Mitt Romney vows to restore America’s promise Mitt Romney has pledged to restore the promise of America, as he accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Florida. Romney accused President Barack Obama of failing to deliver on his promises and presented his plan involving energy independence, cutting the budget deficit and creating jobs. He also spoke of his Mormon faith. The Obama campaign said Romney had no tangible ideas and would take the country backwards. Romney will challenge the Democratic president in November’s election. His speech was the climax of the three-day Republican convention, which correspondents saw as an attempt to show the human side of a candidate who is sometimes accused of being opaque and distant.
US man admits attempting to spy for ChinaA US man who worked as a guard at a US Consulate in China has pleaded guilty to trying to sell secret information to the Chinese government. Bryan Underwood, 32, worked at the Consulate in the southern city of Guangzhou between 2009 and 2011. He was accused of writing to China’s ministry of state security, offering to provide photographs and details of security arrangements. Prosecutors said Underwood had lost money on the stock market. They said he hoped to make as much as USD five
million from the sale. He will be sentenced in November and faces up to 20 years in prison. “Bryan Underwood was charged with
protecting a new US consulate compound against foreign espionage but, facing financial hardship, he attempted to betray his country for personal gain,” US Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Lisa Monaco said in a statement.
Fordo capacity doubled: IAEAThe International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, says Iran has doubled production capacity at the Fordo nuclear site. The latest IAEA quarterly report also said Iran had significantly hampered the agency’s ability to inspect the Parchin military site. Iran has produced 189 kg of higher-grade enriched uranium since 2010, it added. Iran denies its nuclear
programme has any military aspect. The number of enrichment centrifuges at Fordo, at a facility buried deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom, had more than doubled to 2,140 from 1,064 in May, the IAEA said.
However, the new machines were not yet operating, it said.
Difficult demand for refugee camps in Syria vexes UN The UN Security Council has discussed a request by Turkey to create refugee camps inside Syria. Turkey’s foreign minister told the council to act without delay, but the UN deputy head said the issue raised serious questions. The opposition Syrian National Council has again demanded a no-fly zone. Earlier, Egypt’s president prompted a walkout by Syrian
delegates at a summit in Tehran, when he called Syria an oppress-ive regime without legitimacy. Fighting continued in Syria on Thursday, with rebels saying they had shot down an air force fighter jet in the north-western province of Idlib. Activists said govern-
ment forces had responded with shelling in the province, killing 20 people, including eight children.
Harvey Norman continues to feel the retail pain, announcing profit has dropped by close to a third. Net profit fell to USD 172.5
million from USD 252.3 million in the year to June, driven down by less counting of electronic goods, low consumer spending and customers migrating to online shopping. Chairman Gerry Harvey said the result was very disappointing. “Retail categories,
specifically the television and some tech-nology categories, have been under enormous pressure with price and margin deflation,’’ he said. Harvey said the liquidation of WOW Sight and Sound, the closure of numerous retravision stores and the restructure of the Dick Smith brand created a glut of product being sold at never before seen prices. Harvey said the company’s bricks and mortar stores gave it a competitive advantage over pure online retailers.
Andrew Forrest looks set continue taking advantage of the low share price of the mining company he founded after spending nearly USD 39 million in two days. The Fortescue Metals Group chairman said he would continue to accumulate shares in the company but would not say how much he would buy or when. “I think it’s a great investment. It will be going for many, many decades,” he told reporters in Perth. Forrest bought five million shares for USD 20.1 million at an average price of USD 4.02. He spent another USD 18.5 million buying the same amount of shares at USD 3.70, in what is being seen as an attempt to prop up confidence.
Expressing deep concern over the misappropriation of huge amount of money from a bank, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has demanded taking stern legal action against those businessmen and officials involved in the financial scam. The country’s apex trade body, in a statement, said it supports taking tough legal measures against those businessmen, industrialists and officials involved in taking and giving loans in the name of Hallmark Group through corruption.
“Misappropriation of money and corruption in any commercial bank or financial institution could never be acceptable because such
mismanagement may reduce the availability of credit for genuine businessmen and entrepreneurs, which would ultimately affect the overall production,” the FBCCI said.
