Telindus, Bluesocket announce pan-European sales agreement

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Telindus, the Belgian Integrator and leading ICT service and solution provider, and Bluesocket Inc, the fast-growing developer of Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) solutions to secure and manage wireless access, announced on July 15 that they have signed a pan-European agreement.
Under the terms of the agreement, Telindus will market and integrate the range of Bluesocket Wireless Gateways into an increasing number of wireless LAN projects and opportunities. The agreement comes off the back of ...


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Royal Dutch/Shell to pay USD 7.4 bln on old deals

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The Financial Times has quoted a former Royal Dutch/Shell’s Houston energy trading business manager as saying that the firm made USD 7.4 billion of bets on future US power prices that could prove worthless. George Namur, former general manager at the Houston operation, has claimed he was told to come up with positive forecasts of future power and gas prices that would justify the deals to the Shell head office. The deals formed part of the Dutch company’s rapid expansion of its energy trading bu...


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Dutch continue top-notch investments in Brazil

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The Netherlands is ranked as one of Brazil’s top foreign investors for the period spanning the first five months of 2002, said the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, citing data released by the central bank. Dutch investment there jumped 112 percent year-on-year to USD 1.72 billion, while US investment fell 45.8 percent to USD 1.1 billion. The US was the leading foreign investor in Brazil in 1997, 1999 and 2001, while Spain led the foreign investor list in 1998 and 2000. Total foreign direct investme...


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ING executive to propose frequent accountant changes

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ING Group NV chief executive Ewald Kist has noted that at the next shareholders’ meeting he intends to propose that the company change accountants “every five years or so” so as to ensure fair and accurate disclosure. In an interview with the daily Trouw Saturday before last, Kist was quoted by AFX as stating his belief that the measure would ensure “absolute independence” by accountants. He referred to his faith in Dutch regulators, accountants and companies in light of a host of recent corpora...


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Platform Virtuele School develops e-learning service for expatriates

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The Netherlands has welcomed a new initiative in e-learning that focuses on services for Dutch children overseas, but ultimately aims to reach all Dutch pupils. Platform Virtuele School is a service for children of Dutch nationals living abroad that will commence this coming school year, europemedia.net reported. Various secondary schools are taking part in the project with e-learning platform Koepel, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and PinkRoccade....


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Apple set to launch Amsterdam retail store

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Apple Computer was set last week to take its retail store effort to the international level, with plans to open a store in The Netherlands. Patrick van Sloten, manager of Machouse, an independent Apple dealer in The Netherlands, announced that Apple informed dealers of plans to open a store in Amsterdam, CNET News reported.
The announcement was expected last Wednesday, the same day Apple CEO Steve Jobs was due to deliver a keynote address at Macworld Expo in New York. Van Sloten is not worried ...


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Philips launches strict new policy on auditor functions

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Royal Philips Electronics last week unveiled a comprehensive new global policy on external auditor independence covering Philips and all majority owned entities. The firm has always maintained a policy of strict separation between the auditing and consulting functions of its auditing company, in line with SEC Rule 2-01, under which the appointed external auditor must be independent of the company, a press release noted. The new policy boasts a clear definition of exactly which services the exter...


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List Pim Fortuyn takes on immigration in government

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List Pim Fortuyn party leader Mat Herben stated week before last that the party would take charge of the Immigration Ministry as one of four cabinet jobs. This role in The Netherlands’ new government comes with pressure to tone down its harsh stance on asylum seekers in light of EU rules and international conventions.
“This whole immigration process will now be our responsibility,” Herben stated, adding, “From the moment that an asylum seeker comes to our country until he is integrated. That’s ...


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Overloaded to keep consumers happy with mobile infotainment

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Amsterdam’s telecommunications market newcomer Overloaded - Pocket Media is set to launch a comprehensive content range for the latest generation mobile phones. Independently as well as through the help of various partners, Overloaded has formulated and developed a variety of concepts presently marketed in partnership with Universal Music, Sanoma Puzzelsport, 10VoorTaal, GlamaGo, Spinnin Records, SportPlaza and De Volkskrant.
Overloaded’s unique entertainment and infotainment content is concent...


