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发表于 2008-10-20 04:10:41 AM |显示全部楼层
North Korea set to make 'major announcement'

updated 3:50 p.m. ET Oct. 19, 2008

TOKYO - North Korea will make an "important announcement" on Monday amid speculation over the health of its leader Kim Jong Il, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday.

The 66-year-old North Korean leader disappeared from public view in mid-August and failed to make appearances on two important national holidays, leading to speculation he was seriously ill. U.S. and South Korean officials said he suffered a stroke and had brain surgery, but North Korea has denied he is ailing.

Quoting unidentified sources at Japan's defense ministry, the Sankei daily said Tokyo had information that "there will be an important announcement on (Oct.) 20th."

The Sankei said there was speculation within the Japanese government that the North's announcement could be about Kim's death or a government change induced by a coup.

The Sankei report came a day after Japan's biggest-selling Yomiuri daily said North Korea had ordered its diplomats abroad to be on standby for an important announcement.

Downplaying the reports
North Korea experts in South Korea downplayed the reports Sunday. Paik Hak-soon, a North Korea expert at the security think tank Sejong Institute, said it would be "nonsense" for the North to give several days' notice on the announcement of Kim's death.

"I think the Japanese media reports' authenticity is very low," Paik said, adding they appeared to be an attempt to "shake" the North by renewing speculation about Kim's health condition.

North Korea released photos earlier this month showing Kim inspecting a military unit and appearing healthy. However, it did not say when the pictures were taken. Some analysts said the photos appeared to have been taken earlier because plant foliage was wrong for the time of year.

North Korea will also ban foreigners from entering the country starting Monday, the Sankei said, without giving further details.

Japanese defense and foreign ministry officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

In Seoul, Kim Ho-nyeon, chief spokesman at the South Korean Unification Ministry, said Sunday the ministry could not confirm the reports. Kim said the ministry had not detected any unusual signs in North Korea.

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发表于 2008-10-21 03:51:04 AM |显示全部楼层

Obama, Hillary campaign in Florida

05:58 AEST Tue Oct 21 2008 ago

By Stephen Collinson

Barack Obama is aiming to put another dent in John McCain's comeback hopes with a double-bill rally in Florida with ex-foe Hillary Clinton to kick off a frenetic final fortnight of the White House race.
The rally is part of a three-day campaign offensive by the Democratic nominee's team in the electorally crucial southern state, as they hope to lock in an advantage with the start of early voting there on Monday.
The new offensive comes after Obama inflicted a demoralising string of blows on his Republican rival over the weekend in the final stretch to the epic election on November 4.
On Sunday, the Illinois senator snapped up the key endorsement of former secretary of state Colin Powell and announced he had piled up a stunning $US150 million ($A216.5 million) in fundraising last month.
The Democratic nominee will spend much of the week charging through what was nominally Republican territory, seeking to convert his lead on the electoral map and clear opinion poll edge into a big victory over McCain.
In Florida, Obama and Clinton were to headline a joint rally and several separate events on Monday, pitching for a state which had looked solid for McCain, but where a wave of mortgage foreclosures offer the Democrats an opening.
The former first lady is highly popular in the Sunshine State and trounced Obama in the Democratic primary there, but the contest was declared void after Florida violated party scheduling rules.
McCain, 72, was meanwhile on the defensive, attempting to cling onto states that helped send President George W Bush back to the White House in 2004.
The Arizona senator was campaigning in midwestern Missouri on Monday, after Obama attracted a monstrous crowd of 100,000 people to St Louis on Saturday.
McCain drew an unenthusiastic crowd of about 2,500 to a rally in St Charles, an affluent town outside St Louis where he warned that Obama was bent on "redistributing wealth" and forcing families into a "huge government-run health care plan".
"Senator Obama is more interested in controlling who gets your piece of the pie than in growing the pie," McCain said.
"We'll cut business taxes to help create jobs and keep American business in America."
McCain will be in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, a Democratic state in 2004 and a Republican target this year which now seems clearly tipping towards the 47-year-old Obama.
Just two weeks from election day, McCain's hopes rested on a hard-hitting campaign of mailings and automatic "robo-calls" to voters in swing states assailing Obama's character, past acquaintances and record on abortion.
McCain and his feisty vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin were also seeking to break through with claims that Obama is far more liberal than mainstream Americans, and is bent on pursuing "socialist" tax policies.
Powell, a Republican and former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the highest-ranking African-American ever in US government service.
In a stinging blow to his long-time friend McCain, Powell said on NBC that Obama, vying to be the nation's first African-American commander-in-chief, would be a "transformational president".
In another demoralising blow to McCain, the Obama campaign announced a record-shattering take of more than $US150 million ($A216.5 million) last month - nearly double McCain's budget for the entire general election campaign.
Despite claims by the McCain camp that the race is narrowing, daily tracking polls on Sunday showed a steady Obama lead.
Gallup had Obama up by 52 to 42 per cent among registered voters nationwide, reflecting the last presidential debate last week in which Obama was adjudged the winner by most snap polls.
Rasmussen also had Obama above 50 per cent, with a 51 to 45 per cent lead.
Obama's fundraising bonanza is helping him pummel his rival in a nationwide advertising blitz and allowing him to pin down McCain in Republican states, stretching his foe's resources even further.

