EU growth at 2.5pc

BRUSSELS: The European employers’ association forecast that the eurozone would see economic growth this year of 2.5 per cent. The zone would then see a ‘levelling off’ of growth next year, estimating that the economy would expand by two per cent next year. The eurozone economy grew only by 1.4 per cent in 2005. Last week, the European Commission forecast that the economy of the single European currency zone would grow by 2.6 per cent this year. — AFP

Vietnam rice export

HANOI: Vietnam, the world’s second largest rice exporter, has halted overseas shipments to secure supplies of the staple grain after floods and insect plagues reduced output. The premier said only export contracts already signed with Indonesia and Cuba would go ahead. He also decided that approval for any other deliveries require his approval, after rice crops in southern Vietnam were hit in recent months by summer floods and insect and crop diseases. — AFP

No foreign firms bid

YANGON: Eight local companies have bid on Myanmar’s largest gold mine, which the military government wants to privatise, but no foreign firms made any offers. All together eight companies submitted their tender forms. All are from local companies, no foreigners at all. The winning bid will be determined by the end of the month. The Number 2 Mining Enterprise currently operates the Ky-aukpahto gold mine in Sagaing. — AFP

P’pines farmers hit

MANILA: Philippines farm output managed a gain of 4.87 per cent in the nine months to September despite a series of typhoons. The sector, which accounts for about a fifth of the country’s economic output, grew by 4.27 per cent year-on-year in the three months to September, slower than the previous quarter’s 6.41 per cent but faster compared to the 2.33 per cent growth a year ago. — AFP

Industrial output dips

TOKYO: Japanese industrial output fell by 0.7 per cent in September from August because of weaker demand for cars, auto parts and machines to produce semiconductors. The drop, which was in line with an initial estimate, followed a 1.8 per cent increase in August. Year-on-year, output was up by 5.2 per cent in September, slightly better than the initial reading of a 5.1 per cent gain. — AFP

France to tax coal

PARIS: The French government is set to tighten pollution taxes with the creation next year of a coal tax and a 10 per cent increase in taxation of industrial and air transport pollution. France wanted to examine quickly with European partners a ‘carbon tax’ on imports of industrial goods. — AFP

NATO hails peace deal

KATHMANDU: Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO) has praised the peace deal signed between the government and the Maoists. In a press release, NATO stated that it hoped this historic decision would lead to stability in the country and assist in the economic and overall development of the country. It has also reiterated its earlier position that tourism is the only sector that has the potential to provide short-and-medium-term benefits needed to kick start the flagging economy. — HNS

Largest feed factory

KATHMANDU: Nepal Wellhope Agri-Tech Pvt Ltd — a joint venture company of Vaidya’s Organisation of Industries and Trading Houses (VOITH) and Liyoning Wellhope Agri-Tech Company, China — has been established at Kalyanpur of Chitwan. It is going to be the largest feed manufacturing company in Nepal with a daily production capacity of 40 metric tonnes, according to a press release issued by the company. Vijaya Gajananda Vaidya, chairman of VOITH and Zin Widung, chairperson of Wellhope Agri-Tech jointly inaugurated the company on Sunday. — HNS

Printing Shangri-La

Kathmandu: Indusgrafiqs, a private publication house, has re-begun the publication of Shangri-La, in-flight magazine of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC). The company has already published the first issue of tri-monthly magazine on October 1 and the second issue will come out on Happy New Year -January 1, said managing editor Rajendra Bahadur Shrestha. The magazine will highlight tourist and socio-cultural activities and promote Nepal as a lucrative business destination. — HNS