Malaysia lures tourists

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is hoping to attract some 20.1 million tourists in 2007, up from 15.7 million in 2004 and hopes to increase revenues by 50 per cent. The government is hoping the increased numbers of tourists will bring in a record $12.0 billion next year, up from 2004. Malaysia is planning the boom to coincide with celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence. — AFP

Industrial output rises

BRUSSELS: Eurozone industrial production edged up by 0.1 per cent in December, bringing the increase over one year to 2.5 per cent. The figures, which were adjusted for seasonal variations, were weaker than economists expectations for an increase of 0.2 per cent over one month and 2.2 per cent over one year. They marked a slowdown from November when the output of eurozone factories grew by 1.4 per cent over one month. — AFP

Japan’s economy up

TOKYO: Japan’s economy grew at a stunning 5.5 per cent annual pace in the fourth quarter. Soaring car exports and solid consumer spending propelled growth in the October-December period as Japanese shopped for flat-panel TVs and portable music players. Compared to the previous quarter, the economy expanded by 1.4 per cent in the quarter. — AP

Italian trade deficit

ROME: Italy had a trade deficit of 10.37 billion euros in 2005, compared with a deficit of 1.22 billion euros in 2004. Italian statistics office said that last time Italy had a deficit of this magnitude was ‘at least’ as far back as the 1980s. The deterioration of the deficit, an 850.0 per cent increase compared with 2004, was because of a sharp rise in the cost of importing oil and gas during the year. — AFP

Singapore’s exports up

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s key non-oil domestic exports grew by 18 per cent in January compared with a year earlier. January’s expansion followed the 32 per cent year-on-year growth reported for December. Boosted by the electronic and non-electronic sectors — particularly pharmaceuticals — non-oil domestic exports were valued at $8.3 billion for January. — AFP

‘Most admired brand’

KATHMANDU: John Players has bagged the ‘Most admired brand of the year — shirts’ at Lycra Image Fashion Awards (LIFA)-2006 recently held in India. John Players had also won the ‘Most admired rising star brand’ in LIFA 2005. LIFA felicitates and honours professionals and companies for excellence in the fashion business. — HNS

Unions to protest

KATHMANDU: Protesting against the management of hotel Yak and Yeti for not adhering to the court order in providing facilities to its employees, Nepal Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and Trade Union Federation (TUF) is organising a rally on Monday. A memorandum is also to be submitted to the labour minister regarding the violation of court order by the Yak and Yeti management, states a press release. — HNS

PBSL operational

KATHMANDU: Prabhu Bittiya Sanstha Ltd (PBSL) has started its financial transactions. According to a press release, the institution provides financial services through computerised system which is reliable and fast. “It gives 6.5 per cent interest on savings per annum and also provides loan at low interest rates for foreign employment seekers,” states the release. It also does remittance business with the agencies in Qatar, Saudia Arab, Kuwait, UK, Japan, America and other countries. — HNS

ANI to resume flights

KATHMANDU: Air Nepal International (ANI) is resuming its international flights from February 23, states a press release issued here today. “It will operate flights to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok in the initial phase, states the release. ANI flights have been halted since December 24 owing to various reasons. — HNS

Farmers hit hard

Rajapur: Farmers in Rajapur, Bardiya are worried as paddy failed to get appropriate market this year. They had a good paddy harvest this year but due to lack of market, they fear that they could not get the appriate prices. Durga Prasad Choudhary, a farmer said that he was compelled to stock paddy in his house due to the lack of market. In the previous years, Nepal Food Corporation used to determinate the price of paddy crop and also used to collect from them it paying appropriate prices. — HNS