In Friday's Asia papers

08 September 2006 02:49  [Source: ICIS news]

Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition)

Front page

  

Scholar blasts Koizumi in Cabinet e-mail magazine

A noted scholar used the Cabinet's e-mail magazine to severely criticize Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, saying his visits to Yasukuni Shrine have “paralyzed” Japanese diplomacy in Asia.

In the e-mail magazine Thursday, Makoto Iokibe, president of the National Defense Academy, said Koizumi's visits to the war-related Shinto shrine in Tokyo have unraveled Japan's previous efforts to establish constructive relations with its Asian neighbors.

 

Justice Ministry eyes system to allow crime victims to question suspects in court

The Justice Ministry is pushing for legal changes to let crime victims directly question the suspects during their criminal trials, a move opponents say could hamper efforts to prevent false accusations.

The ministry is also seeking revisions to allow the rulings in criminal cases to be used in compensation lawsuits filed by the victims.

 

Business & Industry

 

Trucking companies plan surcharges to cope with higher oil prices

Trucking companies struggling with declining profits are beginning to introduce the first surcharge in the industry to counter surging crude oil prices, sources said.

Three trucking companies in Niigata, Hyogo and Tokushima prefectures said they have already informed the transport ministry in February or later that they would raise their fees.

 

FSA draft bills would increase borrower burden

Draft legislation drawn up by the Financial Services Agency will hurt many debtors rather than help them--which was the original purpose of the revisions to moneylending laws.

The FSA presented its proposed changes to a joint panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Research Commission on the Finance and Banking Systems as well as the Judicial Affairs Division on Tuesday.

 

China Daily, China (online edition)

Front page

 

Report ranks China 4th for reforms

China has been ranked the fourth-best reformer in terms of the ease of doing business in 175 economies, following Georgia, Romania and Mexico.

The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, which produced the ranking, praised the nation for speeding up economic reform.

 

Military officers for crash punished

BEIJING - China has punished nearly a dozen military officers in connection with a plane crash in June that killed all 40 people on board, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday in an apparent sign of growing accountability.

Three People's Liberation Army officers, including the deputy commander of the Nanjing Military Region, Jiang Jianzeng, were given demerit points, a penalty considered a disgrace that damages prospects for promotion, Xinhua news agency said, citing the Central Military Commission.

 

Business & Industry

 

Advertisers warned against using leaders for promotions

Chinese authorities are to examine advertisements for illegal representations of the words and images of government leaders being used for commercial promotions, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) said in Beijing Thursday.

The inspection will focus on shopping malls, franchise houses and restaurants that may display words and photos of government officials to underline the credibility of their products and possibly mislead their customers.

 

Foreign investors send back profits of $57.94bn

Since China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, foreign investors remitted abroad profits of $57.94bn from China.
Vice Minister of Commerce Yi Xiaozhun made the remarks in Shanghai Wednesday at an international symposium on China's entry into the WTO.

 

Taiwan News, Taiwan (online edition)

Front page

 

DPP lawmaker voices concerns over agricultural ties with PRC

A public hearing on agricultural exchanges between the Taiwan Strait yesterday discussed great concerns about the People's Republic of China taking advantage of Taiwan's farming industry.

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wu Ming-min yesterday held the public hearing entitled, “Who is harmed and who is benefited in the agricultural exchange between the strait?”

 

Shih advocates non-violent policy for rally

With the “Anti-Chen” sit-in rally set to start this weekend, the principle organizer of the event, Shih Ming-teh, had a few words to say at a press conference yesterday, which was named “A Million Voices Against Corruption, President Chen Must Go.”

Taiwan is a sovereign independent country. People absolutely have the basic right to unseat one incompetent and corrupt president. Starting at 1500 on 9 September, the Taiwanese people will display their silent anger at all the government corruption,” former ruling party chairman Shih announced.

 

Business & Industry

 

Taiwan records 41% share in world's market for flat displays

Taiwan's flat panel display production was valued at $22.17bn in 2005 and seized a 41% share of the world market, making the country the second largest producer in the world, according to tallies released yesterday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

Between 2002 and 2005, the production value of Taiwan's flat panel displays registered an average annual growth rate of 58.8%, DGBAS officials said.

 

Taiwan business climate seen mediocre

Singapore became the most business-friendly economy in the world in the period 2005 to 2006, followed by New Zealand, the United States, Canada, and Hong Kong, while Taiwan ranked the 47th, according to a global business environment assessment report released by the World Bank and its affiliate, the International Financial Corp

“Doing Business 2007: How to Reform,” which was published on Wednesday, lists China as the top reformer in Asia and fourth in the world.

 

Korea Herald, South Korea (online edition)

Front page

 

Uri says US FTA is unconstitutional

The ruling Uri Party yesterday spearheaded a parliamentary movement accusing the government of violating the constitution in pursuing a free trade agreement with the United States.

Joined by a group of opposition party members, but not including any from the GNP, 23 lawmakers filed for the Constitutional Court's adjudication on jurisdiction disputes.

 

US put the brakes on NK missile sales

The United States has had some success in limiting North Korea's export of missiles by persuading other countries not to buy them, a senior administration official says.

Washington has long sought to stop such sales and stepped up its initiative after Pyongyang tested a string of missiles in July, including a long-range missile.

 

Business & Industry

 

Korea pressured to open agriculture

Washington on Wednesday, the first day of the third round of free trade agreement talks, refused to accept Seoul's proposal on agriculture that would limit US access to the Korean market.

Seoul wants tariff exemption or long-term phasing out of tariffs for its sensitive agricultural products, while Washington is demanding quicker and much wider market opening.

 

Bank of Korea freezes interest rate

The Bank of Korea held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 4.5% yesterday, in a move widely expected by the markets given concerns of an economic downturn.

