Iran warns Europe

TEHRAN: Iran warned Europe that it might revise economic ties if the country’s nuclear rights were not respected. “If the Iranian nuclear file was challenged by the European countries, then the suitable economic ties would be challenged as well and we think that this would be a pity,” foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi said. He was referring to the reported new incentives by the Europ which include helping it in building new light water reactors and a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel for at least five years. — DPA

EBRD eyes S E Europe

LONDON: The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) kicked off its annual conference here on Sunday with the launch of a five-year plan to switch investments from new EU member states to southeastern Europe and Russia. The EBRD operates across 27 nationsin southeast and central-east Europe, the Baltic states and the Commonwealth of Independent States — the latter being a loose grouping of 12 former Soviet republics. — AFP

Economic growth

TOKYO: Japan said on Friday its economic growth slowed in the first quarter from the fast pace of late last year as consumer spending cooled and imports rose but it was still a better performance than expected. There were also signs of a further easing of deflationary pressures, which, together with an upgrade from the central bank on the economic outlook, reinforced expectations that an end to zero interest rates is close. Japan’s GDP grew by 0.5 per cent in three months to March from previous quarter, when the economy had expanded a revised 1.1 per cent. — AFP

German PPI increases

WIESBADEN: German producer prices, the price of goods at the factory gate, soared by 6.1 per cent on a 12-month basis in April, the fastest increase in nearly 24 years. The German producer price index (PPI) rose by one per cent in April from the figure for March and was 6.1 per cent higher than it had been in April 2005 as a result of runaway energy prices. The annual rate of change was the fastest since June 1982. PPI had already risen by 5.9 per cent in both March and February. — AFP

Mining law dispute

MANILA: The Philippines government said that it will not repeal a law liberalising 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 caused by waste spills at its pits in the central island of Rapu-Rapu. — AFP

Credit Agricole’s plan

LONDON: Credit Agricole, France’s biggest bank, could buy British bank Alliance and Leicester (A&L) withing weeks, the Sunday Express newspaper reported. The weekly reported that US investment bank Citigroup had been working for Credit Agricole on a $11.3-billion bid. The move is likely to speed up the process following weeks of speculation that A & L was likely to be approached by a leading European bank. — AFP

Kansakar is NT chief

KATHMANDU: Sugat Ratna Kansakar has been re-appointed as the managing director of Nepal Telecom (NT) for a period of two years. The decision to reappoint him was taken at a cabinet meeting held last Wednesday, according to Kansakar, who joined his duty on sunday. Kansakar has been serving at the NT for the past 32 years. After joining the office today, Kansakar said that he would launch third generation mobile (3GM) in a few months. — HNS

CAs leave for CAPA

KATHMANDU: A delegation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN) led by its president Narayan Bajaj left for Malaysia on Sunday to participate at the 67th Confederation of Asia and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) meeting being held there on May 25-26. The other members of the delegation are vice-president Binod B Rajbhandary, P L Shrestha, immediate past president of the institute. They are scheduled to discuss the development of accounting in Asia and Pacific region. — HNS