Seattle shooting ‘hero’ threw stools at gunman: policeWhen Ian Stawicki started shooting at a Seattle cafe in a spree rampage that would leave him and five others dead, one man stood up and tried to stop him by hurling coffeehouse stools at the gunman, police said on Thursday. A day after the shootings in the Cafe Racer, police said the actions of that man — whom they are not naming — ultimately saved three lives and were a bright spot in a violent series of events that ended when Stawicki shot himself in the head. Seattle Assistant
Police Chief Jim Pugel described the shooting, which was caught on video, as erupting seemingly without warning amid typical
mid-morning coffeehouse activity. “Some folks are reading, others are sipping coffee, they are jocular, they are exchanging
conversation, then the person comes in, looks around, sits down, you can see there’s some interaction between him and
the barista,” Pugel said.
Ex-Senator Edwards acquitted on campaign finance chargeFormer Senator John Edwards’ affair and child out of wedlock derailed a political rise that put him on the Democrats’ 2004 White House ticket, but the one-time trial lawyer held his head high on Thursday after a North Carolina jury delivered his most personal victory yet. Twelve jurors in the state Edwards represented in the US Senate from 1999 to 2005
acquitted him on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions given during his bid for the Democratic presidential nomi-
nation four years ago.
New Syria ‘mass killing’ reported ahead of UN meeting Activists have released a video which they say shows another mass killing of civilians by a pro-government militia in Syria — the third in a week. Thirteen factory workers were forced off a bus and executed by shabiha members in a village near Qusair, in the west of the country, they said. Correspondents say the video shows a group of bodies with hideous injuries. The UN Human Rights Council is due to meet in emergency session shortly to discuss the violence in Syria. It is expected to blame pro-government forces for last week’s massacre in Houla, in which more than 100 people died, including 49 children. On Thursday, a Syrian government investigation into the killings blamed armed rebel groups seeking to trigger foreign military intervention. The US permanent representative to the UN, Susan Rice, dismissed the finding as a ‘blatant lie’, for which there was no factual evidence.
Suu Kyi warns against “reckless optimism” on Burma reforms Burmese opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi has warned against “reckless optimism” over reforms in the country. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Bangkok, she said the process was not yet irreversible. The parliament of which she recently became a member was still far from democratic, she added. She also called on investors to meet the country’s needs, saying that job creation and training was vital for Burma’s young population. She added that when investment comes into the country, then it should not fuel corruption or inequality. ‘’I am here not to tell you what to do but to tell you what we need,’’ she said in her first major speech outside Burma for more than 20 years.
Australia’s low-paid workers will receive minimum wage rises of at least USD 17.10 a week from next month. Fair Work Australia (FWA) announced its annual wage decision, ruling workers were entitled to a 2.9 per cent increase. It will make the national minimum wage USD 606.40 a week or USD 15.96 an hour based on a 38 hour week. Justice Iain Ross said the rise would amount to USD 17.10 a week, or 45 cents an hour. The result is roughly in the middle of what businesses and unions had been demanding but was down on the USD 19.40 increase awarded by FWA last year. The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry had wanted a USD 9.40 increase
this year but the Australian Council of Trade Unions requested a USD 26 increase.
Billionaire Clive Palmer’s Coolum Resort is rolling out major staff cuts only months after he praised workers and awarded each of them a USD 500 bonus. The premier Sunshine Coast Resort on Thursday marked its first day free of ties with former manager Hyatt. An
expensive upgrade and brighter future is planned for the luxury tourism drawcard, but its previous workforce of 650 is being
drastically scaled back. Department sizes have been slashed and dozens of staff, some who have been with the property for more than two decades, made redundant. The Courier-Mail understands 20 of the 30 housekeeping positions will go, along with four of the six full-time gardeners, eight laundry workers and five of 10 hotel housemen.
Online shoppers face ‘severe’ penalties if they are caught taking advantage of loopholes to avoid paying tax on foreign goods. Overseas retailers are offering Australian buyers fake invoices so that purchases appear to cost less than the USD 1000 threshold in order to avoid paying GST and import duties. But under the customs act, shoppers face fines of up to USD 110,000 if they are caught undervaluing goods. “The penalties for making a false declaration to Customs can be severe,” a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said. Online shoppers who undervalue goods could also face fines equal to 20 per cent of the duty shortfall, the spokesperson said.
