Jobless rate rises in Britain

LONDON: Britain’s unemployment rate has risen unexpectedly, figures released on Wednesday showed, providing a setback to British premier Tony Blair’s attempts to put low unemployment and economic growth at the heart of his election campaign. — AP

Japan’s economy recovers

TOKYO: The government on Wednesday left unchanged its monthly outlook for Japan’s economy, but said business sentiment was deteriorating despite signs of a consumer spending spree. The Cabinet Office said the world’s second-largest economy ‘is recovering at a moderate pace, while some weak movements continue to be seen.’ — AP

Fed to revise interest rates

WASHINGTON: Federal Reserve policy-makers, concerned about inflation, debated last month whether to signal the possibility that they might move more aggressively to raise interest rates. — AP

MS to fix security flaws

REDMOND: Microsoft Corp released five security bulletins to fix flaws that could allow an attacker to take complete control of someone else’s computer system. The security flaws rated ‘critical’ — Microsoft’s highest threat level — affect MS Windows computer operating system, Internet Explorer browser, MSN Messenger, Microsoft Word software and Exchange server system. — AP

Nike names overseas arms

BEAVERTON: After years of criticism over its labour practices abroad, Nike has disclosed for the first time the names and locations of more than 700 factories that produce its sneakers, apparel and other products. — AP

New Toyota research base

MICHIGAN: Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it has signed a deal to buy 276 hectares from the state for a research and development center that is expected to add 400 new jobs. Toyota Technical Centre USA Inc, Toyota’s North American research and development arm, said. — AP

CNOOC expands business

SHANGHAI: China’s biggest offshore oil producer CNOOC Ltd has taken a stake in a Canadian oil sands project expected to help expand the country’s resource base for crude oil. The $121 million investment, made through CNOOC subsidiary CNOOC Belgium BVBA, gives it a 16.69 percent stake in Calgary-based MEG Energy Corp. — AP

VA, bank issue credit card

HANOI: Vietcombank and Vietnam Airlines (VA) have cooperated with American Express to issue an international credit card. The Golden Lotus card, which was launched on Tuesday, is the first credit card in Vietnam where most customers are not required to have collateral with a bank. — AP

Siemens’ acquisition row

MOSCOW: Russia said it had blocked Germany’s Siemens AG from acquiring a controlling stake in the top Russian power engineering company, a deal opposed by the military because of the Russian firm’s role in the secretive defence sector. — AP

Consumer confidence

BRUSSELS: The German stores and mail-order group, on Tuesday underlined the collapse of consumer confidence in mainland Europe by announcing a net 1.63 billion euros loss last year. — The Guardian