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发表于 2008-10-21 03:57:06 AM |显示全部楼层
As oil prices fall, push for alternatives may ease

updated 12:30 a.m. ET Oct. 20, 2008

By Steven Mufson

Just four months ago, a conference here on electric cars drew four times as many people as expected. District fire marshals ordered some of the crowd to leave, and the atmosphere was more like that of a rock concert than an energy conference. A brief film depicted an electric car owner driving off with a beautiful woman to the strains of "The Power of Love" while her original companion struggles to pay for gasoline. The audience cheered.

One discordant note in the series of enthusiastic speeches came from Bill Reinert, one of the Toyota Prius designers. He cautioned that designing and ramping up production of a new car takes five years.

"If oil goes down to $60 or $70 a barrel and gasoline gets back to $2.50 a gallon, and that very possibly could happen," he said, "will that demand stay the same or will we shift back up?"

It didn't take five years to hit those numbers. One type of oil shock has given way to another. Even more swiftly than the price of oil rose, it has tumbled to the range that seemed far-fetched when Reinert spoke and oil was more than $130 a barrel. Now that drop threatens a wide variety of game-changing plans to find alternatives to oil or ways to drastically reduce U.S. consumption.

"Declining oil prices can give us an artificial and temporary sense that reducing oil consumption and energy consumption is an issue we can put off," said Greg Kats, a managing director of Good Energies, a multibillion-dollar venture capital firm that invests in global clean energy.

The credit crisis is compounding that threat by making it more difficult to finance capital-intensive projects, whether they are new auto assembly lines or solar panels or wind turbines. General Motors has been touting the Chevy Volt as the first mass-marketed, plug-in hybrid vehicle. GM, which has been holding merger talks with Chrysler, believes the project will help justify federal financing. It hopes to deliver the car by the end of 2010.

Tesla Motors, a maker of a handful of pricey electric sports cars, had planned to unveil a cheaper sedan next year. But on Thursday it delayed the new model because of trouble lining up financing. It also said it would close two offices and has replaced its chief executive.

The uncertain future of electric cars points to a sticky aspect of the global oil equation. The price of oil can change rapidly, but responses that would cut petroleum use take time. As oil prices climbed, major automakers including GM, Mitsubishi, Renault-Nissan and Toyota moved ahead with plans to produce plug-in vehicles. But the first of those cars won't be ready for a couple of years. What the price of oil will be then, and what consumers' appetite for plug-in cars will be then, is anybody's guess.

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发表于 2008-10-22 05:23:05 AM |显示全部楼层

Melamine risk spreads, so to speak...
October 21, 2008, 12:51 am

GENEVA (Reuters) - Chocolate-flavored body spreads sold in British sex shops have been found to be tainted with melamine, the chemical that made thousands of babies ill in China, food safety authorities said Monday.
The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) said melamine had been found in Chinese-made "I Love You" sets, sold at Ann Summers sex shops, containing chocolate and strawberry body pens and chocolate-flavored penis and nipple spreads.
"This is a first. We've never had to put out an alert before on 'willy spread' -- chocolate-flavored or otherwise," the FSA said on its Web site, www.foodstandards.gov.uk.
It said the health risk from the affected products was low.
At least four children died in China and thousands of others were treated in hospital after consuming milk powder containing melamine, an industrial compound added to cheat quality tests.
Dozens of countries have since banned imports of Chinese dairy ingredients and recalled products ranging from cookies to herbal drugs and octopus dumplings.
Peter Ben Embarek, a food safety expert at the World Health Organization (WHO), said national authorities needed to widen their checks and tests.
"Milk powder is a very common ingredient in a very large range of products, from candies to biscuits, chocolates, drinks, and so on and so on," he said.
The levels of melamine detected in the "I Love You" sets, manufactured in China by Le Bang and imported into Britain by Scobie (Llarn) Ltd, ranged from 126 milligrams per kg to 259 milligrams per kg, the FSA said.
European Union rules require that products with more than 2.5 milligrams per kg must be withdrawn and destroyed.
Embarek said adults may be less at risk of illness from consuming melamine than infants whose only food source was tainted formula.
"It is not an acute public health danger if you eat one contaminated biscuit," he said.

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发表于 2008-10-22 05:25:05 AM |显示全部楼层

Woman in Berlin gives birth to sextuplets

October 21, 2008, 4:02 am

BERLIN (Reuters) - A woman who had been struggling to conceive ended up giving birth to six healthy babies in a German hospital, the medical director of Berlin's Charite hospital said Monday.

Ulrich Frei said the woman had given birth to four boys and two girls -- each weighing between 800 and 900 grams (about 2 pounds) -- after 27 weeks of gestation Thursday.

The woman had undergone a standard fertility treatment after unsuccessful attempts to become pregnant, Wolfgang Henrich, a doctor who assisted the delivery, told a news conference.

He said it had been an unproblematic caesarean birth.

The hospital declined to give further details about the woman.

Charite, one of Germany's leading hospitals, is 300 years old and Frei said sextuplets had never been born there before. The odds of having sextuplets is one in four billion, according to media reports.

