Arrests over race-hate attacks on Asians in NZ

Arrests over race-hate attacks on Asians [in New Zealand]
By Kiran Chuh – The Nelson Mail | Monday, 09 June 2008

Nelson police say two “skinheads” have been arrested following two unprovoked racist attacks in the central city, which left the victims terrified and shaken on Sunday.

Senior Constable Phil Wylie of Nelson police said the 23-year-old and 24-year-old Nelson men were both due to appear in the Nelson District Court Monday on a number of charges, following the assaults.

He described the two men, who were arrested Sunday, as skinheads. Read full story here.

Local [New Zealand] students fail discrimination test
By Martha McKenzie-Minifie – The New Zealand Herald | 15 May 2008

Three in four international students feel they have been discriminated against by local students, according to the results of a major study.

But the more than 2600 students from overseas to respond felt better about treatment they got from teachers and staff at institutions – and other international students. Read full story here

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Clinton Suspends Presidential Campaign

Hillary Clinton

Last Saturday, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York has conceded and has ended her presidential campaign. She has also endorsed Senator Barack Obama from Illinois.

I am personally saddened by her defeat. I really believed that she would have been the better candidate and eventually the better president.

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Government Should Also Lower International SMS Charges

While there is a move by government regulators, such as the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to lower the charges for domestic text messaging or SMS and voice calls is welcomed the government should also order telcos to lower international SMS charges.

As of the moment, if you are on a prepaid (prepay or pay-as-you-go, in other countries) with either Globe Telecom and Smart Communications you are paying a standard rate of PHP 15.00 per SMS. SunCellular charges PHP 9.00 and PHP 10.00 for its I-Text and I-Speak prepaid plans, respectively. [Rant about Sun Cellular below]  For those with postpaid (paid monthly) subscribers both Globe and Smart charge PHP 10.00 per SMS. Globe and Smart does have international SMS promos however these only cover certain countries.

International SMS is in important necessity for Filipinos especially now that almost everyone has a friend or a relative who is living or working overseas. It is not impossible for the telcos to earn billions from international SMS.

As you would see below big telcos overseas charge way below Globe, Smart and Sun. This can no longer be considered reasonable profit but unjustified greed.

The current rates are one of the highest in the region. From my internet search I have gathered the following data on how much some telcos around the region charge for prepaid plans (Click on the name of the telco to go to my source):

StarHub, M1 – Singapore
SGD 0.15/SMS sent (PHP 4.72)

BMobile, DST – Brunei
BND 0.20/SMS sent (PHP 6.13) 

DTAC – Thailand
THB 5.00/SMS sent (PHP 6.58 )

True Move – Thailand
THB 9.00/SMS sent (PHP 11.84) 

Telkomsel – Indonesia
IDR 600.00/SMS sent (PHP 2.74)

Excelcomindo – Indonesia
IDR 500.00/SMS sent (PHP 2.28 ) 

DiGi, Maxis – Malaysia
MYR 0.20/SMS sent (PHP 2.67)

Celcom – Malaysia
MYR 0.50/SMS sent (PHP 6.68 )

SmartTone – Hong Kong
HKD 3.00/SMS sent (PHP16.44)

PCCW Mobile – Hong Kong
HKD 1.50/SMS sent to the Philippines (PHP 8.22)
HKD 2.00/SMS sent to rest of the world (PHP 10.96)

Peoples – Hong Kong
HKD 0.50/SMS sent to the Philippines (PHP 4.93)
HKD 0.90/SMS sent to Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, UAE, India, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam (PHP 2.74)
HKD 1.50/SMS sent to rest of the world (PHP 8.22)

Vodafone, Airtel – India
INR 5.00/SMS sent (PHP 5.07)

Mobily – Saudi Arabia
SAR 0.50/SMS sent (PHP 5.70)

As you would have noticed above, majority of the telcos in other countries charge far less than what is charged by Globe, Smart and Sun. Even places richer or slightly richer than the Philippines, we see telcos charging even less.

Now, about SunCellular, while it currently offers the cheapest standard international sms rate it cannot send SMS to a lot of overseas telcos. I have wasted a few hundred pesos just to realize that the sms I’m sending to friends in New Zealand were never received. SUNCELLULAR’S INTERNATIONAL SMS SERVICE IS BROKEN, AVOID!!!

[Currency conversion done on Google at the time of composing this post]