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Saturday December 20, 2008

Belgian PM tenders government's resignation

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme went yesterday to tender his government's resignation to King Albert II over a legal scandal linked to the break-up of Fortis bank, his spokesman said.  From Print Edition, 20/12/08

Spain moves to tighten immigration laws

Spain proposed changes to immigration laws yesterday to limit an influx of foreigners as it faces recession.The measures, which must be approved by parliament, would allow police to hold illegal immigrants up to 60 days pending deportation and make it harder for foreigners to bring relatives to live in Spain.  From Print Edition, 20/12/08

Irish bank leader quits over huge hidden loans

The chairman of Ireland's Anglo-Irish Bank Corp. has resigned after investigators discovered he hid from shareholders €87-million ($147.7-million) in personal loans from the bank. Sean FitzPatrick said in a statement Thursday night he had broken no laws. ''However, it is clear to me, on reflection, that it was inappropriate and unacceptable from a transparency point of view,'' he said. In a statement yesterday to the Irish Stock Exchange, Mr. FitzPatrick's successor Donal O'Connor said the bank was launching its own review of how Anglo-Irish Bank is managed internally. The Financial Services Regulatory Authority said it found Mr. FitzPatrick had repeatedly transferred the loans out of Anglo-Irish into rival institution Irish Nationwide, and back again over an eight-year period to ensure they were not disclosed to shareholders in annual accounts. ANGL (Dublin) rose 3 euro cents to 35 euro cents.  From Print Edition, 20/12/08

Norway to tap oil riches to kick-start economy

Norway intends to dip into its oil riches to kick-start its economy and boost employment as part of a stimulus package to be presented on Jan. 26, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday. Norway traditionally places all of its oil and gas revenues in a pension fund worth about $300-billion (U.S.) - the world's second-biggest sovereign wealth fund according to an unofficial ranking. The state is allowed to draw up to 4 per cent of the fund to balance its books. ''This rule is valid in normal years. When the going is good, we can use less, but when the going is less good, we can use more,'' Mr. Stoltenberg said.  From Print Edition, 20/12/08

Vimetco sheds 1,800 jobs in Romania: union leader

Dutch aluminium firm Vimetco NV will shed 1,800 out of 3,500 employees at its massive Alro de Slatina plant in southern Romania, a trade union official said yesterday, local media reported. Alro will cut production by 50 per cent and the site will then be shut down in March, trade union representative Constantin Popescu was quoted as saying. Alro is the biggest aluminum producer in Eastern Europe and is one of the largest companies in Romania. The plant has seen revenues go down 22 per cent in the first nine months of 2008 compared with the same period last year.  From Print Edition, 20/12/08

Hop on: A London icon returns - without the fumes

A new environmentally friendly version of London's iconic red double-decker bus will be introduced in the British capital from 2011, officials said yesterday.The new Routemaster buses could also feature the sleek lines of an Aston Martin, after the sports car maker jointly won a competition to design them along with top architecture firm Foster and Partners.  From Print Edition, 20/12/08


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