Headlines:
  1. US-North Korean talks still alive
  2. Malaysia’s insurance industry grew 1.5% in 2018
  3. Malaysia to boost durian tourism
  4. Amendments to OSHA to be tabled in Parliament this month
  5. Tokyo is Asia’s best city for “bleisure
  6. Trust in traditional media at a five-year high in Singapore
  7. Only six countries worldwide have equal legal rights for women and men
Trump, Kim end summit abruptly but say dialogue still alive US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended their summit in Hanoi abruptly Thursday, but both countries offered guarded hope that the two leaders could meet again. After weeks of building expectations and with a signing ceremony ready to go, President Trump abruptly ended his second-ever meeting with Kim and declared a deadlock. “Sometimes you have to walk and this was just one of those times,” Trump told reporters. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said no agreement was reached between Trump and Kim but both leaders had “very good and constructive meetings.” Meanwhile, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho summoned the press in Hanoi at midnight and denied the White House account that Pyongyang was only seeking a complete deal. North Korea had offered to “permanently and completely dismantle all the nuclear production facilities” at its main complex in Yongbyon if the US dropped sanctions “that hamper the civilian economy and the livelihood of our people”, Ri said. He warned that the North’s stance was “invariable” and that its offer will “never change”. Malaysia’s insurance industry grew 1.5% in 2018 Malaysia’s General Insurance Industry registered a growth of 1.5% in 2018 on the back of higher premiums from its two largest classes of insurance, Motor and Fire. Gross written premiums amounted to RM 17.92 billion. Motor remained the largest class with a market share of 47.3% followed by Fire at 19.6% and Marine Aviation & Transit (MAT) at 7.4%. Motor insurance recorded gross written premiums of RM 8.47 billion with a growth of 1.8% supported by increases in new vehicle sales in both the private motor cars and commercial vehicles segments. Close to 600,000 new vehicles were sold in 2018 compared to 580,000 in 2017 as a result of increased demand during the tax-free months from June to August 2018. Fire insurance grew 2.8% and maintained its position as the second largest class with gross written premiums of RM 3.51 billion. Malaysia to boost durian tourism Malaysia plans to go big on durian tourism. Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Sim Tze Tzin said this would be carried out with the cooperation of the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry. He also urged farmers to invest in agro-tourism. “Rather than just exporting, we want tourists to come here and visit the farms.” “We urge farmers across the country to upgrade their farms and invest in agro-tourism facilities, such as building chalets and resorts, and offer packages to attract tourists to have fresh durians in their farms. “This year and next year’s Visit Malaysia 2020, we will go big on durian tourism,” he said to reporters in Penang. Amendments to OSHA to be tabled in Parliament this month Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994 are expected to be tabled in Parliament this month to enable the construction site owners and architects to be held responsible for incidents at their sites. Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH). director-general, Ir Omar Mat Piah said currently only contractors were held responsible for the construction site even though they had to complete the work within the stipulated time. “When it is tabled and passed this month, severe fines will be imposed on the three responsible parties, namely the employer, the architect and the contractor in the event of an accident at the workplace,” he said. Tokyo is Asia’s best city for “bleisure Tokyo ranks first out of 26 cities in Asia for its combination of business and leisure (or bleisure) appeal for travellers. Singapore, Sydney, Hong Kong and Melbourne join the Japanese capital as “five-star” bleisure destinations, based on a quantitative barometer included in the new Economics Intelligent Unit (EIU) study. Shanghai and Beijing rank higher in the bleisure barometer than corresponding liveability measures suggest, propelled by rapidly improving business infrastructure Some smaller Australian cities stumble on aspects like opportunity for cultural experiences for business travellers, despite high scores on rankings measuring liveability The 2019 bleisure barometer: Asia’s best cities for work and recreation, sponsored by All Nippon Airways, reveals that while Asia’s best bleisure destinations provide the right balance of business activity, high-quality infrastructure and top-flight leisure experiences, a number of less obvious choices stand out as well. Cities were scored out of five possible points, with scores tabulated from responses of a survey of 1,500 business travellers from around the world, asking them about a variety of factors impacting business travel, such as ease of transportation and availability of consumer goods and services. Scores were used to determine rankings as well as star groupings, with five-star cities scoring above the average and one-star cities scoring below. Kuala Lumpur was given a two-star rank. Trust in traditional media at a five-year high in Singapore In Singapore, trust in traditional media was at a five-year high. The percentage of people who rely on it as a credible source of information stood at 71% according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer findings.  Online search was also viewed as a credible source of information by 66%.  The research suggested that in times of uncertainty, Singapore’s population were more inclined to actively seek out, consume and share news and information. People actively sharing news and information had increased to 76%.  Social media’s trust ranking at a lowly 46% showed that the medium was still regarded with suspicion. According to Edelman, 73% of Singaporeans were concerned about false information or fake news being weaponised. Only six countries worldwide have equal legal rights for women and men In a new report, the World Bank examined 35 indicators of legal equality in 187 countries, covering everything from property ownership and inheritance laws to job protections and pension policies, along with rules governing marriage, movement and travel, pay, and personal safety. It found that men and women are completely equal, legally speaking, in just six countries, where women are provided with all of the same opportunities as men and legislating protections that promote gender parity, such as parental leave and equal pay laws. A decade ago, not a single nation met all the criteria laid out by the World Bank when measuring equality. In 2019, six economies–Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden–scored 100 on the index, meaning that women have equal rights with men in the 35 measured areas. It’s notable that sub-saharan Africa, as a region, had the most reforms in the last 10 years. In that area, there were 71 different laws passed in the last decade that allowed women to start jobs and provided recourse from workplace harassment and domestic violence. By contrast, economies in the Middle East and North Africa enacted only 19 reforms during the same time, including new domestic violence laws in Algeria, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.