Trade surplus surges:

BEIJING: China’s politically sensitive trade surplus soared in May to the third-highest monthly level on record, according to government figures released on Monday, amid growing pressure from U.S. lawmakers for sanctions against Beijing. The surplus hit $22.5 billion, up 73 per cent from last May, the Chinese customs agency said on its Web site. — AP

China, Taiwan flights:

BEIJING: For the first time, China and Taiwan will launch cross-Strait charter flights for the Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on June 19 this year. Five mainland airlines including Air China, and six Taiwan companies including China Airlines will undertake 21 round-trip flights from June 15 to June 22, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Monday. The destinations are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen on the mainland, and Taipei and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, according to the CAAC. — Xinhua

Iran to build refineries:

KUALA LUMPUR: Oil-rich Iran Monday announced it will help build five new refineries across Asia including China with a total capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day in a bid to bolster ties in the region. “Iran has finalised feasibility studies for five refining projects in five Asian countries with a total capacity of 1.1 million barrels per day,” Seyed Kazam Vaziri Hamaneh, Iran’s petroleum minister said. — AFP

Oil storage tanks:

KUALA LUMPUR: Plans by Emirates National Oil Co. to expand one of Asia’s largest oil storage facilities in Singapore are on track despite rising raw material costs, a top executive said Monday. The firm is expanding oil storage capacity at its 950,000-cubic-meter Horizon Terminals Pte. Ltd. unit on Jurong Island, with a second phase of 23 new tanks to be ready next month. “Everything has been contracted, so costs will not be a problem,” Group Chief Executive Hussain Sultan told Dow Jones Newswires on the sidelines of a regional oil and gas conference. —AP

New sanitary napkins:

KATHMANDU: Magnamax Pvt Ltd has launched three variants of Fem? Sanitary Napkins in the market to address Nepali women’s need for better quality and hygienic napkins. The products are Fem? Classic priced at Rs 28 per pack, Fem? Dry priced at Rs 32/ pack and Fem? Ritz, which is priced at Rs 48 per pack. The Fem? napkins are available at all leading stores and pharmacies, states a company press release issued here today. —HNS