目前日期文章:201305 (55)

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Former World Bank president Robert Zoellick said on Monday Japan's economic drive needed accompanying structural reforms, voicing fear that recent growth could be just a "sugar high". Japan posted 0.9 per cent quarter-to-quarter growth in the three months through March, during which time Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took charge with a platform that has featured ramping up money supply and intense fiscal stimulus.

"On the one hand, I think it's understandable that Prime Minister Abe would come in and try to have some shock effect. But no one should be under the illusion that this isn't a big if," said Mr Zoellick, whose term ended last year.

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LONDON (AFP) - British mobile phone giant Vodafone said on Tuesday that annual net profits tumbled 90 per cent after it took a vast £7.7-billion (S$14.69 billion) impairment charge relating to its businesses in debt-laden euro zone nations Italy and Spain.

Earnings after taxation nosedived to £673 million in the group's financial year to the end of March, compared with £7.0 billion in 2011-2012, Vodafone said in a results statement.

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BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's economy shrank 2.2 per cent in the three months to March from the previous quarter - the first contraction in more than a year - as manufacturing output fell, official data showed on Monday.

The decline followed a blistering year-long recovery from devastating floods in late 2011 that hit major factories north of the capital Bangkok and caused a double-digit drop in gross domestic product (GDP).

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CARACAS (AFP) - Venezuela's National Assembly on Tuesday approved a US$79 million credit (S$98 million) to import toilet paper and other personal hygiene products to relieve shortages in the petroleum-rich state.

The South American OPEC member has the world's largest proven oil reserves but has wrestled with periodic shortages of several consumer goods since price controls were imposed in 2003 under the late socialist leader Hugo Chavez.

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PERTH (REUTERS) - Workers at Australia's Newcastle port, the world's largest thermal coal export facility, plan to stop work for eight hours on Friday to protest proposed changes to their work contract that could hit working conditions and jobs.

The strike, in which about 220 unionised workers will participate, comes on the heels of a four-hour stoppage last week and is part of a two-week campaign during which workers plan to stage similar such halts, ranging from 8 to 24 hours.

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Apple chief executive Tim Cook denied on Tuesday using "gimmicks" to dodge corporate taxes as the tech giant came under attack from US lawmakers for using "sham" subsidiaries and "convoluted" strategies to shift profits offshore.

Mr Cook told a congressional panel he was "proud of our contributions to the American economy" as he sought to deflect criticism stemming from a Senate investigation on shifting of profits offshore.

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LONDON (AP) - The Bank of England's policymakers remain divided on whether to provide more stimulus to the flat-lining economy.

The minutes to the Monetary Policy Committee's meeting in May shows all nine policymakers agreed to keep the base interest rate at 0.5 per cent but they disagreed on pumping more money into the economy. Since 2009, the bank has injected 375 billion pounds (S$468 billion) into Britain's economy in a programme known as quantitative easing.

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TOKYO (AP) - Japan's central bank says the world's third-biggest economy is "picking up" as demand recovers in other countries and remains resilient at home, though the trade deficit widened in April, for the tenth straight month.

The Bank of Japan ended a policy meeting on Wednesday with no change to its strategy of doubling the monetary base to reach a 2 per cent inflation target and jolt the economy out of two decades of stagnation. That outcome was expected.

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A woman walks in front of Danamon Bank headquarters in Jakarta, on May 22, 2013. Indonesian MPs said they want a new banking law, under discussion since late last year, to limit foreign ownership to a maximum of 50 to 51 per cent and suggested it could make it to the statute books by next year. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

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MOORE (Oklahoma) (Reuters) - Emergency workers searched for survivors in the rubble of homes, schools and a hospital in an Oklahoma town hit by a powerful tornado, but officials on Tuesday sharply lowered the number of deaths caused by the storm.

The Oklahoma state medical examiner's office said 24 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of Monday's storm, down from the 51 they had reported earlier. The earlier number likely reflected some double-counted deaths, said Ms Amy Elliott, chief administrative officer for the medical examiner.