In Germany, the survival rate of infants weighing less than 1000 grams at birth is nearly 90 percent, according to Monika Berns -- director of the hospital's neonatology department.

In August, an Iraqi woman gave birth to sextuplets, but two of them died at birth due to the hospital's lack of proper medical equipment.

The first sextuplets known to have survived their infancy were born to a South African couple in January 1974.

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发表于 2008-10-22 05:26:56 AM |显示全部楼层

Oops! McCain asks Russian envoy for money

October 21, 2008, 10:46 am

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - John McCain's presidential election campaign has solicited a financial contribution from an unlikely source -- Russia's U.N. envoy -- but a McCain spokesman said on Monday it was a mistake.

In the letter, McCain urged Russia's U.N. Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, to contribute anywhere from $35 (20 pounds) to $5,000 (2,912 pounds) to help ensure McCain's victory over Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama , currently ahead in voter preference polls.

"If I have the honour of continuing to serve you, I make you this promise: We will always put America -- her strength, her ideals, her future -- before every other consideration," McCain assured Churkin.

Moscow's mission to the United Nations issued a terse statement on the Republican presidential candidate's letter, saying that the Russian government and its officials "do not finance political activity in foreign countries."

A spokesman for McCain, a long-time critic of Russia , had a simple explanation for the fundraising letter's arrival at the Russian mission in New York: "It was an error in the mailing list."

The letter was addressed to Churkin and sported a McCain signature near the bottom.

Earlier this month, both McCain and Obama harshly criticized Russia for invading Georgia two months ago, but neither was willing to say yes when asked if Russia under Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was the "evil empire".

It is illegal for U.S. presidential candidates to accept funds from foreign sources. The McCain campaign accused Obama earlier this month of not doing enough to screen for illegal contributors and asked U.S. election officials to investigate.

McCain has agreed to public financing for his campaign and therefore cannot accept funds from private donors.

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发表于 2008-10-22 05:29:12 AM |显示全部楼层

Oil prices slide on demand concerns

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 6:55 am

NEW YORK (AFP) - World oil prices fell sharply Tuesday, with investors shrugging off the possibility of a new OPEC output cut as they focus on slowing global demand.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in November, tumbled 3.36 dollars to close at 70.89 dollars per barrel. The contract expired at the close.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for December delivery fell 2.31 dollars to settle at 69.72 dollars a barrel.

Oil prices had rebounded more than four dollars over the past two sessions on market expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would announce an output cut at their special meeting Friday in Vienna.

But prices have since given back most of those gains "as participants react to what appears to be resistance to slashing production by the Saudis," said John Kilduff, analyst at MF Global.

Unlike some other OPEC members who have called for a production cut in the face of declining oil prices, Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer, has not made its position known.

"Apparently, they are fearful of a spiral of lower prices followed by more cuts," Kilduff said.

Algerian Energy Minister and current OPEC chief Chakib Khelil said over the weekend that the cartel should order a "substantial" cut in production.

Crude futures have halved in value from record highs above 147 dollars in July.

Crude prices slumped under 70 dollars last week for the first time in more than a year, dragged down by prospects of reduced demand in the face of a global economic slowdown stemming from the ongoing world financial crisis.

Sucden analyst Nimit Khamar said that price declines on Tuesday were due to profit taking from the recent rally and "persistent concerns over slowing demand for energy due to the cooling global economy, especially with waning demand in the US and China."

Demand bulls got a jolt Monday when China, which has been the biggest driver of demand, announced economic growth slowed to 9.0 percent in the third quarter, the first time since late 2005 that quarterly growth slipped into single digits.

On Tuesday, Iran's oil minister said Tehran believes OPEC should cut production by between two million and 2.5 million barrels a day, and that prices could go higher than 150 dollars a barrel.

"The market should find a stable condition, and given the eight to 10 percent decrease in demand and also given the oil stockpile I think a decrease of between two and 2.5 million barrels a day can bring a stable status to the market," Gholam Hossein Nozari said at a news conference in Tehran.

He added: "Given inflation and the current circumstances of the market, the current oil price is very low, and 150 dollars should not be out of the question.

"If oil prices do not reach a realistic level, they will go higher (than 150 dollars)," said the minister, whose country is the second-biggest OPEC exporter.

Qatar's Energy Minister Abdallah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said Tuesday that the "best price" for oil was 80 to 90 dollars a barrel.

Libya said Monday it backed an output cut of more than one million barrels a day.

On Sunday, Venezuela also lent its support for a cut by OPEC, whose members together pump about 40 percent of the world's oil.

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发表于 2008-10-22 05:33:50 AM |显示全部楼层

Wall Street falls as IMF praises European approach

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 8:19 am

The Dow Jones index fell more than 2 per cent on Wall Street overnight, while the International Monetary Fund said Europe should avoid the worst of the global financial crisis because of its coordinated bank rescue plans.

However, the IMF warned that more European banks may fail as doubts persist about the viability of their business models.

The IMF has also predicted that growth in Europe will slow to a halt. It says growth will be 1.3 per cent this year and just 0.2 per cent next year.

Iceland's Government says it hopes to reach a deal soon with the IMF on an emergency loan and Pakistan is having discussions with the IMF to try and stave off an economic meltdown.

