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Daily Archives: February 12, 2019

With ‘On-the-Go’ Loans and Tech, Social Firm Boosts Myanmar Farmers

YANGON A social venture in Myanmar is boosting farm outputs with customized technologies and giving loans for seasonal migration to raise incomes in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Proximity Designs, which was set up in 2004 in the country’s commercial hub Yangon, focuses on farming, on which more than two-thirds of the population relies to make a living.

The ethical business gives farming advice, custom-designed irrigation products, and loans for crops, livestock and migration to about 200,000 clients in the Southeast Asian nation.

“It’s about improving access of smallholder farmers to knowledge, technology and capital,” said Ben Warren, head of strategy and finance at Proximity. “Myanmar was closed for so long, it was hard for farmers to access these. While access is better now, not many products are made for farmers or reach them.”

Myanmar began emerging from nearly half a decade of military rule in 2011. Helping its smallholder farmers requires a deep understanding of context, as well as empathy and creativity, Warren told Reuters.

Across Southeast Asia, businesses with a social purpose are improving the lives of vulnerable communities and helping narrow inequality.

In Myanmar, farmers rely heavily on the monsoon rain, and the country has one of the lowest percentages of irrigated farmland in Asia, according to Proximity.

The company designed a range of products including drip and sprinkler irrigation systems, and solar-powered pumps which can help increase yield by about a third, Warren said.

As a social venture, Proximity is better placed to help farmers than businesses with a purely profit motive, he said.

“Some areas are not viable or are hard to get to. Since we are supported by some funding, it allows us to subsidize our products and go the extra mile to reach farmers,” he said.

Proximity started giving micro loans to farmers in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, Myanmar’s worst natural disaster which killed nearly 140,000 people and affected some 2.4 million people.

About two years back, based on feedback from its clients, Proximity began “on-the-go” loans to help families during the dry season from November to April, when many men move to cities in search of factory or construction jobs.

A loan of about 200,000 kyat ($130) helps the family in the village until they receive remittances from the city, and also pays for the initial trip to the city, Warren said.

While on-the-go loans are a small part of Proximity’s portfolio now, they could grow because of demand, Warren said.

“Seasonal migration is an annual occurrence in nearly every rural family. With a loan from a reliable source, they can do it without worry,” he said.

Source: Voice of America

2019 Alta Moda fashion show to promote Sarawak as a state of diversity

KUCHING, For the first time, a high-end fashion show event called Alta Moda Sarawak (AMS) 2019 will be held at the old State Legislative Assembly Building here on March 7 to 9 to promote Sarawak as a state of diversity with different ethnic group and cultures.

The event is being organised with the support and partnership of the state Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Youth and Sarawak Tourism Board in conjunction with the Visit Sarawak Campaign.

Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide because it involved a big group of people coming from all work backgrounds including those from production to design and marketing.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Terengganu to improve quality of its counter service staff

KUALA NERUS, The Terengganu government is willing to improve the quality of its counter service staff in government linked agencies and departments for the convenience of the public.

Menteri Besar Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said the latest complaint involving counter staff at Yayasan Terengganu going viral on social networking site Facebook, yesterday evening should be an eye-opener for many to change.

I have received information from the director of Yayasan Terengganu on what happened and was told that they had called the staff involved to clarify the problem.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Malaysia’s Mahathir opens the eyes of many with his stand on Palestine

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (NNN-BERNAMA) � Malaysia continued to make the news in the Arabic newspapers of the Middle East following Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement to reject the participation of two Israeli swimmers in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships which was supposed to take place in Kuching from Jul 29 till Aug 4.

Al-Jazeera guest columnist, Dr Muhammad Al-Umar, praised the Malaysian prime minister for his stand which opened the eyes of many Muslim countries, including Arab nations.

When these (Muslim and Arab) countries became hosts for any sporting events, they close their eyes and allow the participation of Israeli athletes in the name of sportsmanship and based on the premise of the separation between sports and politics, but Malaysia is bravely confronting the favourite Middle Eastern associate of the US, elaborated Muhammad.

On Jan 28, after attending a closed briefing session in conjunction with the Federal Statutory Body’s Higher Management Executive Programme in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir said he wasn’t disappointed with the decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to strip Malaysia’s right to host the championship.

They (IPC) can go ahead and cancel it. I find that the world has to listen to Israel, and I don’t understand it because the world have the power but still have to follow Israelbut we didn’t follow them.

Malaysia’s right to host the event was stripped on Jan 27.

An academician of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, Dr Muhammad also explained why Malaysia’s stand received praises from Arabic newspapers.

As we know, Israel is supported by superpowers and world economic giants. This is the reason why most countries prefer to play safe with Israel to avoid raising the ire of America and Israel’s other allies.

It’s the same scenario with sporting events, where host nations will allow Israel to participate to avoid hosting rights from being revoked. But it’s so different with Malaysia because they do not care about this.

