Squeezed by debt crisis, Greeks ditch cars for bikes

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Greece's dire economic plight has forced thousands of businesses to close, thrown one in five out of work and eroded the living standards of millions. But for bicycle-maker Giorgos Vogiatzis, it's not all bad news. The crisis has put cash-strapped Greeks on their bikes - once snubbed as a sign of poverty or just plain risky - and Greek manufacturers are shifting into fast gear. … [Read more...]

Man United NY float could free up cash for players

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Manchester United plans to cut its debt with a New York flotation that should free up cash for top players after a barren season in which it was replaced at the top of English football by rich rivals Manchester City. Benfica's players warm up during a training session at Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, northern England, November 21, 2011.Photo: REUTERS The American Glazer family, owner of the NFL team Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will keep its grip on the 19-times English champions after the planned U.S. float by using a dual share structure. The club has filed to raise up to $100 million to reduce its debt pile of 423 million pounds. ($663.20 million). That is a provisional figure and the size of the issue could yet increase. United ditched plans to raise up to $1 billion in Asia, home to many of United's 659 million global fans, and the move to North America, where English football has a much smaller following, was surprising when flagged last month. However, … [Read more...]

Investors to move with times

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In November Vietnam's stock market witnessed low liquidity with stock prices plunging to lows not seen in several years and some stocks were not worth a cup of tea. Investors can take comfort in the fact that the only way is up for markets The market's mood seems to have darkened with news some commercial banks failed to pay back interbank market loans despite some positive signs the economy may be turning the corner. Inflation cools but risks remain for 2012 November's consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.39 per cent on-month, bringing the 11 months' CPI up 17.5 per cent against the end of last December. Stabilising inflation is positive news. December expects to see no sudden jump in commodity prices, even though the Lunar New Year is coming as hikes in key input materials like electricity, oil and gas, water have not been seen. Inflation risks for 2012, however, remain due to following reasons: - Global crude oil returned to $100 a barrel which will have negative … [Read more...]

Bottom feeders flag bourses to turn corner

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Vietnamese equities plunged to new lows in several months with increasing bottom-fishing efforts, indicating that the market bottom is around the corner. Many investors think the only way is up for the market Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange's VN-Index ended last week at 426.51 points, the lowest level since late July, 2009. For the whole last week, VN-Index lost 15 points or 3.5 per cent against the previous week. Hanoi Stock Exchange's plunged to below 100 points, closing at 99.10 points on November 19. The domestic markets ended lower last week after the State Bank tightened monetary policies by hiking base rate by additional 1 per cent point in early November while narrowing the open market operations (OMO) window to just seven days, compared to 14 and 28 days earlier, making the inter-bank rate spark to as high as 35 per cent. Market analysts said the market's crash was similar to early 2009. It is noticeable that the efforts of bottom-fishing by domestic investors have been … [Read more...]

French auto sales struggle, production dives

Workers of the PSA Peugeot Citroen carmaker plant of Aulnay-sous-Bois, a Paris suburb. (AFP/Lionel Bonaventure)

Sales of new cars in France rallied slightly in July when French brands did well with new models, but in the first six months of the year output by French carmakers plunged by 20.8 per cent, trade data showed on Thursday. PARIS: Sales of new cars in France rallied slightly in July when French brands did well with new models, but in the first six months of the year output by French carmakers plunged by 20.8 per cent, trade data showed on Thursday. Overall sales rose by 0.9 per cent to 150,248 in July, the CCFA body representing manufacturers said. But July this year contained one more business day than the comparable period last year and if this were stripped out, sales fell by 3.5 per cent. July is an important month for sales since many motorists buy a car before leaving on their summer holidays. A spokesman for the CCFA said that the July figure marked the first upturn since October 2011. The French market, in common with many others, was hard hit by the effects of the … [Read more...]

