Thailand sets health rules to tackle industrial dispute
(BANGKOK) Thailand on Tuesday approved regulations on health and environment assessments for industrial projects, a step towards allowing suspended operations to go ahead at the world’s eighth-biggest petrochemical hub.
Big drop in Indian students to Australia expected
(SYDNEY) Australia’s international student sector, the third largest export earner, is forecast to see a 20 per cent drop in Indian students in 2010, costing US$69.7 million, after a series of attacks on Indians students in 2009.
Passenger, freight demand up in Nov
(SINGAPORE) The steady year-on-year improvement in global air traffic accelerated in November, when passenger demand rose 2.1 per cent and freight demand an impressive 9.5 per cent.
MAHB flies high in a year of aviation losses
(MALAYSIA) With the global aviation sector expected to rack up 2009 losses running into billions of dollars, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is holding its own.
Tokyo agrees to funding for JAL
(TOKYO) Japan’s government will provide additional funding for Japan Airlines Corp until a turnaround plan is announced in mid-January aimed at preventing a collapse of Asia’s biggest carrier by sales.
Optimism in airport security makers premature
(BANGALORE) Investors’ optimism surrounding the shares of airport security systems makers could be premature as interest in the companies’ products after the Christmas Day plane scare is not expected to translate into immediate orders.
Netbook salvages laptop sales in ’09: DisplaySearch
IN the world of portable computers, small is the new big as sales of inexpensive featherweight netbook sales continue to sizzle at the expense of larger, more expensive machines.
Nokia’s row with Apple goes beyond iPhone
(NEW YORK) Nokia Corp is broadening a legal dispute it already has with Apple Inc over the iPhone, saying almost all of the company’s other products also violate the Finnish phone maker’s patents.
Google plans Android press event in Jan
(WASHINGTON) Google announced plans on Tuesday to hold a press event next month about its Android mobile phone operating system amid speculation that the Internet giant plans to release its own smartphone.
Docomo contemplates the evolution of cellphones
(TOKYO) In the Japan of 2020, a stressed-out salaryman may unwind from his hectic futuristic lifestyle by time-travelling back a few centuries and taking a virtual stroll through medieval Tokyo.
HKEx to accept accounts using China rules soon
(HONG KONG) Hong Kong’s pending acceptance of Chinese accounting standards will mark an important advance in Beijing’s drive to globalise its financial sector, but could also challenge international investors with reports prepared by an industry prone to scandal.
PetroChina wins approval to buy stake
(BEIJING) PetroChina Co won the approval of the Canadian government for its C$1.9 billion (S$2.55 billion) bid to buy a stake in two Alberta oil-sands projects, its biggest North American acquisition.
HK police on high alert as acid attacker still at large
(HONG KONG) As hundreds of thousands of people prepare to gather for New Year’s Eve, Hong Kong police are on high alert as fears grow that a mysterious acid attacker terrorising the city will strike again.
Chinese admiral floats idea of overseas naval bases
(BEIJING) A Chinese rear admiral has urged the nation to set up navy supply bases overseas in an interview posted on the Ministry of Defence website after China paid a ransom to free a ship held for nine weeks by Somali pirates.
SCMP cuts at least 30 editorial jobs
(HONG KONG) Hong Kong’s English-language daily the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Tuesday laid off more than 30 editorial staff as part of a restructuring exercise, sources said.
UIS directors defend fund’s structure
THE board of United International Securities (UIS) yesterday defended the merits of the fund’s closed-end structure and also dealt with other criticisms from shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) called last month by institutional shareholder Laxey Partners.
ChinaFlex suffers 64% plunge in full-year profit
CHINA Flexible Packaging Holdings saw net profit for its fiscal year ended Oct 31 plunge 64.3 per cent to 34.8 million yuan (S$7.2 million) as revenue slid 24 per cent to 728.8 million yuan.
Cost controls help lift Transview’s full-year earnings
TIGHTER cost controls helped offset a revenue decline and lifted Transview Holdings’s full-year net profit up 23 per cent to $1.42 million.
SingPost appoints CFO as deputy CEO
SINGAPORE Post (SingPost) has announced the appointment of Ng Hin Lee, its chief financial officer (CFO), as deputy group chief executive officer with effect from Monday.
YOUCAN Foods International warned that its business operations for the full year ending Dec 31, 2009, is unlikely to be profitable.
Z-Obee’s plan to dual-list shares back on track
Z-OBEE’s plan to dual-list its shares has been put back on track after a one-week limbo.
