13 July 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
Politicians and voters have different ideas about how to run the country
Major disparities have emerged between the policy priorities of Upper House election candidates and the concerns of ordinary voters, according to a survey by The Asahi Shimbun and the ?xml:namespace>
Asked to name the most important issue in the July 29 election, ruling Liberal Democratic Party candidates were split along three main lines: 31% chose social security, while 15% each picked education and regional development.
Survey: 10% of workers at small, medium-sized companies think about suicide
At least 10% of workers at small and medium-sized businesses in
The survey also showed that more than 25% of the respondents can be considered in a state of depression as a gloomy mood may be spreading over corporate society as a whole, experts warn.
Business & Industry
Seven-Eleven overtakes McDonald's in number of outlets around world
Seven-Eleven Japan Co on Wednesday said the convenience store giant has overtaken McDonald's Corp. as the world's largest chain operator in terms of outlet numbers.
Seven-Eleven was tops in the world as of March 31, when it was operating 32,208 outlets in 17 nations and regions around the world, the company said.
BEVERAGES: Beer consumption at lowest since '92
Shipments of beer and beer-like beverages with a lower malt content fell to their lowest level since 1992 in the six months through June, industry statistics showed Wednesday.
The nation's five major brewers shipped 226.29m cases of regular beer, happoshu low-malt beer and so-called third-beer products, down 1.9% from a year earlier.
Unit by unit,energy use improving
Energy consumption per unit of GDP last year fell for the first time since 2003, according to official figures - in a clear signal that conservation measures are beginning to pay off.
Despite 11.1% GDP growth last year, energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 1.33% for the whole year, compared to a 0.8% rise in the first half. Energy usage was 9.61 percent higher than in 2005.
Govt increases funds for flood relief
The government allocated a further CNY95m ($12.5m) yesterday to fund disaster-relief work in flood-hit
The government had already earmarked CNY232m on Wednesday for these areas.
Business & Industry
Boosting home demand key to curbing trade surplus
Expanding domestic demand is key to curbing
June FDI rises 21.91% to $6.63b
In May, actual FDI reached $4.90bn, up 8.65% compared with the same period last year, the ministry said. FDI rose 12.2% in the first half of this year to $31.9bn from a year earlier.
Major airport rail projects to start soon, bureau says
All major construction work on the Taoyuan Airport Rail Line will begin by mid-November, the Bureau of High Speed Rail said on Wednesday.
Bureau Director-General Pang Chia-hua said this included construction work on three overpass sections and two underground sections.
MEPs call for EU support for Taiwan
MEPs have backed calls for any future Chinese ‘threat’ to
Business & Industry
Strong gold price outlook
A jump of nearly 10% in average gold prices is expected this year.
A weaker dollar outlook, less aggressive sales by central banks and physical demand should boost investor interest according to analysts and traders around the world.
US dollar continues its downward spiral
The US dollar has weakened to a record low against the euro.
Growing fears surrounding the
KOSPI breaks 1,900 level
The current stock market rally is giving rise to widespread investment hype among average individual investors. The stock boom is making a number of market experts best-selling authors, causing brokerages to hold record numbers of corporate information and investment sessions, and raising the number of brokerage accounts to an unprecedented level.
The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index jumped more than 31.8% this year, rising to yet another new high yesterday. It closed at 1,909.75, breaching the 1,900 mark for the first time ever.
'Yongbyon shutdown should go smoothly'
Moves toward shutting down and sealing
"I expect (this) to move smoothly because we already have an agreement on how to go about it," International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said in a press conference. He added the process is "not complicated."
Business & Industry
Consumers burned by high gas prices
Unyielding to rising calls from civic groups and political circles to cut fuel taxes, senior government officials yesterday reconfirmed their steadfast position not to reduce them.