Seventeen countries led by France and Germany have drawn up a list of tax havens that could include Switzerland in a first step towards reforming the global finance system.

There are more signs of confidence returning in the money markets, with the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) falling 23 basis points to 4.06 per cent.

The US Federal Reserve has launched a new program to buy $880 billion worth of mutual fund assets in the money market.

In the share markets, US stocks fell after disappointing profit results from companies including heavy equipment maker, Caterpillar, and copper producer Freeport-McMoRan.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 2.58 per cent, or 239.26 points to 9,026.17 at the closing bell and the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 4.16 per cent or 73.65 points to 1,696.38.

The broad Standard and Poor's 500 index slid 3.13 per cent, or 30.86 points to 954.54, according to provisional closing figures.

European markets were mixed with Paris up but London and Frankfurt down.

The FT-100 fell 53 points to 4,230.

In local futures trade, the Share Price Index 200 has fallen almost three per cent or 126 points to 4,211.

The Australian dollar is buying around 67.6 US cents.

On the cross rates, it is at 51.74 euro cents, 67.73 Japanese yen, 40.48 pence sterling and $1.11 New Zealand.

Both oil and gold have fallen, West Texas crude is at $US71.42 US a barrel.

Spot gold is at $US771.85 an ounce.

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发表于 2008-10-22 05:36:13 AM |显示全部楼层

China's economic growth slows amid world turmoil

Monday October 20, 2008, 8:50 pm

The overall rate of economic growth in China has dropped below 10 per cent for the first time in several years, as the country's economy feels the effects of the global economic crisis.

China's Gross Domestic Product (ASX: GDP.ax) continues to grow but at a slower rate.

Growth has slipped to 9.9 per cent, with steel exports down, car sales declining for the first time in two years and thousands of workers in the toy industry losing their jobs.

Analysts say that a growth rate of 9 per cent is still very strong by world standards.

Some predict it could fall to 8 per cent next year, but that Chinese growth should hold at that level.

The Chinese stock market reacted to the news immediately, with the benchmark index falling 1.21 per cent in morning trade.

The Government signalled ahead of the release of the data that the need for new measures to boost growth had moved to the top of the policy-making agenda.

"There is the slowing trend in economic growth, the pace in the rise of corporate profits and fiscal revenue are falling, and the capital markets continue to swing and be sluggish," it said in a summary of a cabinet meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

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发表于 2008-10-23 03:53:37 AM |显示全部楼层

Obama swats away McCain assaults
October 23, 2008, 5:46 am

Democrat Barack Obama swatted away White House rival John McCain's new attacks on his national security spurs and tax policy, dismissing his Republican foe as "out of ideas."

But 13 days before the election, McCain warned the Illinois Senator Obama not to take victory for granted, despite his mammoth financial advantage and opinion polls giving him a widening lead.

"Whoever is the next president is going to have to deal with a whole host of challenges internationally, and that a period of transition in a new administration is always one in which we have to be vigilant," Obama said here.

The Democratic nominee on Wednesday gathered a phalanx of top national security advisers to discuss emerging global threats, in a pre-planned meeting, a day after McCain suggested he was not fit to face a breaking foreign policy crisis.

Republicans had also seized on comments by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden this week that America's enemies would seek to test Obama at an early stage if he is elected on November 4.

But Obama said that the biggest test for the new president would come in fixing the legacy of the Bush administration abroad.

"We have to be careful, we have to be mindful that as we pass the baton in this democracy, that others don't take advantage of it," Obama said.

"That is true whether it's myself or Senator McCain and it has been throughout our history."

Biden said in a fundraiser in Seattle this week that the world would quickly throw up a test for Obama, much as president John F Kennedy was tested by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

"Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy," Biden said.

"The world is looking. We're about to elect a brilliant 47-year-old senator president of the United States of America.

"We're gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy."

Republicans tried to portray the comments as a sign that Biden, an old foreign policy hand, did not have confidence in Obama's leadership skills.

The next president "won't have time to get used to the office," McCain said at a rally on Tuesday.

"I sat in the cockpit on the flight deck of the USS Enterprise off of Cuba. I had a target," McCain said, referring to the 1962 Cuban Missile crisis.

"I know how close we came to a nuclear war and I will not be a president that needs to be tested. I have been tested. Senator Obama has not."

McCain on Wednesday sought to portray Obama as taking the electorate for granted, given a slew of favourable polls and the massive $US150 million ($A221.5 million) warchest he amassed in September.

"My opponent's looking pretty confident these days," McCain told a rally in Goffstown, New Hampshire, the state which revived his moribund presidential campaign earlier this year.

"He'll be addressing the nation soon. He's got another one of those big-stadium spectacles in the works, acting like the election is over."

Obama has however repeatedly been telling his massive crowds that despite the favourable win, they can afford to take nothing for granted.

"Remember New Hampshire," he says, referring to Hillary Clinton's shock comeback triumph in January's primary vote after his own opening win in the Iowa caucuses.

McCain also renewed his claim that Obama would introduce across-the-board "socialist" tax increases which he said would choke economic growth but the Democrat maintained most Americans would actually get a tax cut.

"It's not a very plausible argument that he's making right now. And I think it's an indication that they have run out of ideas," said Obama.