In announcing the rate freeze, BOK Governor Lee Seong-tae tried to assure that Asia's third-largest economy is still growing albeit modestly.

 

Business Standard, India (online edition)

Front page

 

Small cars in overdrive

Maruti Udyog (MUL) will launch a new compact car by 2008-9 and invest an additional Rs30m ($650,280) till 2010. Code named A Under(A-), sources said the car would be priced at around Rs4lakh with an engine capacity of 1,000-1,200cc. Nissan is believed to be providing major inputs for this car.

Maruti plans to invest a total of Rs30m more — it has already committed to investing Rs60m by the end of the decade — in its existing facilities at Gurgaon and the new unit at Manesar, including the diesel engine plant.

 

Reliance Comm seeks pan-India GSM spectrum

In a move towards a nation-wide GSM service platform, Reliance Communications today applied to the department of telecommuications (DoT) for radio frequencies in the 1800MHz band for operating mobile networks in 14 circles all over the country

In February, the company had applied for GSM spectrum in markets like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Uttar Pradesh (east and west circles), and Jammu and Kashmir.

 

Companies & Industry

 

UB in talks with Russian vodka firm for tie-up

As part of its overseas foray, the $2bn spirits major UB group is in talks with Russian premium vodka manufacturer Roust Group for a possible tie-up in Russia. Roust Group produces leading premium vodka brand Russian Standard, owned by entrepreneur Rustam Tariko.

Once the tieup is finalised, Russian standard manufacturers will distribute UB group brands in Russia and vice versa.

 

Kingfisher Airlines to offer mall experience onboard

The UB group is planning to introduce mall experience, called Air Boutique, in Kingfisher Airlines, its full service airline, even as it initiated the feasibility study for its retail foray.

A passenger can place orders onboard for a range of personal products, travel accessories, home care and Kingfisher Airlines-branded merchandise, which are not available at regular retail points.

 

Business Times, Singapore (print edition)

Front Page

 

Economists more bullish about S'pore's growth

Private-sector economists are more bullish over Singapore's growth prospects than they were last quarter, raising their median GDP forecast to 7.1% this year, up from a 6.7% forecast in June.

A Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) survey of 19 economists revealed an optimistic outlook for the economy, with median forecasts for almost all industries being revised upwards for 2006 as a whole.

 

Are Mickey and friends coming our way?

The battle for Singapore's tourism dollar could see theme park giants Universal Studios going head-to-head with Disneyland. Sources say that CapitaLand has been in discussions with Disney for a possible tie-up to build a theme park here.

CapitaLand is already in the running for the Sentosa integrated resort with partner Kerzner International. But Genting International, which is also bidding for the Sentosa site, upped the stakes by saying it would build a Universal Studios theme park comparable to the one in Los Angeles if it wins the contest.

 

Singapore Companies

 

Chartered, STATS ChipPAC shares fall on divestment report

Shares of chip maker Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd and semicon test and packaging firm STATS ChipPAC fell yesterday after a Financial Times (FT) report said Temasek Holdings may sell its stake in the companies.

However, in response to a Business Times query on whether the Singapore investment company was indeed looking to divest its stake in the two companies, a Temasek spokesman clarified: “We do not have a divestment list. In principle, we are open at all times to maintaining, increasing or reducing our holdings.”

 

CapitaLand may invest in Russia projects

CapitaLand, South-east Asia's biggest developer, plans to invest in projects in Russia and expects a contribution to earnings in five years, chief executive officer Liew Mun Leong said in an interview.

The Singapore-based developer, which owns the biggest chain of serviced apartments in Asia and Europe, said its team which visited Russia indicated interest in investing in serviced residences, he said. CapitaLand is also considering opportunities in homes and shopping malls.

 

Bangkok Post, Thailand (online edition)

Front Page

 

Tighter security at Hat Yai hub
Police have tightened security in Hat Yai, the Thai South's largest and busiest commercial and shopping hub, following intelligence warnings of insurgent attacks expected 16–20 September, the period marking the anniversary of the founding of the Pattani Islamic Mujahideen Movement.
Hat Yai is the main city of Songkhla, bordering Pattani and Yala, two among three predominantly Muslim provinces plagued with violence for nearly three years.


Senators to reconvene for three days for EC selection

A royal decree has been passed to open the Senate for three days from today to accommodate the selection of five election commissioners. The Upper House reopens today after little more than a week of closure. The Senate did not have enough time during the previous session to elect the election commissioners so it must reconvene the meeting this time to complete its task.

A separate decree is also issued for the closure of the new session on Sunday, meaning the Senate has two days in which to choose the commissioners although their selection is expected to finish today.

 

Business & Industry

 

State revenue for 2006 projected to be B24bn below target

Government revenue in the first 11 months of fiscal 2006 was Baht12.5bn ($334m) below the target, according to Somchai Sujjapongse, the deputy director-general of the Fiscal Policy Office. Revenue, after tax rebates from 1 Oct, 2005 to 31 Aug  this year was Baht1.262trn, or 1% under the target set under the 2006 budget, but 5.8% higher than in the same period of the 2005 fiscal year.

The Finance Ministry recently reported to the cabinet that revenue this year, originally targeted at Baht1.36trn, was likely to fall at least 24bn below the target due to slowing economic growth and shortfalls in tax collections.

 

Challenge to PTT status as listed firm sparks sell-off

Thai stocks fell 1.34% yesterday, led by a sell-off of PTT Plc on investor worries over the energy giant's future status as a listed company.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index closed at 692.56 points, down 9.4, in thin trade worth Baht9.31bn. Energy stocks led trade, falling 3.27% on the day, while banks fell 0.34% and property 0.16%.





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