13 December 2006 01:49 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Abe Cabinet support sinks to 47%
Support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet fell to 47%, down from 53% a month ago, a weekend survey showed.
In addition, 32% said they do not support the Cabinet, up from 21% in November, according to an Asahi Shimbun phone poll of 2,018 voters.
Retirees sue over broken promise for homes in Cebu
A group of retirees filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a Japanese teacher and a company over dashed dreams of living on the resort island of Cebu in the Philippines.
In the suit at the Tokyo District Court, the plaintiffs said the Japanese teacher in the Philippines and a Tokyo-based consulting firm took their money and never followed through on plans to provide land for their new homes.
Business & Industry
FTC warns Softbank Mobile
The Fair Trade Commission warned Softbank Mobile Corp. on Tuesday about its eye-catching ads on pricing, accusing it of potentially misleading the public.
It said the ads by the nation’s third-ranked cell phone carrier could violate the law regulating expressions used in advertisements.
20 first-class architects punished, 1 in Aneha scandal
Seven first-class architects had their license revoked and 13 others were suspended from practicing their profession as punishment mostly for designing unsafe buildings.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced disciplinary measures against the 20 architects on Monday.
Ageing population tests social security
China is facing an increasing social security burden with the rapid growth of its ageing population, a senior official said yesterday.
The ratio between active employees and the retired will reach 2.5 to 1 by 2020, said Li Bengong, executive deputy director of the China National Committee on Ageing.
Non-CPC members gain top positions
An increasing number of non-Communist officials have taken up decision-making positions as the Communist Party of China (CPC) steps up reform of its personnel and cadre system.
In a recent open selection of 16 department-level officials, the Beijing municipal government earmarked 10 positions for non-Communist candidates.
Business & Industry
China enters new era in opening to outside world
China entered a new period of its opening up policy yesterday, the fifth anniversary of the country’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
Over the past five years, China has dropped its tariffs, cancelled its non-tariffs measures and opened up its markets in accordance with the pledge it made when joining the WTO.
Minister warns of overseas investment risks
Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai yesterday urged Chinese enterprises to take precautions against economic, political and personal risks as they step up their investments in overseas markets.
Noting that global conditions have grown more complicated in recent years, Bo said: “I expect them (Chinese enterprises) to avoid disorderly competition while studying the global marketplace to sharpen their competitive edge,” he said.
Ma hopes to revive history, culture by renaming facilities at City Hall
Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou hosted a ceremony yesterday in renaming a briefing room, a meeting room and the lobby of the Taipei City Hall building after influential figures in Taiwan’s history.
Ma said he expected the new names will breathe historic and cultural life into the modern building.
Gao calls for DPP to focus on reform, not ‘08 election
Members of the governing Democratic Progressive Party would be wise to stop arguing over who should represent the party in the 2008 presidential race, said a DPP lawmaker yesterday, while his colleagues were still delighting in the better-than-expected result of Saturday’s mayoral elections.
Instead, the party should take the chance to carry out more reform and review problems that have emerged during the past six years to demonstrate to voters that the party never strayed from its initial course of embracing clean politics and reforms, Gao Jyh-peng said.
Business & Industry
Taiex weakens, paced by Taiwan Semiconductor
Taiwan’s Taiex index had its biggest drop yesterday in almost four months.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing paced declines among computer-chip makers after Texas Instruments Inc. cut its forecast for fourth-quarter sales and profit because of lower revenue from mobile-phone handsets.
Taiwan to see lower gasoline prices today
Chinese Petroleum Corp., Taiwan’s state-owned oil refiner, will cut gasoline and diesel prices as much as 1.8% today, the first reduction in three weeks, to reflect lower international crude oil prices.
Domestic wholesale gasoline and diesel prices will fall by New Taiwan dollar (NT$) 0.30 ($0.009) a litre, the Taipei-based company said in a statement on its website yesterday.
Doubts raised on outcome of nuke talks
The best outcome for the upcoming six-party talks would be for North Korea to agree to dismantle its nuclear program and for the parties to reach a provisional agreement on the working groups to be set up for future negotiations.
It is, however, premature to expect such an optimistic outcome as North Korea remains ambiguous about dismantling.
Blue House on warpath against press
Stung by dwindling public support for President Roh Moo-hyun, the Cheong Wa Dae is now widening its battle against conservative newspapers to include media outlets once generally regarded as friendly to him.
The presidential office began bickering with Kyunghyang Sinmun after the progressive vernacular daily criticized the president for neglecting public sentiment in a front-page article last Wednesday.
Business & Industry
Utility firms penalized for unfair trade
The Fair Trade Commission announced yesterday it has found that seven public utility companies were engaged in unfair business transactions.
The antitrust agency said Korea Electric Power Corp., Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Korea East West Power did not give due payments to builders they hired.
Shinhan cuts bidding price for LG Card
Shinhan Financial Group said yesterday that it reached a preliminary agreement with creditors of LG Card on the final price for the nation’s top credit card firm after a month of negotiations.
