Fri, 01 Dec 2023

COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka plans is expected to sign the Sri Lanka-Thailand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in February 2024, Sri Lanka's cabinet spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena told reporters on Tuesday.

At a press conference, Gunawardena said the agreement will be signed following the completion of negotiations by December 2023.

The cabinet has approved the free trade agreement, which will see 80 percent of tariff lines liberalized over 15 years, he said. (Sri Lanka-Thailand-FTA)

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JAKARTA -- Cases of monkeypox in Indonesia have spread to five provinces, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

"The total has reached 51 confirmed cases, including 30 patients who have recovered," said Siti Nadia Tarmizi, the head of the ministry's communications and public services bureau.

The capital Jakarta considered as a special province has recorded the most cases, at 38, including 23 recoveries. Other cases were detected in West Java (6), Banten (5), Riau (1) and East Java (1). (Indonesia-Monkeypox)

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KUALA LUMPUR -- Flooding has displaced 2,294 people in the country's east coast state of Terengganu as of 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday following continuous heavy rains.

Those evacuated were being housed in 19 flood relief centers, according to the country's social welfare department.

The meteorological department has issued warnings of heavy rains due to the northeast monsoon, which typically lasts from October to March, with strong winds and rough seas expected, in northern states and the country's east coast. (Malaysia-Floods)

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CANBERRA -- Australian optical scientists have made a breakthrough in increasing the power of fiber lasers.

In a study published on Monday, an international team led by researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA) found that by using multimode optical fiber the power of fiber lasers can be scaled up nine-fold without deteriorating the beam quality.

Widely used in industrial environments and defense, fiber lasers use an optical fiber cable to deliver a precise beam. (Australia-Fiber laser-Boost)

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SEOUL -- South Korea's household credit hit a record high in the third quarter on robust demand for mortgage loans, central bank data showed on Tuesday.

Household credit, which refers to debts owed by households to banks and other lenders in addition to the purchase on credit, came to 1,875.6 trillion won (1.45 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of September, up 14.3 trillion won (11.1 billion dollars) from three months earlier, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

It topped the previous high of 1,871.1 trillion won (1.45 trillion dollars) tallied in the third quarter of last year. (South Korea-Household Credit)

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HONG KONG -- Paul Chan, financial secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, said Tuesday that the passenger traffic at the Hong Kong Airport is expected to fully recover in 2024.

Speaking at the ongoing Asian Logistics, Maritime and Aviation Conference here, Chan said that the passenger traffic at the Hong Kong Airport will return to 80 percent of the pre-pandemic level this year. (Hong Kong-Airport Passenger Traffic)

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