The central bank of Bangladesh is unlikely to extend the deadline for doubling the paid-up capital of the non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to a minimum one billion taka, officials said. The NBFIs will have to raise their paid-up capital to a minimum of one billion taka from the existing 500 million taka by June 30 this year. “There is no valid ground for extending the deadline,” said a
senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) , adding that the bank earlier asked the NBFIs to increase their capital and meet the required benchmark by issuing rights or bonus shares or floating initial public offerings.
The World Bank Group has served as a long-term partner to Bangladesh in developing the financial sector and strengthening the
capacity of the regulators and supervisor, World Bank (WB) Country Director Ellen Goldstein has said in Dhaka. “We hope to further support the government in its development efforts to improve the lives of millions of Bangladeshis,” the WB country director said while speaking at a presentation session on ‘Central Bank Strengthening Project (CBSP)’ held at the Bangladesh Bank. The bank is now implementing the CBSP, funded by the WB, aiming to improve regulatory formwork through establishing better governance.
China does not need massive fiscal stimulus to stabilise growth and calm investors fretting that the global economy may slip back into a similar crisis as 2008-2009, top policy advisers said on Wednesday. Even though China’s economic growth is
expected to ease this year to its weakest pace in 13 years, aggressive spending now could do longer-term harm, they said. “I don’t think we’re back in that kind of acute crisis phase,” Richard Boucher, deputy secretary general of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), told Reuters. Boucher’s is the latest voice to play down the need for a massive stimulus
programme of the sort unleashed by Beijing at the height of the global economic crisis.
China’s economy betrayed signs of a broadening slowdown as surveys of its vast factory sector showed momentum eased in May, signalling a deeper-than-forecast deterioration in demand at home and abroad and the likelihood of more policy easing. The official purchasing managers’ index — covering China’s biggest, mainly state-backed firms — fell more than expected to 50.4 in May, the weakest reading this year and down from April’s
13-month high, with output at its lowest since November 2011. The HSBC China manufacturing PMI, tracking smaller private sector firms, retreated to 48.4 from 49.3 in April — its
seventh straight month below the 50-mark that demarcates expansion from contraction — with the employment sub-index falling to 48.1, its lowest level since March, 2009.
Voters in the Republic of Ireland have approved the European Union (EU) fiscal pact, according to official results.
Just over 60 per cent of voters taking part in the referendum backed the controversial pact, which is aimed at enforcing budget
rules in the Euro Zone. Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Ireland had sent a "powerful signal" that it was committed to overcoming its economic challenges. Opinion polls had suggested a 'Yes' camp win. A 'No' vote would not have blocked the pact, but it would have barred Ireland from emergency EU funding when its bailout package expires in 2013.
Spain’s economy minister has dismissed talk of it seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as “senseless.” And the IMF denied that Spain had asked to discuss rescue loans. The IMF has contributed to bailouts of all the other Euro Zone nations, such as Greece, that needed help. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi described the current set-up of the Euro Zone as “unsustainable”. There were rumours that Spain had already gone to the IMF, after the Spanish deputy prime minister went to meet the IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “My desire is to not come out and deny these rumours because they are senseless,” Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Spanish television.
India’s manufacturing sector kept up its steady expansion in May, with fast-rising output evened out by slowing growth of domestic order books, a business survey showed on Friday. The HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, slipped marginally to 54.8 in May from 54.9 in April. It has stayed above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction, for a little over three years now. While the survey indicated growth in India’s dominant manufacturing sector remains moderate, there are still question marks about the underlying weakness in the wider economy.
