Australia, Egypt row

SYDNEY: Australia annnounced a temporary ban on the export of live cattle to Egypt while claims of cruelty in abattoirs there are investigated. The suspension came as commercial television broadcast footage said to show cattle suffering serious mistreatment. Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran said he had suspended the live shipping of cattle to Egypt until an investigation by Egyptian authorities was completed. — AFP

Suez, Gaz de merger

PARIS: France announced on Saturday the merger of its state-owned Gaz de France with utility giant Suez, fending off a potential takeover bid from an Italian group and demonstrating its interest in ‘economic patriotism’. “With this merger, we have the ambition to create one of the top energy groups in the world, in particular in the gas sector,” prime minister Dominique de Villepin said. Villepin said the move was motivated by “the strategic importance of energy for France.” The announcement comes only days after Italian energy group Enel declared an interest in acquiring Suez in order to acquire Suez’s Belgian subsidiary Electrabel. — AFP

Wal-Mart’s new policy

BENTONVILLE: After watching its sales momentum surge over the past four decades, Wal-Mart Stores Inc now finds it has to work harder to grow — with 3,900 stores nearly saturating the US market, it’s the company’s sales strategy, not new retail outlets, that will determine Wal-Mart’s future. Analysts are optimistic that America’s largest retailer will get the job done — even if the company isn’t so sure itself. Wal-Mart is offering a broader selection of high-end items and sprucing up its stores to make happier customers. — AP

Airport safety urged

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s transport minister rejected an aviation official’s warning that safety would be compromised if a new airport terminal for budget airlines opens next month, claiming it may not be fully equipped. President of the Civil Aviation ATC Services Union, said there is a shortage of traffic controllers. — AP

Journalists form AJG

POKHARA: Journalists working in Pokhara have formed an Agriculture Journalists Group (AJG) on Saturday to give priority to development journalism. They will give priority to news related to agriculture including research, training, and write-ups. Ram Prasad Baral is the president of the group while Krishna Prasad Sharma is vice-president, Krishna Thapa is secretary, Prem Narayan Neupane is joint secretary, Pom Lal Giri is treasurer and Rajendra Adhikari, Rhishi Baral, Pradip Paudel and Raman Giri are the members. — RSS

ADB-N invests more

DHADING: Agriculture Development Bank, Nepal (ADB-N) has posted an increment in investment by 88 per cent in the last six months of the current fiscal year. The Bank has invested Rs 46.9 million from mid July to mid January, whereas the target was of Rs 26 million. Likewise, the bank has collected Rs 38 million, which is a growth of 148 per cent in the same period last year. Similarly, the bank recovered Rs 7.3 million interest, whereas it had expected to collect Rs 10.13 million. — RSS

Hydro project starts

DAMAULI: Kakdikhola-III micro hydropower project of six kilowatt capacity, launched in Phirphire VDC-6 has been completed. 325 have benefited from the project. Eleven mirco hydropower project have been completed at the initiation of Rural Energy Development, in Tahanun district alone. Similarly, 163 households are using electricity after the micro hydropower of Kahun Shivpur VDC Diwali river was repaired. — RSS

Traders want CSR

KATHMANDU: People involved with trade and commerce sector should carry out their social responsibility for development stated a working paper on ‘business ethics and cottage and small business and development of women entrepreneurs’ under anti-corruption project of the FNCCI presented at the interaction programme. Meghnath Neupane, executive director while presenting the paper stressed the need of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on the part of business people. Noting that economic issues are vital in today’s global politics, he pointed out the need of business ethics and social accountability on the part of business persons. — RSS