28 May 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Law toughens for juvenile crimes
To deal more harshly with children who commit serious crimes, the Diet on Friday enacted a revised Juvenile Law that allows courts to send minors as young as 12 years old to juvenile reformatories.
The previous minimum age was 14.
When Japan bowed out of commercial whaling operations 20 years ago, it opted to conduct "scientific whaling" instead.
The controversial strategy seemed to offer an opportunity to learn more about whales at a time of worldwide concern about declining stocks of these gracious mammals.
Business & Industry
CPI drops year on year for 3rd month
The consumer price index (CPI) for April, excluding perishable goods, dropped by 0.1% from a year ago, marking the third consecutive month of year-on-year decline, internal affairs ministry officials said Friday.
It stood at 99.9 against the base figure of 100 for 2005.
Struggling JAL asks creditors for help
Japan Airlines Corp has asked its four major creditors to provide hundreds of billions of yen to bolster its capital base, sources said.
The four banks, including the Development Bank of Japan and Mizuho Corporate Bank, may require the struggling airline to carry out further restructuring, for example, by reducing its payroll costs, analysts said.
Pentagon report clouds facts, says analyst
There is nothing new in the Pentagon's annual report to the US Congress on China's military capabilities except that it attempts to overplay the so-called "China threat", an analyst said yesterday.
The US Defense Department report unveiled on Friday said that while Beijing had maintained its traditional focus on the Taiwan Straits, it also seemed to be looking at projecting its growing military strength beyond the island of Taiwan.
Wen pledges to stabilise pork prices
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has asked local governments at all levels to ensure the supply of pork and maintain market order amid rising concerns over soaring pork price.
"We have noticed the recent rise in pork price, and the government is going all out to ensure the supply of pork and keep it affordable," Wen told a crowd in a supermarket during his visit in Xi'an on Saturday for an investigation into pig-raising and pork market.
Business & Industry
Forbes' tax misery ranking 'inaccurate'
Officials and experts sought to rebut a recent "Tax Misery Index" released by Forbes, saying China's macro tax burden remains relatively low compared with other countries.
The magazine's most recent "Tax Misery Index" chart rates China as the third most heavily taxed nation in the world.
Large-scale gas field discovered
A major gas field has been discovered in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, it was announced over the weekend - which experts said would add to energy security and boost the development of the western region.
A total of 3.,800 cubic metres of natural gas deposits have been found in the western part of the Sichuan Basin, said officials in Dazhou, where the reserve is located.
Taiwan aboriginal team declares success at United Nations forum
A team of aboriginal representatives from Taiwan declared their participation at the recent United Nations conference on indigenous peoples a success yesterday, as Taiwan was named to host the Asia preparatory meeting in 2009 for that year's U.N. conference.
Sponsored by the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the seven-member team representing different tribes and organizations recently attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which has taken place for two weeks in May at the U.N. Headquarters in New York every year since 2002.
DPP won't rule out recruiting legislative candidates, Yu says
The Democratic Progressive Party will not rule out recruiting candidates to run in highly competitive districts in the year-end legislative race, said Party Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday in a Tainan City church, stressing the catalyst for Taiwan's normalization must start internally.
Yu said a nine-person committee will submit a shortlist of names to be deliberated in the Central Executive Committee before recruiting the individuals to join the DPP team.
Business & Industry
Japan aims to revitalize finance hub
Faced with growing competition from Hong Kong and Singapore, Japan aims to reinvigorate Tokyo as a global financial hub with a lofty goal of developing a new foreigner-friendly high-rise banking district.
The idea has raised eyebrows among foreign fund managers in the region whose biggest complaint about Tokyo is often not the lack of a decent office or apartment but high taxes and strict regulations.
Wii proves to be winning mix of fun and affordability in US
Computer game makers and industry analysts agree that Nintendo's Wii is trouncing rival video game consoles due to a captivating blend of ease, fun, family, friends and affordability.
April US sales of Wii consoles with simple motion-sensing controllers were more than double those of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and quadruple those of Sony's languishing PlayStation 3.
Actress Jeon Do-yeon wins Cannes prize
Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon, who stars in a tragic movie on death and faith, "Secret Sunshine", won the Cannes film fest's best actress award Sunday, according to a news report.
Jeon is the second actress from South Korea to win an award at a major international film competition. Kang Soo-yeon won the best actress award at the 1987 Venice Film Festival for her role in "Surrogate Mother."
Stalled nuke accord likely to overshadow talks between Koreas
Discomfort and frustration are likely to prevail at the inter-Korean talks opening in Seoul tomorrow as the North's nuclear deal remains deadlocked, which recently led to the South postponing planned rice aid.
