India

The Union government has started the process of monetising landholdings of state-owned telcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). In a definite first step, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) has appointed consultancy firms CBRE, JLL, and Knight Frank to look at the feasibility of such a sale during the pandemic. The consultants will submit their reports by end of the month. The asset monetisation of BSNL and MTNL, estimated to f…


2020-07-08

Police on Tuesday night arrested the CEO of LG Polymers and its two directors, besides nine other company officials in connection with the May 7 styrene vapour leak incident at Visakhapatnam, in which 12 people were killed and 585 fell sick. The Pollution Control Board also suspended three of its officials for "gross negligence." Visakhapatnam Commissioner of Police R K Meena told PTI that LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO Sunkey Jeong, Technical Director D S Kim and Operations Additiona…


The virus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in air, infecting people as they inhale. The coronavirus can stay aloft for hours in tiny droplets in stagnant air, infecting people as they inhale, mounting scientific evidence suggests.This risk is highest in crowded indoor spaces with poor ventilation, and may help explain superspreading events reported in meatpacking plants, churches and restaurants.It’s unclear how often the virus is spread via these tiny droplets, or aerosols, compared …


Slight change in contours of deal given the unprecedented circumstances of Covid-19 GMR Infrastructure Ltd has completed its strategic partnership deal with Groupe ADP. The contours of the deal, announced earlier this year, have undergone slight modifications considering the unprecedented circumstances arising due to the pandemic. According to the revised Share Purchase Agreement, the second tranche of the investment for 24.01 per cent of GMR Airports Ltd has been structured in two parts:.....


The move entails moving from the current hardware-dependent networks to ones that will be software-centric with hardly any dependency on the underlying hardware. Three Indian giants — Anil Agarwal-run Sterlite Technologies, Reliance Industries-controlled Radisys, and Tech Mahindra — are developing software, manufacturing, and systems integration capabilities to power the building of the next-generation of ‘virtualised’ 5G telecom networks. The move entails moving from the current hardwar…


2020-07-07

Private equity (PE) investors KKR and Actis are in talks to acquire a solar portfolio of 435 megawatts (MW) from Canadian pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)-backed Azure Power Global Ltd, said three people aware of the development. “KKR and Actis are interested in acquiring the portfolio of solar projects from Azure. The transaction is likely to happen at a value of around $200-250 million," said the first person cited above, requesting anonymity....


India sent over 2 lakh students to the US in fiscal 2019, the largest after China The Donald Trump administration has asked foreign students in the US, whose colleges have shifted to online teaching, to shift to schools that have in-person classes or leave the country, a move that potentially would affect thousands of Indian students in America.The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday night issued a statement saying that Non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools oper…


Upholds trucking company’s claim that puja for drivers’ safety is ‘business expense’ Think of it as an answered prayer. The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has ruled that puja expenses incurred for the smooth functioning of a business can be treated as ‘business expenses’, which qualify for income tax deduction. The ruling came in a case in which Capital Tours (India) Private Limited, a transport business company plying trucks in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram, approached the Tri…


Kuwait's PM proposed reduction in the number of expats from 70% to 30% of the total population. As many 7-8 lakh Indians could be forced out of Kuwait if a new bill on expats is enacted into law. The legal and legislative committee of Kuwait's National Assembly has approved the draft expat quota bill, according to which Indians should not exceed 15 per cent of the population. The bill is to be transferred to the respective committee so that a comprehensive plan is created.The National Assembly's…


Firms providing information technology software related services to overseas client of an Indian business would be liable to pay 18 per cent GST, the Authority of Advance Ruling (AAR) has said. A firm engaged in the business of providing software related consultancy services in Oracle ERP approached the Tamil Nadu bench of the AAR seeking ruling on whether the services provided by it to foreign client of a GST-registered IT company, Doyen Systems, shall be treated as export of services....


2020-07-06

Bharat Petroleum's Corporate Research & Development Centre (CRDC) has bagged as many as 62 patents since its inception 19 years ago and is awaiting 68 more. Since its establishment in July 2001, CRDC has developed a bouquet of innovations, bagging as many as 62 patents from the country as well as abroad, including the US and Europe, and 68 more are pending for approvals.....