The agreed acquisition price is won (W) 5.18trn ($5.59bn), W49bn lower than its initial offer, according to the Korea Development Bank, LG’s prime creditor bank.
Tata likely to fight back on Corus
Tata Steel has recovered fast from the punch delivered by Brazil’s Companhia Siderurgica Nacional yesterday. The company is busy formulating a strategy to improve the offer for Anglo Dutch steelmaker Corus, a day after CSN outbid it.
Meanwhile, the Corus board has adjourned its extraordinary general meeting on 20 December to a later date to allow bidders and shareholders to review the offers.
Chrysler may roll into India
Having brought its entire Mercedes Benz line to India, DaimlerChrysler is now contemplating bringing its Chrysler range of vehicles as well.
It is a part of the US-German carmaker’s strategy to target 25% of its global turnover from Asia in the next two years.
Business & Industry
Sensex sheds 404 pts on industrial blip
There was no respite for the markets yesterday as the Bombay Stock Exchange’s 30-share sensitive index, Sensex, wiped off nearly 1,000 points in two days, triggering fears of margin calls in the next couple of days, similar to the May-June meltdown.
Sentiment was negative in other financial markets, with the rupee and government bonds also weakening.
Industrial growth dips to 6.2% in October
The growth rate of India’s industrial output, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the country’s $775bn economy, slumped to a low of 6.2% in October, down from 9.8% in the same month last year and sharply lower than the 11.4% in September.
This is the slowest rate of industrial growth recorded in 2006-2007, down from the record high of 12.4% in July.
Fed holds US rates steady, stays inflation-wary
WASHINGTON - The US Federal Reserve on Tuesday held US interest rates steady for a fourth straight meeting, renewing a warning on inflation while acknowledging ‘substantial’ cooling in housing markets.
The widely expected decision by the central bank’s Federal Open Market Committee keeps the overnight federal funds rate target at 5.25%, the level it hit in June after 17 straight quarter-percentage point increases.
CapitaLand launches Malaysia fund
SINGAPORE - CapitaLand, South-east Asia’s largest developer, said on Wednesday it has teamed up with Malayan Banking Bhd to launch a closed-end private equity investment fund that will raise $250m for the development of properties in Malaysia.
The Malaysia Commercial Development Fund -- with an expected development value of $1bn -- will acquire, develop and redevelop commercial properties in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley.
Changi clinches Abu Dhabi airport deal
(SINGAPORE) Changi Airports International (CAI) has beaten off stiff competition from Britain’s BAA and Austria’s Flughafen Wien to win the right to manage Abu Dhabi International Airport in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The deal comes just three months after the restructured - and now much more aggressive - Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore unit clinched a deal to operate the new Terminal 1 at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. And there is strong market talk that CAI is back in India, eyeing a contract for the new Kolkata Airport.
Genting’s IR win seen as spur to bilateral ties
Malaysian gaming conglomerate Genting’s $5.2bn resort and casino project on Singapore’s Sentosa island could lay the groundwork for greater economic cooperation between the two countries.
‘If this momentum is maintained, it could lead to something big for the region,’ Manu Bhaskaran, a Singapore-based partner at economic consultancy company Centennial Group, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying.
Govt fears insurgent holiday attacks
Thai Interior Minister Aree Wong-araya on Tuesday conceded that insurgent violence may occur during the New Year holidays, but affirmed he had ordered the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) to adopt additional security measures to prevent possible
Speaking about an intelligence report regarding a possible insurgent attack during the New Year holidays, the interior minister said the Fourth Army Region and the SBPAC will keep close watch on the situation during the New Year holiday and other special events.
Govt denies blacklisting of ex-TRT MPs
Responding to charges that a regional Army commander had prepared a so-called blacklist of former Thai Rak Thai party parliamentarians, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont emphasised that his government’s intention is to reconcile all Thais, not to foster more divisions.
Speaking to the media after Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting, Gen Surayud said that news reports of conflicts between ex-MPs of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai party--now led by Chaturon Chaisang--and the military Council for National Security (CNS), led by Army commander Sonthi Boonyaratkalin were minimal and could be settled on an individual basis.
Business & Industry
Baht gains further, measures urged
The baht yesterday rose to a new nine-year high at 35.10 to the dollar as the greenback continued to lose ground against regional currencies on investor expectations that the US Federal Reserve will signal short-term interest-rate cuts next year.
The rapid appreciation of the baht, one of the region’s strongest currencies this year, has sparked worries among economists and exporters about growth trends next year.
US extends tariff breaks by two years
Selected Thai products will enjoy low tariff rates for two more years following the extension of the Generalised System of Preferences by the United States. Thai exporters expressed relief at the decision by the US Congress to renew the GSP, which was due to expire on 31 December.
Without the tariff breaks, they said, they would have faced considerable losses.
By Staff Reporter
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