NT resumes service

PABAT: Telephone service, which was closed for the last two years in the rural areas of Parbat district, has been resumed recently. The telephone lines used in bazaar areas, outside the district headquarters, including Patichaur, Jimuwa, Phalewas and various VDCs were closed for the past two years citing the security reason. The service came into operation after the security force instructed to resume the service, Nepal Telecom office, Parbat branch informed. Some 300 cordless lines installed in various VDCs of Prabat and Baglung districts have yet to be resumed. — RSS

Indo-Bangla trade hit

Agartala: Border trade between India’s northeast and Bangladesh has been badly hit in view of the protests by customs and excise officials demanding the immediate release of their two abducted colleagues. Customs superintendent Dharani Borah and inspector Mrinal Sharma were kidnapped by suspected militants on April 26, from Gasuapara. — HNS

Aussie budget surplus

SYDNEY: Prime Minister John Howard’s long-serving government is set to forecast another big surplus on Tuesday when it unveils its 2006-2007 budget, a plan expected to include tax cuts for the wealthy and a boost in spending on national security. But with interest rates already on the rise, squeezing residents of ‘mortgage-belt’ suburbs, who provide the core support for Howard’s government, economists expect treasurer to offer only moderate tax and spending promises to avoid adding to inflationary pressures. — AFP

Shareholders meet

ROTTERDAM: Shareholders in Mittal Steel are to meet on Tuesday in Rotterdam amid concerns that the steel giant’s proposed takeover of rival Arcelor is taking longer than expected to clear regulatory hurdles. The hostile bid for Arcelor is not formally on the agenda for Tuesday’s AGM of Mittal, whose main shareholder is the British businessman Lakshmi Mittal, although shareholders will not be prevented from asking questions about the proposed takeover. — AFP

Asian currencies rise

HONG KONG: Asian currencies rose against the dollar, amid widespread hopes that the US Federal Reserve will stop raising US interest rates after this week’s key meeting. The yen rose further in the past week amid persistent expectations the Federal Reserve will stop raising US interest rates following this week’s key meeting. — AFP