19 January 2007 01:34 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Fuso in new recall for 56,000 trucks
Troubled Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. said Thursday it will recall 56,000 heavy trucks manufactured between November 1990 and September 2005 to replace defective wheel hubs.
The recall involves eight models of trucks and other vehicles, including Super Great dump truck models.
Prefectures ill-prepared for new strain of influenza
Despite global concerns over the emergence of a new strain of influenza, only 10 prefectures have compiled lists of hospitals designated to handle patients during an outbreak, an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
The central government has already instructed each prefectural government to draw up such lists to deal with a possible new--and lethal--type of influenza stemming from avian flu.
Business & Industry
BOJ keeps interest rate steady
Leaving many in the government to breathe a sigh of relief, the Bank of Japan on Thursday decided to hold off from raising interest rates in the face of weak personal consumption and few signs of inflation.
With an unusually divided 6-3 vote, the central bank’s nine-member Policy Board decided to keep the target for the unsecured overnight call rate, the benchmark short-term money market rate, unchanged at 0.25% until its next meeting in February.
Marketers seek gold on the silver screen
Buoyed by the recent resurgence of Japanese cinema at the box office, cosmetics and food makers have launched a series of tie-up advertisements with movies.
Shiseido is airing a TV commercial starring 10 characters from “Kisarazu Cat’s Eye: Sayonara Game,” the latest sequel in a popular film series.
Int’l laws applied in local IPR cases
WUXI, Jiangsu Province: International intellectual property rights (IPR) laws will take precedence whenever they are applied in domestic trials even if they differ from domestic laws, a senior judicial figure told a national conference on IPR-related trials.
Chinese IPR laws are typically in tune with international IPR laws, so equal protection is accorded to both overseas and domestic IPR owners, Cao Jianming, vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), said yesterday.
Hu set for next Africa visit
President Hu Jintao will visit Sudan and South Africa in the near future as part of an eight-nation trip to Africa to broaden the nation’s reach and strengthen ties with the continent.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday that dates and detailed arrangements for the trip were still being negotiated, but would be announced soon.
Business & Industry
Oil price to stay high in 2007
Crude oil prices will continue to fluctuate at a high level this year, according to a Chinese government report.
The crude oil market, dominated by a fragile balance of demand and supply, will be sensitive to various influences, says the report by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the domestic price regulator in China.
Land tax back on books as the boom continues
China will enforce a land tax as the country’s property boom is showing no sign of abating. The move is targeting real estate developers as the central government tries to cool off the market.
The State Administration of Taxation said on its Website that it will begin to formally levy the value-added tax on land - 30-60% of developers’ net gains from property deals - effective from 1 February.
Employment outlook much improved since 2002, results suggest
The Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development said yesterday that the labor force participation rate in Taiwan has increased from 57.34% in 2002 to 57.90% for the period between January and November in 2006 - the highest in seven years - and the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.19% from 5.17% five years ago.
The results suggest that the unemployment problem in Taiwan has abated and that the employment market has gradually revived, the agency said.
Legislature gives nod to Chen as top prosecutor
The Legislature yesterday confirmed the nomination of Chen Tsung-ming as state public prosecutor-general, owing to a split in the opposition camp that controls a slim majority in the lawmaking body.
Chen, 65, will head the nation’s top prosecutors’ office for a four-year term and is not permitted to seek reappointment under law. He is the first prosecutor-general named and appointed by the president with the consent of the Legislature, under a revised law.
Business & Industry
Taiwan firms’ high-tech savvy nets iPhone deal
Taiwan’s global reputation for making cheap, good-quality electronic products enabled it to beat off the competition to be part of the manufacturing of the latest must-have gadget - the iPhone.
The close relationship between US icon Apple and Taiwan electronics firms has led to the production of its computers and iPods and will continue with the iPhone, touted as the multi-role communications tool of the future.
Industry report shows Acer still going strong in Q4
Acer, Taiwan’s flagship PC brand, had another solid performance in the fourth quarter of 2006 with strong gains in all regions, a market research firm said in its latest report.
According to IDC, Europe, Middle East and Africa represented approximately 70% of Acer’s worldwide shipments, and this grew by nearly 37% in the fourth quarter of 2006. Expansion in the US and Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) also contributed to the company’s gains, IDC continued.
Bell seeks enhanced UN Command
The US-led United Nations Command on the Korean Peninsula should be enhanced to assume immediate wartime operations as a key supporting command to the South Korean military, the top US military officer here said yesterday.
At a news conference held in Seoul, Gen. Burwell Bell, commander of US Forces Korea, repeated his emphasis on the need to revise the UNC roles and missions ahead of South Korea’s regaining of wartime operational control from the US military.
New banknotes to debut Monday
New 1,000-won and 10,000-won bills will go into circulation Monday, the Bank of Korea said yesterday.
The new bills are brighter, smaller and have high-tech antiforgery features such as colour-shifting ink and an optically variable device.
