Defence budget hike

BEIJING: Chinese president Hu Jintao said on Wednesday that his country is going to increase the defence budget while its national economy grows. “We will gradually increase input in national defence as the economy grows, and continue to modernise national defence and the armed forces in a way that serves the interests of national security and development,” said Hu, the chairman of Central Military Commission. — Xinhua

Indian shares crash

MUMBAI: Indian equities crashed on Wednesday pulling a key index down by nearly 500 points on the back of weakness in Asian markets notwithstanding a favourable monetary policy review by the central bank a day earlier. The sensitive index (Sensex) of the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) was down by 494.14 points, (3.18 per cent), at 15,056.85 points after two hours into trading, over previous day’s close at 15,550.99 points. The barometer index opened lower at 15,344.02 points and continued to dip and one time came very close to the 15,000-point mark at 15,023.37 points, amidst high volatility. — HNS

ASEAN single market

MANILA: The EU foreign policy chief welcomed Southeast Asia’s plans to create a single market by 2015. Speaking at an Asian security summit in the Philippines, Solana said Europe was following ‘with the greatest interest’ the plans of the ASEAN. The ASEAN, which with nearly 600 million people accounts for almost 10 per cent of the world’s population, moved forward its target date for a single market. — AFP