past three months.

Multiple Responsibilities

For example, if the account holder saves between $50,001 to $75,000 on average over the past three months, she will receive $75,000 in coverage. If the account holder saves more than $100,000 on average, the sum assured increases to $200,000.

«Women in Singapore today juggle multiple responsibilities, including our careers, parenthood, aging parents, relationships and community involvement, and often this means our own wellbeing takes a backseat. Even as more women are placing a priority on growing their savings, such as our female customers who have increased their current and savings account balances by 20 percent in the past five years, more than one in four women are still not sufficiently protecting their savings with insurance in the event of a critical illness,» Jacquelyn Tan, Head of Personal Financial Services Singapore, UOB, said the UOB Lady’s Savings Account was created with the intent to help women take care of themselves so they would not have to exhaust their personal savings in the unforeseen event of a cancer being diagnosed.

Help for Female Consumers

The UOB Lady’s Savings Account will help female consumers to fill the gap for medical insurance coverage in their financial portfolios. While each individual needs an estimated $316,000 in critical illness protection needs, the average Singaporean only has $60,000 in coverage, leaving a gap of $256,000.

South Korea’s first feminist party has vowed to push for equal pay and tougher laws to end widespread voyeurism against women as it gears up to contest an upcoming election.

Due to be launched on March 8 – International Women’s Day – the Women’s Party has signed up over 8,000 members, founded as a growing feminism movement has started to emerge in the socially conservative Asian nation.

It is hoping to win four of 300 parliamentary seats up for grabs in an April 15 poll although political analysts said it would be a challenge for the fledgling party.

“Women’s [issues] have been marginalized by other parties and we want to put them at the forefront,” Kim Eun-ju, a veteran women’s rights activist and one of the party’s founders, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of the launch.

“We want to highlight the seriousness of discrimination, violence and inequality against women.”

Targeting young women, Kim said the party – which will submit a formal registration a day after its launch – would lobby for stronger laws to curb the epidemic of voyeurism or “spycam porn”, where victims are filmed urinating or having sex.

The epidemic prompted tens of thousands of women to take to the streets in 2018 and laid the foundation for a feminist movement which has since gathered pace in other areas, from abandoning makeup to rejecting marriage.

The new party also aimed to close a gender wage gap, which is the highest among advanced countries at 34.1% in 2018 – more than double the average for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

After the last 2016 poll, South Korea had 51 women lawmakers which was the country’s highest ever female presentation in parliament at 17%, although this lagged the global average of about 25%.

South Korea’s first female president, Park Geun-hye, took office in 2013 and served until 2017 when she was ousted over a corruption scandal.

“The setting up of the Women’s Party is significant but as a minor party it would be fairly difficult to tap into a broader electorate,” said Chae Jin-won, a professor in politics at the Kyung Hee University in Seoul.

He said it would be “challenging” for the party to win four seats as the electoral system traditionally favors the major parties despite a law reform last year to address the issue.

South Korea was ranked 108 out of 153 countries on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index.

Source: The Jakarta Post

In efforts to tap into the full potential of women entrepreneurs, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) is set to organize for the first time a trade promotion delegation exclusively composed of female entrepreneurs this year.

The delegation is scheduled to visit Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia as part of TAITRA’s efforts to help women better explore foreign markets and gain a greater role in Taiwan’s foreign trade in line with the government’s policy and a World Trade Organization (WTO) declaration, TAITRA said.

The three countries are covered by the government’s New Southbound Policy, which has been broached by the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen after she assumed office in May 2016, to boost two-way trade and investment with countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

The reason why these countries were selected is simply because there have been relatively few promotions targeting them, TAITRA said.

If satisfactory results are obtained, more delegations of women entrepreneurs will be formed to explore other overseas market, said Chiu Hui-li, chief of TAITRA’s Market Development Department.

The Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment was launched in a WTO ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires in December 2017 so that members can collaborate on making trade policies more gender-responsive, share experiences to encourage women’s participation in trade, and collect data to better understand connections between trade and gender.

It was the first time in the WTO’s history that its members and observers endorsed a collective initiative to remove barriers for women and foster their economic empowerment.

In 2018, there were 1.466 small- and medium-sized businesses in Taiwan, around 37 percent of which were owned and run by women.

Meanwhile, TAITRA is also seeking to organize a delegation of indigenous business people to visit New Zealand, based on an economic cooperation agreement (ECA) inked by the two countries in 2013.

In 2019, products manufactured by Taiwan’s indigenous people were showcased for the first time at the Te Papa Museum in Wellington for two weeks, paving the way for future exchanges, according to TAITRA.

Products made by Taiwan’s indigenous people were also displayed at the Taiwan Expo held last year in other countries covered in the New Southbound Policy, and such exhibitions will continue into this year at the Taipei International Food Show in June, Kaohsiung Food Show in October, Foodex Japan 2020 in March, and FHA-Food & Beverage Asia 2020 in Singapore from March 31- April 3, among others, it said.

Source: Taiwan Times

Sri Lankan beauty queen and Mrs. World pageant titleholder Caroline Jurie, has pledged her support to the country’s less privileged children. She plans to use her new-found fame to inspire and empower children in the island nation.

Caroline Jurie, a mother of a two-year-old girl, hailing from a middle-class family from Kandana, a suburb of capital Colombo, has always aspired to be a model, though she had never walked on a ramp, till she competed for the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant. 

