31 January 2007 01:44 [Source: ICIS news]
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Tokyo District Court snubs ‘war-orphan’ suit
The Tokyo District Court on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit for compensation filed by 40 Japanese who were abandoned in China as children in the closing days of Word War II.
The court dismissed their plea that the state failed to swiftly repatriate them and did not provide appropriate financial assistance once they had settled in Japan many decades later.
TEPCO halts power station to repair defects in dam
Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) on Monday suspended operations of a hydroelectric power station here to repair a dam’s structural defects that had been concealed from authorities for years.
TEPCO officials said safety is not a problem and the supply of electricity will continue uninterrupted.
Business & Industry
Nikko’s investigators cite fraud at top
The special investigation committee of Nikko Cordial Corp. said Tuesday the major securities group systematically falsified its consolidated earnings report for the year through March 2005.
The conclusion raised the possibility that Nikko Cordial may have violated the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s delisting standards.
US beef imports low 6 months since ban ended
Lingering fears about mad cow disease and tight government restrictions have kept imports of US beef at just one-tenth of what they were, even though a ban was lifted six months ago.
The volume of imports has recovered steadily, but the latest figures are about 2,000 tons a month, a fraction of the 20,000 tons recorded before imports stopped.
Farmers’ protests decline 20% last year
The number of rural protests involving mass participation declined “markedly” last year, and will continue to drop if government officials work in real earnest to redress farmers’ complaints.
That was the message delivered yesterday by Chen Xiwen, the top advisor to the government on rural policy.
IPR development in national plan
An intellectual property rights (IPR) development program has for the first time been incorporated into national planning.
The 11th Five-Year Plan includes an IPR plan, highlighting IPR’s role in promoting social and economic growth.
Business & Industry
New oil-pricing system adopted
China has adopted a new pricing system for refined oil products to help its refineries get out of deficit, said the country’s National Development and Reform Commission, Shanghai Securities News reported today.
The country has already started implementing the new fuel pricing system, taking cost and the benchmark Brent, Dubai and Mi-nas crude oil prices into consideration, said Han Yongwen, a commission spokesman.
China Life profit to up 50%
China Life’s net profit growth in 2006 is expected to jump 50%, according to a company statement issued Tuesday.
The expected results had not been independently pre-audited, and detailed figures would be released soon in the audited 2006 annual report, the company said.
Chen suggests shifting government agencies
President Chen Shui-bian said yesterday that he favours relocating some of the Central Government’s agencies from northern to southern Taiwan in order to facilitate more balanced development of different areas around the island.
Chen made the suggestion during a meeting with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu to listen to their suggestions for urban development in northern and southern Taiwan.
China unlikely to attack, Kim says
A military attack on Taiwan by China is unlikely at present, since the 18th century era in which people resorted to force to solve difference of opinions is gone, said former President Kim Young-Sam of South Korea during a visit to Taiwan last week.
“Thus, personally, I see the possibility of Beijing using force against Taiwan as low,” Kim said Friday during an interview with reporters from three local media houses, including the Taiwan News. He added that a resolution of the cross-strait dispute would also depend on changes in the international political environment.
Business & Industry
Report states risks in Asia business environment
Asia-Pacific manufacturers will continue to face a mixed bag of prospects with regards to their supply chain initiatives this year, a market research firm said yesterday.
While expectation for growth continues to be moderate to high for many, there is much uncertainty in the business environment due to several factors, said Manufacturing Insights, an IDC company.
Local gasoline prices to go up
Chinese Petroleum Corp. and Formosa Petrochemical Corp. increased domestic gasoline and diesel prices for the first time in six weeks after crude oil costs climbed.
The companies will both raise domestic wholesale gasoline prices by New Taiwan dollar (NT$)0.60 ($0.02) a litre and diesel by NT$0.70 today, Taipei-based Chinese Petroleum and Mailiao-based Formosa said in statements yesterday.
Nuclear talks will resume next Thursday
The six-party talks aimed at resolving North Korean nuclear issues will resume next Thursday in Beijing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
The negotiations, between the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, are reopening in an unusually optimistic atmosphere with both Washington and Pyongyang expressing hopes of making tangible progress.
Roh ally deserts Uri
Rep. Yum Dong-yun, once one of President Roh Moo-hyun’s staunchest supporters, deserted the governing Uri Party yesterday, becoming the fifth lawmaker to defect from the party, which has been hamstrung by rock-bottom popularity ratings ahead of the December presidential election.
The party’s senior lawmakers also signalled that they may leave the party despite efforts by Roh and party leaders to deter a mass exodus.
Business & Industry
Investor appetite growing for overseas real estate
Buying a home abroad is becoming an increasingly popular investment among affluent Koreans, while the government is set to raise the overseas investment ceiling to $3m next month.
A cooling domestic property market coupled with the won’s rally against the greenback is prompting investors to turn to overseas property markets, industry watchers said.
‘Rigid labour market dampens corporate activity’
Improving labour market flexibility and establishing defensive measures against mergers and acquisitions were picked as the most important policy tasks to spur corporate activity in Korea, according to a survey released by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday.
