Indonesian President visits VinFast manufacturing complex

indonesian president visits vinfast manufacturing complex

On January 13, 2024, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, as part of his state visit to Vietnam, visited the VinFast electric automobile and motorcycle manufacturing complex in Hai Phong and received a firsthand look at the Vietnamese brand's premium electric vehicles. Prior to that, in Hanoi, President Widodo and Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had met with partnering businesses from the two countries, including VinFast and GSM.

Vingroup Chairman and VinFast Global CEO, Mr. Pham Nhat Vuong, took the wheel of an electric buggy himself, guiding President Widodo on a close-up tour of VinFast's state-of-the-art complex.

After touring the complex and learning about VinFast's electric vehicle lineup, Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his pleasure at visiting the facility and was impressed with the quality and class of VinFast's vehicles. The President said that he would create all necessary conditions for VinFast to quickly complete the investment procedures for production and business in the Indonesian market.

As previously disclosed, VinFast plans to invest at least 1.2 billion USD in Indonesia over the long term. Alongside distributing vehicles imported from Vietnam to Indonesian customers during the initial phase, VinFast will invest 200 million USD to establish an electric vehicle manufacturing plant with a projected production capacity of 30,000 - 50,000 vehicles per year in Indonesia.

In the morning of the same day in Hanoi, President Widodo and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met with businesses which had been investing and operating in the two countries. VinFast and GSM reported to the leaders of the two countries on the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GoTo, Indonesia's leading technology company, the owner of the Gojek transportation services platform.

In a statement issued on behalf of Gojek, VinFast and GSM said: "Gojek has signed an MoU with VinFast and GSM, which aims to promote green transportation through the use of electric vehicles in Indonesia. Our companies will collaborate to promote the use of EVs among drivers of four wheel vehicles on the Gojek platform, ultimately aiming to provide a superior experience with VinFast's four wheel eco-friendly electric vehicles."

By signing an MoU with GoTo, VinFast and GSM demonstrate their commitment to supporting the Indonesian government's ambitious goal of reducing transportation emissions. This agreement opens up opportunities for cooperation and marks a significant step for VinFast and GSM in their global market expansion in 2024.

GSM, founded by Vingroup Chairman Pham Nhat Vuong, pioneers sustainable rental and taxi services exclusively using VinFast electric cars and scooters. Separately from the MoU, GSM also announced a plan to invest up to 900 million USD in Indonesia in the near future.

JPMorgan: Equities Cut, Invest More in Gold

jpmorgan says cut equities and buy more gold

The US debt ceiling scare, rising recession risks and Federal Reserve hawks are just a handful of reasons why JPMorgan Chase is advising investors to cut exposure to stocks and hold more gold and cash.

With the macro environment taking on more and more risk, JPMorgan strategists are trimming exposure to US equities and increasing its cash holdings by 2%. The multinational bank is also shifting away from energy and moving full steam ahead towards gold.

JPMorgan’s chief global markets strategist Marko Kolanovic said that the risk-reward for equities is poor due to a number of factors including elevated recession risk, stretched valuations, high interest rates and tightening liquidity and pointed to gold's safe-haven properties as a hedge against these risks.

Of course, JPMorgan isn’t the only bank that’s bullish on gold. According to a new survey from the World Gold Council, up to 24% of central banks were looking to raise gold holdings this year.

In 2022, net gold purchases by central banks totaled 1,135 tonnes, sending gold buying levels to the highest level in 55 years. Since the beginning of 2023, the big banks are following the same trend, accumulating gold at the fastest pace on record.

Rising gold prices bodes well for the producers of the yellow metal, like Luca Mining (TSXV:LUCA) (OTCQX:LUCMF), a Canadian mining company bringing its second mine into commercial production this year.

A Junior Resource Company With a Unique Opportunity for Rapid Growth

Luca Mining holds two high-quality Mexican gold, silver and base metal mining projects with a combined 2.2 million gold equivalent ounce Measured & Indicated (M&I) resource.

