Cellphone use growing
China added 6.5 million cellphone subscribers in February, increasing the number of subscribers in the world's biggest wireless market to 473.9 million, government data showed. The country added 1 million fixed-line telephone subscribers in February for a total of 370 million users, Wang Lijan, a Beijing-based spokesman for the Ministry of Information Industry, said by telephone on Friday. China, the world's second-biggest Internet market by users, added 3 million broadband subscribers during the month for a total of 55.3 million users, he said.
W Virginia poultry banned
Cuba, Japan, Russia and Taiwan have declared poultry from the southern state of West Virginia temporarily ineligible for importation following the discovery of avian flu at a turkey farm. The countries will not accept any poultry or poultry products from the state. Also, Hong Kong will not accept such imports from Pendleton County, where the avian flu was found, said Matt Herrick, a spokesman for the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. "They are temporary measures based on international guidelines," Herrick said on Thursday. Timeframes for resuming poultry imports will depend on each country's standards.
Nick Leeson jacket sold
A trading jacket worn by Nick Leeson as he caused the collapse of Britain's Barings Bank by hiding losses sold for ?21,000 (US$41,000) on Thursday, with proceeds going to bank creditors, the Guardian reported. The striped jacket, with "Nick" embroidered on an inside pocket, was bought by Paul Taylor, who runs an investment fund backed by the Gulf state of Qatar, the British paper said on its Web site. Barings collapsed in 1995 after Leeson ran up losses of US$1.4 billion through derivatives trading in Singapore. Leeson spent three-and-a-half years in a Singaporean prison later and is now the general manager of an Irish football club, Galway United.
Yen not focus of G7 meeting
G7 finance chiefs are likely to discuss currencies at their meeting in Washington next week but will not focus on the weakness of the yen, Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi said yesterday. "Discussion on exchange rates is likely to include the yen, the dollar, the euro and the yuan," he said. But finance ministers and central bank heads from the G7 industrialized states "will not particularly focus on the yen" at their meeting next Friday, Omi told reporters. The G7 ministers opted for a relatively soft line on the sliding Japanese yen at their February meeting in Germany, despite European concerns about the currency's weakness which hurts eurozone exporters.
Daiwa to spread investment
Daiwa Securities Group Inc, Japan's second-biggest securities firm, said it will invest ?100 billion (US$842 million) in private equity transactions outside Japan within two years. Daiwa plans to invest the money mainly in Asia, including China and India, as part of the firm's plan to broaden global operations, said Yoshihisa Kaneko, the company's spokesman in Tokyo. Daiwa, which is in the second year of its three-year business plan, wants to offer more overseas investment products to wealthy Japanese individuals and other clients to boost fees.