25 May 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Court: Police to blame for woman's slaying
The district court here Thursday ordered the Tochigi prefectural government to pay yen (Y) 47m ($388,742) to the families of two women shot by an irate neighbour.
The court said the 62-year-old man should never have been issued with a gun permit and that background checks conducted by prefectural police after he applied for one were grossly negligent.
Unregistered kids can get passports
The government plans to issue passports to children not listed in family registers because of a Civil Law stipulation that has been harshly criticized as outdated and absurd, sources said.
But to obtain the passports, legal procedures must be under way to prove the children are actually related to their biological fathers and to register them as such.
Business & Industry
Sumitomo adviser to get airport post
Kosaburo Morinaka, a special adviser to Sumitomo Corp, will be nominated Friday as president of Narita International Airport Corp, which operates Narita Airport, sources said.
Morinaka, 64, a former executive vice president of Sumitomo, will replace Masahiko Kurono. The nomination is subject to Cabinet approval, which will be granted Friday, and to a general shareholders' meeting scheduled in late June.
Moving drum offers faster wash'n'dry
Mitsubishi Electric Corp. is set to introduce a washer-dryer whose moving drum changes angles automatically, depending on the load, to shorten washing times and enhance cleaning power.
While the wash water drains, the drum spins in a stable, vertical position to reduce noise and vibration.
NGOs have more room to develop
China will revise laws and policies to encourage the development of foreign and domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs), a senior official has been quoted as saying.
Among the key changes are a simplified registration procedure for all NGOs and better communication with governments, said Sun Weilin, director of the bureau for NGO administration affiliated to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Sino-Germany relations aim new high
President Hu Jintao and visiting German President Horst Kohler yesterday pledged to increase bilateral collaboration in all areas to take the Sino-German partnership to a new high.
"We should expand and strengthen cooperation, especially in finance, insurance, infrastructure, energy, the environment and high-tech industries," Hu said during his meeting with Kohler in the Great Hall of the People.
Business & Industry
Securities industry to open up
China's commitment to further open up its securities industry may benefit both international companies and the country's capital market, analysts and top international managers said yesterday.
Vice-Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson agreed to a series of opening up measures during the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, held in Washington.
Overseas banks can issue renminbi cards
China will allow foreign banks to issue their own renminbi-denominated credit and debit cards immediately, in accordance with a decision reached at the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue.
"This will allow US banks to offer a full range of renminbi services and increase the amount of capital under their management for investment," a US official said.
MOE replaces controversial banners at memorial hall
The Ministry of Education challenged the Taipei City Government yesterday by replacing two banners bearing the name of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall at the memorial, which was previously named the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
The two original banners that were hung on the day of the plaque-unveiling ceremony to mark the renaming of the hall were six times larger than the replacements, but were later taken down by the Taipei City government for reasons that they blocked public viewing of the structure, which violates the Cultural Assets Preservation Law.
Defense minister takes tough questions
The newly appointed Defense Minister Lee Tien-yu stated yesterday that he would never provoke a cross-strait conflict just to help the Democratic Progressive Party gain votes in the upcoming 2008 presidential election.
It was the first time Lee faced questioning from the Legislature's National Defense Committee since he assumed office on Monday.
Business & Industry
BetOnSports pleads guilty to federal racketeering charges
Internet gambling firm BetOnSports PLC has pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges, US Attorney Catherine Hanaway announced Thursday.
Hanaway's office has been pursing a 22-count criminal indictment against the London-based firm and its top executives since last July. Her office settled civil charges against BetOnSports in November that permanently bars the company from accepting any bets from gamblers in the US
Gasoline prices rise, as traders eye low inventories and refinery outages
Gasoline prices climbed Thursday after another round of outages at US refineries stoked supply concerns ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer driving season.
With America's gasoline inventories 6.9% below where they were last year, according to the Energy Department, the ongoing shutdowns are likely to boost roadside gasoline prices further into record territory, analysts said.
New recall rules to take effect today
Tensions are mounting within local administrative bodies as a new law enabling residents to oust incompetent local government chiefs and council members comes into effect today.
Local residents and civic groups are already gathering names of corrupt officials to recall, following recent reports that revealed numerous local leaders spending taxpayers' money on costly junkets overseas.
Uri willing to join GNP over press rules
The Uri Party said yesterday it is willing to cooperate with the Grand National Party to block controversial government plans to shut down most of the 37 press rooms at administrative offices.
After the government announced Tuesday the plan to consolidate the press rooms by August, the majority Grand National Party threatened to take steps to block the move during the parliamentary session next month.