Fiat first quarter profit soars

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Italian auto giant Fiat said Thursday its net profit in the first quarter soared ten-fold to 379 million euros ($500 million) thanks to its US partner Chrysler, without which it would be in the red. The group had banked 37 million euros in profit in the first quarter last year -- before snapping up a majority stake in the US automaker in a move which has more than offset poor Fiat results in a sluggish European market. Chrysler, which fell under Fiat's operational command in June 2009 when it emerged from a government-supported bankruptcy, reported its own four-fold leap in first quarter profit on Thursday to $473 million (357 million euros). "Chrysler is firing on all cylinders. I have really no bad news to share with you," Sergio Marchionne, chief of both Fiat and Chrysler, said in a conference call. Built on sales gains that surpassed the industry average, Chrysler's results set an "incredible foundation for 2013," Marchionne said, adding "most of our plants now are being … [Read more...]

As profits surge, Europe’s carmakers rev up global ambitions

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Two years after a world economic downturn all but wiped them out, European carmakers have bounced back to the spotlight with Volkswagen aiming to be the industry leader and Fiat carving out a global brand for itself. Unfettered of their obligations to repay state aid and riding out the expiry of government "cash-for-clunkers" schemes that initially plunged their revenue, carmakers this week gave rosy outlooks for the rest of fiscal 2011. Germany's Volkswagen reported a three-fold profit leap in the three months from January through March to 1.71 billion euros (USD2.5 billion), selling two million cars, a new milestone for Europe's biggest automaker. The comparable figure for 2010 was 473 million euros. Finance director Dieter Poetsch said a cash pile worth 19.6 billion euros gave the group impetus to overtake General Motors and Toyota and become the leading global car maker by 2018. With respect to 2011, Chairman Martin Winterkorn, who has boosted VW's fortunes since he took … [Read more...]

US consumer confidence takes recession beating

Shoppers on Fifth Avenue in New York City. US consumer confidence tanked in October amid growing worries about jobs in the recession-wracked economy, boding ill for the key holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Tuesday. (AFP Photo)

US consumer confidence slumped in October amid worries about jobs in the recession-wracked economy, boding ill for the important holiday shopping season, the Conference Board said Tuesday. The private research firm said its consumer confidence index declined for the second month in a row, to 47.7 in October from a revised 53.4 in September. The September reading initially was reported at 53.1. The decline in the October index was much steeper than expected by Wall Street, with most analysts expecting a 53.5 reading. The downbeat start of the fourth quarter raised a red flag over consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of activity in the world's largest economy and is particularly crucial for retailers' year-end holiday sales. Lynn Franco, research director of the Conference Board, said that labor market condition played "a major role in this grimmer assessment." "Consumers also remain quite pessimistic about their future earnings, a sentiment that will likely … [Read more...]

Vietnamese should be prouder of goods produced domestically

Your Say (11-09-2009) Vietnamese should be prouder of goods produced domestically Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers how to promote made-in-Viet Nam products. Here are some of the opinions we received: Pham Thanh Truyen, Vietnamese, HCM City Vietnamese enterprises need to do more. Unlike other countries in Asia, Vietnamese people prefer foreign products. Ten or 15 years ago, few doubted that foreign products were superior to local ones. Unfortunately, that mindset hasn't changed. It is undeniable that nowadays Vietnamese products have vastly improved in terms of quality and packaging. The difficulty is getting that message across? It's useless to just say "Hey! My products are not as bad as you think". It's also ineffective for enterprises to act on their own. There needs to be central government help. The recent campaign to encourage Vietnamese to consume domestically made products launched by the Politburo is a good example. … [Read more...]

Libyan drownings, lorry of corpses drive up migrant toll

Austria said on August 28, 71 refugees, including a baby girl, were found dead in an abandoned freezer truck, while Libya recovered the bodies of 105 migrants washed ashore after their overcrowded boat sank on its way to Europe. Almost 100 more were missing and feared dead. Both tragedies were a result of a renewed surge in migrants fleeing war and poverty that has confronted Europe with its worst refugee crisis since World War Two. The International Organization for Migration said it estimated a third of a million people had crossed the Mediterranean so far this year to wash up in southern Europe. Almost two-thirds had arrived in Greece and most of the rest in Italy. At least 2,636 had perished in the attempt. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said European Union leaders were ready for an emergency meeting, if necessary, to discuss the refugee crisis. The White House urged Europe to crack down on traffickers and ensure that migrants' human rights were protected. In the latest … [Read more...]

