Government tries to cut debt
Top officials said they will cut the widest budget deficit among the world’s largest emerging markets and curb public debt, as the Asian nation seeks to avert a credit-rating downgrade. The government is “optimistic” it will rein in the shortfall for the year through March 31 to 5.3 percent of GDP from the previous year’s 5.8 percent, and has no plan “at the moment” to increase its record borrowing program, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said on Saturday. The deficit will be cut 0.6 percent annually for the next five years, Chakravarthy Rangarajan, chief economic adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said on Saturday in Kolkata.
Mining standards sharpened
China, the world’s biggest producer and user of coal, tightened standards for reopening suspended mines, according to a statement from the State Council. Mines that do not meet the necessary safety requirements should not resume operations under any conditions, the council said in the statement on Saturday, citing illegal reopenings as the cause of several deadly accidents recently. The government suspended operations at smaller coal mines earlier this month to boost safety ahead of a once-in-a-decade leadership transition. Eighteen people were killed on Saturday at a mine in the southwestern province of Guizhou.
Computer con claims refuted
Makers of India’s low-cost Aakash tablet on Saturday denied a local media report that said the computer was a cheap Chinese import and not an Indian innovation as was claimed. DataWind, a British-based company with major operations in Canada and India, said the allegations in the Hindustan Times newspaper that the company had “conned” India with the computer were “inaccurate and misleading.” Early this month, India launched the Aaakash 2, a new version of what is dubbed the world’s cheapest computer — for sale to students at a subsidized price of US$20 — with a quicker processor and an improved battery.
Dubai plans lavish retail hub
Dubai has unveiled plans for a new tourism-retail hub that is to include a shopping complex that would outclass the Dubai Mall, billed as the world’s biggest. State news agency WAM said the planned development on the city’s desert outskirts will include luxury hotels and a major theme park, a goal derailed by Dubai’s fiscal meltdown in 2009. No timetable was announced yesterday for the Mohammed Bin Rashid City. However, it would allow Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to put his personal moniker on a mega-project after the country’s president, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, took the honor for the record-tall Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai.
Fired CEO eyes movie deals
Michael Woodford, the former CEO-turned whistleblower of Japan’s Olympus, is close to signing a movie deal with the British film production company run by the sons of spy thriller author John le Carre. Woodford, summarily fired last year after raising the alarm over US$1.7 billion of shady Olympus payments, said he had yet to sign the deal with The Ink Factory, adding there was also interest from other parties. Woodford was fired two weeks into the job in October last year after persistently warning about corruption at the top echelons of the camera and medical equipment maker.