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Bangladesh to rehab rail with $30B

In Bangladesh, it’s the age of rail. After decades of neglect and decline, the nation’s railway network, much of it dating back to British colonial times, is being updated under a $30 billion plan to renovate stations and workshops, buy new trains and lay thousands of kilometers of new track. The renewed enthusiasm for rail in one of Asia’s poorest nations is largely thanks to China, and its ambitious agenda to extend trade tentacles across Asia. China’s efforts to turn its Silk Road investments into workable projects have been slow-going in more developed countries like Thailand because of a reluctance to become too dependent on Asia’s largest economy. But for Bangladesh, the combination of technology and cheap finance is irresistible. Beijing is offering $9 billion in loans at two percent interest, repayable over 15 …

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Air Serbia names A330 aircraft after Nikola Tesla

Air Serbia, the national airline of the Republic of Serbia, has named the Airbus A330 aircraft which will fly between Belgrade and New York after legendary Serbian scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla. The name of the wide-body jet was officially unveiled at a special ceremony in Belgrade. Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) is celebrated as one of the greatest minds of the 20th century, and is credited with developing many inventions that have shaped modern society, including the alternating-current electricity system, radio technology, x-rays and early models of electric motors. He lived most of his life in New York. Following the unveiling, the airline hosted an onboard tour of the Airbus A330 aircraft that will be deployed on the Belgrade – New York route from tomorrow to give journalists and reporters a …

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Panama Canal sees 550 US LNG tankers a year after expansion

Natural gas exports from the US Gulf Coast will reach buyers in Asia and South America faster and at lower costs thanks to an expanded Panama Canal that could see 550 tankers a year by 2021. As of Sunday, the canal linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans was open to the size of vessel typically used to carry liquefied natural gas after a $5.3 billion expansion. The shortcut will shrink travel times for ships carrying gas from US shale fields and encourage utilities and traders who have reserved liquefaction capacity to actually use those plants. Since the US became an exporter of the power plant fuel for the first time in February, 15 tankers have left  Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana as of June. US export capacity is expected to …

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Globe expands operations in Japan, refocuses Europe retail operations

Globe Telecom announced that it has expanded its operations in Asia with the establishment of GlobeTel Japan, Inc.  With this office in Tokyo, the company is in a better position to serve the communications needs of customers in the Philippines as well as the 180,000 overseas Filipinos in Japan. “We will continue to provide affordable and high-quality telecom services to our kababayans in Japan. We will also be adopting new business models to deliver meaningful products to overseas Filipinos,” said Nikko Acosta, Globe SVP for International Business. With the changing competitive landscape in Europe, Globe also announced it will close its offices in the UK, Italy, and Spain.  However, to continue serving its customers in the said countries, Globe maintained its popular telebabad service, DUO International, in the said markets through existing …

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Top Frontier raises P25.88B from convertible securities

Top Frontier Investment Holdings, Inc., the top shareholder of San Miguel Corporation, has raised P25.88 billion by issuing peso denominated perpetual securities which may be convertible to shares of the company. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Top Frontier said the convertible securities were issued to Bryce Canyon Investments Limited, a BVI business company. Top Frontier said the issuance is “in line with the funding arrangements undertaken by the company for its outstanding obligations.” After listing its shares at the PSE by way of introduction over two years ago, Top Frontier had wanted to do a follow-on offering (FOO) to finance its mining business and pay debt. “The listing of Top Frontier will give us access to capital both here and abroad for our mining ventures,” said Top Frontier chairman Inigo Zobel. Top …

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DOE chief hopes to lower power rates under his term

Consumers can hope for lower power rates under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte as the new Department of Energy (DOE) chief had sworn to "work very hard" to make the energy sector not only reliable but also affordable during his term. As the new energy chief who doesn't have any background in the power sector, Alfonso Cusi said he'll look at the industry from the perspective of a consumer and as one, he understands the need for lower power rates and must find solution to it. This, upon recognizing the fact that the Philippines charges the second highest power rates in Asia, next to Japan, and ninth in the world. "It is our desire and I would like to make it possible. And we will work hard for it," Cusi said in …

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DBCC to review economic targets Tuesday

Inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) is scheduled to convene on Tuesday to review the government’s current economic targets and President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s first national budget. The DBCC, composed of Duterte’s economic team, will review the government’s medium term macroeconomic assumptions and fiscal targets for this year up to 2022, and the proposed 2017 national budget. The economic managers are also expected to discuss the planned tax reform package, which may include the imposing of additional taxes on sugary and sweetened beverages as well as reduction of personal and corporate income tax rates. Among the invited cabinet officials are Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo and Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo were …

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Duterte admin plans revamp in DOF

Amid high public expectations on the Duterte administration, the new finance chief plans to implement a revamp in the Department of Finance (DOF). Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Monday that the new administration wants to “reinvent” the government to meet people’s expectations and bring a robust economy beneficial to all. “The revamp is in the sense that we are going to, as I said, realign our work in teams rather than individuals,” Dominguez told reporters. “Rather than the regular structure of government, I would like to work in teams.” Sources said Dominguez was requesting for the four additional posts in the DOF to help him in rolling out the reforms supportive of the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda. Among the names being floated were former Privatization and Management Office chief Karen Singson, …

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Brexit vote a wake-up call for Asean

  The U.K. vote to leave the EU should be a wake up call for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to make trade agreements more in touch with the needs of working people and not projects of the elites, said Indonesia’s Trade Minister Thomas Lembong. Having already lifted tariff barriers, with non-tariff barriers inside the 10-nation bloc set to be removed by 2025, Lembong, a former investment banker, urged regional leaders to spend more time and energy with the public. "I worry that within Asean, there is a similar danger that Asean becomes a project of the elites, and we don’t spend enough time, money and effort socializing it to the people," Lembong said in a text message. "Philosophically, Brexit should be a wake-up call to us trade ministers to make economic community …

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SM opens upscale mall in Conrad Manila

SM Supermalls has unveiled S Maison, a unique lifestyle center which opened with the newest luxury hotel, Conrad Manila, at the heart of the Mall of Asia Complex last June. Designed by French company Malherbe, S Maison is an upscale and well-curated retail podium housing first-in-market dining concepts, branded retail, and well-appointed services. It also has three state-of-the-art Director’s Club cinemas. “We are very pleased to launch S Maison which is envisioned to redefine the retail landscape in this part of the metropolis,” said SM Supermalls Senior Vice President Steven Tan. He added that “it is always a delight to learn from shoppers today who are young and dynamic and whose tastes have evolved to aspire for high fashion trends and experience new and exciting dining and retail concepts. S Maison is an …

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