Austria, Libya count dead as number of migrants crossing Mediterranean soars

Hungarian policemen arrest a Syrian migrant family after they entered Hungary at the border with Serbia, near Roszke, August 28, 2015. Austria said on Friday 71 refugees including a baby girl were found dead in an abandoned freezer truck, while Libya recovered the bodies of 82 migrants washed ashore after their overcrowded boat sank on its way to Europe and scores more were feared dead. The U.N. refugee agency said the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe had passed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 in the whole of 2014. Three Bulgarians and an Afghan were arrested in connection with the truck deaths. The victims - 59 men, 8 women and four children, including a girl of 1-2 years old - were probably from Syria, police said. At least 180 were either dead or missing in the Libyan disaster. Both tragedies were a result of a renewed surge in migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty that has confronted Europe with its worst refugee crisis since … [Read more...]

EU faces refugee challenge

Syrian refugees cross into Hungary underneath the border fence on the Hungarian - Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary on Aug. 26, 2015 ((AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)

(VOVworld) – The Western Balkans Summit opens on Thursday in Vienna. State leaders, ministers, and high-ranking officials from EU member states will discuss regional cooperation and the Western Balkans region’s possibility to join the EU. Another major topic of the summit will be the migration crisis in Europe in Europe. European countries have been shaken by a surge of immigrants from the Middle East, northern Africa, and the western Balkan region. Migration has inflated social and security pressures on the EU’s flagging economies. The worst migration crisis The EU is facing the worst migration crisis since World War Two. The EU’s border agency reports that since the beginning of 2015 about 102,000 migrants have entered the EU via Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and Hungary, much higher than last year’s 8,000 people. Hungary has been the center of the refugee crisis as it’s located at the periphery of … [Read more...]

Rescuers save 3,000 migrants in Mediterranean, 55 dead

Rescuers saved about 3,000 migrants but found more than 50 dead on boats near the coast of Libya on August 26, the Italian coast guard said. Tens of thousands of people, mainly from Africa and the Middle East, have put to sea this year in the hope of reaching Europe, often dangerously packed into small vessels that were never designed to cross the Mediterranean. Rescuers on the Swedish ship Poseidon, mobilised under the European Union's rescue mission Triton, found 51 corpses in the hold of one boat which was also carrying 439 survivors. Three women were found dead on a rubber boat carrying a further 120 people. One person rescued along with more than 100 others on another boat died shortly afterwards. The coast guard did not say what caused the deaths, which add to a toll already thought to have exceeded 2,300 so far this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration. The influx of migrants, many of whom are fleeing conflict and poverty, has confronted Europe … [Read more...]

Hungary scrambles to confront record migrant influx

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A Syrian migrant hands a girl to another migrant over the Hungarian-Serbian border fence, as they cross into Hungary near Roszke, August 26, 2015. Hungary's government has started to construct a 175-km-long (110-mile-long) fence on its border with Serbia in order to halt a massive flow of migrants who enter the EU via Hungary and head to western Europe. Photo: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe. Over 2,500 mainly Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis crossed from Serbia into the European Union on Tuesday, over, under or around a razor-wire barrier into the hands of an over-stretched police force that struggled to fingerprint and process them. Unrest flared briefly at a crowded reception center in the border region of Roszke, with tear gas … [Read more...]

Hungary moves to secure border as migrants stream in

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Hungarian police positioned nearby watch as Syrian migrants climb under a fence to enter Hungary at the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary August 26, 2015. Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army to confront a record number of migrants trekking into Europe, many fleeing war in Syria. Unrest flared briefly at a crowded reception center in the border region of Roszke, with a police spokesman saying tear gas had been fired. Police said a record 2,533 migrants – most of them from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan – were caught entering Hungary from Serbia on Tuesday. Another 1,300 were detained just by 9.30 a.m. (0730 GMT) on Wednesday. More will have passed unnoticed, walking through gaps in an unfinished barrier to a Europe groping for answers to its worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Hungary, which is part of Europe’s Schengen passport-free … [Read more...]