Measures such as e-way bills, GST collections and exports were on the rebound with lockdown ease. Big infrastructure and privatisation drives are in the works to give growth a boost with the government watching as many as 14 indicators every week to keep tabs on economic recovery, economic affairs secretary Tarun Bajaj told ET. The cabinet secretary has already held a meeting to get the infrastructure plan going and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman...


March witnessed fall with e-way bill generation plunging to a low of approximately 0.50 lakh on March 25 Bill generation hits 18.32 lakh, valued at over ₹54,500 crore, on June 30 E-way bill generation is inching towards pre-lockdown levels, with more than 4.27 crore bills generated in June, against an average of 5.3 crore per month in the pre-covid period....


CEO of NITI Aayog Amitabh Kant on Saturday used the new video-conferencing app JioMeet and called it "better than Zoom." He added that it "will go places" Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries has recently launched JioMeet video conferencing app with unlimited free calling at a time when virtual workplaces have become the norm, with US-based apps currently the most prominent in the space. The app is also being regarded as being an example of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 'Vocal for Local' ca…


PM Modi had wished Trump and America and said that as the world's largest democracies, India and US both cherish freedom and human enterprise that the day celebrates US President Donald Trump took to social media to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his wishes on US Independence Day, celebrated on July 4. Calling PM Modi his 'friend', Trump added "America loves India!" PM Modi had wished Trump and America and said that as the world's largest democracies, India and US both "cherish freedo…


2020-07-05

The US-based United Airlines' request to grant approval to operate (regular) schedule flight for India is under consideration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and other authorities in the country. "We have received the request from United Airlines for the schedule flights and it is under consideration," an aviation ministry official told ANI here.....


The govt is mulling its options — a fully virtual or a hybrid sitting of the Houses. A virus has upended the world as we know it. It has emptied out entire cities. It has cleared out schools and shopping places. It has transformed the way we live and work. Now, will it change what we have always believed is the unchangeable feature of Indian democracy: how its Parliament, the supreme law-making body of the land, functions? Will parliamentarians attend remotely for the first time ever instead o…


As experts cautioned against rushing the process for developing a Covid-19 vaccine after the ICMR stated it plans to launch one by August 15, the apex health research body on Saturday stressed that it is acting in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential.....


2020-07-04

TikTok company owner ByteDance has claimed that the company is anticipating a loss of over $6 billion after Indian government ban on 59 Chinese apps. The company had three of its apps in the list which includes TikTok. A PTI report claimed that China’s Caixinglobal.com declared the loss estimate of $6 billion quoting sources close to the company’s senior management. The amount is likely more than the combined losses for all the other Chinese apps banned by India....


The ideal time proposed for online classes is up to 30 minutes for the pre-primary grade, two sessions each of 30-45 minutes for grades 1 to 8, and four sessions of 30-45 minutes each for classes 9 to 12, people in the know told ET. With Covid-19 impacting academic schedules, the HRD ministry is set to announce guidelines for schools to run online classes which call for restricting screen time, consolidating learning instead of trying to cover the full course, and paying attention to students’…


Middle East

2020-07-07

A total of 756,644 passengers took 9,558 domestic flights in Saudi Arabia between May 31 and June 30, an official with the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) told Arab News.GACA has resumed domestic flights gradually with the aim of ensuring travelers’ safety. All the necessary health measures have been taken in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and relevant government agencies within airport facilities, the official said....


2020-07-07

A new historically inspired font will be used as part of a digital typeface for one of Saudi Arabia’s major projects.The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) will launch the font as part of a new family of digital typefaces called “The Diriyah Fonts,” which will add an authentic and original style to branding and communication material.Talal Kensara, Cheif Strategic Management Officer of the DGDA, told Arab News the Diriyah font was first used by the grandchild of Sheikh Mohammed bin …


2020-07-07

Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal on Sunday inaugurated the world’s biggest camel hospital in Buraidah. The Salam Veterinary Hospital will also have a modern research facility to diagnose diseases related to camels.The governor said the project worth SR100 million is a national achievement and it will help enhance veterinary facilities in the Kingdom.Prince Faisal toured the facility’s specialized central laboratories equipped with modern devices to conduct over 160 different types of an…


2020-07-07

Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as president of the G20 group of nations, has unveiled a six-point business plan to jump start the global economy out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yousef Al-Benyan, the chairman of the B20 business group within the G20, told a webinar from Riyadh that the response to the pandemic -— including the injection of $5 trillion into the global economy — had been “reassuring.”....