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Inflation falls sharply in Britain

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British inflation fell sharply in June, taking analysts by surprise as it touched the lower limit of the target set by the government, dpa reported, citing official figures released on July 16. Underlying inflation fell to 1.5 percent on the year, the lowest level since records began in 1975, driven down by lower prices for petrol and seasonal foods compared with a year ago.
The government has set the Bank of England a target range for annual underlying inflation of 1.5 to 3.5 percent, requirin...


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Irish tourist industry gets a shot in the arm

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Irish Tourism Minister John O’Donoghue announced a GBP two million bid to save the country’s struggling tourism industry. The bulk of the cash will be used to attract British visitors to Ireland through a major marketing campaign, he said adding that there would also be new promotional drives in the United States and on the Continent, as well as in Ireland.
The Irish government move followed indications that the Irish tourism trade is experiencing one of its worst years on record on top of huge...


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British Nuclear Fuels declares large loss

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State owned British Nuclear Fuels reported its highest ever annual loss on July 16, but said its operating performance was improving. BNFL, which operates eight of Britain’s 16 commercial reactors, declared a loss of GBP 2.3 billion (USD 3.6 billion) for last year.
Dpa quoted Chairman Hugh Collum as saying it had been a landmark year for the company, which had achieved an underlying profit before tax and exceptional items of GBP 22 million. The environmental group Friends of the Earth called fo...


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SPP shareholders appoint new members to board

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Shareholders of gas utility SPP appointed members of an investment consortium - comprised of German Ruhrgas, Gaz de France and Russian Gazprom — that purchased a minority share package in SPP a few months back to its Board of Directors, according to local reports. Board chief is Ulrich Scholer and Ruhrgas is represented by Jan Massman. Gaz de France’s representatives are Jean-Francois Carriere and Philippe Boucly. Gazprom has yet to pay its share of the deal....


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404 state property sellers still in FNM books

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The Slovak FNM privatisation agency FNM announced it still has 404 sellers of state property on its books, according to Bluebull. The majority of these are from the Vladimir Meciar government (1994-1998), whose unpaid dues to the state total nearly nine billion Slovak crowns (USD 20 million). FNM was quoted as saying that it saw itself forced to permit sellers to make up their state dues by investing funds into their companies....


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Tibor Safarik joins judicial council

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Notorious Tibor Safarik has been appointed to a judicial council that will oversee the judicial branch by Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, according to local reports. Safarik is renowned for his role in freeing an alleged kidnapper of the former president’s son from charges....


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Slovakia, EU agree tax relief for Volkswagen unit

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The Slovak government and the European Union have reached an agreement on tax relief provided by the Slovak subsidiary of German carmaker Volkswagen. This helps it comply with EU legislation and brings Slovakia closer to finalising a deal on the business competition docket of pre-entry negotiations, according to local reports....


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New government party

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Slovakia saw the creation of the Movement for Democracy last week, according to Radio Slovakia International. The new party was set up by the former member of the opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, Ivan Gasparovic. The decision came because of a party congress headed by opposition leader and former Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, which without warning withdrew Gasparovic’s name from the candidate list for the September elections.
Gasparovic has already registered his new party with ...


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Belgium’s Michel tours Slovakia, meets Kukan

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Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister, Louis Michel, travelled to the Slovak capital last Monday to meet with Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan and other local government officials after receiving an invitation from the foreign minister, according to Radio Slovakia International. Talks focused on Slovakia’s accession into the European Union and NATO, bilateral relations and Slovakia’s Roma community.
Michel, accompanied by the cabinet’s appointee for Roma matters, toured the eastern region of the ...


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Czech SME acquires 50% of Elektrovod Holding

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The No. 1 power distributor in the Czech Republic, Severomoravska energetika (SME), has purchased a 50 percent stake in the Slovakia-based group Elektrovod Holding, a designer and developer of electric networks, from Penta Group, officials from the three groups told reporters, cited by the Czech news agency CTK.
No financial details were disclosed by SME Strategy Director Petr Ivanek because he said it would be “retroactively changed in line with the results of an audit.”
The Czech group purch...