"They have been trying to throw whatever they can up against the wall to see what sticks and this is their latest version."

The rivals traded their latest shots after a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found the Democrat had a solid 10 point 52 point to 42 point lead. A Fox News survey put Obama up nine points 49 points to 40 nationwide.

McCain's running mate Sarah Palin meanwhile courted more controversy, after the Politico newspaper and website reported that Republicans spent $US150,000 ($A221,500) to outfit her for the campaign trail.

The McCain-Palin campaign rejected the report as a distraction from the top issues in the election, but the episode appeared to undercut Palin's claim to represent hard pressed working class Americans.

"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it's remarkable that we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses," said spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.

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发表于 2008-10-23 03:56:06 AM |显示全部楼层

Japanese climbers find footprints of abominable snowman

October 22, 2008, 4:05 am

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Japanese climbers returning from a mountain in western Nepal said on Tuesday they had found footprints they think belonged to the abominable snowman or Yeti.
"We saw three footprints which looked like that of human beings," Kuniaki Yagihara, a member of the Yeti Project Japan , said in Kathmandu, after returning from the mountain with photographs of the footprints.
The climbers, equipped with long-lens cameras, video cameras and telescopes, said, however that they did not see or take any photographs of the creature.
The Yeti is said to live in the Himalayan regions of Nepal and is largely regarded by the scientific community as a mythical creature.
Yagihara, 61, said the creature's footprints were found on snow at an altitude of about 4,800 metres (15,748 feet) in the Dhaulagiri mountain range in western Nepal.
"We know how the footprints of bear, deer and mountain goat look like and it was none of that," he said. "We believe it is that of Yeti."
Yagihara and his team, supported by Sherpas, spent six weeks on the lower reaches of the 7,661-metre (25,134-ft) Dhaulagiri IV looking for evidence of the beast's existence.
Sherpas narrate tales of a wild hairy creature roaming the Himalayas, capturing the imagination of foreign climbers of Mount Everest since the 1920s. Those stories prompted many, including Sir Edmund Hillary, to carry out yeti hunts.
In August, two men in the United States claimed they had found the remains of a half-man, half-ape Bigfoot, which actually turned out to be a rubber gorilla suit.
Some other climbers have also claimed to have found Yeti footprints, but no one has yet actually seen it or produced irrefutable proof.
Yagihara, the manager of a mountain museum in Japan , said he believes the creature exists. "If I don't believe on Yeti I would never come."

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发表于 2008-10-23 04:02:37 AM |显示全部楼层

China raises concerns over Aust foreign investment rules

Tuesday October 21, 2008, 7:45 pm

China has raised its concerns with Australia about the foreign investment rules.

The head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, Zhang Ping, says China is very concerned about Australia's policy.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says he has discussed the issue with Mr Zhang today.

"It was a good chance to have a good yarn about those guidelines about their practical impact once again I outlined how open Australia is to foreign investment but we do apply our national interest criteria on a case by case basis," he said.

"I discussed with the chairman how these matters were being handled and whether there are any ways they could be fine tuned and those are all matters that are subject to further discussion."

Earlier this year Mr Swan approved the Chinese-owned company Chinalco buying a stake in Rio Tinto.

But at the same time said he would consider Australia's national interest if Chinalco sought to extend that stake.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Zhang, says he raised his concerns with Mr Swan today.

"Of course the Chinese side are also very concerned about the review policy of the Australian Government, through the frank and friendly communication [we want to] address these problems and issues," he said.

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发表于 2008-10-23 04:05:09 AM |显示全部楼层

China's Hu tells Bush he hopes US finance measures will work: report

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 2:58 pm

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed the global financial turmoil by phone with his US counterpart George W. Bush, expressing hope that US efforts would help curb the crisis, state media said.

Hu made the remarks while exchanging views with Bush Tuesday on ways to strengthen international cooperation to stabilise financial markets, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chinese leader expressed the hope that US measures to rein in the crisis "would take effect as soon as possible, restore investor confidence and prevent further expansion of the crisis," Xinhua said.

"The measures are conducive to the stability of the world economy and financial markets," Hu said, according to Xinhua.

He said China had taken a series of "important measures" to tackle the financial crisis and maintain the stability of financial and capital markets, as well as ensure steady economic growth.

China will work closely with the international community to maintain the stability of the global economy and financial markets, Hu was quoted as saying.

The discussion took place just days before a major summit of Asian and European leaders in Beijing expected to focus on the global financial woes.

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发表于 2008-10-23 04:08:30 AM |显示全部楼层

China raises export tax rebates

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 8:38 am

China has raised export tax rebates on toys, textiles and more than 3,000 other products, moving ahead on promises to counter a slump that is forcing many factories that produce for overseas markets out of business.

The export tax rebate on clothing and textiles will be raised to 14 per cent from the current 13 per cent, the Ministry of Finance said in a notice posted Tuesday on its website.

The tax rebate on toys also will be raised to 14 per cent, from the current 11 per cent, it said.

The changes, which affect 3,486 types of products, or about one-quarter of all exports listed by customs authorities, take effect November 1, the ministry said.

Most of the hikes raise tax rebates to between 9 per cent and 13 per cent. Products named in the list included everything from AIDS medications and steel wire used for appliances, to some types of plastics and machinery.

