The US-led occupation authority in Iraq invited companies to bid to install the first public mobile- phone systems as it seeks to restore the country's telecommunications network damaged during the March 20 invasion. \nThe authority, led by US' proconsul in Iraq, Paul Bremer, is offering as many as three licenses, one each for the north, central and southern parts of the country, the authority said in a statement received by e-mail. \n"If Iraq stabilizes and the economy grows, Iraq can be a golden market" with as many as 5 million mobile phone subscribers by the end of the decade, said Jawad Abbassi, president of the Jordan-based Arab Advisors telecommunications consultancy. \nIraq, the second-most populous Arab country in the Middle East after Egypt, may have to spend as much as US$4 billion over the next few years to repair and expand its phone network, according to the US Department's of State Future of Iraq project. Iraq has about 850,000 phone lines for a population of 26 million and no wireless network. \nNextel Communications Inc, a Reston, Virginia-based carrier that sells a mobile phone that doubles as a walkie-talkie, said it may bid for the licenses. The company's so-called push-to-talk product lets users talk to each other by pushing a button rather than dialing a number and is popular among construction crews and other businesses that work outside office settings. \n"We are going to take a look at that opportunity," Nextel chief financial officer Paul Saleh said in an interview televised by Bloomberg. "A lot of people come to us because of the ability to do push-to-talk on a network." \nMCI Inc, formerly known as WorldCom Inc, has already won a US$30 million contract from the US Department of Defense to install a mobile-phone network for coalition forces and reconstruction contractors in Iraq. The network will have a capacity of 10,000 lines. \nKuwait-based Mobile Telecom-munications Co, a partner of the UK's Vodafone Group Plc, has been awarded a license to offer cellular-phone services to coalition forces in the south of the country by extending its coverage from Kuwait. \n"It's too early to say" if Vodafone Group Plc, the world's biggest mobile-phone company, will bid, US-based spokesman Ben Padovan said in an interview. "We're considering our position." \nBidders, who must submit their proposals by mid-August, need to apply for at least two licenses and be prepared to offer national coverage at a later stage, the authority said. The licenses are valid for two years, it said. \n"By then there should be an elected Iraqi government which will determine the conditions for licenses," Abbassi said in a telephone interview. During this time, the winning bidders should be able to recover their investment and make a profit, the authority said. \nOf the three regions on offer, the most populous cities are in the center with a total of 6.9 million. That includes Baghdad. \nSouthern cities contain about 5.3 million people and the north about 4.4 million, the authority said.
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official