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UNESCO decision for Slovak Tokaj listing on the cards

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Slovak President Rudolf Schuster recently met with Koichiro Matsuura, the director general of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). According to Radio Slovakia International, Schuster presented the education minister’s proposal to include the Slovak Tokaj wine region in the UNESCO heritage list, in addition to the Hungary-based Tokaj region, which became part of the list last year.
A decision on whether Slovak Tokaj should be included in the UNESCO list will...


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Tianwan plant to start producing energy in 2004

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Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said that China’s Tianwan nuclear power plant, the building of which is being done by Russian specialists, will start churning out electricity in 2004. “The building of the first generating unit is going well, the Chinese are working on it around the clock, and this project will be very rapidly completed,” Interfax quoted him as telling a press conference. “The quality of the nuclear station’s construction is very good,” he added. The installat...


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Russia to accept spent nuclear fuel from Hungary

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The Russian Nuclear Ministry intends to abide by its commitments to accept spent nuclear fuel from the Hungarian nuclear power plant Paksh, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said. He recalled that the contract on Russsia’s import of spent nuclear fuel from Paksh was signed and ratified in 1966. He also reiterated that “the greens” filed a complaint to the Supreme Court, claiming that the government’s decision on the shipment of used nuclear fuel from Hungary is unconstitutional...


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S. Korea a potential spent nuclear fuel supplier

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South Korea is a potential supplier of spent nuclear fuel to Russia, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said. South Korea shows immense interest in spent nuclear fuel shipments,” he said. The minister emphasised that Russia’s access to used nuclear fuel is impaired as usual. “No one let us into the market,” he noted. Commenting on the situation with legislative guarantees for the introduction of used foreign nuclear fuel, Rumyantsev said the government was expected to draw up al...


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Russia, US sign first plutonium-238 deals

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Russia began signing contracts on plutonium isotope supplies to the United States, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev told a news conference. He noted that the United States would use the element in its space programmes. Earlier, the minister said that the nominal price for the plutonium-238 isotope is lower in Russia than in the United States, which prompted the USA’s interest in purchasing the product. Rumyantsev said that Russia had sold isotopes to the United States in the p...


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Ivanov against possible US military action in Iraq

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Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said on July 15 that Moscow does not back possible military action by the United States and its allies against Iraq.
“We do not and cannot back unilateral military actions against Iraq, which are not sanctioned by the United Nations,” Ivanov told a news conference in St Petersburg.
“The world community’s concerns about the possible creation of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq can be eliminated using a different, simpler method. International experts sh...


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Businessmen suggest turning Kurils into free economic zone

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Russian businessmen have suggested turning the four Japanese-claimed South Kuril Islands into a free economic zone similar to that in the Kaliningrad region which has existed for several years now. The suggestion came from Vice President of Russia’s Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Vladimir Shcherbakov at a meeting in Moscow with a delegation of Japan’s Association of Corporate Executives (Keizai Doyukai).
Interfax quoted Shcherbakov as saying political problems should not slow down th...


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Russia may spend USD 350 mln on debt due to Euro climb

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Competitiveness of Russian companies is on declining trend

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on July 16 that his country might spend an additional USD 350 to 400 million this year due to the recent growth in the Euro exchange rate against the dollar. “We will probably have to disburse USD 350-400 million more in foreign debt payments under a scenario that is pessimistic for us, if the exchange rate stabilises at one Euro against the dollar,” Interfax quoted...


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Isuzu, Severstalavto mull joint production agreement

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Japanese automobile concern Isuzu and SeverstalAvto, a Russian company, may agree on cooperation for the possible joint production of light trucks in Russia by the end of the year, Interfax quoted the deputy head of Nissho Iwai Corp.’s Moscow office, Takayuki Yabumoto, as saying. According to Yabumoto, the sides are considering three options for the joint production of commercial vehicles with a freight capacity of three to five tonnes at UAZ (part of SeverstalAvto). Isuzu is holding talks joint...