The export of readymade garment (RMG) is expected to get a boost to Brazil as the Latin American country is emerging as a prospective market for Bangladeshi apparels. Acting President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) M Siddiqur Rahman held a meeting with newly appointed Ambassador of Bangladesh to Brazil M Shameem Ahsan at the BGMEA office. During the meeting, they discussed issues relating to the RMG market expansion in Brazil. Siddiqur informed the high commissioner about the barriers to having access to Brazilian market, especially tariff and non-tariff barriers, and sought due role in removing them. He said the BGMEA has been working hard to expand Bangladesh’s RMG market in the Latin America.
China signed an agreement with Germany for 50 Airbus planes worth over USD four billion during Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Beijing on Thursday, the first significant order since a dispute between Beijing and Europe over emissions trading. The dispute between China and the European Union has frozen earlier deals worth up to USD 14 billion. China’s ICBC Leasing and Airbus, whose
parent company is Franco-German-led aerospace group EADS, signed the deal for 50 Airbus A320-family planes and another agreement about Airbus plane assembling in China, state news agency Xinhua said. Xinhua put the value of the deal at USD 3.5 billion but at published list prices, it could be worth USD 4.6 billion, according to a breakdown of models supplied by Airbus.
China’s Communist Party is considering downgrading the role of domestic security chief as part of a move to new and smaller top elite, reflecting fears that the position has become too powerful, sources said. Reducing the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, the inner council at the apex of power, from nine to seven members would come as part of a once-in-a-decade leadership change expected in the next few weeks or months. China’s Domestic Security Chief, Zhou Yongkang, faces defeat if his successor does not follow his example, and that of recent predecessors, and win a place at the top table. Before he was tainted in a succession of scandals that hurt the Communist Party this year, Zhou expanded his role into one of the most powerful and controversial, fiefdoms in the one-party government.
Barclays named Retail Banker Antony Jenkins as chief executive on Thursday, signalling a shift from riskier investment banking as it tries to recover from the interest rate-rigging scandal that brought down his predecessor. Criticised by regulators for an aggressive culture under limelight-loving American Bob Diamond, Barclays must now decide how far to curb the investment bank he built and which generates most of the British bank’s profits. His soft-spoken manner contrasting with the brash Diamond’s, Jenkins said Barclays had made mistakes and had to change to get beyond them. “Getting there will require nothing short of the transformation of how we operate the business,” he said.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, plans to give the European Central Bank (ECB) oversight of all banks in the Euro Zone, German paper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported, citing EU Commissioner Michel Barnier. Under the plans, the ECB will oversee all banks that have tapped the European Stability Mechanism from January next year, all banks relevant to the financial system from July and all remaining banks from 2014, Barnier told the paper in an interview. Countries outside the Euro Zone can subject their banks to the oversight of the ECB voluntarily, said the commissioner, according to Sueddeutsche. The plans are in line with demands from the Austrian financial regulator, who said on Thursday that the ECB should take charge not only of banks considered vital for the banking system.
Despite a palpable slowdown in the eating out industry across the globe, India has emerged as the fastest growing market for Domino’s, outpacing US, which is the largest market for the pizza chain major across 73 countries where it has presence. India recorded an annual growth rate of nearly 50 per cent for Domino’s for the fifth consecutive year. “India has been performing fabulously for us. We’re seeing some pressure in Western Europe especially, where it has been a very tough economic year for us,” Domino’s Executive Vice President (international), Richard E Allison Jr said. India, which accounts for five per cent of Domino’s global sales, is among the top five markets for the US-based company. In terms of store counts too, India has registered the highest growth among all other markets.
Banks have about IRs 24.81 billion as unclaimed deposits and the government has proposed to credit unclaimed funds of more than 10 years to a new fund. “Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has informed that as of December 31, 2011, total amount of around IRs 24.81 billion in 11.25 million accounts is lying as unclaimed deposits with the commercial banks,” Minister of State for Finance, Namo Narain Meena, informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply. The minister said total amount of unclaimed deposits remains with respective banks, which deploy the same for their general business, like any other deposits. The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, has been introduced in the Lok Sabha, wherein a new section relating to formation of a ‘Depositor Education and Awareness Fund’ has been inserted.
