February 1, 2019

Chanda Kochhar: The rise and fall of India’s celebrated CEO

Chanda Kochhar: The rise and fall of India's celebrated CEO Image copyright Getty Images The fall of Chanda Kochhar, the iconic banking CEO and a poster woman for Indian industry, holds a cautionary tale for the entire business community, writes the BBC's business correspondent Sameer Hashmi. India's third-largest lender, ICICI Bank, on Wednesday found the former chief executive guilty of violating internal bank policies and professional misconduct. It was the culmination of an investigation set up by the bank to look into allegations of conflict of interest. It concluded that she had failed to make mandatory disclosures and her actions were not in line with the bank's internal processes. The bank also announced it planned to "claw back" all bonuses paid to Ms Kochhar between April 2009 and March 2018, an amount estimated to run into millions of dollars. Ms Kochhar had risen through the ranks of ICICI to become its chief executive in 2009. But she went on indefin..
February 1, 2019

Xinjiang: Ex-Blackwater chief’s security firm linked to China training centre

Xinjiang: Ex-Blackwater chief's security firm linked to China training centre Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Erik Prince, seen here in Washington DC in 2017, says he has "no knowledge" of the deal A security firm founded by ex-Blackwater chief Erik Prince has signed a preliminary deal to build a training centre in China's Xinjiang region, according to a company statement. Hong Kong-listed Frontier Services Group (FSG) announced the deal on its website in a now deleted post. Blackwater guards hired by the US played a controversial role in Iraq. Xinjiang has recently been the focus of a security crackdown that has seen mass detentions of Uighur Muslims. China has defended its use of internment camps in Xinjiang, describing them as "vocational training centres" that it says are proving effective in staving off terrorism through "thought transformation". But it has come under international criticism for allegedly having held up to a million people. Long read: Xinji..
February 1, 2019

EU-Japan trade: Five things about the world’s biggest deal

EU-Japan trade: Five things about the world's biggest deal Image copyright EPA Image caption European wines could see revived sales in Japan Cheaper wine and cheese for Japan, cheaper cars for the EU - part of what the EU-Japan trade deal, now in force, means. The world's biggest such deal, it covers nearly a third of global GDP and 635 million people. However there are warnings that the UK could lose its benefits if it leaves the EU without a deal. It comes as a trade war rages between the US and China, who have slapped tariffs on each others' products. The EU's Jean-Claude Juncker said the pact, which took years to agree, was about "values and principles". Here are five things about the deal: 1) Services as well as sancerre and SuzukisThe deal's headline is about scrapping duties on 97% and 99% of Japanese and European imports respectively. Dairy and other food products are among the EU's biggest exports to Japan and the progressive reduction of nearly ..
February 1, 2019

India budget: Will India buy Narendra Modi’s story of hope again?

India budget: Will India buy Narendra Modi's story of hope again? Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mr Modi (c) has tried to woo voters with this year's budget With India's general election just months away, the annual budget was all about Prime Minister Narendra Modi trying to resell his 2014 election pledge of hope. The question is will it work, asks economist Vivek Kaul. Around an hour into his speech, finance minister Piyush Goyal spoke about a recent Bollywood film, Uri: The Surgical Strike. It celebrates the Indian army's strikes in 2016 against suspected militants in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. He said while watching the film he'd been impressed with the audience's passionate reaction, reportedly inspired by the movie's overt nationalism. If there was any doubt this was an election-minded budget, it was put to rest by Mr Goyal's reference to Uri. India job data spells trouble for Narendra Modi Why India's government is..
February 1, 2019