China's export tax rebates date back more than 20 years to when the government began using them as an incentive for investment in export industries.

The hikes are part of a series of measures, most of them still not announced, that leaders say will be rolled out to help manufacturers weather falling orders and rising costs amid the world credit crisis.

Thousands of factories have already closed down, leaving workers without jobs or pay checks, especially in thin-margin, labour-intensive industries like toys, clothing and small appliances.

Toy makers have been especially hard-hit, with costs rising 60 per cent since 2006 while contract prices rose only by an average of 10 per cent, according to Toy Industry Association figures published Tuesday in the state-run newspaper China Daily.

In July, the government raised rebates of value-added taxes on exports of textiles and clothing by 2 percentage points to 13 per cent.

China's economic growth in the third-quarter fell to 9 per cent from 10.4 per cent in the first half of the year and 10.9 per cent in 2007. While still strong, it was the slowest in five years.

Slumping demand for exports has barely registered in trade figures; China's surplus for September rose to a new monthly record of $US29.3 billion ($A41.58 billion) thanks to falling costs for crude oil and other commodities.

In July 2007, when the focus was on encouraging a shift out of low-tech industries and soothing its trading partners, Beijing slashed rebates on some 2,800 export products.

Unable to do much about the malaise spreading through major economies as they grapple with the fallout from the mortgage-debt crisis, China seems set to spend its way out of a slowdown.

State media reports say the government plans to boost spending on construction of basic infrastructure such as roads and public housing, as well as the rebuilding of the region devastated by the May 12 earthquake in central China.

The threshold for personal income tax, now set at 4,800 yuan (approximately $A993) may be raised further, the state-run newspaper China Daily reported Tuesday.

Taxes on housing transactions and restrictions on lending for such purchases are among other moves to support the real estate sector, which has languished in recent months.

Those moves follow a series of interest rate cuts and reductions on reserve requirements aimed at coaxing banks to lend more to the corporate sector.

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发表于 2008-10-23 04:12:32 AM |显示全部楼层

China Forestry Inc. Completes Website Modification

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 11:00 pm

HARBIN, China, Oct. 22, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- China Forestry Inc. (OTCBB:CHFY), a timber investment group in the People's Republic of China, today announced the completion of modification to the Company website in support of its previously announced decision to revise its business strategy in order to focus on acquiring forest user right certificates.

Commenting on the Company's modified website, Mr. Yuan Tian, CEO of CHFY, stated, "We will continue to utilize our website to update our shareholders regarding our progress in expanding our China forest holdings, and we look forward to being able to share news of our current negotiations to acquire user rights to additional forests in the very near future."

About China Forestry Inc.:

China Forestry Inc. (OTCBB:CHFY) is a timber investment group formed in the Peoples Republic of China to conform to State laws that prohibit non-PRC ownership of forest lands. The Company's strategy is to capitalize on the Central Government's decision to promote sustainable forest management through land tenure reforms that include the transferability of forest user right certificates to PRC entities. The Company's current holdings include ownership of four user right certificates representing 1,561 hectares of State forest assets in China's northeastern Heilongjiang Province, home to China's most valuable timber and one of the most distinctive temperate forests in the world due to its rare biodiversity. For more information, please visit the Company's website at: http://www.chinaforestryinc.com.

Safe Harbor Statement:

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters set forth above may be forward-looking statements that involve certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those in the forward-looking statements. Words such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend" and similar expressions, as they relate to the Company or its management, identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on the current beliefs of management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to management. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors such as the level of business and consumer spending, the amount of sales of the Company's products, the competitive environment within the industry, the ability of the Company to continue to expand its operations, the level of costs incurred in connection with the Company's expansion efforts, economic conditions in the industry and the financial strength of the Company's customers and suppliers. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update such forward-looking statements. Investors are also directed to consider all other risks and uncertainties.

CONTACT:  China Forestry Inc.
          Investor Relations Officer

          InvestSource, Inc.

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发表于 2008-10-24 03:43:29 AM |显示全部楼层