Business & Industry
‘Leak of FTA strategy no cause for concern’
The leak of a high-level internal memo on Korea’s negotiation strategy will not compromise the successful outcome of an agreement, Korea’s chief trade negotiator said yesterday.
The Korea-US free trade negotiations are expected to make progress with the prospects of successfully concluding a deal by the March deadline.
Kumho Asiana eyes Vietnam
Aiming to make Vietnam the foothold of its overseas expansion after China, top executives of Kumho Asiana Group are visiting the Southeast Asian country to discuss business projects.
The conglomerate’s chairman Park Sam-koo met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Wednesday in Hanoi and discussed business plans, including the construction of a new town.
RIL pips expectations, net profit zooms 58%
Reliance Industries (RIL) today beat the Street with 57.6% growth in net profit for the third quarter in this financial year, led by 48% growth in petrochemicals and 37% growth in refining businesses.
Gross refining margin at $11.7 a barrel was nearly three times the regional Singapore benchmark.
Ruias claim veto power on brand use
The Ruias of Essar have informed merchant bankers that they have “veto powers” to prevent any buyer of Hutchison Whampoa’s 67% stake in Hutchison-Essar from using its own brand name.
This opens a new front in the two-month-long battle between Essar and its Hong Kong-based partner Hutchison Whampoa for its stake in India’s fourth largest mobile services company.
Business & Industry
2-month notice period for airline staff
Poaching engineers in the domestic airline industry will no more be easy. Engineers leaving an airline will now have to serve a two-month notice period and secure a no objection certificate from the current employer.
Top representatives of domestic airlines have signed a preliminary agreement for a two-month notice period for engineers and technical staff.
India, UK seek exploration of new opportunities
Finance Minister P Chidambaram today asked Britain to allow Indian banks to open more branches in that country.
At a joint press conference with visiting British chancellor of exchequer Gordon Brown, Chidambaram cited the example of Standard Chartered Bank of the UK, the largest foreign bank in India, saying the bank could continue to expand its business organically.
Budget’s impact on costs a key worry for business
Never mind about specific incentives for hot industries: the business sector’s single biggest concern about the upcoming Budget is the impact on costs, in the face of expected increases in the Goods and Services Tax and employers’ contributions to the Central Provident Fund.
For many companies, there is a desire to see the proposed two-point hike in the GST rate phased in over two years, alongside cuts in the corporate income tax rate, the skilled worker’s levy and other government charges.
Thailand going for growth to bolster democracy
Despite the chance of a global slowdown, Thailand’s financial chief says he is seeking strong economic growth to provide a strong base for a planned general election to restore democracy.
‘Our aim is to show the world and the Thai people that the economic performance of Thailand will be better than before. We are going to do this via various means,’ Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said yesterday.
Business & Industry
Sales of top 1,000 firms in S’pore breach S$1,000bn
The top 1,000 local and foreign companies in Singapore have chalked up combined sales exceeding Singapore dollar (S$) 1,000bn ($650.9bn) for the first time.
This represented a 25.7% increase from 2005, with sales rising to S$1,160bn from S$920.5bn. The combined profits of the top 1,000 companies increased 18.6% to S$72.3bn, from S$61bn previously.
S’pore unveils two major infocomm initiatives
In a move to help local infocomm companies expand overseas, the government yesterday announced two major initiatives.
One is a new programme, which aims to help these companies deliver large projects and create new intellectual property. The other is a unified brand for ‘Made by Singapore’ infocomm products and solutions.
‘First legal’ wiretap busts Bangkok-based heroin ring
Thailand’s first court-ordered wiretap was the key to breaking up a worldwide heroin smuggling gang, according to testimony in a New York court. “Operation Ivory Triangle” resulted in the extradition of three men from Thailand to the United States.
An international heroin trafficking organisation that processed drugs from Pakistan and Afghanistan through a storefront in Thailand has been busted with help from the first wiretap recordings to be authorised by Thailand judicial authorities, prosecutors say.
Bangkok starts Big Brother CCTV project
At least 1,628 spy cameras are to be installed across Bangkok, as part of a security plan cobbled together after the New Year’s Eve twin bombing waves that killed three people.
The city administration’s plan to install security cameras at 1,628 locations across Bangkok is taking form. The move is part of measures to boost security following the New Year’s Eve bombings in Bangkok and Nonthaburi.
Business & Industry
Govt warns telephone firms against tapping
The interim government gave a stark warning to telephone operators yesterday, saying they risk losing their licences if they are caught tapping the conversations of customers.
The warning came just days after Council for National Security chairman Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin alerted the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC) that mobile phones of people involved in investigating corruption cases against the former regime may have been tapped.
Exporters still hurt by baht appreciation
More than half of the exporters in the country continue to be hurt by the impact of baht appreciation despite attempts by the Bank of Thailand to rein in the currency with capital controls, according to business leaders.
A recent survey showed that 52.7% of about 200 exporters questioned had been adversely affected when the baht appreciated to 37-38 against the US dollar from earlier levels of around 40-41. The baht is now trading around 36 to the dollar.
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