2020-07-07

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, has issued directives to exempt business tenants of Dubai Developments Group properties in the emirate, including small firms and entrepreneurs, from paying rents for periods ranging from three to six months. The relief package worth AED200 million is an initiative from H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid aimed at supporting the economy as well as the entrepreneurial and real estate sectors. The gesture is aimed a…


2020-07-07

in5, an enabling platform for startups and entrepreneurs launched by TECOM Group, today announced that its members have raised more than AED65 million in direct investment, through multiple funding sources such as venture capital funds or angel investors, during the first six months of 2020. "After generating more than AED400 million in funding between 2013 and 2019, the half-year figure is the highest six-month amount generated by in5 startups. Furthermore, 41 new companies joined the startup i…


2020-07-07

Dubai Maritime City has completed some 35 per cent of the Phase 1 infrastructure for its residential and commercial development, hitting milestones to complete the AED140 million project in the first quarter of 2021 despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.   The development of the residential and commercial area consolidates DMC's status as a leading maritime services provider. The main area of work has been on the deep services (water and sewer pipes), including surface water and…


2020-07-07

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority announced that its public libraries had won the Excellence Award in the ‘I Know” initiative launched by the Arab Federation for Libraries and Information (AFLI), the largest professional and scientific union for libraries and information In the Arab world. The award honours libraries that engaged with the COVID-19 crisis, their distinguished services, and their interaction with public need during the pandemic. The AFLI represents public libraries in the Arab…


2020-07-07

The Human Resources Authority (HRA) has signed a cooperation agreement with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Academy, and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), to establish an educational platform for banking services within ADGM Academy through ‘The Bankers Programme’. The initiative’s key objective is to enhance the skills and capabilities of UAE nationals, and support their integration within the banking sector. The agreement was signed by His Excellency Mohamed Hamad Al Hameli, Acting Dir…


2020-07-07

Ducab Group, one of the UAE’s largest manufacturing businesses, has taken a significant step towards increasing its sustainability with the official opening of its Solar Plant, which was inaugurated by His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), in the presence of Dr Ahmad bin Hassan Al Shaikh, Chairman, Ducab, Board members and senior officials from both parties. The Solar Plant, a 2MWp (megawatt peak) Renewable Generation Project locat…


2020-07-07

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is pleased to announce that it has accepted 16 firms into its 2020 Summer Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Cohort. The ITL Programme provides a unique environment that helps firms to test innovative solutions in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The ITL provides these firms with temporary flexibility to test and develop concepts within a restricted regulatory environment. The 16 firms can now begin the process to apply for an …


2020-07-07

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the capital’s first low-cost carrier, will take wings on July 14, 2020 with direct flights connecting Abu Dhabi with Alexandria and Sohag in Egypt. The inaugural flight will take off from Abu Dhabi to Alexandria on July 14 followed by flights to Sohag the next day. Air Arabia Abu Dhabi will start its operations with two Airbus A320 aircraft based in Abu Dhabi International Airport offering the same value-added product and services provided by Air Arabia across its hubs. T…


2020-07-07

 82% of delegates predicted an increase in Dubai-China trade within the next two to three months Chamber-led delegation of 58 business leaders from the UAE and other countries leveraged the global event to source new products and network with Chinese suppliers. Khan: As online exhibitions become the norm in China, we are encouraging our members to benefit from such platforms and explore new trade opportunities.   Dubai, UAE: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently organised a…


2020-07-07

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has recently recruited the first batch of three female bus drivers for deployment on the internal bus network, thus becoming the first entity in the Middle East region to take this initiative.  The three female bus drivers started operation on 3rd July, 2020.  “This initiative goes with the best global practices of employing female drivers likewise their male counterparts. The step creates job opportunities for women in a field dominated by men a…


2020-07-06

Sharjah Asset Management, SAM, the investment arm of the Sharjah government, has announced the launch of a new company through its partnership with the largest engineering consulting firm in Malaysia, CHSS. The new alliance, called Asool CHSS, will work to provide the most effective levels of engineering solutions in order to support and enhance the development of infrastructure and urban projects in the emirate of Sharjah. Walid Al Sayegh, CEO of SAM, said, "Thanks to the support of the Emirate…