Toyota Tsusho to grow jatropha as alternative fuel
(TOKYO) Toyota Tsusho Corp, which bought a stake in Singapore-based seed researcher JOiL this year, plans to start growing jatropha next year as it bets that higher crop yields and oil prices will make the plant a profitable alternative fuel.
Deal-making recovers but rebound not near
(NEW YORK) Takeover advisers who cheered a surprise fourth-quarter surge in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) may still have years to wait for a return to 2007′s record deal-making.
Tokyo unveils 10-yr plan to expand economy
JAPANESE Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s four-month-old government yesterday unveiled its first long-term blueprint to underpin the expansion of the world’s second-largest economy.
Japan’s future credit rating depends on govt
(HONG KONG) The direction of Japan’s credit rating would largely depend on the government’s efforts to consolidate its finances in the medium term and cut its deficit, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service said yesterday.
Canadians more optimistic about economy
(OTTAWA) Canadians are the most optimistic about the country’s economic prospects since 2007, according to a poll by Nanos Research, adding to evidence that the economy is rebounding from its first recession since 1992.
Vietnam moves to boost stocks liquidity
(HANOI) Vietnam said yesterday it plans to boost stocks liquidity by loosening restrictions on the sale of equities next month.
Sun, sand, sea and solitude
ONE night in August, Debra Dawson and her boyfriend, Joe Sinagoga, were vacationing on Jonathan Island, a nearly 3-acre plot off the coast of Narragansett, Rhode Island. Their motorboat had broken down and they had no way of getting to the mainland for dinner. A crisis? Not at all.
Developers will gain from demand in 2010
(KUALA LUMPUR) Property developers will continue to emerge as key winners in 2010, driven by rising demand and improving economic outlook, according to an analyst at MIDF Research.
Midtown Manhattan office rents fell 33%
(NEW YORK) Midtown Manhattan office rents fell 33 per cent in 2009 as New York’s financial industry cut staff and relinquished space, commercial property broker FirstService Williams said in a report.
Spanish house prices fall 7% y-o-y in Q3
(MADRID) Spanish house prices fell 7 per cent in the third quarter compared to a year earlier after a record drop of 7.7 per cent in the April to June period, National Statistics Institute data showed yesterday.
India’s fiscal gap not sustainable: finance minister
(NEW DELHI) India’s budget deficit, forecast to balloon to a 16-year high this year, can’t be sustained for a long time, said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Jakarta to allow some projects in forests
(JAKARTA) Indonesia will allow some infrastructure projects deemed in the public interest such as toll roads and geothermal energy plants to operate in protected forests, the chief economics minister said yesterday.
Media Prima shows up on analysts’ radar
MEDIA Prima, Malaysia’s largest media conglomerate, has begun attracting the attention of analysts on the strength of an economic recovery and the group’s exposure to every facet of the media business.
Recovering economy gives Najib a boost
AN enduring Malaysian belief is that the names of the country’s premiers follow the letters of the last name of the first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.
Johor ports waiting for govt nod on plan to rationalise
(JOHOR BARU) Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) and Johor Port, both owned by MMC Corporation Bhd, is still waiting for the government’s decision on the plan to rationalise their operations.
Second-liners feature prominently
SECOND liners and penny stocks continued to soak up the bulk of the market’s window-dressing energies yesterday as blue chips took a back seat for most of the session.
GIC mulls change to how it defines global inflation
THE Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) is mulling over whether to include the inflation rates of countries such as China in its benchmark for target returns on investments, according to a recent interview published in the CommonWealth Magazine.
$50m boost for high-tech start-ups
THE National Research Foundation (NRF) is setting aside $50 million to nurture early-stage, high-tech start-up companies here to boost their chances of turning innovative ideas into commercial success.
MOTORISTS with parking coupons valid for 2009 are reminded that these cannot be used from tomorrow.
Green Lodge asking $135m for en bloc deal
GREEN Lodge at Toh Tuck Road has been put up for collective sale – the second residential site to be marketed en bloc in slightly more than a week.
Asian property firms expect to raise bonus, pay
MANY Asian real estate companies expect to pay higher year-end bonuses and wage increases, according to a survey sponsored by the Asian Public Real Estate Association.
Ngee Ann, Microsoft grooming infocomm sales, marketing grads
NGEE Ann Polytechnic said yesterday that it will collaborate with Microsoft Singapore to groom infocomm sales and marketing professionals (IS&Ms).
New ride in town
AIRPORT visitors can experience a ride on the Segway – a two wheeled, self balancing transportation device – at Terminal 3′s Segway Fun Ride @Changi.