The Campo Morado mine, a polymetallic underground operation with a Measured & Indicated (M&I) resource of 16.6 million tons grading 4.01% zinc, 0.80% copper, 0.93% lead, 123 g/t silver and 1.70 g/t gold, and the Tahuehueto Gold project, which is on track to deliver initial production by June 30, 2023.

On June 15, the company announced that pilot-scale testing of Jameson Cell technology at Campo Morado shows promise of improving base and precious metals recoveries and concentrate grades. A major advantage of Jameson Cell technology is the cells are smaller than conventional flotation cells and have no moving parts, meaning they can be easily maintained online without any shutdowns.

Luca Mining has also been making significant progress at its Tahuehueto gold mine. Last month, the company announced a detailed two step plan in achieving 1,000 tonnes per day (tpd) commercial production at Tahuehueto, with the first stage of 500 tpd projected to be completed by the end of June.

Along with construction, Tahuehueto is undergoing pre-production, allowing the team to continue fine-tuning systems and plant performance ahead of full-scale production. So far, the average lead recovery to concentrate has been 79.8%, with a composition of 29% lead, 50.5 g/t gold, and 584 g/t silver on average. To date, the average zinc recovery in May is 59.7%, with 47% zinc, 12.6 g/t gold, and 144 g/t silver. According to the 2022 PFS, total gold and silver recoveries are roughly 86% (average for April 2023).

The company expects the final stage of 1,000 tpd production at the Tahuehueto Gold project to be finished by the end of 2023.

Luca Mining also bolstered its board of directors with the addition of Dr. Neil O’Brien, a consulting economic geologist and former mining executive with three decades of experience including Board of Director roles in public and private mineral exploration companies, and Phil Brumit Sr., a mining executive with over 40 years of experience in property evaluation, engineering, project management, construction, start-up and operations.

Dr O’Brien previously served as SVP exploration and new business development for Lundin Mining, while Brumit served as former executive VP projects & operations at Josemaria Resources, president and managing director at Minera Candelaria, a subsidiary of Lundin Mining, president of Freeport-McMoRan's African division and senior advisor, North American manager of operations for Newmont and general manager of operations for PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara's Batu Hijau mine in Indonesia. Image Source: Freepik.

Saudi Arabia's Plans for Pilgrim Food Security

saudi arabia strategic plans to safeguard food security for pilgrims

Saudi Arabia has successfully managed to achieve an excellent status in the framework of realizing self-sufficiency for several necessary food products before taking up the task of securing food for millions of visiting pilgrims coming from different countries of the world.

According to the head of catering in Mecca, products from 1,294 food factories in Saudi Arabia will secure more than 120 million meals for at least 2 million pilgrims in six days under the supervision of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

Investment in food manufacturing amounts to about 7 percent of the total investments made in the Saudi industrial sector, and thus pumping more than 94 billion riyals to operate 11.35 percent of the total number of factories in the Kingdom, according to official data.

Saudi Arabia has been running a megaproject to increase its vegetation cover, which has effectively contributed to achieving self-sufficiency in agricultural products such as dates with a sufficiency rate of 125 percent, and vegetables whose rates reached 87 percent, in addition to possessing the Middle East's largest wheat and flour storage capacity with a daily milling capacity of 3.3 million tons.

Saudi Arabia's strategy to achieve food security involves 11 programs, including the Saudi Agricultural Investment Abroad Program, with the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC) completing a 4.65-billion-riyal acquisition of 35.43 percent of the Singaporean Olam Agri company in December 2022, in addition to the acquisition of two meat processing factories in Australia.

Furthermore, water security also occupies a place on the strategic agenda of the Kingdom, who currently engages in massive seawater desalination projects and the operation and management of 563 dams, while it plans to build 1,000 new dams to enhance the utilization of rainwater.

