Three-nation gas pipeline

DHAKA: Bangladesh is yet to decide about signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on a gas pipeline project with Myanmar and India as it says New Delhi is reportedly opposed to some issues in the draft memorandum. Dhaka wants New Delhi to provide transit facilities to it to import hydroelectricity from Nepal and Bhutan.— HNS

Indonesian inflation high

JAKARTA: Indonesian inflation spiked higher in March, rising 1.91 per cent from February and 8.81 per cent from a year earlier, due mainly to higher transport costs after the government raised fuel prices, according to official data released on Friday. The costs of transportation, communication and financial services were up 1.36 per cent month-on-month in March. — AFP

Malaysian cars in China

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s national car manufacturer said on Friday it hopes to start producing vehicles in southern China later this year, in a bid to establish a foothold in the lucrative market. “Our partner has promised that it will get the license this year and start production,” Proton Holdings Bhd chief executive Mahaleel Ariff told the national news agency, Bernama.— AP

Russia to write off debt

MOSCOW: Russia and Iraq will sign an intergovernmental agreement writing off 90 per cent of the nation’s $10.5 billion (euro 8.1 billion) debt to Moscow by the end of the year, a Russian finance ministry spokesman said on Friday. Officials are determining the exact amount of Iraq’s debut, spokesman Andrei Saiko said. — AP

Fujitsu, Alcatel plan tie-up

TOKYO: Major Japanese electronics maker Fujitsu will join forces with French telecoms equipment maker Alcatel SA to build mobile networks for third-generation (3G) services in China, an official said on Friday. “We are seeking sales cooperation in China as there are areas where Alcatel is strong and areas where Fujitsu is strong,” a Fujitsu spokesman said, adding the pair aimed to win a combined 15 per cent share.— AFP

Investing in South Korea

SEOUL: Finance and economy minister Han Duck-Soo said that South Korea would be tough but fair in applying new disclosure regulations to both domestic and foreign investors. Han said the government would not discriminate against foreign investors nor allow them privileged benefits either. “We will actively attract foreign funds but their illgal activities will be punished.” — AP

Corporate woes in Japan

TOKYO: Large Japanese manufacturers are becoming less optimistic about their business outlook, a quarterly survey by the Bank of Japan said on Friday, underlying growing worries about the fragility of the nation’s recovery. However, in a bit of bright news in the central bank’s survey, known as the “tankan,” the manufacturers still said they plan to increase capital spending.— AP