Mega prize winner

KATHMANDU: Surya Prasad Sharma from Dang (C No 2598) won the first bumper prize, a Daihatsu Sirion Car, under Bajaj Motorcycles’ scheme - Bajaj Bhagya Bidhata. Sharma’s name was announced on the live lucky draw programme aired on Avenues TV on Sunday. Bajaj Motorcycles also named Sanjesh Bhattarai of Jhapa (C No 1212) as the seventh winner of the Samsung Home Maker Pack for the third week under its scheme. Bajaj has sold 6384 motorcycles during the last seven weeks, a press release said. — HNS

Pak white paper

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will make a statement by the end of the week about its dire financial situation, officials said on Wednesday, amid reports that an application to the IMF was imminent. “We will make a statement on this issue in a day or two,” a government official said. But he said he could not comment on a report in the Financial Times quoting another Pakistani government official as saying negotiations with the IMF were in the final stages. — AFP

Tyres costlier

NEW DELHI: The sharp depreciation in the value of the Indian rupee and large-scale exports have pushed up prices of tyres in the country, although there has been a decline in input costs. The prices of natural rubber have fallen by 41.5 per cent in six weeks to the year’s low of Rs 90 Indian currency (IC) per kg from Rs 142 IC per kg, even as petrochemical inputs also declined due to the sharp drop in crude oil price. But tyre prices across categories have been jacked up by 15-20 per cent between March and August, with two leading manufacturers Apollo Tyres and MRF hiking prices by two per cent last week, said the All India Tyre Dealers’ Federation. — HNS

Russia, China ink deal

MOSCOW: Russia and China sealed a long-delayed energy deal on Tuesday for a pipeline linking the two countries after talks concluded between Chinese premier Wen Jiabao and Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin. The leaders watched as Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft and China’s National Petroleum Corporation signed the accord to build an extension to the East Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline to carry oil pumped by Rosneft from Siberian fields. The contract provides for 15 million tonnes of crude per year to be shipped to China over the next 20 years. — DPA

Consumer confidence

NEW YORK: Consumer confidence in the US collapsed to a record low after one of the bleakest months in Wall Street’s history dented public optimism in the outlook for the world’s biggest economy. Intensifying fears about a long, deep recession, Conference Board said its index of voters’ sentiment plunged from 61.4 in September to 38 in October — a low not seen in 40 years. —The Guardian

Protectionism scare

BRUSSELS: Europe’s new trade chief warned governments on Tuesday against resorting to protectionism in the face of the current financial crisis which she said would only delay economic recovery. “Interventions and excessive use of public subsidies - while attractive today, will damage us tomorrow,” EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton said. “We all know protectionism makes recovery harder. But sometimes in the face of crisis, we risk throwing away what we know,” she said. — AFP