Airline license suspended
Kingfisher Airline’s licence was suspended on Saturday after it failed to address the Indian regulator’s concerns about its operations, forcing the debt-laden carrier to stop taking bookings. Controlled by Vijay Mallya — the self-styled “King of Good Times” — and seven months behind on salary payments among other missed bills, Kingfisher’s fleet has been grounded since the start of this month when a staff protest turned violent. The airline, which has never made a profit since being founded in 2004 and reeling under US$1.4 billion of debt, will have its licence reinstated if it provides a plan that satisfies the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Land prices slowdown
Land prices rose at a slower annual pace for the fifth quarter, gaining 1.77 percent to an average 3,093 yuan (US$495) a square meter in the July to September period, the government said. Residential land prices gained 1.03 percent to 4,564 yuan a square meter in the same period, according to the monitoring of prices in 105 cities, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on its Web site dated Friday. The country’s new home prices last month rose in fewer than half the cities monitored by the government from a month earlier, according to data released by the statistics bureau on Thursday, indicating property curbs are stabilizing the housing market. Land supply and demand are forecast to increase in the fourth quarter amid government investments “to promote stable and healthy economic development,” while land prices are forecast to continue rising if no further real estate control measures are introduced, the land ministry said.
News Corp denies talks
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp denied it has held talks to acquire the Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune once the newspapers’ owner, Tribune Co, emerges from bankruptcy. The denial encompasses reported talks with Tribune’s creditors, News Corp said. Published reports last week said that News Corp executives were in early negotiations with Tribune’s debt holders, including Los Angeles-based Oaktree Capital Management, who will gain control of the Chicago-based company after court supervision ends. News Corp is preparing to separate its entertainment and publishing businesses, in part to allow the 81-year-old Murdoch to pursue publishing unencumbered. Murdoch, whose roots in newspapers date back decades, has expressed interest in the Los Angeles Times in the past. He may go shopping for distressed newspapers once News Corp’s split becomes final next year, according to one person with knowledge of the matter.
IMF denies bad measures
The IMF denied on Saturday that austerity measures are to blame for the nation’s sluggish economy, saying that other factors are keeping growth flat. Greece, Portugal and Ireland are complaining that the IMF underestimated the economic and social impact of drastic spending cuts and tax hikes in the bailout programs, but a senior IMF official said that was not the problem in Ireland. The pace of the EU-IMF rescue program “has struck an appropriate balance and continues to do so for the period ahead, enabling Ireland to make steady progress in reducing fiscal imbalances while protecting the still fragile economic recovery,” Ajai Chopra, deputy director in the IMF’s European Department, said in a statement.