17 July 2007 02:00 [Source: ICIS news]
Asahi Shimbun, Japan (online edition) ?xml:namespace>
2 die, 250 hurt in quake
An earthquake Monday jolted Niigata and Nagano prefectures, killing at least two people, injuring more than 250 and causing emergency shutdowns of nuclear reactors.
The 10:13 a.m. quake registered upper 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7, Japan Meteorological Agency officials said.
To put it mildly, Hiroko Uehara is the radical new face of the Social Democratic Party, a political entity that governed the nation in the mid-1990s only to fall into obscurity.
Uehara, 58, is a former mayor of Kunitachi, western Tokyo, who, to the chagrin of party old-timers, has vowed to overhaul the party into one that is more in tune with the times.
Business & Industry
U.S. firm seeks stake in cellphone market
A U.S. telecommunications start-up has agreed to acquire IP Mobile Corp. in a bid to become the first foreign cellphone carrier in Japan after Britain's Vodafone Group Plc pulled out last year.
NextWave Wireless Inc., a wireless technology and equipment provider, said Friday it will purchase the 69.23% equity stake in the struggling IP Mobile that Mori Trustbought in April.
KDDI glitch leaves users with huge bills
A computer glitch at KDDI Corp. resulted in the mobile phone operator sending bills to subscribers in arrears for amounts 10 to 100 times what they actually owed.
The glitch occurred when a decimal was dropped in past-due notices.
95 officials punished for brickwork slavery
China has punished dozens of officials for allowing slave-like exploitation of workers and children in brick kilns, but announced criminal investigations against only six.
Reports that hundreds of farmers, teenagers and some children had been forced or lured to work in kilns and mines in the northern province of Shanxi sparked nationwide outrage last month.
New genetic clue to Type 1 diabetes
A faulty gene on Chromosome 16 boosts the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes, according to the latest probe into the causes of this disease.
Three variants of a gene called KIAA0350 were spotted as risk factors in a genetic profiling of 563 patients with Type 1 diabetes, which were compared to 1,146 healthy people, says the study, published online Sunday by Nature.
Business & Industry
Rising food prices upset consumers
A recent survey of 2,538 people in 29 Chinese provinces suggests that the rise in food prices has had a negative impact on people, although some report higher income from wages and financial investments.
The survey, jointly conducted by the China Youth Daily and Qtick.com, asked about food price concerns, and discovered that 90.9% of respondents agreed they had been affected by the rising prices. 78% claimed that the rise has impacted their consumption interests negatively.
CSRC OKs China Futures buyout by China Securities
The Chinese securities regulator on 10 July gave the go-ahead to the country's first futures company wholly owned by a securities firm, China Business News reported on Monday.
China Futures has raised its registered capital to yuan (CNY)150m ($19.7m) from the current CNY 34.88m, and been approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Securities.
Convicts re-enter society in nationwide amnesty
The nationwide amnesty began smoothly yesterday, with nearly 9,980 prisoners released, according to the Ministry of Justice - over 85 less than the same office on Sunday announced it planned to release.
The number of prisoners released yesterday was fewer than expected as judges have not yet approved the release of some prisoners, explained the MOJ, which had originally expected to discharge over 11,000 prisoners.
Wang mum on Chen's judicial nominees
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng yesterday would not corroborate the media report that Justice Lai In-Jaw of the Constitutional Court and Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Fan Kuang-chun had been dubbed by President Chen Shui-bian for the respective positions of "the next Judicial Yuan president and vice president."
Business & Industry
Enders takes reins at Airbus; Gallois tapped to head EADS
EADS, the parent of troubled planemaker Airbus, is abandoning its twin-chief executive structure, with France's Louis Gallois taking the company reins. The leaders of France and Germany said the deal marked a big day for both firms.
Shareholders agreed that German Ruediger Grube is to be the sole EADS chairman, the company said. German Thomas Enders takes over Gallois' former role as chief executive of Airbus, stepping down as co-CEO of EADS.
Ford denies it's in talks to sell Volvo unit
Ford Motor, responding to reports that it is putting its Volvo unit up for sale, said it is not negotiating with anyone to sell the Swedish automaker.
The Sunday Times, citing unnamed sources in London, said the decision to sell Volvo, which is part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, was made in the past two weeks, but that the timing of the sale had yet to be decided.
Shutdown a good start
Visiting top U.S. nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill in Seoul said yesterday North Korea's completed shutdown of main nuclear reactors was a "good start" but warned against overestimating the progress of the six-party talks.
The chief nuclear negotiators from the six countries are to gather today in Beijing, the host to the six-party talks. They include Hill of the United States, Chun Yung-woo of South Korea, Kim Kye-gwan of North Korea, Wu Dawei of China, Kenichiro Sasae of Japan and Alexander Losyukov of Russia. It is their first meeting in four months.
Reverse mortgage gets warm response
Reverse mortgage schemes, which were introduced last week amid both optimism and skepticism, are receiving a warm response from senior homeowners, the Korea Housing Finance Corp. said yesterday.
