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Top Headlines - part 69

Africa Energy Insight: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Power Potential Not Yet Maximized

Africa Energy Insight: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Power Potential Not Yet Maximized

BUSINESS

  • East African Power Pool (EAPP) master plan exploits, pools power resources for transfer from surplus to deficit areas
  • Project delayed due to lack of harmonization, policy framework and funding; set for revival in a 3-phase development plan
  • EAPP promotes practical and replicable energy model that may well be Africa’s solution to perennial power woes and high energy costs

Eastern African countries created a master plan to resolve the region’s persistent power woes back in 2005, and the East African Power Pool (EAPP) is working to harness and exploit the unique energy resources of the region. Notably, the EAPP aims to create a power trading platform to transfer power from surplus to deficit areas in the region.

The plan envisages to harness the hydropower potential of Ethiopia, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo; the geothermal potential of Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania; coal in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania; and natural gas in Rwanda and Tanzania.

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Sacramento Opens Doors to New $1 Billon Airport Terminal

Sacramento Opens Doors to New $1 Billon Airport Terminal

BUSINESS

  • New $1 billion terminal replaces 40-year-old Terminal B
  • Airport renovations created 2,400 jobs during recession
  • $6 million in public art displays featured in new terminal

Sacramento’s state-of-the-art $1 billion terminal will breathe new life into the Californian capital’s international airport when it opens today. The new facility replaces the old Terminal B to meet the growing demands of the expanding air travel industry and boost the airport’s potential to attract new flight routes and carriers.

The old terminal was built in 1947 when security checks were basically a matter of presenting a valid passport and ticket. The new Sacramento International Airport will have the latest high-tech security measures with whole-body backscatter x-ray scanners that display a chalk outline of the passenger.

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Economic Slowdown Expected for India

Economic Slowdown Expected for India

ECONOMY

  • Exports in India jump 44%, future decline likely due to EU, US recession fears
  • HSBC PMI: Manufacturing sector slowed to 50.4
  • August inflation reaches 13 month high of 9.8%

India's latest export and manufacturing data reveals that India's economy remains threatened by the possibility of a harsher slowdown. After the data was released, the BSE India Sensitive Index, or Sensex, lost 2% on October 3.

The International Monetary Fund reduced its forecast for India's outlook last month to 7.8% for this year and 7.5% growth in 2012, down from previous predictions of 8.2% and 7.8%, respectively. In July, economists speculated that India's 80% increase in exports was unsustainable.

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US Car Sales Climb 10% in September, Nissan Sales Up 25%

US Car Sales Climb 10% in September, Nissan Sales Up 25%

FINANCE

  • September sales for Toyota fell 18%, Honda sales were down 8%
  • Ford sales rose close to 10%, General Motors 20%, and Chrysler more than 25% in September
  • Italy and Spain hit 15-year low

Nissan Motor Co is topping the list of Asia-brand car sellers in the US, with its best sales figures since April surpassing forecasts at 25%. Honda Motor Co and Toyota Motor Corp have seen their US market shares fall as they fell short of deliveries, falling almost 2% and 4% over the past year, with September sales down 8% and 18% respectively.

Toyota’s inventory took a 40% dip compared with early October 2010. Toyota, the number one car manufacturer in Asia, was held back by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, but is back to full output levels since September. Nissan suffered less serious supply shortages, having regained full operation since June. The company’s US sales rose 25% in September 2011 compared with the same month in 2010. Volkswagen reported a boost in sales of more than 35%.

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Japan: Nuclear Plant Use Drops To All-Time Low

Japan: Nuclear Plant Use Drops To All-Time Low

WORLD

  • Nuclear plant use plummets 46% in 12 months ending in September
  • Japan operating at 20% nuclear capacity, with 11 functioning reactors
  • Tokyo Electric Power Co to axe 7,500 jobs, cut costs by $32.5 billion

The nuclear plant use rate in Japan saw a year-on-year drop in September of over 46% following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that lead to the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant around 200 miles northeast of Tokyo.

Two additional reactors, Shikoku Electric Power’s Ikata unit and Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai unit, were closed down in September 2011 and none have been reinstated since the March events, contributing to the declining average run rate.

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Paris Revs Up For Electric-Car Share Program

Paris Revs Up For Electric-Car Share Program

WORLD

  • Autolib scheme kicks off pilot with 66 electric cars, to reach 3,000 by end 2012
  • Bolloré’s Bluecar can cover 250 kilometers before recharge required
  • Renaut forecasts electric cars to account for 10% of new car sales by 2020

Adding to its Velib bicycle-sharing initiative, Paris has rolled out an electric-car-sharing program to continue combating the city’s increasing traffic problems. The $320 million Autolib scheme is now in gear for a two-month trial period.

City dwellers are to take advantage of a compact vehicle, called the Bluecar, from Bolloré, a top-200 EU company in 2004 headquartered in Paris, for less than $11 per half hour for drivers with an Autolib membership, which costs just over $13 a month.

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IEA Urges Reduction in Fossil Fuel Subsidies

IEA Urges Reduction in Fossil Fuel Subsidies

WORLD

  • Fossil Fuel subsides could hit $660 billion in 2020
  • $409 billion spent in subsidies in 2010, $97 billion more than 2009
  • Only 8% of spending reached world’s poorest population last year

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has renewed calls for a reduction in subsidies for the production and consumption of fossil fuels, warning spending could reach $660 billion by 2020.

The IEA said in a statement that $409 billion was spent by governments in 2010 compared to $312 billion the previous year, and that reforms must be implemented to stop subsidies growing out of hand. Some $193 billion was spent on oil worldwide, with $91 billion going to natural gas. Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia racked up the highest totals of government spending on fossil fuels.

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US Retailers Look to Layaways to Lure Back Consumers

US Retailers Look to Layaways to Lure Back Consumers

BUSINESS

  • Sears, Walmart, Toys R Us among major US retailers expanding layaway programs
  • Retailers dropped option due to rising credit card purchases
  • Layaways brought back to boost sales after financial crisis

Retailers in the United States are ramping up layaway programs ahead of the holiday season in the hope of bringing cautious consumers back into their stores.

Over the past decade, shoppers have put more and more purchases on their credit cards, leading retailers to wind down or scrap installment-based payment offers. But in the wake of a global financial crisis, US consumers have reigned in their credit shopping to avoid racking up debt and interest payments.

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US Senate Presses China to Increase Yuan’s Value

US Senate Presses China to Increase Yuan’s Value

ECONOMY

  • US Senate passes bill punishing China for currency policies
  • Value of yuan has appreciated by 5% in past year
  • Critics cite slow growth of yuan as giving China an unfair advantage in global marketplace

The US Senate has voted to advance a bill (S.1619) that would impact China's currency policies, effectively forcing China to raise the value of the yuan, or renminbi (RMB).

If passed, the bill will allow the US to enforce tariffs within 90 days on imports from another country found to be subsidizing exports by devaluing its currency. Under these criteria, the bill would allow American businesses to seek duty on imports from China.

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TSA Finally Ready to Try Risk-Based Airport Screening

TSA  Finally Ready to Try Risk-Based Airport Screening

BUSINESS

  • US security finally moving towards risk-based searches
  • TSA introduces multi-million-dollar initiatives for enhanced machine to deter terrorists
  • TSA say new machines have no privacy issues because names are immediately deleted

Those not enthralled with the US’s one-size-fits-all airport security checks may take a small measure of rejoicing: The government is now moving slightly towards a more risk-based and intelligence driven model.

The move was only one of several multi-million dollar initiatives for better security announced recently by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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