Ahad, 19 Januari 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Bomb near Pakistani army HQ in Rawalpindi kills four - police

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 08:50 PM PST

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed four people in a crowded market on Monday near the Pakistani army headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi, not far from the capital Islamabad, police said.

The market, 10 minutes' walk from the army headquarters, is in one of the most secure areas of the city, said Rawalpindi police chief Akhtar Hayat Lalika. The area was cordoned off by the military immediately after the blast.

About a dozen people were wounded, Lalika said.

The attack comes a day after a Taliban bombing killed 20 Pakistani soldiers near the largely lawless, tribal region of North Waziristan.

Sunday's attack prompted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to cancel his trip to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos.

His government is keen to pursue peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban to end the insurgency but there has been an upsurge in attacks since Sharif won elections in May 2013.

Chinese president to attend opening ceremony in Sochi

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 08:25 PM PST

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, China's Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

In a brief statement, the ministry said that Xi would be in Russia from February 6-8 for the opening ceremony. It provided no further details.

Xi's decision to attend is a positive development for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has staked his political prestige on the success of the Olympics, after U.S. President Barack Obama and his German counterpart Joachim Gauck both said they would not travel to Russia for the Games.

To ease fears over possible breaches of security, Putin has ordered safety measures beefed up nationwide after 34 people were killed last month in bombings in Volgograd, another city in southern Russia.

About 37,000 Russian personnel are providing security in the Sochi area.

Russia's human rights record has also come under close scrutiny with Finland's Sports Minister Paavo Arhinmaki boycotting the opening ceremony over the country's "limitations in the freedom of speech or repressing of sexual minorities".

The Sochi Games are the 22nd Winter Olympics and will run from February 7-23.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Hui Li; Editing by John O'Brien)

Japan to open door further to foreign workers for economic growth

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 08:20 PM PST

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government agreed on Monday to make it easier for firms to hire foreign workers for highly-skilled positions and as trainees to offset a declining workforce and accelerate economic growth.

The government will also take steps to increase female workers in management positions and strengthen the child care system to increase the number of working women, a top advisory panel said on Monday.

Japan has the most rapidly aging society in the world, with a quarter of the population already over 65 years of age. The workforce is also shrinking, which could become a considerable drag on growth.

Policies that increase foreign workers and female employees are important steps needed to stop the decline in the workforce, ease labour shortages, increase tax revenue and raise the potential growth rate.

The government will flesh out the policies, which are part of a second instalment of its economic growth strategy, by mid-year, the Industrial Competitiveness Council said.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made ending 15 years of deflation and economic malaise one of his top priorities since taking office more than a year ago.

Abe won initial success with stimulus spending and expanded quantitative easing from the Bank of Japan, but many economists warn that the government needs to rely more on deregulation and structural reforms to increase growth in the long term.

Some industries, such as construction, child care and nursing have faced labour shortages, so policies allowing firms to retain more foreign workers could give these industries a boost.

The government will also consider lowering the effective corporate tax rate and expanding the tax base to make Japanese firms more competitive, the panel said on Monday.

Japan's corporate tax rate, which is set at 38 percent for a large Tokyo-based firm, is among the highest in the world and companies often lobby to lower the tax burden.

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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