Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

Agencies

TECHNOLOGY

Early warning system begins

A Philippine charity said yesterday it had launched a novel early warning system for disaster-prone areas using BlackBerry devices and laptops. The devices are hooked to a text message system that would immediately alert communities to typhoons, storm surges, tsunamis, landslides and earthquakes, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) said. The US$200,000 project was carried out with the World Bank and one of the country’s leading mobile phone operators, said PBSP, which is funded by the country’s top chief executives. The areas covered by the project are all in Leyte province in the central Visayas region, which lies along a fault line and is also often battered by powerful typhoons.

PROPERTY

Mumbai home prices drop

Mumbai home prices have declined 20 percent from their peak this year as lower sales, higher land values and increased borrowing costs forced developers to reduce prices to woo buyers, according to Jones Lang LaSalle India. Home prices, which increased 30 to 60 percent last year, have returned to 2008 levels, Sanjay Dutt, chief executive officer of business at the Indian unit of Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle Inc said in a report yesterday. Dutt expects prices to remain at these levels until the monsoon season ends in September. The central bank’s eighth interest rate increase this year to curb inflation has led to tighter liquidity and higher borrowing costs for developers. Many property companies raised capital at interest rates of between 21 percent and 25 percent from finance companies, Dutt said, while sales volume dropped by about 50 percent.

AVIATION

New Boeing jet takes off

US aerospace giant Boeing’s newest and biggest jumbo jet, the 747-8 Intercontinental, made its maiden flight on Sunday, watched closely by aviation fans and European rival Airbus. The new version of the classic double-decker 747 took off into nearly cloudless skies at 9:58am from Paine Field Airport near Boeing’s Seattle headquarters. Boeing’s largest passenger plane, the 747-8, can carry 467 passengers in a three-class configuration and is designed for long-haul routes. The plane is a longer and more fuel-efficient update of Boeing’s double-decker 747 jumbo jet and it will compete with Airbus’ A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane.

AUTOMOBILES

Fuel subsidy policy delayed

Indonesia said yesterday it would hold off implementing a plan to exclude private cars from using subsidized fuel, amid concerns over a sharp rise in global oil prices. The policy, which was scheduled to be rolled out next month, has been pushed by the IMF and the World Bank as a means of unlocking funds for infrastructure development in the country. However, Indonesian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Darwin Zahedy Saleh told parliament: “The government considers it necessary to consider the appropriate timing for the implementation of subsidized fuel policy.” Oil prices have soared in the past two months as oil-rich countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been hit by protests, leading to supply fears.

RETAIL

Tesco halts Japan fish sales

Tesco PLC’s South Korean unit plans to halt sales of some fish imported from Japan because of consumer concern about radiation in Japanese fresh foods, it said in an e-mailed statement. The retailer will halt sales starting today, Homeplus Co, the unit, said in the statement.

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