12 June 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
FSA again orders MUFG to comply with regulations
The Financial Services Agency on Monday ordered the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to improve its business practices, in view of numerous problems with its investment trust business and foreign operations.
Citing the large number of irregularities compared to other megabanks, the FSA told the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ to ensure greater compliance with banking regulations and to improve its sales operation to place stronger emphasis on customer satisfaction.
Goodwill Group to sell scandal-hit Comsn
Goodwill Group Inc Chairman Masahiro Origuchi said he will sell nursing-care provider Comsn Inc. to an outside company, but he won't resign for the uproar caused by the original plan for the scandal-ridden subsidiary.
Origuchi, also the group's chief executive officer, told reporters Sunday he will comply with the welfare ministry's instructions not to transfer Comsn's operations to another group company.
Business & Industry
Report may lead to looser beef import rule
A report due out this week likely represents an initial step toward the government relaxing its stringent conditions on beef imports from the United States.
The expected report is by a team of specialists who checked US meat processing plants to ensure the facilities comply with two main conditions set by the Japanese government on beef destined for Japan.
Honda to discontinue hybrid Accord
Honda Motor plans to discontinue production of the gas-electric hybrid version of the Accord midsize sedan in North America, sources said.
The decision is in line with the automaker's policy to focus on fuel-efficient, low-emission diesel engines for midsize and larger models while installing hybrid systems on small vehicles.
Labour law: 'No giving in to corporate pressure'
China's top trade union body has warned that the country would not kowtow to pressure from foreign businesses to water down a new law designed to offer greater protection to hundreds of millions of workers.
Voting on the law is expected this month.
New measures to fight terror-financing
Rules on control of terrorism financing requiring banks to report any suspicious transactions to the financial authorities were released with immediate effect yesterday.
Any deal suspected of being related to terrorism shall be reported within 10 days to the China Anti-Money Laundering Monitoring and Analysis Centre, the special arm of the central bank for fighting money laundering.
Business & Industry
Wen orders investigation of algae crisis
Premier Wen Jiabao has demanded a thorough investigation of the Taihu Lake crisis, which has affected the drinking water supply of about 2m people.
Efforts to protect the lake from further pollution are also to be scrutinized.
5 officials found guilty over Taihu Lake
Five officials have been punished for their failure to stop companies from discharging untreated sewage into Taihu Lake, where a massive algae outbreak left the people of Wuxi without tap water for a week earlier this month.
The five officials from Yixing, a county under the jurisdiction of Wuxi, an industrial and tourism city in East China's Jiangsu Province, were either removed or demoted on charges of dereliction of duty for allowing the companies to discharge wastewater into the lake.
Premier advocates review of two controversial bills
Premier Chang Chun-hsiung stressed yesterday that the Cabinet's proposal to reconsider vetoing two controversial bills passed by the pan-blue legislators is aimed at protecting the rights of, and not to impugn farmers and fishermen.
Ma offers trade on budget bill
The opposition Kuomintang's presidential candidate yesterday promised to consult with KMT lawmakers and their colleagues from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party in order to facilitate the passage of the 2007 Central Government budget that has been pending for more than six months.
Business & Industry
Wall Street tumbles while Europe soars
US shares opened lower Monday amid lingering concerns over interest rates and inflation pressures.
The losses came after US shares lost momentum on Friday, with the Dow losing 1.78%.
New Zealand central bank ambushes high-flying kiwi
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has intervened in foreign exchange markets to stem the rise in the New Zealand dollar.
The bank caught markets by surprise despite the dollar soaring to heights not seen in more than thirty years. Catapulting the dollar higher has been the commensurate rise in official New Zealand interest rates which last week hit 8%, the highest in the western world.
Rivals sharpen knives in nomination race
The nomination race in the Grand National Party kicked off yesterday when its two leading presidential hopefuls registered their candidacy for primary elections.
Concerns of a party split have subsided as the law stipulates that once registering their candidacy, losing participants are banned from running in the presidential election.
State institutions fleeing national pension scheme
Government-affiliated institutes are walking away from the deficit-ridden National Pension Scheme in pursuit of higher returns and stable fund management. The reform of the national pension system has stalled in the face of political wrangling.
The Korea Development Institute, an autonomous economic policy think tank set up by the government in 1971, switched to the National Teachers' Pension plan in May.
Business & Industry
Joint drug marketing under antitrust probe
The local pharmaceutical industry's marketing tactics will come under scrutiny by the Fair Trade Commission, the watchdog said yesterday.