Jurie has also launched a social project called “Be You”, to help children suffering from mental illnesses. In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Colombo, Jurie said that it is important to “always be you and not change yourself despite criticism”.

“Always be who you are and don’t be afraid,” she said. She hopes that her life story can contribute to the social movement to encourage youth and children to pursue their passion and goals, without being victimized by social norms and constraints.

Jurie represented her country at the Mrs. World 2020, a beauty competition for married women, held on Dec. 2019 at the grand finale in Las Vegas, U.S.

Soon after returning to Colombo with the crown, she hosted a Christmas Party, inviting underprivileged children and those orphaned in the Easter bombings last year in April. The event brought together over 250 children, who enjoyed snacks, games, and gifts.

“My main intention of this campaign is to motivate youth especially, girls to expand the traditional and cultural boundaries which restrict creativity and free-thinking,” she said.

She wants to continue with the “Be You” project, even after giving up the crown. She aims to target children all over Sri Lanka, especially orphans and those with mental illness.

“My ultimate aim is to uplift and empower all children in my country, especially the less fortunate,” Jurie told Anadolu Agency.

A Sri Lankan Health Ministry report in 2017 had disclosed that around 7% of youth in the island nation attempt to commit suicide, indicating that behavioral problems were appearing a serious challenge.

Title did not come on a Platter

Jurie said she has discovered an alternate way to heal mentally ill children.

“When children suffer from such illnesses, they are asked to take medicine. But I have found another way to cure and that is to talk to them. Let them share their problems, and also use techniques of meditation and yoga. Ultimately, it is not only about medicine, but about using love and care, “she said.

Sharing her experience, Sri Lanka’s most glamorous woman said many children, mostly orphans are reticent. “Since they do not have parents, they do not express themselves. But it is only a matter of time. When you sit, start talking and loving them, they do become confident and communicative,” she said.

After completing her education, Jurie had moved to Dubai to pursue a career as a sales executive, where she met her soul-mate Nishantha Deepal. She gave up her career to pursue her dream of becoming a beauty queen.

The title did not come on a platter. While she sailed through the national pageant easily, it was a daunting task to compete at the international level. First, it was a lack of sponsors and then visa issues with the U.S. mission became obstacles. The U.S. Embassy rejected her visa twice. But ultimately her steadfastness succeeded. She returned to Colombo with a title.

Although her “Be You” project focuses only on children living in Sri Lanka, Jurie said that she is willing to expand it to cover other countries.

“All I want is to bring a smile to the faces of disadvantaged children.”

Jurie plans to spend time with children orphaned in the Easter attacks. “Those children need love, and I want to spend time with them and make them feel loved,” she added.

Star Media Group’s Esther Ng was honoured at the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Awards in the Media and Communications category.

The company’s chief content officer was bestowed the award by the Malaysia Chinese Women Entrepreneurs Association (MCWEA) for her experience and work in the Star Media Group’s transformation to a digital-first media outlet.

Ng said it was good that the achievements of women in the media industry were acknowledged and honoured.

“I stand somewhat alone in this, in that there are so few female editors-in-chief among the main media in the country.

“It’s time, not just to sit up but stand up for ourselves. We need to mark and celebrate each milestone we achieve. In the tough and challenging world that is the media industry, editors of mainstream media need to stand together in combating fake news.

“Real news has become a necessity,” she said when met at the presentation ceremony at the Sunway Hotel Resort and Spa on Tuesday.

This year marks the second edition of the Asian Women Entrepreneurs Awards, which was founded last year with the aim of promoting women leadership in business in the region.

MCWEA president Datin Sri Jessie Wong said the awards honour outstanding women leaders who play a significant role in shaping Asia’s business landscape in the next few decades.

“These winners represent the diversity within Asia’s business landscape and the awards recognise these businesswomen as role models for their excellent achievements and contributions towards the industry and nation-building.

“MCWEA seeks to encourage, enhance and empower businesswomen in contributing towards the development of community, industries and the building of national economy,” she said in her speech.

Other winners include Sunway Group exco member Susan Cheah who bagged the Lifetime Achievement Award and Miss Fashion World president Isabelle Liow who took home the MCWEA most outstanding contribution award.

Source: The Jakarta Post

The 2019 Global Research Report of Female Entrepreneurship & Employment, jointly produced by China Women’s University, an institution affiliated with All-China Women’s Federation and academically administered by the Ministry of Education and Ali Research of Alibaba group, was released at the 2019 Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship, looking at “how the world is beautiful because of women” as Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group’s board of directors, said.

The report outlines how women entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of economic and technological development eye the international market by allocating and integrating resources globally in the era of 4.0. It also details how female entrepreneurs who have never left their villages and families break the boundaries of time and space through the internet, contributing to and sharing the technology and economic benefits in the digital era.

As shown in the report, the digital economy is empowering women’s entrepreneurship and employment, including simplifying the technology selection process, providing “toolbox”-like digital services and integrating platform resources, helping women entrepreneurs break through the constrictions of space and time and participate in the process of innovation. In addition, the digital economy is helping to transform the employment model from “industrial thinking” to “digital thinking” while extending the definitions and boundaries of employment.

The report also undertook an analysis of research data on female entrepreneurs, and took a close look at what the internet offered in terms of the female entrepreneurship and employment across the countries on five continents.

In fact, digital platforms and women now depend on and support each other and will achieve mutual progress and development in the future.

More information is available in the 2019 Global Research Report of Female Entrepreneurship & Employment.

Source: PR Newswire