As migrants head north, Hungary decries ‘humiliating’ EU policy

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Syrian immigrants walk on a railway track after they crossed the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, Hungary August 25, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh Hungary called on Tuesday for more money from the European Union to handle a rising tide of migrants crossing the Balkans, as a new wave hit its southern border and further exposed the cracks in EU policy towards the worst refugee crisis since World War Two. More than 100,000 migrants, many of them refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, have entered Hungary, part of Europe's Schengen zone of passport-free travel, this year en route to the more affluent countries of western and northern Europe. The influx ticked up on Monday to its highest daily rate this year - 2,093 - as many race to beat a fence that Hungary is building on its 175-km (110-mile) border with Serbia to keep them out. A Reuters reporter saw hundreds stream unhindered into Hungary from Serbia on Tuesday, part of a larger movement in recent weeks … [Read more...]

West and Japan snub China parade but Putin, N.Korean official coming

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Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) march during a rehearsal for a military parade in Beijing, August 23, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Stringer Major Western leaders will not attend a military parade in China next week to mark the end of World War Two, leaving President Xi Jinping to stand with leaders and officials from Russia, Sudan, Venezuela and North Korea at his highest-profile event of 2015. More than 10,000 troops - mostly Chinese but with contingents from Russia, Mongolia and elsewhere - will march through central Beijing next Wednesday in a parade that will be the highlight of events marking 70 years since the war's end. European and U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed concern that the show of military power could send the wrong signal in an already tense region, where China has been taking a more assertive approach to its territorial disputes. The anticipated presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin - now confirmed - also put off many Western leaders, … [Read more...]

UK airshow crash toll to rise as safety rules reviewed

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The death toll after a vintage fighter jet ploughed into a busy road in southern England while performing an acrobatics display could approach 20, police said on Monday, as Britain began reviewing its safety procedures at airshows. The Hawker Hunter plane, of a type developed by Britain in the 1950s, struck several cars on Saturday on the major road next to Shoreham airport near Brighton, where the show was taking place. The crash was the third - and by far the most deadly - at the event since 2007. Police said on Sunday they feared 11 people had died. A senior officer said that figure was likely to rise as police gained access to more areas of the accident scene. "It's too early to tell but I'd be surprised if (the death toll) doesn't go above 11," Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Barry was quoted as telling the BBC. "If it would be below 20 then that would be probably the best estimate that I could give you at this stage." In 2007, a pilot was killed at … [Read more...]

Japan marks 70th anniversary of end of WWII

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Emperor Akihito delivers his remarks with Empress Michiko during the memorial service. PHOTO: SHIZUO KAMBAYASHI/ASSOCIATED PRESS (VOVworld) - Japanese Emperor Akihito marked the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two with an expression of "deep remorse" over the conflict on Saturday. "Reflecting on our past and bearing in mind the feelings of deep remorse over the last war, I earnestly hope that the ravages of war will never be repeated," Akihito, 81, said at a memorial service on the anniversary of the day his father, Hirohito, announced Japan's defeat. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday expressed "utmost grief", but said future generations should not have to keep apologizing for the mistakes of the past. He offered no fresh apology of his own. The remarks on Friday by Abe faced strong critics from China and the Republic of Korea, which suffered under Japan's occupation and colonial rule before Tokyo's defeat in 1945. The Republic of Korean President Park … [Read more...]

Japan PM expresses “utmost grief” over war but no fresh apology

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TOKYO, Aug 14 - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday expressed "utmost grief" for the suffering Japan inflicted in World War Two, but said that future generations of Japanese should not have to keep apologizing for the mistakes of the past. Abe, marking the 70th anniversary of World War Two's end, also said he upheld past government apologies over the war including the landmark 1995 statement by then-premier Tomiichi Murayama, but offered no new apology of his own. The legacy of the war still haunts relations with China and South Korea, which suffered under Japan's sometimes brutal occupation and colonial rule before Tokyo's defeat in 1945. Beijing and Seoul had made clear they wanted Abe to stick to the 1995 "heartfelt apology" for suffering caused by Tokyo's "colonial rule and aggression". "Upon the innocent people did our country inflict immeasurable damage and suffering," Abe said in a statement. "When I squarely contemplate this obvious fact, even now, I find myself … [Read more...]