In particular, the industry's joint marketing strategies will be observed for possible illegal elements and it will draw up guidelines during the second half of the year.
Small firms spend more on entertainment
Small- and medium-sized enterprises in Korea tend to spend as much as six times more on entertainment than large companies, the Korea Information Service Line said yesterday.
The data also found unlisted companies and companies outside the Seoul metropolitan area spend more than listed companies and companies near Seoul.
Foreign LCCs hover over India
A price war in international air travel is imminent with several Asian low-cost carriers (LCCs) receiving or applying for permission to fly from their countries into India.
The airlines include Tiger Air (a joint venture between Temasek Holdings and Singapore Airlines), Thailand-based private carrier Nok Air, Indonesia’s Lion Air, United Arab Emirates’s Ras Al Khaima (RAK) Airlines, Malaysia’s Air Asia and Saudi Arabia’s Sama Airways.
Decent opening for DLF
Backed by big bids by foreign institutional investors, Delhi-headquartered DLF’s mega initial share sale got off to a decent start, receiving bids for 78% of the shares on offer on the opening day of the issue today.
Foreign investors bid for 120.01m shares out of the 104.4m shares reserved for qualified institutional buyers (QIBs), while domestic financial institutions submitted bids for 13.36m shares. The QIB portion was subscribed 1.28 times.
Economy & Policy
Regional carriers to have separate norms, says Patel
The government was planning to formulate a separate set of policies for regional airlines, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said today.
He said, “The government will formulate new norms for operators who want to secure permission to run regional airlines, “adding that existing scheduled carriers could not pitch for regional-airline status.
CAS rollout in 57 cities in 4 years
The roll-out of the Conditional Access System (CAS) will become mandatory in 57 cities in the country in a phased manner between January 2008 and March 2011.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) was giving final touches to its draft report on the matter, sources said, adding the report would be submitted to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) soon.
PCs worldwide to top 1bn by 2008
The number of personal computers in use worldwide will top 1bn by the end of 2008, and grow to 2bn by 2015, a market research firm predicted on Monday.
Forrester Research said its report expects an average annual growth rate of 12% in computers put in service between 2003 and 2015, with much of that coming from emerging markets and programs in place to reach previously untapped markets.
Apple to take on Microsoft with Web browser
Apple Inc will create a version of its Safari Internet browser for Windows, chief executive Steve Jobs said on Monday, challenging Microsoft Corp in its key stronghold of Web access software.
The move by Apple, which has expanded beyond its Macintosh computer core with iPod music players that work with Windows and the upcoming iPhone, could let the company control how the vast majority of people use the Web at a time when services and programs are increasingly becoming Internet-based.
Business & Industry
Hollywood balks at Apple online movie rentals
Apple Inc's plans to enter the nascent online movie rental business drew scepticism on Monday from Hollywood executives who questioned pricing, copy protection and the timing of a possible launch.
Sources inside and outside the major movie studios confirmed news reports that the maker of computers and iPods is considering online film rentals to complement digital movie downloads that are already sold at Apple's iTunes website.
New NYSE rule lets floor brokers access other markets
A rule change at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) will allow brokers on its trading floor to handle non-NYSE listed stocks, in a move meant to stem trading share losses to newer competitors.
The rule levels the playing field for floor brokers, who could not previously access liquidity in other venues, including the Nasdaq Stock Market, when executing trades. The proposal was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission last week and approved on Monday.
Iran steps up Asia profile
Oil-rich Iran Monday announced that it will help build five new refineries across Asia, three in Asean, with a total capacity of 1.1m barrels per day.
The huge project is part of Iran's continuing bid to bolster ties in the region.
National religion still on the table
The Constitution Drafting Assembly on Monday postponed debate of the controversial clause in the draft charter which could define Buddhism as the national religion.
It will be considered along with Article 78, which deals with national policies that also require the government to protect Buddhism and other religions and faiths and promote better understanding between people of different faiths.
Business & Industry
Egat to build $6bn nuclear plant
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) plans to spend baht (Bt) 204bn ($6bn), to build the country's first nuclear power plant. In a speech yesterday, Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand stressed the need for developing nuclear energy as an alternative power option. Building a nuclear power plant is necessary, he said, given the rising demand for electricity and limited fuel options for generating affordable electricity in the future.
Concierge service firm debuts
Rubbing shoulders with celebrities in the front row of an elite fashion show may be out of reach for many people. But with the launch in Thailand of the UK-based Quintessentially, a global concierge service, anything is possible.
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