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Shutdown 'risks petrol shortages'

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Shutdown 'risks petrol shortages' Bosses at Scotland's only crude oil refinery have started a shutdown after claiming an impending strike will compromise safety.

Ineos said the Grangemouth refinery could shut for "at least a month", and warned of major fuel shortages.

About 1,200 members of the Unite union are to strike on 27 and 28 April in a dispute over pensions.

Scottish ministers urged both sides to try to resolve the dispute, instead of "trading commentary" in the...

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Coconut Agency 2012 Budget Increased Eight-Fold

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Coconut Agency 2012 Budget Increased Eight-FoldMANILA -- As the world's top coconut exporter and to ensure that supply meets a fast-growing demand for coconut water as a healthy and alternative sports drink globally, the Philippine government has increased the Philippine Coconut Authority's (PCA) budget for coconut replanting in the country.

According to Carlo Carpio, PCA's deputy administrator, PCA was given a budget of P512 million for replanting next year, up by P452 million from this year's budget of P60 million.  In addition, about P354 million was earmarked for the fertilization of coconut plantations, which covers 3.4 million hectares of the country's total agricultural lands.  Big plantations in Quezon and Camarines Sur provinces are now old and need replacement.

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Further Growth In The Rubber Sector Seen

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MALAYSIA -- The Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC) sees further growth in the rubber sector in the Philippines says the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia.

According to the embassy, this was disclosed by Dato' Dr. Kamarul Baharain Basir, ANRPC's secretary general, during a courtesy call on Philippine Ambassador-designate Jose Eduardo Malaya on October 7.

Further Growth In The Rubber Sector SeenANRPC cited Zamboanga and Basilan as conducive to rubber plantation because of their natural conditions.

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APEC economies expect trade finance to improve, survey says

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SINGAPORE (July 18) --  A survey among the APEC economies has shown that 10 out of 18 surveyed APEC economies expect that the trade financing situation should ease over the next six months.  Nevertheless, the situation still bears watching given continued uncertainty in credit conditions.

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Coconut Industry In Trouble Says Philcoa Official

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Coconut Industry In Trouble Says Philcoa OfficialMANILA -- Millions of Philippine coconut farmers face a growing crisis in their livelihoods, an official said, as their trees become too old to produce the fruit that is a mainstay of the country’s exports.

More than 44 million coconut trees - 14 percent of the national total - are past their most fertile age, and without a sufficient replanting programme the industry could be in trouble, warned Euclides Forbes, administrator of the official Philippine Coconut Authority.

He said the government does not have enough money to support the industry, on which 25 percent of the population depends, and private planters are not doing enough, according to reports in Manila.

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$4 Billion In Remittances From Sailors Likely

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MANILA -- Since 2009 remittances from Filipino sailors continue to grow.  For the past seven months in 2011, remittances have already reached $2,433 billion, up 14.13 percent or $301 million versus the $2.132 billion they have sent home through banks over the same period in 2010, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP). The labor group expects to surpass $4 billion this year.

In 2010, Filipino sailors sent home a total of $3.806 billion in the 12 months of 2010, up $406 million or 12 percent from the $3.4 billion they remitted via the banking system in 2009.

“The Philippines has secured its position as the world’s preferred supplier of able ship staff,” said TUCP secretary-general and former Senator Ernesto Herrera, whose labor center includes the Philippine Seafarers’ Union (PSU). 

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Japan contributes USD 1.3 million to APEC climate change initiatives

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SINGAPORE (July 17) -- With energy security and climate change emerging as two very real challenges to economic growth, Japan has contributed JPY 120,000,000 (approximately USD 1.3 million) to promote energy efficiency activities throughout the APEC region.

According to the Japanese Senior APEC Official, Makoto Shiotoa, “This sum is specifically directed toward the development and implementation of energy efficiency policies, goals and action plans in APEC economies.”

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Ibon says CCTs Are Expensive, Short-Sighted and Artificial

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MANILA — The Aquino administration is currently seeking an 86%-budget increase for its multi-billion peso conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. But while the program admittedly has a feel-good factor, it is a problematic approach to reducing poverty in the country.

The administration itself sets a high standard for the CCT program. Its economic blueprint, the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016, declares: “Direct CCTs to the poor through the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program shall be the cornerstone of the government’s strategy to fight poverty and attain the MDGs.” Unfortunately this is a poor cornerstone and the program is a weak foundation in the drive against poverty in the country. Five major concerns can be raised.

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BSP: Time To Increase Demand For US Dollar

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MANILA—The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) may further liberalize its foreign exchange rules by allowing companies to buy dollars from the banks to pay off its foreign debts even if these have not registered its loans with the central bank.

BSP Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. said that the move is aimed at increasing the demand for the US dollar and temper the rise of the local currency.

The new ruling may be approved during the next Monetary Board meeting on September 8.

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