■ UNITED KINGDOM
Brown promises new jobs
Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to create at least 100,000 new jobs through a £10 billion (US$14.9 billion) investment on infrastructure, in a newspaper interview published yesterday. The money would be spent over the next two years on education, transport and other infrastructure projects, the Daily Mirror said. “School building repairs and school building alone will employ about 100,000,” he told the newspaper. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits leapt last month by the biggest monthly amount for more than 17 years, official data showed, soaring by 75,700 from October to 1.07 million people. The Mirror said his plans would be unveiled in the new year. Brown has promised to boost spending through borrowing to through the downturn. This has put him at odds with the main opposition Conservatives who argue he is simply creating a tax “timebomb” for the future.
RIM pans Certicom plan
Research In Motion Ltd (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry handheld device, said Certicom Corp planned to file for an injunction to block its takeover offer. Certicom intends to lodge an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Securities Commission, RIM said in a statement on its Web site yesterday. The BlackBerry maker said on Dec. 3 that it planned to buy all outstanding shares of Certicom for C$1.50 apiece in cash, or 76 percent more than the stock’s previous close. After RIM made its offer, Certicom urged shareholders to take no action until the Mississauga, Ontario-based security-software company completes its review of the C$66 million (US$54 million) bid and issues an opinion by next Monday. RIM, whose offer is open until Jan. 15, plans to “vigorously oppose Certicom’s allegations” that it used confidential information and didn’t make a proper disclosure regarding the planned acquisition.
Foreign exchange falls
Beijing’s foreign exchange reserves, the world’s largest, have fallen for the first time in five years, media quoted a senior forex official as saying. “The forex reserves have fallen for the first time since December 2003,” said Cai Qiusheng (蔡秋生), an official at the capital account management department under the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. Foreign exchange reserves topped US$1.9 trillion at the end of September, central bank figures show. Cai did not give a new figure for China’s current forex reserves, according to the transcript of his weekend speech, which was carried by the Sina.com Web site.
Tata to support Land Rover
India’s Tata Motors, which owns Jaguar Land Rover, has agreed to inject “tens of millions” of pounds into the British car company to tide it over while London considers a bail-out, reports said yesterday. The Financial Times, quoting people close to Tata, said the emergency aid was intended to prevent an immediate cash flow crisis. It comes on top of “hundreds of millions” of working capital provided since Tata bought Jaguar Land Rover from Ford in March, the business daily said. UK Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson said last week that the British government has talked to Jaguar Land Rover about a possible bailout as the car company struggles with the economic downturn, but no decisions had been taken. The FT said Tata still expected the taxpayer to provide longer-term support for Jaguar Land Rover, to protect thousands of jobs in Britain.