09 July 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Strength in numbers defines Abe's policy
Embattled Prime Minister Shinzo Abe isn't missing a single opportunity to add numbers to the coalition's heavy presence in the Upper House in the run-up to the election.
Although the coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and New Komeito has a solid majority in the upper chamber, Abe has sent clear signals that he is willing to welcome defectors from other parties with open arms.
As mergers and acquisitions transform the corporate landscape in Japan, so, too, is the world of corporate law undergoing a major makeover.
Law firms here are increasingly taking on a bigger presence to cope with the influx of cross-border and other deals that are being made.
Business & Industry
Softbank adds most users for 2nd time
Softbank Mobile Corp. topped the cellphone industry in net subscriber increase for the second consecutive month in June, the Telecommunications Carriers Association said Friday.
The new contracts minus cancellations came to 204,800, exceeding the 200,000 mark for the first time since April 2003, when the company was known as J-Phone Co.
Naha to serve as ANA's cargo hub
All Nippon Airwayswill use Naha as its hub for cargo operations with other Asian countries from 2009 to improve efficiency.
ANA said Thursday it will increase cargo-only aircraft from the current four to 10 and operate flights daily from domestic airports to Naha and from Naha to Asian airports.
No death threat to Chinese hostage in Niger
A Chinese company executive kidnapped in Niger's north region of Agadez Friday is now at the hand of Tuareg tribes and his life is not under threat, Chinese embassy in Niger said Saturday.
The hostage, identified as Zhang Guohua, was a deputy general manager of the Societe Des Mines D'Agelik, a uranium prospecting company floated in Niger by the China Nuclear Engineering & Construction (Group) Corporation.
Great Wall among new 7 world wonders
The Great Wall of China, Rome's Colosseum, India's Taj Mahal and three architectural marvels from Latin America were among the new seven wonders of the world chosen in a global poll released on Saturday.
Jordan's Petra was the seventh winner. Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid also made the cut.
Business & Industry
Yuan likely to be more flexible
The Chinese currency yuan will gradually become more flexible, Yi Gang, assistant Governor of the People's Bank of China said at a forum on Saturday.
China will improve the RMB exchange rate formation system, said the official, echoing a joint statement from the third EU-China Economic and Financial Dialogue held in Brussels on Wednesday.
M2 growth underestimates inflation pressure
China needs "decisive" measures to rein in excessive demand and control inflation pressures as its M2 growth has understated the speed of monetary expansion, according to the latest report by Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank.
Growth rate of M2, a broad measure of money supply, edged down to 17.1% in April 2007, while M3, which includes M2, deposits in non-bank financial institutions and securities issued by financial institutions, picked up to 19.2% year-on-year.
Hsieh to announce choice of running mate in August
Ruling Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh yesterday disclosed that he will select his 2008 presidential election running mate by the middle of August.
"I will announce whomever is selected as my running mate by 15 August and follow former Vice Premier Yeh Chu-lan's suggestion that I should choose my running mate based on the results of public opinion," Hsieh stressed during a live Web press conference.
THSRC refutes media claims saying trains risk derailment
The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. yesterday refuted media reports claiming the high-speed rail was dangerous and could derail between Tainan and Kaohsiung, stressing that the vibration of the high-speed trains passing through the section is normal.
The Hong Kong-based Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily, a picture-driven newspaper famous for its subjectively-written pieces and exaggerated headlines to attract readers, yesterday ran a report saying that high-speed trains traveling through Tainan and Kaohsiung had been found to be sway in an abnormal manner. The report said that confidential information acquired by the newspaper showed that tests found the THSRC trains' oscillations exceeded safety standards 210 times in June alone, with 80% of the oscillations occuring while the trains were between Tainan and Kaohsiung.
Business & Industry
Thai stocks shrug off political worries, hitting post-coup highs
Over the last year, Thailand has suffered a coup, deadly bomb blasts in Bangkok, and a bloody spike in violence in a long-running separatist insurgency.
But the stock market doesn't seem to care.
Talks on EADS seen to focus on power structure
Speculation is rife in the French press about the future shape of the management at aerospace giant EADS, ahead of a possible decision at a July 16 Franco-German summit to simplify its structure.
EADS is controlled by a pact of public and private French and German shareholders and jointly managed by French and German executives, a situation sometimes blamed for slow decision-making and ineffective management.
8th US Army staying in Korea
The US military has decided to retain its 8th Army headquarters on the peninsula even after South Korea takes over wartime operational control of its armed forces from the United States, a Seoul government source said yesterday.
The 8th Army has long been the symbol of US military commitment to South Korea, but expectations had been high recently that Washington will withdraw the unit from the peninsula in line with the US military's global-wide troop realignment plan.
Roh, Putin talk on Olympic bid
President Roh Moo-hyun congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin for winning the bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in a telephone call on Saturday.
Putin initiated the conversation by calling Roh, who was in Honolulu, Hawaii, for the final leg of his weeklong US and Guatemala tour. The president arrived in Seoul later in the day.
