■ TourismPushy merchants snared
Bent on pleasing foreign tourists, the mayor of a leading Turkish resort has opened a war on the country's notoriously boisterous shopkeepers, chasing them with cameras and extracting signatures that they will behave themselves. Hasan Sipahioglu, the mayor of the Mediterranean town of Alanya, said Thursday he was asking shopkeepers to sign written pledges not to disturb tourists by shouting and forcing them to shop. "It is so harmful for the tourism sector to drag tourists by their arms and legs and force them into shops," Sipahioglu told Anatolia news agency. He said 750 shopkeepers had already signed the document. The mayor has also armed municipality inspection teams with cameras to watch for those who continue to be a nuisance and film their behavior as evidence. Foreign visitors have long complained of rowdy Turkish shopkeepers, who shout in the streets to attract customers and often drag tourists by force into their shops and restaurants.
Pharmacist fined for fraud
In the first case of its kind in New Zealand, a pharmacist and his company were fined yesterday for selling restricted medicines on the Internet without a doctor's prescription. Kerry Donald Bell and his company, I Chemist Ltd, were fined a total of NZ$50,000 (US$28,500) in the Auckland District Court after pleading guilty to nearly 100 charges of breaching the Medicines Act. Ministry of Health spokesman Peter Pratt said the conviction followed a two-year investigation into a multi-million dollar operation, which illegally sold prescription medicines within New Zealand and to overseas buyers. He warned that not only Web sites offering prescription medicines for sale without a doctor's prescription were illegal, but buyers were breaking the law by obtaining such drugs.
Papers will not merge
Washington Post Co Chairman Donald Graham told shareholders yesterday that the newspaper and magazine publisher isn't interested in buying Dow Jones & Co, the Washington Post said. "Normally, we don't comment on potential deals, but this is a rumor that's been floating out there," Graham was quoted as saying. "No. Absolutely not." The Washington Post this year began contributing stories to the overseas editions of Dow Jones' Wall Street Journal, prompting financial analysts to question whether the two newspapers might combine, the newspaper said. Dow Jones chief operating officer Richard Zannino last week said that talks between the two newspapers haven't gone beyond the editorial arrangement, according to the Post.
Peace would boost trade
The actual amount of trade between India and Pakistan could triple to at least US$3 billion in two to three years if they can resolve their differences, Secretary-General Amit Mitra of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce said Thursday. Officially, the annual trade between the South Asian nuclear rivals is only about US$200 million. The progress on cross-border trade between the two countries, home to some 1.2 billion people, is deadlocked by their five-decade dispute over the Himalayan region of Jammu-Kashmir, which both nations claim in its entirety. That stalemate could end if the latest peace gestures by leaders on both sides lead to sustained dialogue, business leaders say.