Dr Mahathir could have washed his hands by saying that the agreement to allow the Israeli athletes in the event was signed by the previous government, elaborated Dr Muhammad.

Recently, Dr Mahathir was the most popular figure in the ‘Leader of the Week’ category of ‘Sibaq Al Akhbar'(Hottest World News) chart conducted by Arab news broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Dr Mahathir obtained 49 per cent of viewers’ votes compared to Italy’s deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio (33 per cent), Saudi Arabia cleric Dr Ahmed al-Amari (13 per cent) and United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths (five per cent).

Source: NAM News Network

Malaysia’s Mahathir opens the eyes of many with his stand on Palestine

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (NNN-BERNAMA) � Malaysia continued to make the news in the Arabic newspapers of the Middle East following Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement to reject the participation of two Israeli swimmers in the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships which was supposed to take place in Kuching from Jul 29 till Aug 4.

Al-Jazeera guest columnist, Dr Muhammad Al-Umar, praised the Malaysian prime minister for his stand which opened the eyes of many Muslim countries, including Arab nations.

When these (Muslim and Arab) countries became hosts for any sporting events, they close their eyes and allow the participation of Israeli athletes in the name of sportsmanship and based on the premise of the separation between sports and politics, but Malaysia is bravely confronting the favourite Middle Eastern associate of the US, elaborated Muhammad.

On Jan 28, after attending a closed briefing session in conjunction with the Federal Statutory Body’s Higher Management Executive Programme in Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir said he wasn’t disappointed with the decision of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to strip Malaysia’s right to host the championship.

They (IPC) can go ahead and cancel it. I find that the world has to listen to Israel, and I don’t understand it because the world have the power but still have to follow Israelbut we didn’t follow them.

Malaysia’s right to host the event was stripped on Jan 27.

An academician of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium, Dr Muhammad also explained why Malaysia’s stand received praises from Arabic newspapers.

As we know, Israel is supported by superpowers and world economic giants. This is the reason why most countries prefer to play safe with Israel to avoid raising the ire of America and Israel’s other allies.

It’s the same scenario with sporting events, where host nations will allow Israel to participate to avoid hosting rights from being revoked. But it’s so different with Malaysia because they do not care about this.

Dr Mahathir could have washed his hands by saying that the agreement to allow the Israeli athletes in the event was signed by the previous government, elaborated Dr Muhammad.

Recently, Dr Mahathir was the most popular figure in the ‘Leader of the Week’ category of ‘Sibaq Al Akhbar'(Hottest World News) chart conducted by Arab news broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

Dr Mahathir obtained 49 per cent of viewers’ votes compared to Italy’s deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio (33 per cent), Saudi Arabia cleric Dr Ahmed al-Amari (13 per cent) and United Nations (UN) Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths (five per cent).

Source: NAM News Network

Over 1,900 Dogs Given Anti-Rabies Jab This Year – DVS

SIBU: A total of 1,944 dogs in the state have been vaccinated against rabies as of Feb 9, this year, according to Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) state director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.

He said this brings the cumulative number of animals vaccinated from 2017 till Feb 9, 2019 to 111,140.

Yesterday, Dr Adrian reminded pet owners on the 10 points to prevent rabies, urging them to have their dogs vaccinated annually and not to adopt dogs from unknown sources.

WhatsApp rabies hotline � 016 205 1111 if your dogs show signs of rabies.

Do not move pets from infected zones without permit from the State Veterinary Authority. Do not dump unwanted pets � contact the nearest Veterinary Divisional Office or the local council to surrender your dogs.

Get your dogs licensed with the local council; neuter pets for population control; keep dogs within house compounds and securely leash dogs when out for walks.

He also stressed the importance of washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling animals, adding that if bitten, wash wound with soap and under running water for 15 minutes, then seek immediate medical attention at government hospitals.

Source: Sarawak Government

Over 1,900 Dogs Given Anti-Rabies Jab This Year – DVS

SIBU: A total of 1,944 dogs in the state have been vaccinated against rabies as of Feb 9, this year, according to Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) state director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud.

He said this brings the cumulative number of animals vaccinated from 2017 till Feb 9, 2019 to 111,140.

Yesterday, Dr Adrian reminded pet owners on the 10 points to prevent rabies, urging them to have their dogs vaccinated annually and not to adopt dogs from unknown sources.

WhatsApp rabies hotline � 016 205 1111 if your dogs show signs of rabies.

Do not move pets from infected zones without permit from the State Veterinary Authority. Do not dump unwanted pets � contact the nearest Veterinary Divisional Office or the local council to surrender your dogs.

Get your dogs licensed with the local council; neuter pets for population control; keep dogs within house compounds and securely leash dogs when out for walks.

He also stressed the importance of washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling animals, adding that if bitten, wash wound with soap and under running water for 15 minutes, then seek immediate medical attention at government hospitals.

Source: Sarawak Government