07 May 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Municipal resorts post major losses
Despite a massive infusion of taxpayers' money, all nine ex-Greenpia pension-funded resorts bled red ink in the first fiscal year after reopening, The Asahi Shimbun has learned.
At eight facilities, local governments have spent a combined yen (Y) 854.86m ($7.13bn) to help the struggling facilities get back on their feet.
Mountains of trash spoil the shoreline
Japan's shoreline is awash with trash. Estimated refuse from late October to early December last year came to some 26,000 tonnes, the equivalent of three days' worth of garbage produced by Tokyo's 23 wards.
A nationwide survey by the land and agriculture ministries turned up a total volume of about 148,000 cubic metres of shoreline trash nationwide.
Business & Industry
Japan, ASEAN to free up trade
Japan on Friday agreed to eliminate tariffs on 92% of goods imported from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in terms of value.
ASEAN, which groups 10 Southeast Asian countries, plans to abolish tariffs on 90% of goods imported from Japan in terms of value.
Another banner year for Toyota
For the fifth straight year, Toyota Motor Corp. looks set to be the most profitable Japanese manufacturer ever.
The company is expected to post more than Y1,600bn consolidated net profit in fiscal 2006.
5 Chinese identified in Kenya jet crash
Five Chinese passengers have been identified as a Kenyan Airways aircraft they were traveling on went missing earlier Saturday morning, the Chinese Embassy in Cote d'Ivoire confirmed on Saturday.
Three of the five Chinese, two men and one woman, boarded the Boeing 737-800 in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d'Ivoire, where the aircraft took off and was bound for Kenya's capital Nairobi via Cameroon's coastal city of Douala, the embassy said.
Diplomatic ties with St Lucia cut
China on Saturday suspended its diplomatic relations with Saint Lucia.
Chinese Ambassador to St Lucia Gu Huaming lodged solemn representations and strong objection to the government of St. Lucia after the Caribbean state resumed so-called "diplomatic relationship" with Taiwan.
Business & Industry
Textile enterprises post nearly 40% growth in profits
Major Chinese textile enterprises realized yuan (CNY) 115,800bn ($15,000bn) in combined profits in the first two months of this year, a year-on-year growth of 39.5%, sources with the China Textile Industry Association said on Sunday.
The number of the major textile enterprises, each with an annual sales income of at least CNY5m yuan ($649,350), increased by 12.1% year-on-year to 42,000 in the January-February period.
Shenzhen Development posts 129% growth in net profits
Shenzhen Development Bank, one of China's 10 listed commercial banks, reported net profits up 129% to CNY535m ($70m) in the first quarter of the year, company sources said on Saturday.
The bank's earnings per share stood at CNY0.27, and its return-on-equity at 31.2%, 13 percentage points higher than the same period of last year.
Envoy seeks global support for Taiwan bid to join WHO
A Taiwanese diplomat stationed in New York has called on the international community to throw its support behind Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization, saying that as a sovereign state, Taiwan has the right to become a WHO full member.
Andrew LY Hsia, director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York, made the remarks at a news conference he called after attending an annual urban hiking activity organized by a local ramblers association to back Taiwan's WHO bid.
Party members disperse backing in legislative poll
Members of the governing Democratic Progressive Party voted for a diverse range of politicians in the first stage of the primaries for its at-large and constituency legislative nominations yesterday.
With the number of the legislative seats slashed in half from 225 to 113, the candidates were on overdrive to woo the voters in their bid to secure their spots in the year-end election.
Business & Industry
South Korea, European Union formally launch free trade talks
South Korea and the European Union yesterday announced the launch of free trade talks, saying a successful agreement would both boost bilateral commerce and complement efforts to forge a global trade deal.
"The Korea-EU FTA will provide an excellent opportunity for Korea to become the East Asia FTA hub linking Europe, Asia and the United States," South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong said at a press conference with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson.
Fed seen holding fire until US economic picture clearer
Despite a sputtering US economy, the Federal Reserve is likely to hold fire on interest rates as it waits for either an easing of inflation or a pickup in growth, analysts say.
No change in rates is expected at Wednesday's meeting of the US central bank's Federal Open Market Committee, which has held its base rate steady at 5.25% since last June.
GNP quandary deepens amid Lee-Park feud
Infighting between the Grand National Party's two leading presidential hopefuls showed no signs of abating after a fence-mending meeting on Friday ended up in a fresh war of words.
Party Chairman Kang Jae-sup is expected to offer a new compromise proposal this week over in-house election primary rules, the central source of contention between former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak and former GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye.
Korea, EU start free trade talks
The trade chiefs of Korea and the European Union officially launched talks for a free trade agreement in Seoul yesterday in pursuit of building economic clout in each others' regions.