A poll of the country’s 500 largest companies by sales found that businesses gave top priority to “enhancing labour market flexibility” as some 79% of those who replied picked it among 10 major policy tasks required to encourage corporate activity.
India bowls S&P over after 16 yrs
Global ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) today raised India’s sovereign credit rating to investment grade after a gap of nearly 16 years. Analysts said the move would hugely expand the overseas investor base for Indian loan and debt issues.
S&P said it had raised sovereign credit ratings on India to “BBB-/A-3” with a stable outlook from “BB+/B,” which reflected the country’s strong economic prospects and external balance sheet, as also its deep capital market, which supported a weak but improving fiscal position.
Auction may not be last word on Corus
Though the UK Takeover Panel is set to recommend the winner by tomorrow, the battle for steelmaker Corus may not end soon given that the company’s board reserved the final right on the panel’s choice.
A source close to the panel, the monitoring authority for mergers and acquisitions in UK, said the auction was aimed at protecting shareholders’ interest and speeding up the process. When contacted, a Corus spokesperson said, “The board will act in the best interests of shareholders.”
Business & Industry
Time for decisive intervention in agriculture: Chidambaram
In a clear hint of his future plans to revive the moribund agricultural sector, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said, “The time has come to make a determined and decisive intervention in agriculture in order to boost productivity”.
In a lecture delivered at the London School of Economics today, Chidambaram said the agriculture sector was a formidable challenge. The government had taken a number of corrective steps over the last three years, but falling agricultural productivity and increase in farmers’ distress were causes of concern, he added.
American firm proposes biz centre at Delhi airport, seeks out GMR
Houston-based Universal Weather & Aviation, a support service provider for travel in corporate and private aircraft, has approached GMR Infrastructure to run a terminal dedicated to non-commercial travel in Delhi. GMR had won the bid for the modernisation of the Delhi airport last year.
The American company’s proposal includes developing a parking lot and hangar as well as a state-of-the-art business centre where corporates can hold meetings.
Major law firms raise charges, salaries
Major law firms have raised charges and salaries across the board amid growing demand for legal work and a shortage of lawyers.
Rajah & Tann (R&T) has lifted charges 5-20% depending on the seniority of the lawyer doing the work. BT understands this is the firm’s first increase in about five years.
M’sian vehicle levy system in place at southern checkpoints
Malaysia has set up a system to impose a levy on Singapore and other foreign registered vehicles entering the country by installing special gantries and electronic payment equipment at its southern immigration checkpoints.
But the actual date of implementation has not been decided, although the system can go online as soon as tomorrow.
Business & Industry
KepCorp’s Q4 profits up 26%
Keppel Corporation, the world’s largest builder of offshore rigs, continued to beat market forecasts with a 26% rise in net profits to Singapore dollar (S$)184m ($119.7m) for its fourth quarter. And it has proposed a sub-division of each of its ordinary shares into two.
The Q4 results helped push net earnings for the whole of its financial year ended 31 December 2006 to a record S$751m - 33% up on the previous year’s S$564m.
SGX, Abu Dhabi exchange tie up
Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Abu Dhabi Securities Market (ADSM) said yesterday they will collaborate to boost financial markets in Singapore and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including exploring the possibility of cross-border trading.
The two exchanges have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the objective of fostering closer dialogue and to facilitate mutual cooperation in a number of areas.
Airport repairs halted until investigation ends
Repairs to the runway and taxiway cracks at Suvarnabhumi have been put on hold until a thorough investigation by the board of the Airports of Thailand Plc into the cause of the cracks is completed. Designated chief investigator Tortrakul Yomnak said on Tuesday the repair halt is to prevent faulty repair methods from being employed and to protect visiting aircraft.
Mr Tortrakul, an AoT board member, heads the official investigative committee of experts which must find the exact cause of the cracks that have appeared on the runways and taxiways of the four-month-old airport.
Capital control ‘won’t affect’ exporters
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula on Tuesday expressed confidence the Bank of Thailand’s relaxation on the draconian 30% reserve requirement would not have an impact on exporters.
The central bank on Monday officially announced the easing of the capital control measure under which long-term foreign borrowing with fully hedging, borrowing for exports in terms of packing credit, and transactions of warrants, transferable subscription right, and depository receipts would be exempted from the measure.
Business & Industry
Japan gives Thailand poor grade
The business sentiment Japanese companies have for Thailand has been the lowest among five ASEAN countries for three consecutive months, says the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro).
Jetro each month compiles a diffusion index (DI) to gauge business performances of five ASEAN countries -- Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines -- in the eyes of the Japanese.
Big projects, R&D can ease baht pains
Increased state spending on megaprojects and research and development activities could ease the impact of baht appreciation, according to prominent industrialists and bankers.
The continuing appreciation of the baht was the main concern voiced by the industrialists and bankers attending the Thai Industry Outlook in 2007 seminar held on Monday evening by the Federation of Thai Industries.
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