3G, 4G facility to be extended

to GB, AJK soon

ISLAMABAD (INP): Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir has said that 3G and 4G internet facility will soon be extended to Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Chairing a high level meeting in Islamabad, he said owing to the absence of modern internet facility in AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan, people of the two regions cannot develop their skills in different sectors, especially in education and health. Barjees Tahir directed the concerned authorities to complete legal requirements to extend the facility as soon as possible. He also called for evolving a mechanism for conduct of fair auction of the 3G and 4G in these areas.

India backs down in row over tax on foreign funds

NEW DELHI (AFP): India’s finance ministry moved Thursday to resolve a simmering tax row that had seen foreign investment funds faced with having to pay billions of dollars in levies on past profits. The MAT was introduced in 1998 targeting institutional investors that do not pay corporate income tax, but was not traditionally considered applicable to foreign firms with no base in India. However last year overseas fund managers took fright after several firms including Aberdeen Asset Management were hit with back-dated demands for MAT — leading some to threaten to pull out of India. The govt said it would amend tax laws so that companies which do not have a permanent presence in India will not be made to pay.

The move had been widely expected after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in early September reassured foreign investors that the backdated tax would not apply.

The law will be amended with effect from April 1, 2001.

India’s business-friendly government has said it will not engage in “tax terrorism” as it tries to persuade foreign companies to plough much-needed investment into the country.

However an unpredictable tax regime is widely cited by foreign companies as a deterrent to investing in India, which stands at 142 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings, out of 189 countries.

Ryanair says to pay out 398m euros to investors

LONDON (AFP): Ireland’s low-cost carrier Ryanair said Thursday it will pay out 398 million euros ($445 million) to shareholders from the sale of its Aer Lingus stake. The Dublin-based group will distribute the proceeds from the sale of its near 30 percent Aer Lingus holding via a share buyback, Ryanair said in a statement issued at its annual meeting. The company had agreed on July 10 to sell its stake to British Airways owner International Airlines Group, clearing the way for a takeover. Earlier this month, Ryanair hiked its annual net profit forecast by a quarter on keen demand for summer holidays at higher prices. The group predicted earnings after taxation will climb to about 1.2 billion euros in the current financial year to March 2016.

That compared with the previous guidance of 970 million euros.

The share buyback will meanwhile bring the total funds returned by Ryanair to shareholders so far this year to 800 million euros.

World oil prices edge up

after losses

HONG KONG (AFP): Oil prices edged up Thursday after taking a hit in the previous session in response to a mixed US stockpiles report, but analysts warned that headwinds remained in place for the under-pressure commodity. Concerns about a slowdown in the global economy, particularly key energy consumer China, combined with an oversupply have seen crude prices tumble more than 60pc from last year’s peaks above $100 a barrel. Prices took another hit Wednesday when the US Department of Energy said output at home rose 19,000 barrels per day to 9.136m, snapping a six-week run of lower production. The news came hours after it was announced that a gauge of factory activity in China had 6½ year low in Sept.

— overshadowing figures showing US commercial crude inventories sank 1.9 million barrels in the week ending September 18.

Both main contracts edged up in electronic trade Thursday. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate was 0.90 percent higher at $44.88 a barrel, while Brent crude added 0.67 percent to $48.07.

However, David Lennox, an analyst at Fat Prophets in Sydney, told Bloomberg News: “All the factors that sent oil lower are still there.

“Oil seems to be holding in a range but the market really needs to see sustainable cuts to production.”

Brazil hit by anti-austerity protests

 SAO PAULO (AFP): Hundreds of demonstrators besieged government offices in Brazil Wednesday to protest plans for deep budget cuts as part of an austerity plan. President Dilma Rousseff, faced with a deepening recession and rising inflation, has put forth an austerity plan that involves $17 billion in cuts to bring the federal budget out of the red. Opposed to that plan, several hundred protesters blocked the entrance to the Finance Ministry’s Sao Paulo headquarters while hundreds more massed outside the ministry’s offices in Brasilia and Rio. “We will not accept cuts to housing,” Guilherme Boulos, the leader of a movement of homeless workers, told the G1 news website at the Sao Paulo protest.

In Brasilia, police dispersed protesters from an action by landless farmers, who tried to storm the Ministry of Agriculture, scrawling graffiti on walls that read “Agribusiness kills.”

“This government which was considered progressive in the beginning has lost its leftist principles,” said Roni Morais, a psychology professor from the federal university of Mato Grosso do Sul, outside the Brasilia offices of Finance Minister Joaquim Levy.

Rousseff’s plan has also encountered stiff opposition in Congress and among supporters of her leftist Workers Party.