AirAsia targets Myanmar
AirAsia Bhd, the region’s biggest budget airline, plans to carry as much as 30 percent of tourists visiting Myanmar as the southeast Asian economy opens up for foreign investment and leisure travel. The carrier is targeting to move 500,000 passengers this year to the country, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes said in an interview in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. The country may welcome about 3 million tourists this year, he said.
Chinese firm to build canal
A concession to build a canal across the country linking the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea will be awarded to a Chinese company, the National Assembly president said on Wednesday. Legislative leader Rene Nunez said the company would use funds from investors around the world to build the US$40 billion project.
Puma to sign safety pact
German sportswear giant Puma said on Wednesday it has decided to sign up to a new safety pact for Bangladesh’s disaster-hit garment factories amid calls for Western brands to help improve workers’ conditions. Puma said it would sign the Bangladesh safety agreement set up by global trade union IndustriALL and ensure that its six supplier factories in Bangladesh “adhere to high standards of social and working conditions, ensuring the safety and health of its workers.”
Unemployment still rising
French unemployment continued its nearly two-year rise yesterday, increasing to 10.8 percent in the first quarter, according to an estimate from the national statistics agency. The Insee agency said that unemployment rose from 10.5 percent at the end of last year. It had originally reported unemployment was 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter. According to Eurostat, the European statistics agency, which calculates the figure differently, unemployment is already at 11 percent.
Procter & Gamble to change
Procter & Gamble is reorganizing its business into four new divisions, the first big change at the world’s largest consumer products maker since A.G. Lafley returned as CEO nearly two weeks ago. The changes are effective on July 1. Each division is to be headed by a group president, expanding the responsibilities for four current executives.
Google rents airport space
Google jets are getting a home in a US$82 million private terminal being built to cater to executives coming and going from Mineta San Jose International Airport in Silicon Valley. Construction was expected to begin late this year on the facility, which has been dubbed “Google Airport.” “It is a significant private development and Google is the main tenant, but it is not their airport,” Mineta spokeswoman Rosemary Barnes said on Wednesday.
BlackBerrys get keyboards
BlackBerrys with physical keyboards are now available in the US, months after the touch-screen versions went on sale. T-Mobile USA began selling the BlackBerry Q10 on Wednesday. It has Research In Motion Ltd’s new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which addresses shortcomings that allowed the iPhone and Android devices to surpass the once-pioneering BlackBerry in sales and prestige. Verizon, AT&T and Sprint also have plans to sell the Q10 in the US.