Business & Industry
OECD lowers Korean growth rate forecast
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development yesterday lowered its 2007 forecast for Korea's gross domestic product to 4.3%, down 0.1 percentage points.
The statement was part of its bi-annual economic forecast.
Unico Search hunts for unique strategy
With over 500 headhunting firms in Korea and growing, finding a differentiating strategy is "not easy," said the head of one of Korea's pioneering recruiting companies.
"The challenge today is finding that extra value, to provide unique value," Han Sang-shin, the chairman of Unico Search, told The Korea Herald.
Industry draws PM`s flak
Cartelisation, spiralling salaries and corruption invite Manmohan Singh's ire.
Taking India Inc by surprise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked companies to desist from operating cartels to keep prices high, rein in rising CEO compensation, offer employment to the less-privileged and ensure that corporate social responsibility is not defined by tax planning strategies alone.
Anil SEZ faces Maya music
The Uttar Pradesh government has objected to a Special Economic Zone of the New Okhla Industrial Development Authority (Noida) in which the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group is a strategic partner.
At its second meeting held in Lucknow today, the Mayawati-led Uttar Pradesh Cabinet decided to refer the 1,200-acre SEZ proposal to New Delhi as it violated the contiguity norms laid down by it.
Economy & Policy
FM for free flow of foreign investments
Calling for better management of foreign currency inflows, Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said foreign investment should not face restrictions.
“There are, of course, some problems associated with copious inflows of foreign investment but that cannot become a ground to reject foreign investment,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said at the Confederation of Indian Industry annual session here today.
Project delays worry Tata
Ratan Tata, in his capacity as the chairman of the Investment Commission, has warned that major projects entailing a combined investment of nearly $60bn are meeting delays and roadblocks for no apparent reason.
The projects cited include those of Posco, Mittal Steel, Tata Steel, Reliance Energy, Tata Power, AES, L&T/Dubal, Intel and some proposals from the banking and insurance sectors.
Proposed SGX changes seen raising costs
Cost remains a key concern among most Sesdaq-listed firms following the Singapore Exchange's proposed changes to the listing rules announced on Wednesday.
Even though the SGX has yet to detail the new rules - which include a transition to a sponsor supervised regime for firms listed on the second board, some companies say that they fear the costs of staying listed could become prohibitive.
OECD warns of China stock market correction
Investors yesterday received another series of warnings about the perils of China's stock market frenzy, with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) echoing former US Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan's comments that a sharp correction could be on the cards.
The booming Chinese stock exchanges could see their lengthy rally come to an abrupt halt by events such as a slowdown in exports and profits, the OECD cautioned.
Business & Industry
LNG trading to enjoy special tax rates
Announcing a series of new initiatives at the Global Trader Summit yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang said that LNG trading income will now qualify for the special tax rate of 5%, applicable for 10 years, with immediate effect. 'We recognise the immense opportunities for LNG trading, and we aim to catalyse the development of LNG trading sector in Singapore through this,' he said.
GIC Real Estate in $1.3bn venture with Sumitomo
GIC Real Estate has formed a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation to invest up to $1.3bn [Singapore dollar (S$) 2bn] in retail properties in Japan, making it one of that country's biggest private retail property investors.
In a statement released yesterday, GIC RE said the properties could be both completed and development projects.
Politics on the air
Paisarn Pikhokham of the Northern People's Media Network said community radio operators in his group wanted political unity, just like other people.
He is one of just many operators of community radio stations in the North and Northeast have shrugged off claims that they are mouthpieces of political groups.
Investors question whether some firms ready to relist
With shares in one firm tanking, investors are calling on securities regulators to investigate the performance of several listed companies that recently emerged from business rehabilitation.
The call came after shares of Tongkah Harbour fell sharply in recent weeks after the company reported poor first-quarter results. The company, which was previously suspended from trading during its rehabilitation, was allowed to resume trading on May 4 after successfully posting three straight quarters of net profit.
Business & Industry
AACP in line of fire over fraud by agent
Consumer advocates yesterday staged a protest against Ayudhya Allianz CP Life (AACP), demanding that the insurance company take responsibility for fraud committed by one of its former agents. Earlier, the Foundation for Consumers had sent complaints to AACP but the insurer had declined to take joint responsibility in fraud cases involving a former agent, Jidapa or Jidamas Kitisind, according to Itthaboon Onwongsa, the foundation's co-ordinator.
Officials defend boost in oil refining margins
Senior public and private sector energy officials yesterday defended the increase in oil refining margins, claiming they were in line with rising global oil demand.
Viraphol Jirapraditkul, the director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office (Eppo), said he sympathised with oil companies because local retail petrol prices were kept relatively low, leaving retailers a marketing margin of no more than one baht per litre.
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