Obama set to dash to sick grandmother

October 24, 2008, 6:35 am

Front-runner Barack Obama was set to quit the White House trail for Hawaii and an emotional reunion with his gravely ill 85-year-old grandmother, just 12 days before the election.
Ailing Madelyn Dunham raised the 47-year-old Obama for much of his childhood, and is his sole remaining link with his tight-knit family, after his mother died of cancer more than a decade ago.
The Democratic nominee's compassionate leave comes with Republican John McCain searching for a sudden lurch in momentum and new polls showing Obama well positioned in the vital battleground states set to decide the election.
Obama told CBS that he decided to make the exhausting journey across the Pacific to see Dunham - nicknamed "Toot" - despite the crush of campaign events as he "got there too late" when his mother, Ann Dunham died.
"We knew that she wasn't doing well but, you know, the diagnosis was such where we thought we had a little more time and we didn't. And so I want to make sure that I don't - I don't make the same mistake twice," Obama said.
"My grandmother's the last one left. She has really been the rock of the family, the foundation of the family. Whatever strength, discipline that I have, it comes from her," Obama said.
Dunham is reportedly suffering from a broken hip and generally failing health, though the campaign has not given details of her condition.
The Democratic nominee was set to hold a morning rally in midwestern Indiana, a key swing state before flying 11 hours through the night to his native state. He was due to return to the trail in Nevada on Saturday.
Obama's mercy mission comes as he leads his rival McCain in the latest surveys of the key battlegrounds. He will miss a full day of campaigning on Friday, and return to the trail on Saturday.
The Democrat's absence, unprecedented this close to election day, may give McCain the chance to grab the limelight as he searches for way to suddenly shift the momentum of a race that seems to be slipping away.
But Obama's place on the trail will be filled by wife Michelle, and the campaign will use some of its mammoth multi-million dollar financial advantage over McCain to saturate the airways with Obama ads.
A new sheaf of polls in battleground states by Quinnipiac University cast sharp doubt on McCain's prospects.
Obama led the Republican in Florida by 49 to 44 per cent, compared to a 51-43 per cent lead in the last survey October 1, and in Pennsylvania by 53-40 per cent, compared to 54-39 per cent last time.
McCain lost ground in Ohio, often the decisive state in presidential elections, where Obama leads 52-38 per cent, expanding his lead of 50-42 per cent at the beginning of this month.
No candidate has been elected president since 1960 without taking two of these three largest swing states in the US electoral college.
"To overcome Senator Obama's lead in Ohio, Senator McCain would have to get virtually every voter who remains undecided plus almost all of the Obama supporters who said they still might change their minds," Quinnipiac assistant director of polling Brown.
McCain was set for a bus tour through key parts of Florida dedicated to "Joe the Plumber," the Ohio tradesman who has become an emblem for his claims that Obama wants to hike taxes.
Some recent polls have suggested the race in Florida, ground zero for the 2000 election debacle, is very close, and could be narrowing in the Republican's favour.
On Wednesday, he and running mate Sarah Palin charged that Obama's economic policies would choke growth in desperate economic times.
But Obama, spending more time to outline his plans which he says would actually give 95 per cent of Americans a tax cut, accused his rival of siding with "Joe the Hedge fund manager" and "Joe the CEO."
But the Democratic nominee's main focus on Thursday was his family, and "Toot" - a derivation of the Hawaiian word for grandmother.
Asked if there could be political risk in taking time away from the campaign trail so close to the November 4 presidential vote, Obama said: "I think most people understand that if you're not caring for your family, then you're probably not the kind of person who's going to be caring for other people."

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发表于 2008-10-24 03:58:28 AM |显示全部楼层

OPEC set to cut oil output amid crisis

Friday October 24, 2008, 6:32 am

OPEC President Chakib Khelil has said that the oil producers' cartel will decide to cut production at an emergency meeting due in Vienna, while taking care not to worsen the global financial crisis.

"We are going to reduce (output on Friday). By how much? We don't know. This is something we are going to decide tomorrow," Khelil, who is also the energy minister of OPEC member Algeria, told reporters in Vienna.

"It's a concern that we could make the financial crisis worse by taking too strong a reduction," said Khelil, adding however that the decision "should not impact the world economy which is already in pretty bad shape".

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently said that any reduction made in a bid to push up oil prices would be "scandalous" at a time when major economies are close to recession.

The price of New York oil has dived to a 16-month low, as recession fears stoked concerns about falling crude demand, traders said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December delivery, sank as low as $US65.90 US per barrel - a level last seen on June 13, 2007.

Crude futures in New York and London have plunged 56 per cent from record highs of above $US147 a barrel reached only three months ago when supply concerns sent prices soaring.

"The market focus today (Thursday) and particularly tomorrow will be on the OPEC emergency meeting," said analysts at Barclays Capital in London.

"Indicating the inevitability of a substantial cut, Chakib Khelil, the OPEC president, commented on Thursday that "the stocks are very high ... some of us are not able to sell the crude".

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries produces 40 per cent of the world's oil and its official output quota stands at 28.8 million barrels per day.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi refused to be drawn on talk of a cut as he arrived in the Austrian capital on Thursday but OPEC hardliners Iran and Venezuela stepped up pressure for a controversial reduction to crude production.

Gholam Hossein Nozari, oil minister of OPEC's second-biggest exporter Iran, called for output to be slashed by two million barrels per day.

Venezuelan Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez said there should be a cut of at least one million barrels. Ramirez added that he believed there was a consensus among OPEC's 12 members for a cut.

OPEC's Gulf state members led by Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, are expected to oppose a reduction of more than one million barrels, analysts said on Thursday.

Kuwait's Oil Minister Mohammad al-Olaim said OPEC must take the global financial crisis into account when deciding its action.

"There is a surplus in the market... and sooner or later action should be taken anyway," Olaim told reporters before departing for Vienna.

"(But) we are concerned about the financial crisis going on and I think any action should take into consideration the financial crisis."

Friday's meeting on the impact of the global financial crisis and looming recession on the oil market was originally planned for November 18 but was brought forward as prices plunged.

OPEC comprises 12 members: Algeria, Angola, Ecuador, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. A thirteenth, Indonesia, has suspended membership.

Indonesia officially leaves the cartel at the end of 2008, while Iraq does not have an output quota because of the country's post-war strife.

