EU risks inflation rise

BRUSSELS: European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet sounded the alarm on Wednesday about inflation risks in the 13 nations sharing euro, raising the prospect of further interest rate increases. “In the policy relevant medium term, risks to price stability remain on the upside,” Trichet told the European Parliament economic and monetary affairs committee in Brussels. The Frenchman in particular warned about the impact of higher wages on inflation. — AFP

Cuba open to US firms

HAVANA: Cuba is open to American companies that want to join the communist country’s new oil-drilling ventures but any such deals are being blocked by Washington, the minister overseeing energy matters said Tuesday. Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia said exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico should start to yield profits by 2011. “A lot of American companies have been coming, they know about our studies. But we are not the ones limiting them,” Garcia told reporters. — AP

BP pinned for disaster

LONDON: US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation report says 15 died in Texas City chemical blast because cost cuts compromised safety and warnings were ignored The four BP oil workers who were filling a vertical tank with chemicals when it exploded in America’s worst industrial accident for a generation had all been working 12-hour shifts for more than four weeks without a day off. — AFP