"A Korea-EU FTA will provide an excellent opportunity for Korea to become the East Asia FTA hub linking Europe, Asia and the United States," Kim Hyun-chong, Korea's trade minister, said at a news conference yesterday. "The EU for its part will gain a stronghold in East Asia, the centre of world economic dynamism, and it will allow the EU to gain greater access to the Korean market."
Business & Industry
Consumer spending jumps 7% in Q1
During the first quarter of 2007, Korean consumers spent 7.2% more than they did during the same period last year, the National Statistical Office reported yesterday.
The 7.2% rise in consumer spending is the highest rate of increase seen since the end of 2002.
Flagships less dominant at chaebol
The shares of aggregate market capitalization of local corporate groups such as Samsung and Hyundai taken up by their key subsidiary companies are continuing to decrease.
The findings were announced yesterday after the Korea Exchange analyzed the share of aggregate market capitalization held by subsidiary companies among the country's 10 largest corporate groups that have been restricted from cross-shareholding by the Fair Trade Commission.
Realtors feel heat on pre-launch sale
60% of home buyers are staying away from pre-launches: Sanjay Chandra.
Rising borrowing costs have been pinching real estate developers over the past few months.
Big guns eye Navi Mumbai airport
The Ambani brothers, Tata group, GVK Group, GMR Group and Larsen & Toubro are among the top players bidding for the greenfield Navi Mumbai airport, the second airport project in Mumbai.
International airport majors such as the Emirates Group promoted Dnata and Singapore’s Changi Airport International (CAI) are also eyeing the Indian rupee (Rs) 42.35bn ($1.04bn) airport, which will be capable of handling the Airbus A-380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft.
Economy & Policy
Net solution to enhance efficiency of airlines, airports
Now you can get your flight status at the click of a mouse, thanks to the new IT system being installed at private airports.
A web interface on flight information would be now linked to the respective airport websites.
Children`s own reading corners
An international NGO, in partnership with five state governments, is setting up children’s libraries in government-run primary schools.
Several state governments in India have a new mission - getting children to read, not just language, but also literature.
Australia's Macquarie makes new offer for Alinta
Australian investment firm Macquarie Bank said on Monday its revised offer for energy infrastructure firm Alinta gives shareholders three options.
Alinta shareholders can take all cash, all shares or a combination, Macquarie said.
Qantas bidder mulls new bid
A group bidding for Qantas Airways said on Monday it was considering the possibility of making a renewed offer at Australian dollar (A$) 5.45 ($4.49) per share after its previous proposal expired on Friday.
The bid group, which includes Macquarie Bank and private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, said it was considering alternative proposals as a majority of Qantas shareholders by number and value had lodged acceptances for the offer. The bid group also includes Allco Finance Group, Allco Equity Partners and Canadian investment firm Onex Corp.
Business & Industry
Conservative Sarkozy to be next French president
Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy triumphed in France's presidential election on Sunday, sweeping aside his Socialist rival Segolene Royal on the back of a huge turnout that gave him a powerful mandate for reform.
Within minutes of polls closing, Ms Royal conceded defeat in a speech to party faithful in the heart of Paris.
China concerned about stock bubble
Chinese central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan acknowledged on Sunday that a bubble in the country's stock market was a concern and said the central bank was monitoring asset prices along with inflation.
China's main stock index, the Shanghai Composite Index, has surged about 235% since the start of 2006 and more then 40% so far this year, but has also shown some volatility, including a 9% fall in February that led to market declines worldwide.
Authorities agree to protest demands
Muslim demonstrators ended their four-day rally in Yala province yesterday after the government gave in to their demands, prompting Buddhist villagers to call off a counter-protest in a nearby district.
Hundreds of Muslim protesters, mostly women and children, dispersed after officials in Krong Pinang sub-district agreed to their three demands, including the release of 24 people detained at the Ingkhayuthboriharn military camp in Pattani since 29 April on suspicion of giving support to insurgent groups.
Asean spirit just fades away
Something has changed in Southeast Asia and no one wants to talk about it. Over the last 40 years, countries of the region have fostered a much envied tradition of loose but effective multilateral cooperation in the shape of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Although advertised as an incipient economic community, Asean in fact has principally served to prevent disputes between nations that harboured old enmities and quietly nursed new ambitions. The record of interstate peace and harmony among Asean members is enviable compared with other regions of the world.
Business & Industry
Thais look for opportunities in UAE
Thai businessmen hope to capitalise on untapped investment opportunities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to potential investors.
''Dubai is building up in preparation for the next decade when oil is expected to run dry. The UAE capital of Abu Dhabi is expanding. It is an exciting time for investors,'' said Theerawat Tisapirom, country manager of the SET-listed contractor Power Line Engineering.
QSNCC, Mor Chit up for grabs
The Treasury Department plans to call for bids this year for the development of plots at two of the capital's prime sites - the Mor Chit transport complex and Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC).
Puntip Surathin, the department's director-general, said the auctions could fetch at least baht (Bt) 21bn ($643.6m) and serve as a stimulus to the economy in their own right.
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