China is considering changes to its one-child policy, a former family planning official said, with government advisory bodies drafting proposals in the face of a rapidly ageing society in the worlds most populous nation. Proposed changes would allow for urban couples to have a second child, even if one of the parents is themselves not an only child, the China Daily cited Zhang Weiqing, the former head of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying on Wednesday. Under current rules, urban couples are permitted a second child if both parents do not have siblings. Looser restrictions on rural couples means many have more than one child. Population scholars have cited mounting demographic challenges in their calls for reform of the strict policy, introduced in 1979 to limit births in China, which now has 1.34 billion people.
Research In Motion loses patent dispute with Nokia
Research In Motion has lost a contract dispute over the use of Nokia patents in a case which could halt sales of its BlackBerry phones if it does not reach a deal to pay royalties to the Finnish company. Nokia said on Wednesday a Swedish arbitrator had ruled that RIM was in breach of contract and is not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia. Wireless local access network (WLAN) technologies, usually marketed under the WiFi brand, are used across BlackBerry devices and by most other smartphones. Nokia, which is trying to boost its royalty income as its phone business slides, said it had filed cases in the United States, Britain and Canada to enforce the arbitrators ruling.
Spains bailout banks to cut assets by 60%
European Union regulators are to give the go-ahead for (euro) 37 billion ($47.96 billion) bailout for four of Spains struggling banks provided each of them cut their loans and investments by 60%. The plan approved Wednesday by the EU Commission will see Bankia getting (euro) 18 billion, Catalunya Caixa in line for (euro) 9 billion, Novagalicia receiving (euro) 5.5 billion and (euro) 4.5 billion for Valencia Bank. The (euro) 37 billion bailout is part of a (euro) 100 billion loan approved by the other 16 EU countries that use the euro to shore up banks hit by the 2008 property market collapse. Commission Vice President Joaquin Almunia said the aim was to restore the banks viability. The commission also said that Catalunya Caixa and Novagalicia would need to be sold by 2017 or liquidated.
Greece hires Deutsche, Morgan Stanley
Greece has hired Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley to conduct a voluntary buy back of its debt, a senior finance ministry official told Reuters on Wednesday. Eurogroup finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund agreed earlier this week to conduct the buy back by mid-December, as part of measures to make Greeces debt sustainable. Private sector analysts have since raised questions over whether it would attract enough interest from bondholders to deliver the promised savings and how it would be funded. We hope that early next week, if possible on Monday, the Public Debt Management Agency will publish the invitation for the buy back, the official said on condition of anonymity.
MegaFon raises $1.7 bn in Moscow, London IPO
MegaFon, Russias second-largest mobile phone operator, raised $1.7 billion in its IPO in Moscow and London on Wednesday in the biggest floatation by a Russian company in three years. MegaFon, the last of Russias big three mobile companies to hold an IPO, said on Wednesday that it had sold 15% of its stock at $20 a share at the bottom end of its target range. The flotation values the company below analyst expectations at $11.1 billion. MegaFon stock will be traded in the form of shares in Moscow and global depositary receipts in London.