Japan’s industrial output unexpectedly fell as factories cut output to key Chinese and European markets while a leading indicator for manufacturing hovered at its lowest in 16 months, in a troubling sign that Japan’s broad economy is weakening. Industrial output dropped 1.2 per cent in July compared with a median estimate for a 1.7 per cent increase in a Reuters poll and followed a 0.4 per cent gain in June. In a further sign of trouble ahead, the purchasing managers index for August showed manufacturing activity contracted for a third straight month as domestic and external demand suffer.
Investors dumped Sharp Corp shares as the abrupt departure of Hon Hai Precision Industry’s chairman from Japan fuelled
uncertainty over a tie-up expected to help secure the long-term viability of the Japanese LCD TV panel maker. Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou, who was visiting the liquid crystal display plant in western Japan that he owns jointly with Sharp, skipped a planned media briefing at the factory on Thursday and returned to Taiwan. The unexpected departure scotched expectations that an agreement for Hon Hai to buy a 9.9 per cent stake in Sharp would emerge on Friday. “Investors are just very uncertain, it’s very opaque,” said Kenichi Hirano, operating officer at Tachibana Securities.
Japan will meet its target of halving the primary budget deficit in fiscal 2015 due to a spending cap and a sales tax increase but will have to tighten fiscal policy further to eliminate the deficit in fiscal 2020, the Cabinet Office said on Friday. The ratio of the primary budget deficit to gross domestic product will reach 3.2 per cent in fiscal 2015, which is half of the level estimated for fiscal 2010, according to the Cabinet Office. Unless the government takes new policy steps, this ratio will fall to 2.8 per cent in fiscal 2020, short of the goal of a primary surplus. New borrowing would also rise to 52.5 trillion yen (USD 668.4 billion) in fiscal 2020, highlighting the need for stronger measures to improve public finances.
Domestic private consumption is anti-cipated to chart healthy growth due to favourable labour-market conditions, aided by a slew of government initiatives and handouts, RAM Holdings said. “The Malaysian economy expanded at a faster-than-ant-icipated pace of 5.1 per cent in the first half of this year, thanks to its robust domestic demand growth despite significant external headwinds,” said the credit rating agency. RAM said that private investment was expected to expand further driven by the economic transformation programme and accommodative interest rates. However it warned that if global economic conditions continued to deteriorate, heightened risk aversion could depress domestic demand in the future.
Bank Negara is projecting foreign currency inflows amounting to 12.88 billion ringgit or USD 4.12 billion in the next 12 months due to interest income and the drawdown of project loans. The central bank said in a statement that in the next 12 months, the pre-
determined short-term outflows of foreign currency loans would amount to 1.07 billion ringgit arising from scheduled repayments of external borrowings by the government. “The detailed breakdown of international reserves provides forward-looking information on the size, composition and usability of reserves and other foreign currency assets, and the expected and potential future inflows and
outflows of foreign exchange of the federal government and Bank Negara over the next 12-month period,” the statement said.
Stock market analysts have shown optimism that huge portfolio investment from India to Pakistan will follow the recent easing of investment restrictions that have hindered the cross-border movement of capital for decades. India allowed Pakistani citizens and companies incorporated in the country to make investments in India in all sectors other than defence, space and atomic energy in the beginning of August. This announcement was followed by the reduction of items in the sensitive trade list by almost one-third,
besides the grant of permission to Pakistanis to buy shares in Indian companies. “There’s likely to be more inflow into, rather than
outflow from, Pakistan with regard to the recent developments. India’s stock market is expensive while Pakistan’s is fairly cheap,” says Muzzamil Aslam, managing director of Emerging Economics Research.
The Sindh government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Wikov Wind — a Czech company — for the generation of 50 megawatts (MW) of electricity through the wind corridor in Gharo Jhimpir, Thatta. The MoU was inked by Sindh Board of Investment Director General Muhammad Riazuddin and WIKOVWIND Company Head Martin Wichterle in the presence of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah and Sindh Minister for Information Sharjeel Enam Memon, among others. A delegation of investors from the Czech Republic also witnessed the ceremony. Minister for Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, while giving out the details of the MoU, said that the Sindh government will execute the project and arrange the funds, while the Czech company will provide required material, machinery and technology.
