Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 11 News List

Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ BANKS

Singapore lifts game ban

Singapore has lifted a ban on an Xbox video game featuring an intimate scene between two female characters, a newspaper reported yesterday. The game Mass Effect would now be sold with an "M18" label, meaning it cannot be legally purchased by anyone under 18, the Straits Times said, citing the city-state's media watchdog, the Media Development Authority. The futuristic space adventure video console game made by Microsoft was reported to have been banned on Thursday because it contained what the Board of Film Censors described as a "a scene of lesbian intimacy."

■ BANKS

Northern Rock boss resigns

Adam Applegarth, the chief executive of embattled British bank Northern Rock, resigned on Friday, his employer said. However, he will continue to run the group until about the end of January next year, Northern Rock added in a statement. Northern Rock ran into serious trouble sourcing credit in September as it became caught up in the fallout from the US subprime housing crisis. Northern Rock received financial help from the Bank of England as it grappled with the first run on a British bank in living memory.

■ AUTOMOBILES

Chrysler mulls changes

Chrysler LLC is considering wide-ranging branding changes that would streamline its product offerings and eliminate as many as 1,000 dealers, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. A plan currently under discussion calls for Chrysler dealers to sell all of the automaker's passenger cars under the Chrysler name. Dodge dealers would sell only pickup and commercial trucks, and Jeep dealers would sell only Jeep and sport-utility vehicles, three dealers familiar with the discussions told the Journal for its online edition. The plan would allow Chrysler, which seeks to return to profitability by 2009, to drop some of its overlapping products.

■ ENERGY

Malaysia backs acquisition

The Malaysian government has allowed plantations-to-power group Synergy Drive to acquire 60 percent of the operator of the controversial Bakun hydroelectric dam, conglomerate Sime Darby said. Synergy Drive is the vehicle that merges state-linked firms Sime Darby, Golden Hope Plantations and Kumpulan Guthrie and their subsidiaries in an US$11 billion deal that will also create the world's largest listed palm oil firm. "Synergy Drive has received a letter of intention from the government approving in principle the acquisition of a 60 percent equity interest in Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd by Synergy Drive," Sime Darby said in a statement late on Friday. The approval is considered a major boost for Synergy Drive ahead of its stock market debut on Nov. 30.

■ ECONOMY

Asia in good shape: Kuroda

Asian economic growth will remain strong this year and next despite energy costs and recent market turbulence, Asian Development Bank president Haruhiko Kuroda said yesterday. He said there would be no change to the bank's latest regional growth forecast of 8.3 percent this year and 8.2 percent next year, although inflationary pressures stemming from high oil prices remained a risk. "There are a few risks ... but as I said, despite these risks, our main scenario for Asian economies is that growth will continue this year as well as next year," Kuroda said.

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