Big taxpayer’s office

KATHMANDU: Finance minister Madhukar Sumsher JB Rana laid the foundation stone of big taxpayer’s office at the premises of Inland Revenue Department, Lalitpur. The building, which will have 76 rooms, is estimated to cost Rs 2,185,496. It will be completed by December . — RSS

Oman, US hold FTA talks

WASHINGTON: Oman’s trade minister said that talks with the Bush administration regarding a US-Oman free trade agreement had gone so well this week that the deal should be wrapped up next month. — AP

Google’s earnings soar

SAN FRANCISCO: Google Inc’s earnings are growing so rapidly that not even the stock market bulls can keep up. Blown away by the online search engine leader’s first-quarter profit, analysts raised their high expectations for Google and investors scrambled to buy a piece of a company that’s drawing comparisons to some of high-technology’s greatest growth stocks of the past. — AP

Kodak swings to a loss

NEW YORK: Eastman Kodak Co, rushing to fortify its digital businesses as film-based photography wanes, swung to a loss and missed Wall Street forecasts by a wide margin because its makeover proved costlier than expected in the first quarter. — AP

Peru, US free trade talks

LIMA: The lead Peruvian negotiator in regional free trade talks with the US said on Friday that the ouster of Ecuador president Lucio Gutierrez had cast a pall on talks aimed at creating a tariff-free zone. Meanwhile, in Ecuador, that trade minister, Oswaldo Molestina, said the government may quit negotiations with the US altogether. — AP

Rover lures foreign firms

LONDON: More than 200 companies have shown an interest in buying parts of the collapsed car company MG Rover Ltd. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP said it is evaluating all expressions of interest for the last major British-owned automaker. — AP