EU, India in wine row

Brussels: The EU said it would ask the WTO to intervene over India’s high duties for imported spirits and wine, claiming these were unfair trade barriers that hurt European alcohol producers. “This is out and out protectionism which even the Indian government has not been able to justify in the past,” EU trade spokesman said. The European Commission said access to the potentially large Indian market for spirits and wines is severely restricted by additional duties on imported spirits and wines.— AP

US economy to dip

WASHINGTON: The US economy has been battered by a bigger-than-expected slump in housing but will keep growing next year as consumers get relief from soaring energy costs. The NABE panel predicted that the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, would expand by 2.5 per cent in 2007. — AP

S’pore raises targets

SINGAPORE: Singapore raised its 2006 growth forecasts on Monday to 7.5-8.0 per cent, a target analysts said is achievable after a better-than-expected third-quarter performance. The revised growth targets means Singapore is likely to be the second fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia after Vietnam, whose government estimates an 8.2 per cent growth rate this year. — AFP

M’lsian growth to rise

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economic growth may exceed the 5.8 per cent forecast for 2006 fueled by expansion in key sectors while the ailing construction sector is recovering. Finance minister said the bourse was expected to remain bullish after touc-hing its historical highs recently. Mal-aysia has began to rollout major projects worth $55 million under a five-year national development plan. — AFP

Public finance surplus

LONDON: British public finances showed the biggest surplus for October last month since 1999, boosted by increased corporation tax receipts. Public sector net cash requirement, the public sector’s need to raise cash, showed a surplus of 8.4 billion poun-ds this October in comparison to a surplus of 4.9 billion last year. — AFP

EU for Russian accord

BRUSSELS: The EU urged Russia and other neighbours to commit to long-term energy contracts that will guarantee them customers and investments while securing affordable oil and natural gas supplies for the EU. The appeal underscored Western Europe’s desire to make energy a top priority at a time when its demand is growing, its own supplies are d-windling and prices are high. — AP

Elder, Universal tie up

KATHMANDU: Elder-Universal Pharmaceuticals (Nepal) Pvt, a joint venture company, has started producing medicines such as penicillin and cephalosporin in tablets, capsule and dry syrup. According to a press release, in the first phase, the joint venture project based in Lumbini, Rupandehi has been following WHO GMP guidelines. — HNS

NT prepaid in Mechi

DAMAK: Nepal Telecom (NT) is to distribute Namaste prepaid mobile soon in Mechi zone. According to Kanhaiyalal Gupta, Eastern Regional director of NT, it will be distributed within two weeks. — RSS

Rural electrification

DAMAULI: Bishnu Dhakal, LDO inaugurated the rural electrification project launched in Ramche-9 of Tanahunsur VDC in Tanahun district. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 2,97,000. Nepal Electricity Authority is to contribute Rs 20,000, DDC Rs 61,000. — RSS