Consumer prices on target
Consumer prices edged down last month from November, staying well below the central bank’s target band, government data showed yesterday. The national consumer price index rose 1.1 percent on-year last month, down from a revised 1.2 percent in November, Statistics Korea said. Consumer prices for the whole of last year rose 1.3 percent, far lower than the Bank of Korea’s targeted inflation band of 2.5 to 3.5 percent for this year. The bank has held its key policy rate at 2.5 percent since May.
Inflation rate tops region
Inflation soared to 56.2 percent last year, but slowed in the last two months of the year after the government forced stores to cut prices, officials said on Monday. The national consumer price index decelerated from 5.1 percent in October to 4.8 percent in November and 2.2 percent last month, the central bank said in a report that was 20 days late. President Nicolas Maduro said the figures led to annual inflation of 56.2 percent — the highest in Latin America — which he blamed on a “parasitic capitalist economy.” The previous annual inflation estimate was 54.3 percent.
Parliament probes outages
Members of the British parliament are set to summon the chiefs of the UK’s energy network companies over the slow pace of restoring power services after a Christmas storm, the Daily Telegraph reported, quoting the chairman of the parliament’s Energy and Climate Change Committee. Floods caused by strong storm winds on Christmas Eve had knocked out power services in many parts of Britain, with many customers remaining without electricity for almost five days. The chief executive of UK Power Networks — one of Britain’s biggest electricity distributors — said that its response had been too slow and said it would pay almost triple compensation to households left without power over Christmas.
Authors appeal Google ruling
The Authors Guild is appealing a US judge’s decision in a long-running case that cleared legal obstacles for Google Inc’s massive book-scanning project, court documents showed on Monday. The group filed a notice of appeal in the case following a Nov. 14 ruling by US Federal Judge Denny Chin. Arguments are to be filed at a later date with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. The guild vowed to appeal the case after Chin ruled that Google’s project is “fair use” under copyright law because it provides vital educational and other public benefits. The case, which dates back to 2005, centers on a Google program started in 2004 to create an electronic database of books that could be searchable by keywords.
FedEx racketeering: NY City
Federal Express Corp was accused by New York City authorities of taking part in a racketeering conspiracy by shipping tonnes of untaxed cigarettes from a Long Island Indian reservation to city residents’ homes. The city, in a complaint filed on Monday in federal court in Manhattan, alleged that FedEx transported about 19.5 tonnes of untaxed cigarettes from the Shinnecock Smoke Shop in Southampton, New York, to local consumers from December 2005 to January 2012. The bulk of the shipments followed a February 2006 agreement with New York’s attorney general to stop the deliveries, the city claimed. The city is seeking triple damages of US$2.5 million.