Indeed, the 21st ministerial talks are likely to be bogged down by the familiar dilemma of the inter-Korean relations that remain tightly intertwined with the progress of the six-party talks, pundits said.
Business & Industry
Oman's economic chief visits Korea
Oman's National Economy Minister Ahmed Macki arrived in Seoul yesterday for a visit to further boost economic ties between the two nations.
The minister will meet Korea's Commerce Minister Kim Young-joo to discuss investment and energy cooperation.
Koreans wary of economic crisis in 3 years: FKI survey
Most Koreans are concerned about a possible economic crisis taking place some time in the future, according to a public survey released by the Federation of Korean Industries yesterday.
Four out of five respondents answered that the Korean economy may be struck by another economic crisis within three years, said the FKI, a lobby group for big corporations.
CEO pay not always a function of performance
Sunil Mittal, the new president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, can stand up to the prime minister’s tirade on CEO compensation, as he has done, because his numbers back him.
Bharti Airtel, the telecom service provider he controls and manages, delivered over 100% rise in profit in the last financial year. Its shareholders are unlikely to grudge him the 78% hike in salary for 2005-06.
Q4 showing takes sheen off India Inc`s performance
Rising interest rates and higher inputs costs seem to have taken the sparkle out of corporate results in Q4 2007.
A study of the unaudited quarterly results of 1,875 companies shows that the net profit growth of 38.88% in the fourth quarter ended March 2007, has been lower than that for the two preceding quarters.
Economy & Policy
GoM to take up iron ore export issue today
The contentious issue of iron ore exports is likely to be the key agenda when the Group of Ministers (GoM) meets on Monday, even as economic think-tank National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has warned that reserves will be exhausted within 19 years despite a freeze on overseas sales at the current level.
UP sugar mills move court over cane price
Under pressure of sugarcane price payments and mounting arrears, fifteen sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh have filed a case against the state government challenging its mechanism of determining the state advised price (SAP) of sugarcane.
Olam raises bid for Queensland Cotton
Olam International, a commodities trader, has raised its takeover offer for Australia's Queensland Cotton to as much as Australian dollar (A$) 166.45m ($136m), beating a A$150m rival bid from Louis Dreyfus Commodities.
The Singapore firm said in a statement on Monday that it would pay Queensland Cotton Holdings shareholders A$5.65 a share and increase that payment to A$5.90 if it gained control of more than 75.1% of Queensland's stock.
IBM shares could easily climb over $120: Barron's
IBM shares could easily rise above $120, financial newspaper Barron's said in its 28 May edition, citing the company's forecast for higher earnings per share due to software sales, stock buybacks, and growth in emerging markets.
IBM shares closed on Friday at $105.18.
Business & Industry
Attracting Chinese biomed firms
Biotechnology firms are increasingly looking beyond their own shores to list their shares, and the trend could potentially make Singapore a preferred site for Chinese biotech firms to do so.
This prognosis came from Tan Swee Ho, a partner in charge of health sciences at Ernst & Young's assurance and advisory business services group.
Foreign banks in China see 20% rise in revenue
Foreign banks in China expect their revenue in that country to grow 20% or more this year, according to a survey.
Their business in China is booming as foreign money pours into the industry, banking rules are progressively relaxed and a burgeoning middle-class takes root, says PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) after a survey of foreign banks in the country.
Analysis: Surayud moves closer to Beijing
China is the first country the prime minister visited as interim premier in October. It is also the place where his communist father Col Payom, aka Comrade Kamtan, died in exile nearly a decade ago.
Even though the political turbulence at home prompted Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to cut short his official visit to Beijing by two days this week, the trip's significance - both strategically and symbolically - cannot be minimised.
Two more Internet sites chopped
A popular pair of websites supporting ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra have been blocked in Thailand for having "provocative political messages" - www.hi-Thaksin.net and SaturdayVoice.com
The Council for National Security (CNS) has authorised the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, appointed the official censor last year, to ban political websites found to contain provocative messages.
Business & Industry
Architects struggle with global economy
Architecture legally undertaken by international design firms can help increase the standard of design, building and construction in Thailand. However, it can cause cash outflows and, most importantly, a loss of opportunities for local professionals, says Sinn Phonghanyudh, president of the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA).
'The world's most valuable wood'
Property tycoon Boon Vanasin was once invited to a banquet held by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia with 100 distinguished guests in attendance. The prince was burning dry agarwood to please the guests.
Dr Boon was stunned when he learned that the prince's aromatic little gesture cost baht (Bt) 10m ($305.0m), prompting him to research one of the world's most expensive woods and its market potential.
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