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 (倫敦20日綜合電) 英國首相卡梅倫週一致函給10個皇家屬地和海外領土的領導人,敦促他們協助英國打擊逃稅和避稅。這些地區被視為避稅港。

 卡梅倫呼籲他們正視納稅人交換情報,與透過在稅率低的地方設立虛假身分逃稅的“嚴重問題”。

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 (台北21日綜合電)台灣總統馬英九週一連任就職5周年,但因中南部傳豪雨來襲,特意取消了就職活動行程,前往中央災害應變中心視察。

 馬英九聽簡報時一臉倦容,眼皮不聽使喚頻打瞌睡。

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巴西街頭日前上演肥皂劇般畫面,一名男子站在陽台對紅杏出牆的妻子興師問罪,至于情夫則只穿著一條內褲,偷偷摸摸地想從3樓陽台落跑。最后甚至直接跳樓,落在消防隊的氣墊上。

 過程全被路人拍了下來,並放上YouTube分享,3天點閱率已破百萬。

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英國一個穆斯林家庭今年2月到沙地阿拉伯伊斯蘭聖城麥加朝聖,期間遇上車禍,救護人員以為同行6人全部喪生。

 但工作人員準備把屍體送進停屍間時,突然發現其中一個屍袋裏有東西在動,才發現一歲多的男童哈亞特(Eisa Hayat)仍然生還,堪稱奇跡。

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 (新德里21日綜合電)正在印度訪問的中國總理李克強,周一在印度總理曼莫漢.辛格為他舉行的歡迎儀式上,首次開口“秀”英文。

 在歡迎儀式后,李克強先用中文發表講話,然后與曼莫漢握手,其間他突然用英文對印度記者說:“It will be headline of your newspaper?”(這會上你們報紙的頭條嗎?)當聽到記者答“Yes”后,李再握住辛格手對記者說:“Once again!”(再來一次!)聽者都為李的幽默而笑。

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 (香港21日綜合電)香港大學一項研究顯示,石斑魚類持續被濫捕,全球每年捕獲最少9000萬條,造成20種石斑魚類滅絕的威脅惡化。

 其中8種屬瀕危、易危或近危水平,包括香港紅斑、西星和老鼠斑等。

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 (倫敦21日綜合電)都市人怕曬或是導致哮喘病情失控的原因。英國一項研究發現哮喘病人多曬太陽可改善免疫系統過度活躍的問題,令氣喘等症狀減少出現,尤其能幫助一些對類固醇治療無效的病人。曬太陽可令身體自然產生維他命D,但研究暫時未能確定人工補充維他命D對治療哮喘是否有效。

 以往也有醫學研究發現維他命D水平低的哮喘病人,病情控制會較差。由倫敦大學英王學院進行的一項最新研究,分析維他命D與免疫系統中主力打擊炎症物質“白介素”(interleukin-17)的關係,若此物質的水平過高,可引發呼吸道的敏感症狀。

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 (台北21日綜合電)台灣義美食品生產的小泡芙竟然使用過期原料,公司今發表道歉聲明。

 台灣《自由時報》報道,義美使用過期兩年的原料,製成12萬箱成品,消費者恐怕都已經吃下肚,義美今天發出道歉聲明,強調是生產線主管對品管認知不同所造成,已經回收去年七、八月製造的產品。

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(喀布爾21日綜合電)阿富汗國會下院討論女性保護法案“消除針對女性暴力法”,首次把家庭暴力、童婚、逼死女性和買賣女性等列為犯罪。但包括妻子減至兩名等議題,經過約兩小時激辯,未能取得共識,宣布擇日再議。

 關于這項法令,保守派與世俗派分歧嚴重,保守派反對其中至少8項條款,包括女性法定結婚年齡為16歲,建立家暴受害者收容所,以及把男性合法妻子數量減半至兩名。

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 (朝鮮‧平壤21日綜合電)據《朝中社》周一報導,朝鮮本月初爆發H5N1禽流感,目前已撲殺16萬多隻鴨子,並正在採取后續措施。

 報導說,經過朝鮮獸醫防疫所和農業科學院獸醫學研究所等相關單位5月7日進行的檢查,證實平壤最大的養鴨場——鬥團養鴨場發生H5N1禽流感,並判明原因在于鴨子同候鳥接觸。

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