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Avtovaz to boost exports by 8%

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Russian automobile concern Avtovaz plan to increase automobile exports almost eight percent year-on-year in 2002, said Vladimir Kuchai, the vice president for marketing and sales. The company will export about 95,000 VAZ vehicles in 2002, he said. In 2001 Avtovaz exported 88,000 vehicles. The company’s plans initially included exports of 90,000 vehicles, but this was later increased. Kuchai noted that a sharp increase in exports is not expedient “as the 100 percent saturation of the domestic mar...


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Honda H1 sales up 46%

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Honda sold 506 vehicles through official dealers in Russia in the first half of this year, up 45.8 percent from 347 in the same period of 2001, the spokesman for Japanese carmaker’s office in the Russian capital said. The top seller was the Honda CR-V sport-utility vehicle, which accounted for about 50 percent of total sales in the half. The Honda HR-V SUV followed with about 20 percent of total sales. Honda attributes the growing sales primarily to the updating of its model range, including the...


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Renault sells 57% more vehicles

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French automaker Renault sold 3,586 automobiles in the first half of this year through its official dealers in Russia, up 57 percent from the 2,278 the company sold in the first half of 2001. The best-selling model was the Renault Clio Symbol, which accounted for 49.4 percent of sales with 1,771 vehicles sold in the half as compared with the 1,419 sold in the first six months of 2001....


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Nuclear-powered sub launches unique spacecraft

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The Russian Northern Fleet’s nuclear-powered submarine Ryazan, commanded by Captain Tagir Kayaev, launched from an underwater position a Demonstrator-2 spacecraft with an inflatable braking system, Captain Igor Dygalo, head of the Russian Navy’s press service, said on July 12. The spacecraft is intended to deliver cargo from space orbit and is capable of landing on other planets....


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Russia delivers MiG warplanes to Yemen

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The first consignment of Russian MiG fighters has been supplied to Yemen in keeping with a contract. An aircraft delivered the warplanes to Sana, Interfax quoted a source in the Russian defence industry as saying. Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Salih attended the ceremony for receiving the MiGs at a Yemeni air force base....


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France hails Aeroflot plan to buy European aircraft

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The French cabinet welcomes the intention of Russian flag carrier Aeroflot, the country’s largest airline, to purchase European aircraft, French Foreign Minister Dominique Villepin told a news conference in Moscow. Aeroflot’s recent decision will promote cooperation between the two countries, Interfax quoted him as saying....


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Brazil to select supplier of combat jets soon – Sukhoi

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Brazil will choose its supplier for combat aircraft within six to nine weeks, Izvestiya quoted the Director General of Sukhoi aircraft building company, Mikhail Pogosian, in an interview on July 12. This decision was expected back in May, but the tender commission has delayed making its choice because it wants a deeper insight into what the bidders have to offer, he said.
Meanwhile, Su-30MKI multi-purpose fighters will be delivered to India in several stages as their flight tests are finalised....


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Boeing to help design Russia regional aircraft

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Airplane making giant Boeing will actively contribute to the development of a Russian regional aircraft, Interfax quoted CEO Phil Condit as saying during a Moscow-Chicago video conference on the Internet. The first phase of the aircraft development program will be brought to completion at the end of July, he said.
In line with the project, Boeing is helping Russia’s Sukhoi and Ilyushin companies study the future market of the aircraft and analyse all of the requirements posed by consumers, the ...


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Sibir airline carries 58% more passengers in H1

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The Sibir airline said it increased passenger transport by tentatively 57.6 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2002 to 1.083 million passengers. Passenger turnover grew 56.3 percent to 3.1448 billion passenger-kilometres. The seat occupancy ratio was 70.5 percent, compared with 67 percent.
The airline carried out 44 percent more flights. Its timetable has 12 new scheduled flights, three of them international. In the half, 58.5 percent of the airline’s tickets sold were for domestic fligh...


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