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Daily Archives: September 21, 2008

Guinea-Bissau grateful for China, Macau help

by Sara Farr

Guinea-Bissau is grateful for the support and help it has received from the mainland and Macau throughout the past 50 years, the African nation's President Joao Bernardo Vieira said yesterday.


Meeting the local press before president over a reception at the Military Club for Macau's Guinea-Bissau community, Vieira said that China has “greatly” helped Guinea and the two have strengthened ties over the years due to the mainland's continuous support.
“The Chinese government and its people have always been willing to help African nations as a whole,” Vieira said, adding that his trip to Macau was also an opportunity to invite local business people and the government to visit the African nation.
Macau is also a “good” economic partner for Guinea-Bissau, because of the language barrier the African nation faces in the mainland, and as such the SAR can serve as a platform between the two.
In addition, every year the Macau Foundation grants 10 scholarship funds to students in Guinea-Bissau so that they can come to the territory and study at the University of Macau.
But in order to accept a “gift”, one must also give something in return, the president said, adding that Guinea-Bissau was open to investment in various sectors including fishery, telecommunications, infrastructures and also natural resources.
“China has helped Guinea-Bissau with qualified board personnel as well as doctors and assistants, and as such we are inviting China to invest in our country as they see fit,” Vieira said, adding that because the African nation is “very limited” on technology, it is open to investment project proposals in any sector.
The central government has helped Guinea-Bissau build the nation's military hospital and is also helping to build the government's palace, Vieira said.
In addition, the president of the African nation said that if it were up to him the hotel China is planning to build in Guinea-Bissau would already be underway. “But there are bureaucracies that we still have to deal with,” he added.
John Lo Seng Chung, honorary consul to Guinea-Bissau in Macau said if all goes according to plan, construction for the new hotel will begin next year and will cost around five million euros, or around 5 billion patacas.
The hotel will also have some 60 to 80 rooms and a Chinese-style shopping mall, as it is aimed at business people from the mainland.
Lo also said China is looking to buy Bissau Airlines, which no longer flies, to have it “up and running again linking the two countries.”

Tokyo film festival to turn green this year

The Tokyo International Film Festival will turn green this year by screening nature-conscious works from around the world, organisers said last week.
Movie stars and directors attending the October 18-26 festival, also known as TIFF, will even walk a ceremonial "green carpet" instead of a conventional red one.
"We want to screen many films conveying the message of protecting the environment and to give an award for it," festival chairman Tatsumi Yoda told a news conference. "We want to do whatever we can do as filmmakers."
With the new theme, organisers are hoping to differentiate the festival.
"Compared with film festivals with longer histories, TIFF is going to grow in the next several years," said Hideyuki Takai, director general of Japan's movie promotion body.
Now in its 21st edition, TIFF has aspired to be the premier festival in Asia for international films with the same prestige as Cannes, Venice or Berlin.
But TIFF faces competition from newer international film festivals in Asia in Bangkok and Busan, South Korea.
The 15 films in competition for the Tokyo Sakura Grand Prix widely range in theme and style.
Academy Award-winning American actor Jon Voight will head the board of judges for the films, all of which will be screened for the first time in Asia.
There are two Japanese films, "Echo of Silence" directed by actor Atsuro Watabe and "School Days with a Pig" by Tetsu Maeda, and two Chinese works, "Claustrophobia" directed by Ivy Ho and "Super Typhoon" by Feng Xiaoning.
Films to be screened in the "natural TIFF" environmental section include "Blue Symphony," about late legendary diver Jacques Mayol, and "Ashes from the Sky," a Spanish comedy about an anti-pollution campaign.