Nov. 26 – The British tour operator Thomas Cook has purchased a majority stake of 50.1 percent in Intourist, the Russian travel agency founded by Josef Stalin in 1929.
Privatized in 1992, Intourist for many years was the only way in which foreigners could enter what was then known as the Soviet Union. The US$45 million deal also gives Thomas Cook an option to purchase the rest of the company at a later date. Continue reading
Nov. 25 – The four-day International Forum on Tiger Conservation came to an end yesterday in St. Petersburg after successfully attracting officials from 13 nations to discuss ways to save the wild tiger population.
This is the year of the tiger in China, but the animal has been reduced to a worldwide wild population of just 3,200 – down from over 100,000 about a century ago. The fact that those numbers are also unevenly spread out and include all subspecies is a serious matter of concern for the long term health of the gene pool and the sustainability of the tiger in its natural habitat. Continue reading
Nov. 25 – Demonstrating just to what extent the world’s economies are interconnected, North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island on Tuesday temporarily wiped almost US$1 trillion off the value of global stocks and delayed several planned listings.
About two stocks declined for each that gained in Morgan Stanley Capital International’s Asian Index, which dropped 1.3 percent. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell 0.8 percent in Japan, where markets were shut Tuesday for a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi Index also fell 0.2 percent, paring a slump of as much as 2.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 percent yesterday after tumbling 2.7 percent the day of the attack. The Korean won fell 0.4 percent to 1,142.25 per dollar after dropping as much as 3.1 percent. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the world’s top lender by market capitalization, slumped as much as 10 percent in Shanghai. Continue reading
Nov. 24 – Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been upgraded after North Korea fired on a civilian area of South Korea yesterday afternoon for the first time since the signing of an armistice unofficially brought an end to the Korean War in 1953.
Yonhap News Agency reported that starting at 2:34 p.m. local time on November 23, North Korea fired around 100 coastline artillery rounds at Yeonpyeong, a South Korean island off the peninsula’s west coast where the two countries have a history of territorial disputes. The attack, which lasted about an hour, killed two marines, wounded 18 soldiers and civilians, set houses and forests on fire, and sabotaged the island’s power supply. Continue reading
Nov. 24 – China’s increasingly fractious relations with Africa have taken a further downturn following reports that the managers of a Chinese privately operated mine in Zambia opened fire and injured 13 African miners following a labor dispute.
Chinese companies have been investing heavily in African commodities, and with a “no strings attached” policy of providing finance to governments, they have often been accused of providing financing to governments guilty of oppressing their own people. Consequently, Chinese investment has often been welcomed in certain African nations who have found it difficult to obtain Western aid or investment. Continue reading
Nov. 23 – A recent survey conducted by the Kenexa Research Institute revealed that a vast majority of employees in India and China think highly of their senior management and their leadership abilities.
With the survey’s highest marks, 72 percent of Indian and 71 percent of Chinese workers believe that their company’s senior management is effective. Managers in the survey were ranked by their employees based on five attributes, such as their perceived ability to deal with company challenges and their commitment to high quality products and services. The percentage score refers to the number of employees that either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that their bosses possess such qualities. Continue reading
Nov. 20 -The Mongolian government dropped a bombshell on the international mining industry by suspending 254 gold mining licenses on Friday.
The Ministry of Minerals and Energy revoked the licenses citing “environmental concerns,” and hinted that others licenses may also follow. The government is providing compensation to investors affected. Continue reading