The strategy of proactive planning allowed Saudi Arabia to avoid food supply shortages throughout its history, despite some of the harshest times witnessed by the region, such as the second Gulf War in 1990, the food price crisis in 2008, and the deterioration of food supply chains in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. SOURCE Ministry of Hajj

World War II Memorials: Honoring History

memorials of world war ii

With it being the week of Memorial Day, Collette wants to remind travelers that they'll be offering a special version of its "Memorials of World War II" tour in 2024 to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. On June 6th, 1944, 160,000 courageous Allied troops set out to liberate Europe from the Nazis, storming the beaches in Normandy, France.

An unforgettable journey of discovery and remembrance awaits travelers as they travel between London, Normandy and Paris on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. They'll explore London's connections to World War II during a city tour focused on The Blitz. Cross the English Channel, retracing the parallel journey the Allied troops took on June 6th, 1944. Have a chance to immerse themselves in the history of Normandy's D-Day Landing Beaches and visit the Normandy American Cemetery. Visit Saint-Mère-Église, the first French town liberated from the Nazis and learn about the brave paratroopers who parachuted into Normandy on the night of June 5–6, 1944.The journey concludes in Paris, the City of Light with a festive dinner cruise along the Seine River. There are plenty of departures remaining for the special edition tour, with dates ranging throughout 2024 from March 17 to October 11. Travelers can secure their spot on the "Memorials of World War II" tour for prices starting at $3,499.

"Collette's 'Memorials of World War II' tour is special," said Jaclyn Leibl-Cote, chief customer experience officer at Collette. "Throughout 2024, our travelers will have the opportunity to take this journey honoring the 80th anniversary of D-Day, traveling along the same paths as the near 160,000 Allied troops who battled for European freedom on June 6, 1944. The visit to Normandy is always an emotional one. It is such a moving experience to set foot on the same sand as so many heroes did that day."

As the longest-running tour operator in North America, Collette is the company travelers can trust. Leading with integrity, Collette's comprehensive travel protection plan, flexible tour pacing, and strong relationships within the travel space set it apart. The happiness of its travelers has been its roadmap since 1918 and today Collette offers over 160 tours to all seven continents and five distinct travel styles, including small group touring and river cruises. This third-generation family-owned business is dedicated to giving back in both local and global communities through its social responsibility platform. 

It's a good reminder to never forget the horrors of War, we must seek Global unity and cooperation above anything else, peace is more important than profit or pride.

2023 CAP Surveys: Global Consumer Insights

2023 cap consumer surveys

The most recent piracy landscape consumer surveys commissioned by the Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) show that while piracy rates remain stable in many countries around Asia-Pacific, we have seen notable increases in piracy rates in Thailand and Taiwan, with a discernible increase also in Hong Kong. Notably, rights holders face challenges in procuring effective and efficient site blocking in all three of these countries. These consumer surveys acknowledge site blocking as an effective tool to mitigate piracy harm.

For those countries that are implementing site blocking effectively, there continue to be demonstrable effects in behavioral change with 62% of consumers in Indonesia and 64% in Malaysia indicating that they have changed their viewing habits as a result of pirate sites being blocked. Both of these countries have long-running, effective and efficient regulatory blocking regimes. In Singapore, one of the first countries in the region to allow rights holders to protect their content via the provision of judicial site blocking measures, it is notable that after almost ten years of this measure being in place, Singapore has the lowest percentage of consumer piracy in the region, with only 39% of consumers pirating. However there remains issues with the time and cost involved with obtaining site blocking orders in Singapore.

Encouragingly, the surveys show that regular site blocking not only stops consumers accessing pirated content online, but also drives them towards legitimate sources, with an average of 20% of consumers subscribing to paid services and an average of over 40% accessing legitimate free content services as a result of pirate sites being blocked. Furthermore, almost 50% of consumers around the region stated they would subscribe to legitimate paid online services if the content they wanted to watch was not available via a pirate source.

Awareness of the risks associated with online piracy also continues to grow, with at least 80% of consumers in every market around the region unequivocal that piracy has negative consequences. Consumers are aware that the perceived damage varies from job losses, impact on the creative industries and also the risk of malware infection on personal computers and devices.

