In Thursday's South Asia/Middle East papers

24 May 2007 06:00  [Source: ICIS news]

MUMBAI (ICIS news)--These were the top stories at 05:00 GMT in the following South Asia/ Middle-East newspapers’ online versions on Thursday. To go to the individual websites, click the links below:

 

The Times of India

Front Page

 

Green card dreams in trouble

In the immigration debate that is sweeping the corridors of power in the US Capitol, skilled visas - or H1-B - may escape the really acrimonious exchanges.

 

New rules for US immigration

Asian family values are challenged under a sweeping US immigration reform plan that grants visas based more on skills than on family connections in the United States.

 

Business

 

Liquor majors in high spirits

Indians are on a high, literally. The country will witness unprecedented alcohol consumption surpassing juices, colas, energy drinks and other ready-to-drink beverages by a mile. Growing affluence and declining growth of carbonated beverages will boost liquor consumption by 2025.

 

Karnataka to spread IT acreage

Around 61,000 acres around Bangalore City could be dotted with IT companies by 2015, if things go as per plan.

 

The Economic Times

Front Page

 

MoF moots unbridled MF choice for PSUs

The finance ministry is pitching for more autonomy to public sector blue-chip companies when it comes to decisions on investing their surplus funds. The ministry is of the view that the PSUs should be allowed to invest in any mutual fund, whether public or private.

 

Trai pitch in on EUs roaming rate

Telecom regulator Trai has asked the EU to allow Indian telcos to negotiate with their European counterparts to cut roaming costs. On Wednesday, members of the European parliament (MEPs) approved a plan to reduce roaming tariffs across the continent by 75%.

 

Career and Business

 

Alcan rejects Alcoa, talks to BHP

Canadian giant Alcan is in talks with the world’s biggest miner BHP Billiton as it seeks to escape a hostile bid from US rival Alcoa, the daily Globe and Mail said on Wednesday.

 

‘Bank of England planned sharper rate hike’

Bank of England policymakers mulled raising British interest rates by half a percentage point earlier this month to bring inflation under control, minutes of their latest meeting showed Wednesday.

 

Khaleej Times

Front Page

 

Israel seizes Hamas leaders in West Bank, bombs Gaza
Israeli forces seized a Palestinian cabinet minister, lawmakers and mayors in the occupied West Bank and launched more air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, stepping up a campaign against Hamas Islamists.

 

Mohammed wraps up successful Korea visit
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, wrapped up yesterday a two-day state visit to South Korea during which he held talks with President Roh Moo-hyun and Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on ways to upgrade avenues of mutual cooperation in areas of trade and investment.

 

Business

 

UAE imports bill set to hit $149bn in 2007
The UAE, with a predicted import bill of $149.1bn in 2007, will lead the Arab nations that will collectively spend $632bn on foreign purchases, according to a report by the International Monetary Fund.

 

EFG-Hermes enters Qatar
EFG-Hermes, a regional investment bank, has announced that it has entered into a joint venture agreement to establish EFG-Hermes Qatar Limited in the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC). The newentity will providing investment banking and asset management services from the QFC. EFG-Hermes Qatar Limited is also looking to expand into the Qatar brokerage market.

 

Times of Oman

Front Page

 

Mideast Quartet to meet in Berlin

The Quartet of Middle East peace mediators will meet in Berlin on 30 May amid an upsurge in violence in the region, a German foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

 

Refugees flee Lebanon camp as truce holds

Thousands of Palestinians on Wednesday continued to flee a refugee camp in northern Lebanon where a fragile truce was holding after three days of intense fighting.

 

Business

 

Alcan spurns Alcoa takeover bid as paltry

Canadian giant Alcan on Tuesday snubbed US rival Alcoa's bid to create the world's biggest aluminum company, calling the former parent's 33-billion-dollar hostile bid for Alcan paltry.

 

China Eastern to sell 25% stake to SIA

China Eastern Airlines is set to sell a 25% stake to Singapore Airlines for Hong Kong dollar (HK$) 7.9bn ($1bn) via a placement of new shares, state media said.

 

Arab Times

Front Page

 

Kuwait ties dinar to import, investment currencies

Kuwait said on Tuesday it had tied the dinar’s fortunes to currencies it uses for its imports and investments to reduce the influence of the battered dollar on its economy. The dollar, to which the dinar was pegged until Sunday, would still account for a major share of the currency basket that Kuwait adopted to check inflation caused by the rising cost of European and Asian imports, the central bank governor said.

 

Nationality nod for widowed, divorced

The National Assembly Committee for the Divorced and Widows agreed Tuesday to grant Kuwaiti citizenship to divorced and widows of Kuwaiti citizens by including them in a list of 2,000 persons likely to become Kuwaiti.

 

Business

 

Damascus opening up its economy; Syria moves to curb inflation

The monetary policy in Syria, which was characterized by a multiple fixed exchange rate system, rigid interest rates and a direct government control over the banking system, has witnessed some changes lately which aim at moving towards more flexibility and responsiveness to market conditions.

 

Central Bank of Kuwait outlines expectations from Gulf banking sector

The banks in the GCC countries should focus on achieving excellence in a rapidly changing global scenario of liberalization and tough competition, said Sheikh Salem Abdul Aziz Al-Sabah, Governor of Central Bank of Kuwait, speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.

 

Dawn

Front Page

 

Govt suspends wheat export: IPPs given more concessions

The government on Wednesday suspended the export of wheat with immediate effect, following protests from flour mills and the Sindh government over a sudden surge in prices blamed on hoarders and speculators.

 

Focus on SJC role in SC hearing

A senior counsel representing Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry in the presidential reference case told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the Supreme Judicial Council acted to safeguard the tenure of superior court judges, rather than removing them as adjudicators.

 

Business

 

Monetary policy fails to contain inflation

All monetary indicators surpassed the annual target in just ten months leaving inflationary pressure to mount on the economy and dilute the effectiveness of the tight monetary policy.

 

FPCCI issues final list of amendments: Trade Organisations Ord

The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has issued a final list of amendments to be incorporated in the Trade Organisations Ordinance (TOO) 2006 and trade rules 2007.

 

Business Recorder

Front Page

 

Pukhtoon Action Committee postpones strike till 8 June

Pukhtoon Action Committee (PAC) Wednesday postponed the three-day strike till 8 June, as the Singh government assured them for their demands. PAC (Loya Jirga) held three sessions of their zonal committees and reviewed the issue of strike…

 

Wheat export suspended to arrest price hike

The Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet (ECC) has suspended export of wheat with immediate effect in view of nearly seven percent increase in the wheat prices in the domestic market as compared to the last year.

 

Business

 

PRs447.4bn spent on pro-poor sectors this fiscal year

The government has spent Pakistan rupee (PRs) 447.4bn ($7.4bn) on pro-poor sectors under poverty alleviation programme in the current financial year. Sources in the Social Welfare Ministry told Business Recorder on Wednesday that the amount was spent on 17 pro-poor projects.

 

PRs230bn being spent on basic amenities in Balochistan: Jam

Balochistan Chief Minister Muhammad Yousuf on Wednesday said that various development projects worth more that PRs230bn were continuing in the province aimed at ensuring basic amenities to the people of far-flung areas of the province.


By: Staff Reporter
+44 20 8652 3214



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