Corporate corruption

FRANKFURT: Some of Germany’s best-known and highly respected companies, including Siemens and Volkswagen, have hit the headlines this week in corruption scandals that threaten to tarnish Germany’s squeaky clean business reputation. Perhaps by far the most spectacular was engineering giant Siemens in a vast embezzlement scandal — with possible links to the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha that shocked even the most hard-nosed observers. — AFP

Eurozone confidence

PARIS: Eurozone indicators to be released this week are expected to show gains in industrial and consumer confidence and manufacturing activity — further evidence of robust momentum — as well as inflation. Eurostat is nonetheless predicted to confirm that growth in the 12-nation zone slowed to 0.5 per cent in the third quarter from 0.9 per cent in the second. But the agency’s estimate for the second quarter may be revised up to one per cent following revisions to data from Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. — AFP

Housing crisis felt

ULAN BATOR: Mention the Asian property boom and most people automatically think of Hong Kong or Shanghai. But not Ulan Bator, where gold fever and uncomfortable traditional housing are sending house prices through the roof. Billboards advertising luxury housing developments with names such as ‘Marshall Town’, ‘Regency Residence’ and ‘Japan Town’ are appearing all over the Mongolian capital. — AFP