The Hotel Metropol, a Moscow landmark with a past as varied as Russia’s turbulent 20th century and a guest list ranging from
revolutionaries to foreign presidents, was sold into private hands. The five-storey Art Nouveau jewel, built by an industrialist and art patron at the turn of the 20th century, sits just off Red Square, opposite the Bolshoi Theatre. Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin gave speeches there and the officials who lived and worked in the hotel after the Russian Revolution of 1917 included Nikolai Bukharin, who was later shot after a show trial. The Soviet Union’s first constitution and the words of its national anthem were written in the building, according to its website.
The chairman of Morgan Stanley’s Russian office, a former Rosneft executive, whose team led the top Russian oil producer’s 2007 initial public offer and its president are stepping down, a spokesman for the bank said on Thursday. Rair Simonyan, who served as president of the bank for around a decade before becoming chairman, and Yelena Titova, the bank’s current president, will leave the bank, Spokesman Vladimir Tumarkin said, without specifying their future plans.
Simonyan, who is seen by analysts as close to Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin, is an academic who spent his early career at Moscow’s prestigious Institute of the World Economy and International Relations.
The dispute over who will handle the dyke construction at Ayutthaya’s Saha Rattana Nakorn Industrial Estate has been settled, with the financially troubled estate agreeing to withdraw its dyke construction team. This will allow the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) to bring in an army team to handle the construction. The two parties, which met with Industry Minister M R Pongsvas Svasti as the negotiator, will withdraw complaints filed in court against one another. “This will finally end the dispute over who should be in charge of construction,” said Pongsvas. The initial plan called for soldiers to help construct a six-kilometre earthen dyke costing 30 million baht, but once the construction cost was increased earlier this month to 48 million baht and the IEAT delayed construction, Saha Rattana proposed handling the construction on their own.
Somchai Cheewasutthanon, former CEO of Matching Studio, the country’s largest production house, has started his own
business. Somchai, also known as Tee Matching, a co-founder of listed Matching Studio almost 20 years ago, left the company in July due to differences with major shareholder BBTV Production, an operator of Channel 7. BBTV Production currently holds a 68.48 per cent stake in Matching. Although Somchai has left, he still holds a 4.66 per cent stake in the company. Somchai has set up a new company called Tee Entertainment, which focuses on four business lines — food and beverage, entertainment, media, and real estate. Around three months ago, the comp-any started its first project by introducing a specialty drinks brand from Hong Kong called Happy Lemon to the Thai market. “We want to create a business that serves the coming Asean Economic Community and we believe that a food and beverage business has a
great potential,” he said.
When Federal Reserve policymakers meet next month to decide whether to take action to boost the economy, it will be a close call, a top Fed official said on the eve of a speech by Chairman Ben Bernanke that has global markets on tenterhooks. Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart, a centrist voter on US monetary policy, said further stimulus would have some positive effect on the US economic recovery, but cautioned that the costs of such action are not altogether clear. “If we were to see deterioration from this point — let’s say persistence of job growth numbers that were well below 100,000 a month, or if we were to see signs of dis-inflation that could signal the onset of
deflation — then there wouldn’t be much of a question about policy,” Lockhart told CNBC.
Royal Dutch Shell will be allowed to begin some limited drilling in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea, the US government said on Thursday, a move the company hailed as a step forward in its long-delayed effort to tap Arctic oil. The US Interior Department said Shell will be permitted to begin preparatory work in the Chukchi, but cannot drill to areas containing oil until the government certifies its oil spill containment system. Without that containment system, the department has said it will not allow Shell to drill for oil in the Arctic. “At this point, we don’t know what exactly is going to happen with Shell and whether they are going to be able to complete a well in the Arctic this year,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told a conference call with reporters.
A federal court blocked a Texas law that would require voters to show photo identification before casting ballots, saying the measure would likely curtail the ability of minorities to vote in the November 6 presidential election. Evidence showed the law did the most harm to African-Americans and Hispanics, who are more likely to live in poverty, Circuit Judge David Tatel wrote for a three-judge panel of the US District Court in Washington. Those without the underlying documents to obtain ID would have to purchase them, discouraging poor voters, he wrote. During the July trial, lawyers from the US Department of Justice equated that purchase to an illegal poll tax. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, a Republican, said he would appeal the
decision directly to the US Supreme Court.