Thai inflation rises

BANGKOK: Thailand’s inflation rate in January rose to 5.9 per cent year-on-year due to high global oil prices, bouncing back from a slight fall in the previous month. Inflation in December stood at by 5.8 per cent, down from 5.9 per cent in November. — AFP

Japan jobless rate dips

TOKYO: With Japan’s economy on the mend, the number of full-time workers rose for the first time in eight years in 2005, when salaries also increased. Number of full-time workers grew by 0.5 per cent last year. — AFP

Trade surplus grows

SEOUL: South Korea’s trade surplus shrank sharply in January amid growing concern about higher oil prices and an appreciating currency. The January surplus stood at $590 million, compared to $3.04 billion a year ago. Customs-cleared exports rose by 4.3 per cent from a year ago to $23.42 billion. — AFP

Google faces googly

SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc’s rapid financial growth decelerated in the fourth quarter as the online search leader’s profit fell below expectation for the first time since its August 2004 initial public offering. The news rattled previously bullish investors, causing Google’s stock price to plunge by more than 15 per cent. — AP

Chery eyes Russia

MOSCOW: China’s state-owned Chery Automobile Co will assemble its cars in Russia under an agreement with the Avtotor automaker. Chery vehicles initially would be produced on spare capacity at Avtotor’s assembly plant in the Kaliningrad exclave, where the company already assembles BMW, Kia, Chevrolet, Hummer and Cadillac models. — AP

WB, Chad dispute

WASHINGTON: Officials from the World Bank (WB) and Chad met in Paris to thrash out a row over oil revenues that has seen the global lender suspend aid to the African nation. In a brief joint statement signed by Robin Cleveland, counsellor to World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, and Chad’s finance minister Abbas Mahamat Tolli, the two sides said the meeting was ‘constructive’ and would continue on Tuesday. — AFP

EU, MS row continues

BRUSSELS: The EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes said she had not yet received all information on Microsoft’s offer to share software codes and comply with a 2004 EU antitrust ruling. She said that the MS could not charge fees for server protocol and communication codes if it could not prove that code was innovative. — AP

WB delays Kenya loan

NAIROBI: The World Bank (WB) has delayed the release of some $260 million in loans to Kenya over corruption concerns amid new graft allegations that have rocked the east African nation. The money will not be disbursed until the institution is convinced that president is meeting commitments to fight corruption. — AFP

Air Nepal accused

KATHMANDU: Migrant workers who have purchased tickets from Air Nepal have accused it of cheating them as they have been deprived of the service they have paid for. They urged the government to take strict action against Air Nepal as it has cheated them from Rs 18,000 to Rs 50,000. — HNS