The state-owned firm, which is in charge of the product development and sale of the mortgage products, received about 1,280 loan inquiries from prospective borrowers during the two days after the launch.
Business & Industry
Yuan may trade freely after Olympics: UOB
China may allow the yuan to trade freely after Beijing hosts the Olympics next year, seeking to curb excessive lending and cool the economy, said Suan Teck Kin, an economist at United Overseas Bank Ltd.
The government will probably allow a so-called free-floating currency a year after reshuffling its leadership in October, Singapore-based Suan said in an interview. He predicts the currency will strengthen 1.8% by the end of the year to 7.43 per dollar and 6.9% to 7.08 by the end of 2008.
POSCO's quarterly profit surges
POSCO posted a net profit of won (W)1,100bn ($1.2bn) on sales of W5,800bn in the second quarter of the year, the company said yesterday.
Although the company's second-quarter total sales increased by a relatively small 2% from the previous quarter, the steel giant's quarterly net profit shot up by 13.3 percent, or W131bn.
BSNL gives in to Raja, halves GSM tender
The board of state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam(BSNL) is learnt to have halved its 45.5m line GSM order and decided to renegotiate the price with Ericsson and Nokia — the two equipment manufacturers who had earlier qualified for the order based on their price bids.
RCom acquires US major for $300m
In its biggest acquisition deal so far, Reliance Communications (RCom) announced it had bought US data communications company Yipes Holdings in an all-cash deal for Indian rupee (Rs)12bn ($300m).
The company was acquired from venture capital firms Norwest Venture Partners, controlled by Promod Haque, Crosslink Capital and Sprout Group, and private equity firm JP Morgan Partners.
Economy & Policy
India tops consumer confidence index
Consumer confidence is softening across the world but Indians remain the most upbeat.
That is the finding of the ACNielsen Consumer Confidence and Opinions Survey for the first half of 2007, the results of which have been made available exclusively to Business Standard and published in The Strategist, the weekly management and marketing section, today.
Centre clears Mumbai Port`s container terminal project
The Public Investment Board (PIB), the investment appraisal agency of the Indian government, has cleared Mumbai Port Trust’s (MbPT) Rs15bn offshore container terminal project, which was delayed for more than two years owing to security clearances.
Mumbai Port is expected to issue a letter of intent shortly to Gammon India-led consortium, which won the mandate for setting up the container terminal through a bidding process.
Home-buyers get reality check with new URA data
THE Urban Redevlopment Authority (URA)has released previously unavailable data from property developers to give home-buyers a keener sense of prevailing prices.
It has also said that it will continue to provide such data every month - till further notice. The statistics will include the lowest, highest and median prices of units sold during the month for uncompleted private residential projects.
Under study - storing oil out at sea
A VERY large platform, floating on the sea, may serve to store oil and take the pressure off Jurong Island's limited land space.
Such floating platforms - if they do find their place in the sun - would also maximise the use of Singapore's water frontage.
Business & Industry
70% of HDB resale deals in Q2 go above valuation
The Housing & Development Board (HDB) yesterday released data showing that 70% of resale deals in Q2 were above valuation with the average cash-over-valuation (COV) amount being about $10,100.
The biggest COV premium was recorded in the central region, with an average figure of $20,900. Within this region - which includes the hot Bukit Merah and Marine Parade areas which recently saw record prices being achieved - five-room flats posted the biggest premium - an average of $33,600.
Asian banks' customer relationship managers are hot
Almost every customer relationship manager (CRM) working for a bank in Asia has been approached at least once in the past year about switching to another private bank, a new survey shows.
The Asian private banking survey conducted by tax and advisory services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) shows that there were poaching attempts made to some 93% of these CRMs in the past 12 months.
NGO split over draft charter
Divisions appear to have emerged among non-governmental organisations which have taken different positions on the draft constitution, to be put to a vote in a referendum set for 19 Aug. The network of activists led by the People's Assembly for Political Reform (PAPR) has thrown its weight behind the draft charter and pledged to endorse it on the condition that amendments are made to certain clauses that it says would obstruct political reform.
Private sector offers baht plan
tripartite private-sector committee from the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Thai Bankers' Association has recommended seven short-term measures for the government to implement to ease the impact of the baht surge.
Speaking after the meeting Monday, TBA chairman Apisak Tantivorawong, committee chairman, said the participants estimated the impact of the sharp baht appreciation and proposed measures for the government to ease them.
Business & Industry
SET's market capitalisation heading for seven trillion baht
The market capitalisation of the Stock Exchange of Thailand is likely to break baht (Bt)7,000bn ($232.17m) by the end of the year, or Bt1,000bn higher than initially targeted, according to president Patareeya Benjapolchai.
The SET, which has risen 26.4% since January, currently has a market capitalisation of Bt6,620bn.
'Body of persons' loophole may be closed
The Revenue Department is considering amending the current tax law to close a loophole increasingly used by individuals seeking to minimise their tax liability from business activities.
Satit Rungkasiri, a deputy director-general of the department, said officials were increasingly concerned that individuals were establishing special entities known as ''body of persons'' to evade tax liability.
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