In addition to consumers accessing pirate content via pirate streaming sites, apps or illicit streaming devices (ISDs), social media and messaging platforms providing access to pirated content continue to be a concern as one of the main sources of accessing pirate content. CAP is working with the major platforms across the region to address this issue.

Encouragingly, the survey also shows huge unmet potential as more than 60% of consumers across the region said they would subscribe to legitimate services if there was no pirate content available on social media and messaging platforms.

Matt Cheetham, General Manager of CAP, noted, "The evidence continues to show that site blocking, when implemented in an efficient and effective way, is an incredibly powerful tool to both stop online piracy, and direct consumers towards legitimate content." As with the 2022 survey, the data points towards an ongoing consumption of pirate content via social media and messaging platforms. However, Cheetham also noted, "The surveys also show the benefits of consumer education with a growing awareness amongst consumers of the negative consequences of piracy, particularly via illicit profiteering and malware."

This is the second time CAP's YouGov consumer surveys were undertaken across several countries at the same time. The surveys will continue to be repeated across the same countries annually, and in doing so, will continue to provide longitudinal analysis of consumer behavioral trends towards piracy and enforcement measures around the region.

About the Asia Video Industry Association

The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) is the trade association for the video industry and ecosystem in Asia Pacific. It serves to make the video industry stronger and healthier through promoting the common interests of its members. AVIA is the interlocutor for the industry with governments across the region, leads the fight against video piracy through its Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and provides insight into the video industry through reports and conferences aimed to support a vibrant video industry.

Move All Summer: Embracing Active Lifestyles

move all summer long

Everybody, no matter their age, can benefit from daily physical activity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young children should be physically active throughout the day for growth and development. Despite the common misconception that children are in perpetual motion, the CDC reminds caregivers to encourage children to be active when they play.

"Physical activity is important because it is critical in assisting with gross motor development and helps support development in other areas," said Khy Sline from KinderCare Learning Center's education team. "Children thrive when we give them the tools to use their bodies and muscles in new ways and make mind-body connections."

Consider these five activities to encourage children to get moving.

Blow bubbles. Appealing to children from infancy on up, seeing bubbles floating around can encourage babies to reach out and try to grab them, building arm strength and coordination. Toddlers and older children can run around the patio or lawn chasing bubbles and watching them pop.

Build a tunnel. Whether indoors or out, made from furniture covered with sheets or cardboard boxes, tunnels encourage children to move over, under, around and through, which helps them explore new ways of moving while also building coordination and balance.

Play hide and seek. As they dash around trying to find the perfect hiding spot, children build spatial awareness, their understanding of where their bodies are in relation to other people and objects.

Play red light, green light. This classic game helps children build coordination – connecting the verbal instruction with the physical movement – while also teaching them impulse control, an essential executive function skill. Be sure to get creative with instructions and add variations like tip-toeing, crawling, hopping and more.

Walk the line. Draw a line on the ground using chalk outdoors or painter's tape indoors and encourage your children to walk along the line. This activity helps children improve balance and coordination. Get creative and add in a challenge by drawing a wavy or zig-zag line. Once your children get the hang of following the line, ask them to think of other ways to travel along that space, such as hopping on one foot or skipping.

For more ideas to encourage physical activity among children, visit kindercare.com.

Malaysia-China Talks on Asian Monetary Fund

malaysia and china discussing asian monetary fund away from usd

The Malaysian prime minister's proposal to create an Asian Monetary Fund can be seen as a natural development following China's shift away from the U.S. dollar. The OctaFX experts give their assessment of what the consequences will be for the Malaysian economy and MYR.

The U.S. dollar plays a vital role in the U.S. economy, owing to the fact that it accounts for more than 80% of international trade finance. The U.S. dollar also constitutes 60% of the world's foreign exchange reserves and dominates the bond and currency markets.