And while consumers have been hurting at the pump,
Manufacturing likely to be key issue for EU FTA
Opening up the manufacturing sector will likely be the main preoccupation of
The manufacturing sector would most likely be the source of contention rather than agriculture in the Korea-EU FTA talks, since European companies are very competitive in the areas of autos, chemicals, machinery and electronics, said Vice Commerce Minister Oh Young-ho during a meeting with business groups including the Federation of Korean Industries.
Sops unveiled for exporters
Partially meeting the demands of the commerce ministry, the finance ministry today announced a set of measures aimed at cushioning exporters from the impact of the strengthening rupee.
The package will cost the government Rs14bn ($347.6m), of which interest rate reductions on pre- and post-shipment credit will cost Rs8bn and higher duty drawback rates between Rs5bn and Rs6bn.
Essar Stelco bid shortlisted
Essar Global, the overseas investment arm of the Essar Group, has been shortlisted along with two other bidders for the acquisition of North American steel maker Stelco. The other two companies in the race are Metinvest of Ukraine and Russian steel maker OAO Severstal.
Sources close to the development said senior executives of these three companies recently visited the facilities of Stelco, which was put on the block last month. Going by its stock price, the acquisition of Stelco could cost over $700m
Economy & Policy
Kerala HC tells govt to follow law in Tata row
The Kerala High Court today said it was up to the government to take action strictly in accordance with the law against Tata Tea, to recover any land which was found to have been trespassed.
The order in this regard was issued by Justice K M Joseph while disposing a petition by Tata Tea, challenging the eviction notice issued by the government.
Manufacturing slows IIP growth to 11.1%
The impact of hardening interest rates showed in a significant deceleration in manufacturing growth — especially consumer durables — which saw overall industrial growth decline marginally to 11.1% in May 2007 from 11.7% in May 2006.
Accompanying this decline was a downward revision of the data for April by the Central Statistical Organisation from 13.6% to 12.3%.
IMF board agrees on process to select new head
“The nomination period will commence immediately and will close on 31 August 2007,” the board said in a statement, saying the successful candidate must have a record in economic policymaking and have managerial and diplomatic skills.
Core inflation best gauge of price gains: Fed’s Yellen
Ms Yellen, in response to questions following an address to a community leaders' lunch, acknowledged that consumers care about overall, or headline, inflation but added that effective monetary policy must concern itself with future risks to price stability.
Business & Industry
Developers passing more risk to market
The burden of financing such projects has fallen more heavily on the developers' shoulders with the growing popularity of deferred payment schemes.
OKP bags $40m Jurong civil works contract
A S$40m ($26.3m) civil works contract announced yesterday for new petrochemicals storage on Jurong Island - which BT understands is for ExxonMobil - has sent yet another strong signal that the world's largest oil company will give the investment go-ahead very soon for a second multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex here.
Sesdaq-listed OKP Holdings said it had clinched the contract for civil works, including roads, drainage and underground electrical facilities, for “new polymer storage” for a petrochemical project on the island, but did not name the client.
Pizza and pasta prove popular with Thais. 'Easy-going' Italian food is now one of the capital city's favourite foreign cuisines.
With Italian restaurants on almost every corner in
No middle road: Charter or chaos
People should accept the draft constitution or face the protracted political unrest that would otherwise follow, Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Prasong Soonsiri said on Thursday.
Rejecting the draft charter at the Aug 19 referendum would allow the Council for National Security (CNS) to pick any one of the past constitutions and promulgate it, he said.
Business & Industry
Thaksin is eliminated from Forbes
Chaleo Yoovidhya, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi and Dhanin Chearavanont are the only dollar billionaires in
Four billion in inflows to SET propel Thai baht to new heights
Capital inflows of $4bn into the stock market since the beginning of the year have been the main factor driving the baht's rapid rise, according to the Bank of Thailand. But pressure on the currency should ease in the second half as business sentiment improves, resulting in higher private investment and imports of capital goods, according to central bank governor Tarisa Watanagase.
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