Most of the factors that led to India’s growth slowdown have bottomed out, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a statement on Thursday, after the economy grew at its weakest pace in nine years in the March quarter. “Among the factors that have contributed to the slowdown are the tight monetary policy that led to a significant rise in interest costs and the weak global sentiments that affected growth in domestic private investment have bottomed out,” Mukherjee said. Annual economic growth slumped to 5.3 per cent in the March quarter as the manufacturing sector contracted and a fall in the rupee to a record low suggests the economy remains under pressure in the
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is in favour of relaxing the investment limit for foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in sovereign bonds, and also doing away with withholding tax, a key hindrance cited by dealers in expanding the debt market, according to a bank panel. The RBI’s working group released its draft report on Thursday outlining measures to boost liquidity in government securities and interest rate derivatives market. Withholding tax has been cited as a major roadblock for FII participation in local currency bond markets...elimination of
withholding tax will lead to long-term benefits for the financial market by improving market efficiency,” it said.
Japanese Finance Minister Jun Azumi said on Thursday a rise in the yen and falls in Tokyo share prices do not reflect economic fundamentals, and he is closely watching for excessive moves in the currency market. He told reporters: “They do not reflect Japanese economic fundamentals at all.” Asked about the yen’s rise, he said: “It’s a little speculative, and I will keep close watch to see if speculators’ moves become one-sided.” The dollar fell to a three and half month low below 78.86 yen as investors favoured the yen, the currency of the world’s largest creditor nation despite a mountain of debt. Japan’s Nikkei share average fell sharply in early trade, with exporters hurt by the yen’s strength and risk aversion heightened after Spain and Italy appeared increasingly unable to finance their own debt.
Japan’s Olympus Corp, hit by a USD 1.7 billion fraud scandal, plans to shed 2,500 workers and sell an equity stake to either Sony Corp or Panasonic Corp in a bid to bolster its finances, local media reported Wednesday. Olympus, the world’s leading maker of diagnostic endoscopes, is struggling to recover from an accounting fraud uncovered last year by its then CEO, Michael Woodford. It was forced to correct years of accounts, leaving its balance sheet badly weakened. The job losses, equal to about seven per cent of its total workforce, will come mainly from Olympus’ loss-making camera business and by consolidating its overseas plants, the Nikkei business daily said. They would be revealed on June 8, it added.
IT looks like the country’s top two banks, Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) and CIMB Group, can heave a sigh of relief as they will not be subject to Indonesia’s proposed new rules on bank ownership. Reuters reported that the Indonesian central bank planned to limit single ownership in its banks to 40 per cent, but only for new investments. “This new regulation will only hold for new initiatives, new investments... there will not be a retroactive regulation,” Halim Alamsyah, the central bank deputy governor responsible for banking supervision, told analysts on a conference call, the news wire said. This means that Maybank and CIMB get to keep their controlling stakes in their respective banks in that country.
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is not bidding for the Battersea power station in London but it has been approached by companies that have tendered for the property to offer financing, said an official. It was reported that EPF is poised to snatch the Battersea power station from London-based football club Chelsea FC with an offer worth 1.84 billion ringgit. According to the Financial Times, EPF is in late-stage negotiations with Ernst & Young and Knight Frank, which are running the sale. EPF Deputy Chief Executive Officer for investment, Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, told Business Times that it was looking for properties in London but not the Battersea power station.
In a sign of lost revenues, the cost of tax exemptions, largely given to the influential people of the country, has risen to 185.5 billion Pakistani rupees this financial year, which is higher than the amount the government expects to receive in foreign loans next
year for financing development projects.
According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011-12, the tax exemptions given in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (July-April 2011-12) were 5.9 per cent or 10.3 billion Pakistani rupees higher than the cost the country incurred last year. “Had there been no tax exemptions, the country would not have been required to surrender to tough conditions for seeking loans to finance development projects,” commented an analyst.
Of the four major crops in Pakistan, the two that saw increases in both yields and overall production levels were also the ones the government does not subsidise or support in any way: rice and cotton. The two subsidised ones — wheat and sugarcane — did rather badly. According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2012, agriculture grew at 3.1per cent during fiscal year 2012, compared to 2.4 per cent in the previous year. The fastest growing subset within agriculture was the livestock sector, which grew at four per cent this past year. Major crops — the big four mentioned above — grew at an overall rate of 3.1 per cent this year, compared to declining by 0.2 per cent last year. Minor crops actually declined by 1.3 per cent in 2012, compared to growth of 2.7 per cent last year.