However, the widespread use of the U.S. dollar hinders other countries' (particularly emerging markets) access to international capital. For instance, Russia currently faces financial sanctions and frozen foreign exchange reserves, while Brazil's president has expressed dissatisfaction with the use of the U.S. dollar. The U.S. dollar is also not favoured by many Asian economies, as ASEAN finance ministers and central bank governors are exploring ways to reduce their dependence on the dollar and shift towards local currencies. Here is how Malaysia's prime minister Anwar Ibrahim commented on this in April 2023:

'There is no reason to continue to depend on the U.S. dollar. In our negotiations between Malaysia and Indonesia, we use ringgit and rupiah. The central bank has also proposed to bring this method to trade matters. The more important issue concerns the Asian Monetary Fund (AMF), which has been well received in Asia—I think this proposal should be discussed.'

Malaysia has demonstrated the fastest economic growth rate in Asia over the last two decades, making it worthwhile to listen to the man behind this growth.

China aims to make the yuan the world's reserve currency and an alternative to the U.S. dollar. Using the yuan in ASEAN countries could be a solution. However, the strict control of the exchange rate by Chinese authorities makes it challenging to promote the use of yuan there. Another major world currency, the euro, will never match the level of liquidity of the U.S. dollar in Asian countries.

The proposed Asian Monetary Fund could enable countries in the region to pool their currencies, providing a way to move away from the IMF and the U.S. dollar in times of crisis. Several governments, including Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, have already signed bilateral agreements using only their national currencies.

'The cohesive actions of Asian states will help enhance Malaysia's intra-trade relations within the region, which will positively affect the liquidity of MYR, making it more accessible,' said Kar Yong Ang, an OctaFX financial market analyst.

As China accelerates de-dollarisation worldwide, billions of dollars of liquidity remain unclaimed, leading to the strengthening of alternative currencies, especially Asian ones.

Cambodia Hosts Southeast Asian Games

cambodia hosting southeast asian games

Cambodia is to host the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh from May 5th to 17th. One of the world's most important sporting occasions, the SEA Games will bring together over five thousand athletes from the 11 countries of Southeast Asia, which has a population of over 675 million. This is the first time that Cambodia will host the historic, biennial, multi-sport event.

Athletes will compete in 589 events across 38 sports, including soccer, gymnastics, golf, martial arts, esports, and aquatics. The games will center around the specifically-constructed 60,000 seat Morodok Techo National Stadium in Khan Chroy Changvar, just outside the capital city of Phnom Penh. The area has become a multi-purpose satellite city for numerous sporting events.

Minister of Tourism, President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), and President of the Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) Council, H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, said, "I have the highest regard for all those competing in the SEA Games. I look forward to welcoming the athletes, coaches, officials, and all international guests to our beautiful purpose-built Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, and to Cambodia - the Kingdom of Wonder. I have no doubt that we shall demonstrate to the world that Southeast Asian athletes can compete at the highest levels."

Cambodian businessman, philanthropist, and owner of WorldBridge International, Mr. Rithy Sear oversaw the development of the 35,000ha WorldBridge Sports Village, the first large-scale Sports Village Project in Southeast Asia, with over 6,000 well-crafted condos, residential areas, a shopping mall, and sports museum adjacent to the Morodok Techo National Stadium.

Mr. Sear said, "The athletes and coaches at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia will experience world-class living and training facilities, ensuring that they are well rested and can maintain their exercise and healthy-eating routines. I am proud that the WorldBridge Sports Village will leave a lasting legacy for Cambodia, providing a mixture of residential and commercial properties just a stone's throw from Phnom Penh."

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will open the SEA Games at a ceremony on May 5, 2023.

Senior Minister of Public Works and Transport, H.E. Sun Chanthol, will collect the SEA Games torch at the border of Cambodia and Laos on April 27th, before embarking on a 5k run with the torch towards Phnom Penh.

The slogan for the 32nd SEA Games is "Sport: Live in Peace." The logo for the games represents Angkor Wat, Cambodia's most famous tourist attraction and UNESCO heritage site.