Business & Industry
US agriculture groups tell Congress to approve FTA with S. Korea
US food and agriculture groups were getting actively involved in supporting a free trade agreement with South Korea, telling their Congress that not approving the deal would be "devastating" to American farmers and ranchers, Yonhap News Agency reported.
In a joint letter dated 2 July, the 34 groups expressed the need to the legislature for the bilateral trade pact, commonly referred to as KORUS FTA.
Brokerage employees pocket fat paychecks
The bullish stock market is helping employees of brokerages pocket the highest pay among financial companies, with a worker receiving an average of won (w)68m ($74,000) a year, industry figures showed yesterday. Statistics also indicate female salaries lag far behind their male counterparts.
According to data filed with the Financial Supervisory Service, the average salary at the 10 largest brokerages by market cap stood at w68m, significantly higher than their peers in the commercial banking (w60m) and insurance (w48m) sectors.
EU duty-free buy rule irks retailers
A new rule by the European Union (EU) on duty-free purchases has raised strong protests from India’s duty-free retail owners.
The rule stipulates that travellers from only those airports that have gone through audit and security checks by the EU’s transport officials will be permitted to bring duty-free items they are carrying into Europe while on transit flights.
No more filing returns at post offices
The income tax department is planning to withdraw a facility introduced last year for filing tax returns at around 2,000 post offices, owing to incomplete and inaccurate returns. Nearly 350,000 returns were filed through post offices last year.
“Many returns did not even contain the permanent account number and circle name and had a branch code number instead of the bank’s MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) code,”said a revenue department official, confirming the move.
Economy & Policy
India may miss export target by $15bn
The country is likely to miss the export target of $160bn for 2007-08 by at least $15bn due to the strengthening rupee, an Assocham study has said.
The study, which dealt with the currencies of various countries, found that the rupee appreciated by 8.35% between January and June this year, second only to the 9.25% appreciation of the Brazilian real in the same period.
Taj win a worry for govt
The inclusion of the Taj Mahal in the new list of the seven wonders of the world has left the government worried about infrastructure requirements in Agra. The tourism ministry has scheduled a high-level meeting in the next couple of days to take stock.
Compiled by Swiss firm New7wonders Foundation, the Taj Mahal got votes from nearly 2m Indians. The government did not support the ‘vote for Taj’ campaign as it was a private initiative.
S'pore firms expected to post solid Q2 results
Analysts are expecting corporate Singapore to continue to turn in solid numbers in the coming second quarter reporting season, but a lot of the positives are already priced in and investors may actually see the good results as an opportunity to take some profits off the table.
Still, if there are going to be any positive surprises, it will be in the property, and possibly construction and banking sectors.
A Little S'pore being planned in Russia to promote tourism
A smaller version of Singapore may surface on the borders of Siberia, near the geographic centre of the Asian landmass, if a Russian state planner has his way.
A multi-billion dollar 'mini Singapore' set up in the special economic zone of Katun is being suggested by Andrey Alpatov, who recently led a Russian team on a visit here to study Singapore's tourist industry.
Business & Industry
SolarTec plans to build $100m plant in S'pore
Germany's SolarTec AG is firming up plans to gain a presence in Singapore, including the setting up of a $100m manufacturing plant and a listing via a reverse takeover on the local bourse.
The solar technology company is preparing to set up a production facility here to make thin-film solar modules - essentially glass panels coated with photo-voltaic (PV) cells that are about 1-2 microns thick and can produce electricity to power a building.
History in the skies as B787 Dreamliner takes wing
It is a new generation commercial aircraft designed for its times, unveiled to the world this morning at 6.30am Singapore time. It provides a glimpse into the future of flying.
With 80% of the plane comprising non-corroding materials, the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner heralds a new era in aviation, promising greater fuel economy, lower emissions, greater comfort and higher yield per passenger than any other aircraft in the sky today.
A Wonder-ful World
It's not just a Great Wall - China's marvel has been proclaimed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Angkor Wat of Cambodia did not make the cut.
The pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, were assured of retaining their status in addition to the new seven after indignant Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete.
Military intentions unclear
CNS generals have stopped their dithering and leapt into decisive action. It now seems they will never return to the barracks voluntarily.
After months of dithering, the generals under the Council for National Security (CNS) have become decisive, even methodical.
Business & Industry
Fly Now set to open retail outlets in Japan
After failing to gain a foothold in Singapore and Malaysia, At Bangkok Co, the distributor of the local fashion brand Fly Now, will open its first shop under its own brand in Japan next year.
According to chief executive Somchai Songwattana, three stand-alone Fly Now shops will open in Japan, starting early next year. Operated by authorised Japanese distributors, the stores will mostly sell leather goods.
Auditors and regulators at odds
Independent auditors represent a key line of defence for investors in any financial market by ensuring that financial statements comply with accounting principles and offer an accurate picture of a firm's financial position.
But what happens when the independent auditors and the securities regulators are in conflict?
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