Russia’s top lender Sberbank may sign a preliminary agreement to buy Turkey’s Denizbank on June 7 or 8, a source close to the deal negotiations told Reuters, furthering its expansion in emerging markets. “An agreement is planned to be signed June 7 or 8... It will be preliminary,” he said, adding that discussions on price would continue after the signing. He declined to give a price. Denizbank was not immediately available to comment. Dexia and Sberbank declined to comment. Sberbank, which controls around half of household deposits in Russia, started its international foray by snapping up VBI in February for 505 million euros, securing a foothold in emerging Europe. It named Turkey and Poland as its priority markets for further expansion, entering exclusive talks on a proposed takeover of Denizbank from bailed-out Franco-Belgian lender Dexia last week.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged moral support and new loans for Moscow’s ex-Soviet ally Belarus on Thursday in his first foreign visit since taking office. The European Union has tightened sanctions against Belarus and withdrew ambassadors from Minsk in February over human rights violations. Relations improved after jailed Opposition Leader Andrei Sannikov was released. “Russia and Belarus will coordinate efforts to counter attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the Union State and apply pressure through the introduction of
restrictive measures or sanctions,” Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said in a joint statement.
Almost a decade after Russia’s richest man was jailed after funding groups opposed to Vladimir Putin, a former top bank manager is chipping at the wall between politics and business in a renewed challenge to the
Russian president. With his Wharton Business School degree and expensive suits, Vladimir Ashurkov, 40, cuts an unlikely figure within
the rag-tag ranks of Russia’s political opposition. But his mission, far from the Moscow streets where protests against Vladimir Putin’s rule have revived, is quietly enlisting financial backing from the country’s business elite and young professionals for
the six-month-old movement.
Thailand’s unemployment rate in the first quarter of this year dropped to 0.73 per cent from 0.83 per cent year-on-year thanks to the post-flood recovery, a government-related think tank reported. The jobless in the 2012 first quarter rate stood at 0.73 per cent, equivalent to 285,000 unemployed persons countryside, Secretary-General Arkhom Termpittayapaisithm of the National Economic and Social Development Board announced on Monday, adding that the unemployment was considered at the low rate. Meanwhile, the employment rate rose 1.2 per cent, compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, because plants hit by last year’s mega flood have resumed operations since February.
Since entering the Thai market four years ago, Tata says it has sold more than 14,000 commercial vehicles here, which means its
after-sales service requires attention. Last year it sold 5,147 vehicles in Thailand, slightly lower than the 5,269 sold in 2010. “Within a span of four years of sales, Tata Motors has built a network of 49 3S centres. Our dealer expansion plans are in line with the growing customer base across Thailand. Achieving a high customer-satisfaction index is our
priority”, Tata Motors (Thailand) Chief Executive Officer Ajit Venkataraman said. “This year Tata Motors has some exciting vehicles for the Thai market, specifically targeting commercial users of pickup trucks. This will create more business opportunities for our dealers plus new choices for our customers. These offerings will further strengthen our position in the commercial vehicle segment,” he added.
At the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, pharmacists are using old-fashioned paper spreadsheets to track their stock of drugs in short supply — a task that takes several hours each day. Most of the hospital’s medicines — an estimated USD 100 million supply a year — are tracked by automated systems that allow for quick reorders when the supply runs low. But these automated systems, designed to help the hospital avoid purchases and storage costs of unused pills and vials, do not work if it is uncertain when the next batch of drugs will come in. A few hundred medicines make the list of drugs in short supply: anaesthetics, drugs for nausea and nutrition, infection treatments and
diarrhoea pills. A separate list has scarce cancer drugs for leukaemia or breast cancer. “Now we have to go through the pharmacy and count those drugs on a daily basis ... to make sure we don’t run out,” said Ed Szandzik, director of pharmacy services at the hospital for over a decade. The US economy grew at an annualised 1.9 per cent in the first three months of 2012, less than the 2.2 per cent first thought. The slower growth rate — which was in line with forecasts — followed a modest downward revision in consumer spending.
A rise in the growth in imports also accounted for the weaker outlook. The second official estimate of gross domestic product from
the Commerce Department also showed that after-tax corporate profits fell for the first time in three years. The department said that after-tax corporate profits fell by 4.1 per cent, the biggest fall since the last three months of 2008.