CapitaLand spreads cheer, does good with e-cards
PROPERTY group CapitaLand has come up with a unique way to spread the festive cheer: it is donating $2 to a children’s charity in Singapore for every electronic greeting card (e- card) sent from its website.
Worst-performing US funds fail to recover after a decade
(BOSTON) US stock mutual funds with the biggest losses in the past 10 years, a list topped by Fidelity Growth Strategies and Vanguard US Growth, were crushed by the market sell-off at the start of the decade and never recovered.
Confirmed list for industrial land returns
(SINGAPORE) The government will bring back the confirmed list for industrial land sales in H1 next year, providing further evidence of an economy on the mend.
Asean-China FTA to rival world’s biggest
(JAKARTA) China and South-east Asia will establish the world’s biggest free trade area (FTA) on Friday, liberalising billions of dollars in goods and investments covering a market of 1.7 billion consumers.
A year of challenges – and opportunities
THE year 2009 has turned out better than feared.
Economists predict 2% GDP contraction for 2009
(SINGAPORE) Economists expect stronger year-on- year (yoy) growth for the final quarter of 2009, although a slump in biomedical output could trigger a quarterly contraction.
Parties galore as Singapore counts down to 2010
(SINGAPORE) Revellers looking to welcome 2010 in style have no shortage of countdown parties to attend tonight.
Getting public-private partnership right
(SINGAPORE) The 55,000-seat Olympic stadium with extendable tiers was billed as the largest ultra-lightweight tropical dome in the sporting world, with a sliding roof that lights up at night and doubles as a projection screen to create dramatic effects for night events.
PPPs’ suitability is highly situational: UK study
PUBLIC-PRIVATE partnerships – or what are commonly called private finance initiatives (PFI) in the United Kingdom – can deliver benefits but aren’t suitable at any price or in every circumstance.
THE government will bring back the confirmed list for industrial land sales in H1 2010
Turn climate accord into a binding treaty
A NEW Year resolution that world leaders must make is to set right the fiasco that bedevilled this month’s Copenhagen climate change conference and turn the broad political agreement reached there into a legally binding treaty by next December.
Scholar’s case resembles another 72 years ago
THE trial and imprisonment last week of Liu Xiaobo, a scholar and human rights activist, was eerily reminiscent of another trial 72 years ago, that of Shen Junru, a legal scholar who went on to become the first president of the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China.
The golden mean is nowhere to be found
A NEW year offers perennial hope of rebirth, and yet as 2010 draws nigh it is easier to discern a twilight – that of aggressive individualism and excess – rather than a new dawn.
Can emerging markets keep soaring?
THIS was a lost decade for the American stock market.
Obama’s real job: cleaner and group therapist
AS ONE of the most exhilarating – and yet depressing – years in the history of Washington comes to an end, many pundits are already writing the political obituary of the leading character in this chapter: Barack Obama is predicted to become a one-term president.
KEPPEL FELS, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine, has delivered West Vencedor, the sixth of seven Keppel FELS semi-submersible drilling tenders (SSDT) to Seadrill
US$ higher on year-end flows; yen weak
(NEW YORK) The dollar gained across the board yesterday, hitting its highest since late September against the Japanese yen as it benefited from year-end flows in thin trade and from the view that the US economy is on the road to recovery.
Options trading touches new high as stocks rally
(CHICAGO) Investors locking in gains from the biggest stocks rally in seven decades pushed options trading in the United States to a seventh straight annual record.
Saab says bid deadline dropped, to resume production
(AMSTERDAM) General Motors (GM) has dropped a Dec 31 deadline for bids for its Swedish car brand Saab, which will restart some production lines in January after a shutdown, Saab said yesterday.
High court rules against French carbon tax
(PARIS) French President Nicolas Sarkozy faced an embarrassing setback yesterday after the high court struck down a planned carbon tax to fight global warming, just days before it was to kick in.
GMAC said to be seeking third bailout of US$3-4b
(SAN FRANCISCO) GMAC Inc, the home and auto lender that counts the US government as the largest stakeholder, is discussing with the Obama administration a third bailout of US$3 billion to US$4 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.
Obama slams failure to avert foiled terror act
(HONOLULU) President Barack Obama lashed out at systemic intelligence failures, after learning a US security agency had prior information that might have averted the attempted attack on a US jet.
Aren’t we cute?
Ponzi schemes likely to spark tighter US checks
(WASHINGTON) The year of the Ponzi scheme will be followed by heightened regulation and more aggressive prosecutions, experts say, as US officials respond to past failures.