Pangolins: Hong Kong finds ‘record’ haul of scales in shipping container

Pangolins: Hong Kong finds 'record' haul of scales in shipping container Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionPangolin: The most trafficked mammal in the world A record eight tonnes of pangolin scales and more than 1,000 elephant tusks have been seized from a shipping container in Hong Kong, officials say. The container, from Nigeria and said to be carrying frozen beef, was searched after a tip-off. The illegal cargo has an estimated value of about $8m (£6m). Two arrests were made, officials say. The scales of the pangolin, an endangered anteater, are said to have medicinal value in parts of Asia. Image copyright EPA Image caption Customs officers in Hong Kong said the shipment contained 8,300kg of pangolin scales (left) They have previously been smuggled into countries from Africa in huge quantities, with the pangolin thought to be the world's most trafficked mammal. Pangolin survival: How 'following the money' could save livesOn Frida..
February 1, 2019

Amazon forced to pull products in India as new rules bite

Amazon forced to pull products in India as new rules bite Image copyright Getty Images Amazon has been forced to remove an array of products from its website in India to comply with new regulations. The rules prevent online retailers from selling products through vendors in which they hold an equity stake. The regulations are expected to have a far-reaching impact on India's e-commerce sector, which has drawn billions in foreign investment. Amazon and Flipkart lobbied against the laws which aim to protect small businesses. The changes to foreign direct investment rules, which come into force 1 February, also stop online retailers from making deals to sell exclusively on their platforms. Amazon sparks fears with sales forecast Walmart wins battle for Flipkart Amazon launches Hindi version of website Small retailers in India have long pushed for tougher competition rules, arguing the major players have an unfair advantage. But Amazon and Walmart, which owns a majority stake in ..
February 1, 2019

Year of the Pig: Is it really a problem for Muslims?

Year of the Pig: Is it really a problem for Muslims? Image copyright Reuters Image caption Muslim teachers attend a Chinese calligraphy event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to mark the Year of the Pig Communities around the world are gearing up celebrate the lunar new year, which this time ushers in the Year of the Pig. New Year celebrations usually mean the animal is depicted everywhere - in decorations, toys, gifts and advertising. But the pig, the last animal on the Chinese zodiac calendar, is considered unclean by Muslims and a sin to consume. So does this cause problems for people celebrating lunar new year in Muslim-majority countries in South East Asia? Like most Chinese-Malaysian families, the Lunar New Year is serious business for the Chow family, who live in the sleepy town of Batu Pahat in Johor, Malaysia. This year is particularly significant because Chow Yoon Kee, his wife Stella and their daughter were all born in pig years. "We will display lots of lucky pig ornaments at..
January 31, 2019

Australian air strike may have killed Iraqi civilians, officials say

Australian air strike may have killed Iraqi civilians, officials say Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption The city of Mosul, Iraq, was the scene of heavy fighting The Australian Defence Force (ADF) says its fighter jets may have caused the deaths of up to 18 civilians in a strike on Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq. The incident in 2017 was part of the US-led coalition's bid to retake Mosul. However, the ADF said it was impossible to "definitively know" whether its forces, another coalition strike or "other actors" killed the civilians. The deaths were "highly regrettable", military officials said. Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said two Australian F/A-18F Super Hornets had bombed IS militants in a residential area on 13 June 2017, following a request by Iraqi ground forces. A separate strike by unidentified coalition force took place simultaneously in the same street. Despite post-strike surveys failing to detect civilian deaths, "credible" reports of casualties later eme..
January 31, 2019

US envoy Stephen Biegun reveals North Korea nuclear pledge

US envoy Stephen Biegun reveals North Korea nuclear pledge Image copyright Getty Images Image caption US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun revealed the pledge in a Stanford University speech North Korea has pledged to destroy all its nuclear material enrichment facilities, the US special envoy says. Stephen Biegun said he planned to discuss "corresponding measures" the US can take in return for the country's denuclearisation. The US would first however need "complete understanding" of the country's weapons programmes. President Donald Trump earlier said both countries had made "tremendous progress". Speaking in the Oval Office, the president said he would soon announce the date and location of a planned summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. The pair met in Singapore last year, the first meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. Second Trump-Kim meeting 'within weeks' When Trump met Kim: What happened next? In a speech at ..
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