2020-07-06

Ithra Dubai’s iconic One Za’abeel development has achieved a major milestone with The Link accomplishing its final slide at ground level. This part of the structure is now extended to its ultimate length of approximately 189 metres, bracing The Link for its show-stopping engineering feat where it will be lifted 100 metres above ground level to its final position connecting One Za’abeel’s two towers. A cantilevered structure will be later added, giving the Link its final shape as a cantil…


2020-07-06

DUBZ, dnata’s leading baggage technology and logistics company, further enhanced its offering to help travellers in Dubai enjoy a safe, seamless and worry-free travel experience. In addition to its innovative home check-in services, the company now also provides COVID-19 testing, enabling customers to safely and quickly complete the flight check-in process and obtain a medical certificate within 24 to 48 hours of testing, at home or any location of their choice in Dubai. Customers booking the…


2020-07-06

Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative has launched ‘ReacHer’, an initiative providing women with mental health support and consultation services, and which aims to enhance women’s contributions across familial, social, and economic roles amid the current implications and repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘ReacHer’ initiative will be carried out over several weeks, in partnership with Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) and in collaboration with a selection of mental health practitioners,…


2020-07-06

Emirates Islamic, one of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the UAE, today announced that it has been awarded the prestigious ‘Islamic Bank of the Year – UAE 2020’ award by the globally renowned Financial Times’ monthly publication, The Banker. The global award recognises Emirates Islamic’s leading position among the world’s best Islamic financial institutions. In awarding the title to Emirates Islamic, The Banker stated that “Emirates Islamic has been named Islami…


2020-07-06

Amlak Finance PJSC, a leading specialised Islamic real estate financier, today announced a newly formed partnership with Dubai Land Department (DLD). This strategic cooperation aims at allowing customers to invest in ready and well-maintained properties listed by Amlak Finance via easy instalment payment plans for a tenure of up to six years. The agreement was signed by HE Juma bin Humaidan Deputy Director General of Dubai Land Department, and Arif Alharmi Albastaki, CEO of Amlak Finance. HE Jum…


South East Asia

2020-07-08

The Philippines woke up from the ashes of the World War with an advantage in human capital that was superior to that inherited by other countries in our region – in East Asia. Episode of lost growth opportunity. In Philippine economic history, there have been periods of lost opportunities that would have taken us easily to the trajectory of virtuous and more efficient long-term economic growth. Such missed opportunities also meant missed prospects for rapid human capital improvement. As the s…


2020-07-08

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) expects the economy to contract for the remaining quarters of the year amid the more disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) may further shrink until the end of the year after contracting by 0.2 percent in the first quarter. “Domestic economic activity is projected to follow a U- shaped quarterly recovery path with output likely to contract further in the remaining quarters …


2020-07-08

Sy-led BDO Unibank Inc. raised $600 million as it returned to the offshore debt market via the issuance of fixed rate senior notes as part of its liability management initiatives. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the country’s largest lender in terms of assets and capitalization said the fund raising activity was almost five times oversubscribed....


 Temasek Holdings' chief executive Ho Ching has not denied reports that the state investment firm had a portfolio value of more than $300 billion as at March 31. Instead, she noted in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening (July 7) that she was "impressed with the analyses" from reports that had speculated on Temasek's portfolio performance, and that the figures were "pretty close to (Temasek's) own management estimates"......


In Singapore, both incumbents and new entrants are stepping up their game; observers expect eventual consolidation THE Covid-19 pandemic has prompted a fresh wave of interest in telemedicine apps - with even corporate giants joining startups in ramping up services. While changing doctor and patient mindsets has been a key obstacle in the past, the barriers are gradually falling, industry...


CONTRARY to the "urban myth" that Singapore has failed in its quest to raise productivity, the nation's productivity and median wage have grown by about a third over the last decade, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has said. It grew by 2.4 per cent annually for...


Over 1,700 workers being trained, redeployed to higher-value or new roles through 5 programmes After working in the travel industry for more than two decades, operation assistant Janet Tan finds it a breeze to handle tasks such as booking flights and hotel stays, issuing air tickets and arranging incentive trips. But with travel in the doldrums because of Covid-19 restrictions, Ms Tan, 53, was asked by her boss to learn something completely new this year: digital marketing.....