The first SEA Games were held in Bangkok in 1959, with 500 athletes from 6 countries competing in 12 sports. The games are regulated by the Southeast Asian Games Federation under supervision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

The 2023 ASEAN Para Games for athletes with disabilities will be held at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh from June 3rd to 9th, 2023.

UNAIDS 2023: Decriminalize for Life-saving Impact

in 2023 unaids urges to decriminalise to save lives

On Zero Discrimination Day, commemorated on March 1, UNAIDS highlights the need to remove laws that criminalise people living with HIV and key populations. (Key populations are communities at higher risk of HIV infection including gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people and people in prisons and other closed settings.) The 2023 theme, "Save lives: Decriminalise", points to the positive impact on health and life outcomes when discriminatory and punitive laws are removed.

"Criminal laws targeting key populations and people living with HIV violate human rights, deepen the stigma people face and put them in danger by creating barriers to the support and services they need," said UNAIDS Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Eamonn Murphy. "Decriminalisation is an essential step toward building a supportive legal and policy environment that addresses the social determinants of health."

UNAIDS is sharing the stories of people in Asia and the Pacific who have experienced reduced access to healthcare, justice and other human rights due to criminal laws and the prejudice they perpetuate.

"The war on drugs has created a lot of stigma and a culture that views people who use drugs as criminals. When we access healthcare, we get treated as bad people. Many choose not to go even if they know they are unwell or at-risk," said Tedjo, a paralegal and past drug-user.

Ikka explained that during her former life as a sex worker she and her colleagues never reported customers who physically or sexually assaulted them or did not pay. She said: "If someone called the police, they would arrest the sex worker and not the client. The police wouldn't take your report. They think they have more important cases than you."

In 2021, the world set ambitious targets to remove criminal laws that are undermining the AIDS response through the political declaration on HIV and AIDS. UN member states made a commitment that by 2025 less than 10% of countries would have punitive legal and policy environments that affect the HIV response. Despite some promising reforms, the world and region are far from achieving this target.

The Asia Pacific situation

"States have a moral and legal obligation to remove discriminatory laws and enact laws that protect people from discrimination," said Harry Prabowo, Programme Manager of the Asia Pacific Network of People living with HIV and AIDS (APN+). "The meaningful engagement of people living with HIV and key populations is critical to ensure countries develop effective laws that do not have negative, unintended consequences."

Analysis by UNAIDS and UNDP reveals that just ten of 38 countries in the Asia Pacific region explicitly prohibit discrimination against people living with HIV. On the other hand, 17 countries have either HIV-specific penal laws or public health laws which criminalise HIV transmission, exposure or non-disclosure. Five countries retain formal HIV-related travel and migration restrictions while 12 have mandatory HIV test requirements relating to entry, stay and residence. Legislation, policies and practices that further stigmatise people living with HIV are not in the interest of public health.

Fourteen countries in the region retain corporal or capital punishment penalties for drug possession. There are compulsory centres or similar systems for people who use drugs in 21 nations. In 2012 and 2020 United Nations agencies called for the permanent closure of compulsory facilities for people who use drugs citing lack of due process, forced labour, inadequate nutrition, and denial or limited access to healthcare. Progress to end compulsory treatment for people who use drugs in East and Southeast Asia has largely stalled according to a 2022 report. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and UNAIDS are supporting countries to transition to evidence-informed and human-rights based services.

Eighteen Asian and Pacific countries either fully or partially criminalise consenting sex between adult men. Gay men and other men who have sex with men living in countries with severe criminalisation are almost five times as likely to be infected with HIV as those living in countries without such criminal penalties.

Except for New Zealand, all countries in the region criminalise some aspect of sex work. In countries where sex work is heavily criminalised, sex workers are seven times more likely to be living with HIV than peers in countries where it is wholly or partially legalised.

Six countries in the Asia Pacific region—Cambodia, Lao PDR, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand—have joined the Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate all Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination. This is a partnership that harnesses the combined power of governments, civil society, donors, academia and the United Nations to catalyse action to end stigma and discrimination, including in legal and justice systems.