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发表于 2008-10-24 04:02:13 AM |显示全部楼层

China shows financial muscle 'by boosting property market'

Friday October 24, 2008, 2:44 am

SHANGHAI (AFP) - China's aggressive moves to boost its ailing real estate market provide a glimpse of its unrivalled position in coping with the global financial turmoil, analysts said Thursday.

The government announced measures to head off a property market crash late Wednesday after figures released this week showed third quarter domestic product growth slowed to nine percent, the lowest since mid-2003.

"This is big news and the actions came sooner than expected probably because the third-quarter growth was worse than expected and the slowdown has proven sharper than the government expected," JP Morgan economist Frank Gong said.

With high liquidity, 1.9 trillion-dollar foreign exchange reserves and a stable currency, China "has the most flexibility in the world to fend off the impact of the global financial crisis", Gong wrote in a research note.

Propping up the property market, which accounts for 10 percent of China's gross domestic product, was crucial, analysts agreed.

"The direction of the residential property market will determine the direction of the Chinese economy over the next 18 months," Credit Suisse analyst Dong Tao wrote in a note.

"The new measures reflect the rising anxiety about growth risks," Dong said.

Those measures include lifting the stamp tax on property purchases and value-added tax of land on property sales as of November, the finance ministry said.

The People's Bank of China said minimum deposits and mortgage rates for first-time home buyers would be also slashed starting next week.

The "unambiguous all-out support from both central and local level" governments was surprising in "both timing and magnitude", Nicole Wong, a Hong Kong-based property analyst with CLSA Research, said.

This week's economic data provided the most powerful indication yet that even China's so-far invincible economy was not insulated from the global downturn, especially as fears of recession grow in the United States and Europe -- key markets for Chinese manufactured goods.

Since the figures were released, China has wasted no time in responding to protect housing and exports, key components of its economy that appeared vulnerable.

The property policy decision was announced a day after Beijing said it would increase export tariff rebates on more than 3,000 items, or a quarter of taxable goods, to shore up its exports.

China had already taken other stimulus steps, including cutting its benchmark one-year lending rate by 27 basis points to 6.93 percent two weeks ago.

Real estate prices in 70 major Chinese cities fell 0.1 percent in August from July, the first month-on-month price decline since China began releasing the data in July 2005.

Housing prices have more than doubled in the decade since China replaced its government housing allocation system with the market system, Standard Chartered said in a research note.

They began falling for the first time since 1998 during the first quarter, the bank said, citing official data.

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发表于 2008-10-24 04:04:43 AM |显示全部楼层

BHP says China growth softer but will continue to drive demand

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 7:59

SYDNEY (AFP) - The world's biggest miner BHP Billiton Wednesday said that while Chinese growth had softened in the face of the global economic crisis, the country would continue to drive demand for its products.

In a report for the quarter ended September 30, BHP said production had increased in the key commodities of iron ore and petroleum.

But it noted that major market China was not immune to the financial crisis and that uncertainty would likely continue in the short term.

"Macroeconomic indicators show that Chinese growth has softened during the quarter, albeit from very high levels," the Anglo-Australian miner said in statement.

"We expect volatility and uncertainty to continue in the short term.

"Notwithstanding this short term uncertainty, we remain confident that the ongoing industrialisation and urbanisation of China and other developing economies will continue to drive strong longer term demand for our products."

Last week BHP's rival miner Rio Tinto said China's market had "paused for breath" and expected to see Chinese commodity demand growth dampen, adding that any bounce in net demand would not occur until 2009.

"There is an easing off in economic growth but China is not going to fall off the edge of the earth -- we are seeing a slowdown and that's probably been exacerbated by the post-Olympics slump," Gavin Wendt, an analyst with Fat Prophets, told national news agency AAP.

Mining and resources stocks have dropped dramatically on the Australian share market amid fears the ongoing turmoil will spark a recession and stall demand for commodities.

Shares in BHP, which has made a hostile takeover bid for Rio, have lost 45 percent in value, while its smaller rival is 49.8 percent down since May.

BHP shares dropped 7.03 percent to close at 27.25 dollars on the Australian market Wednesday but Rio Tinto climbed 5.4 percent to 78.40 dollars.

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发表于 2008-10-24 04:06:53 AM |显示全部楼层

China's Hu tells Bush he hopes US finance measures will work: report

Wednesday October 22, 2008, 2:58 pm

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed the global financial turmoil by phone with his US counterpart George W. Bush, expressing hope that US efforts would help curb the crisis, state media said.

Hu made the remarks while exchanging views with Bush Tuesday on ways to strengthen international cooperation to stabilise financial markets, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The Chinese leader expressed the hope that US measures to rein in the crisis "would take effect as soon as possible, restore investor confidence and prevent further expansion of the crisis," Xinhua said.

"The measures are conducive to the stability of the world economy and financial markets," Hu said, according to Xinhua.

He said China had taken a series of "important measures" to tackle the financial crisis and maintain the stability of financial and capital markets, as well as ensure steady economic growth.

China will work closely with the international community to maintain the stability of the global economy and financial markets, Hu was quoted as saying.

The discussion took place just days before a major summit of Asian and European leaders in Beijing expected to focus on the global financial woes.

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