2020-07-07

SET-listed SPCG, the largest solar farm operator by capacity, is slashing its 2020 revenue estimate, expecting growth of only 3.3% because of the pandemic. Earlier this year, before the outbreak spread worldwide, the company estimated 25% growth to 6.7 billion baht, fuelled by its new businesses. At this point, SPCG expects revenue to increase to 5.5 billion baht this year.....


2020-07-07

Ascent Asia announced it will soon launch its helicopter ride-hailing service in Thailand with flights in Bangkok, Chon Buri, Rayong, Hua Hin and Pattaya, with flights starting at 8,000 baht per seat. The company hopes to kick-start an urban air travel trend in the kingdom.....


Online beauty marketplace Social Bella has announced that it has closed a US$58 million funding round to support its new business unit and increase its growth in the beauty and personal care sector. The funding round comes from its existing investors, namely Singaporean state investment fund Temasek and its private equity subsidiary Pavilion, as well as Singaporean venture capital firm Jungle Ventures. Last year, the firms contributed $40 million to the company’s series D funding, led by ventu…


The office market in Jakarta has remained resilient due to the flexibility of landlords and tenants during the health crisis, despite the growing trend of working from home, property consulting firm Knight Frank has stated. Jakarta’s Premium and Grade-A office occupancy rates remained stable at around 76 percent in late May. The same level was seen in the second half of 2019, according to the company’s data.....


2020-07-07

Localities would get treatment by 2022 The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) has set an ambitious goal to turn 100 cities nationwide into smart cities in two years to improve the economy and quality of life in line with the 20-year national strategy plan. Cities in six provinces plus Bangkok have begun the process of transforming into smart cities. The provinces are Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao......


Top gas distributor PGN, a state-owned publicly listed company, is looking to sell internet and cable TV services to fund the expansion of Indonesia’s household gas pipe program, known locally as jargas. PGN’s freshly appointed president director, Suko Hartono, said on Monday the company sought to expand its existing fiber optic cable network to deliver such “gasnet” services for residential customers......


2020-07-07

Vietnam earned 1.71 billion USD from exporting nearly 3.5 million tonnes of rice in the first half of this year, up 17.9 percent in value and 4.4 percent in volume year-on-year.In June alone, 409,000 tonnes of rice worth 207 million USD was shipped abroad, according to the Agro Processing and Market Development Authority (Agrotrade) at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.The Philippines was the top buyer between January and May, importing 1.3 million tonnes of Vietnamese rice worth…


2020-07-07

Da Lat, known as the city of flowers, is set to become a fresh flower export hub in Southeast Asia. The central highlands city aims to raise its annual flower export value far beyond the current 50 million US dollars to match its capacity of producing yearly 3.1 billion flower branches....


2020-07-07

Tourism slumped in the first half of the year, a direct effect of a virtual standstill inflected by the pandemic on the industry. From January to June, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told Philstar.com foreign arrivals reached only 1.32 million, steady from March when the government imposed quarantine controls against the spread of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). The number was down 68.1% year-on-year, she said in a text message on Monday...


2020-07-07

Suntrust Home Developers Inc., yesterday announced that its foreign ownership limit has been lifted. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Suntrust said that on Dec. 20, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the company’s application for registration under the Foreign Investments Act of 1991. This means that the company’s foreign ownership limitation no longer exists.....


Facebook, Google, and Twitter suspended processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong, they said on Monday (Jul 7), following China's establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the city. Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, said in a statement it was "pausing" reviews for all of its services "pending further assessment of the National Security Law."...


“REVENGE spending” is real for upmarket Indonesian consumers who plan to go on shopping sprees as they emerge from pandemic lockdowns, a survey has found. The post-coronavirus outlook is sunny for discretionary consumer spending, especially when it comes to lower-ticket items, such as clothes and skincare products....


 In Indonesia, locals can soon fly from Jakarta to the beaches of Bali for a domestic vacation. Tokyo residents can escape the pandemic stress with a hike up Mount Fuji, and New Yorkers can head to the Hamptons on Long Island. Residents of Singapore, a city-state smaller than New York City, have few such options, presenting a massive problem for its battered tourism industry. With borders closed to foreigners, hotels and tourist attractions need to count on "staycationers" to plug the gap in a…