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Mon, May 22, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Computers

Dual-core laptops quicker

Laptops equipped with Intel Corp's Centrino Duo Processors work significantly faster than laptops with traditional Centrino technology. That was the conclusion of a recent test done on Centrino Duo models by Munich-based computer magazine PC-Welt. Dual-core processors offer 30 percent higher performance on average than laptops with one processor core and comparable features. The speed advantages are even greater when using programs tailored for dual-core processors.

■ Economy

S Korea reports Q1 surplus

South Korea posted a budget surplus of 7 trillion won (US$7.4 billion) in the first quarter, as faster economic growth helped the government to collect more taxes. The consolidated government balance, the difference between spending and revenue in general accounts, special accounts and public funds, gave a preliminary surplus of 7 trillion won, compared with a 5.5 trillion won deficit in the same period last year, the Finance Ministry said in a statement. South Korea's economy expanded a faster-than-expected 1.3 percent in the first quarter as exports climbed to a record and consumer spending increased. From a year earlier, the economy expanded 6.2 percent, the fastest in three years.

■ Energy

Toa Oil tank explodes

Firefighters battled flames and black smoke for more than two hours after an oil tank exploded near Tokyo yesterday, police said. No one was injured in the incident. A tank measuring about 10m across burst into flames at a seaside factory operated by Toa Oil Co, just west of Tokyo, at about 3pm, according to police spokesman Hitoshi Matsumura. The blaze was brought under control after about two hours, and fire officials were using a spraying agent to cool the tank, according to another police official who identified himself only as Shibata. The tank contained about 4,000 liters of an asphalt-related oil product. The force of the explosion blew the tank's lid off, Matsumura said. Toa Oil refines crude oil for Showa Shell Sekiyu KK, a major distributor to Royal Dutch Shell PLC, according to Toa's Web site. Calls to Toa Oil and Showa Shell headquarters went unanswered yesterday.

■ Mining

Manila won't revoke law

The Philippines government said yesterday that it will not repeal a law liberalizing the mining sector, rejecting appeals by environmentalists and influential Roman Catholic bishops. The statement came two days after a special presidential body headed by a bishop recommended the government revoke the license of Lafayette Philippines Inc, owned by Australia's Lafayette Mining Ltd, citing environmental damage from waste spills at its pits in the island of Rapu-Rapu. The recommendation had alarmed foreign mining firms, with officials warning it could set a precedent. But Ignacio Bunye, spokesman for President Gloria Arroyo, said the government wanted the country's natural resources "fully maximized" to help alleviate poverty. Economic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri said on Friday that the government expected mining to generate US$5 billion to US$7.0 billion in foreign exchange annually and 240,000 jobs over the next six years. It should also produce tax revenues of 17 billion to 23 billion pesos (US$325 million to US$440 million), he said.

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