Raleigh, Oct 29 (AP/UNB) — IBM announced Sunday it will acquire North Carolina-based open-source software company Red Hat in a $34 billion stock deal that the technology and consulting giant's chief executive says will advance the company to the next step in cloud computing.
IBM and Raleigh-based Red Hat said in a joint statement that IBM would buy all Red Hat common shares at $190 apiece — 63 percent above Red Hat's closing price Friday. The two companies said the deal, approved by their respective boards, is subject to Red Hat shareholder and regulatory approval and should be completed in the latter half of 2019.
Ginni Rometty, IBM's chairman, president and CEO, says the acquisition would make IBM the world's No. 1 hybrid cloud provider — that's when companies use a mix of on-site, private and third-party public cloud services.
"The acquisition of Red Hat is a game-changer. It changes everything about the cloud market," Rometty said in the news release.
The two companies said IBM intends to keep Red Hat's headquarters in Raleigh, where it has more than 2,000 employees in a downtown office building, as well as maintain Red Hat's "facilities, brands and practices."
Red Hat started in 1993, with its headquarters previously on the North Carolina State University campus. Today it has 12,600 workers worldwide in more than 35 countries. The two companies called the acquisition a logical step after they've worked together for 20 years, saying IBM served as an early supporter of Linux, a key component of Red Hat's software distribution system.
"Today's announcement is the evolution of our long-standing partnership," Rometty said.
In an email to Red Hat employees, Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst said the company will be a "distinct unit within IBM" and that he'll report directly to Rometty.
"Our unwavering commitment to open source innovation remains unchanged," Whitehurst said in the email text released by the company.
Pyongyang, Oct 29 (AP/UNB) — North Korea is exploring a grand plan to become a regional transportation hub, inspired in part by the successes of Singapore and Switzerland, and would be open to joining world financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund if current member states give up their "hostile" policies toward it, a senior government economist has told The Associated Press.
Ri Ki Song, a senior researcher with the Economic Institute of the North's Academy of Social Sciences, said that although sanctions aimed at getting his country to abandon its nuclear and missile programs have increased over the past year, the country's economy has maintained steady growth — with its GDP increasing from $24.998 billion in 2013 to $29.595 billion in 2016 and $30.704 billion in 2017.
Some outside experts dispute the North's statistics. An estimate released in July by South Korea's central bank, for example, had the North's GDP decreasing 3.5 percent in 2017, which would be its biggest contraction since the famine years of the late 1990s.
Ri, who spoke with The Associated Press in Pyongyang last week, said the growth reflected how sanctions have resulted in some parts of the economy becoming more efficient and self-reliant.
The North has developed a kind of fertilizer that uses domestically produced coal instead of imported oil products, and made improvements in the method of producing steel, he said. He did not mention the flowering of capitalist-style markets, which are still officially somewhat frowned upon but which many observers suspect is a major factor if the economy is indeed growing.
Ri expressed optimism about the current climate of detente on the Korean Peninsula and leader Kim Jong Un's summits this year with Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump.
"We are seeing a lot of changes in the atmosphere surrounding our country," he said.
He said that if sanctions were lifted and the political climate was to improve enough, the North could emulate countries like Switzerland and Singapore, "which have few resources and little territory but have used their geographical location to their greatest advantage."
"We are situated in the center of East Asia, so our Korean Peninsula has a very advantageous geographical location," he said. "In the future we will try to make cooperation with our neighboring countries to develop the transport industry. If we use our railways from the South through Siberia, many countries would prefer our rails to shipping by the seas."
That idea has been kicking around for years, if not decades. The North already has railroad links with Russia, China and South Korea, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in has publicly supported a plan to re-start cross-border rail operations as soon as possible. Even so, previous attempts to set the transportation hub scheme in motion have repeatedly fallen apart due to political friction or shortfalls in either investment or sustained interest.
Before any of this could make much progress, Washington would have to ease up its "maximum pressure" of heavily sanctioning the North and punishing those who trade with it. While praising Kim's diplomatic initiatives, Trump has insisted that sanctions must stay in place until the North makes clear and concrete moves to denuclearize.
Joining international financial institutions would open the door to badly needed development funds and economic expertise. South Korea's President Moon indicated recently that Kim has expressed an interest in joining the IMF or World Bank. But doing so would likely require structural reforms and a level of transparency that the North may not want to provide.
When asked whether Pyongyang is ready to meet such requirements, Ri said only that the North currently makes its GDP statistics available and declined to comment further. He suggested instead that the ball is in the international institutions' court.
"Due to the sanctions and the moves of the hostile countries like the United States and Japan, our attempt to join the international organizations has not been realized so far," he added, noting that the North tried unsuccessfully to join the Asian Development Bank in the 1990s. "If we can't even join the regional organization it will be much harder to join the international organization."
Tokyo, Oct 28 (AP/UNB)— The leaders of Japan and India are reaffirming their ties amid growing worries about trade and regional stability.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived Saturday, is meeting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a resort area near Mount Fuji on Sunday. Modi is also visiting a nearby plant of major Japanese robot maker Fanuc.
Relations with China are a major issue shared by Modi and Abe, as their cooperation may balance China's growing regional influence and military assertiveness.
Modi has been urging countries in the region to unite against protectionism and cross-border tensions.
India and Japan are also set to hold the first joint military exercises involving ground forces next month.
Abe just returned from China, where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Dhaka, Oct 27 (UNB) - Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited organized a workshop on 'Trade Based Money Laundering & Compliance Issues' on Saturday at Islami Bank Tower in the city.
Presided over by Md Mahbub ul Alam, Managing Director and CEO of the Bank, the workshop was inaugurated by Md Masud Biswas, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank and also the Head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU).
Abu Reza Md Yeahia, Deputy Managing Director & Chief Anti Money Laundering Compliance Officer (CAMLCO) of the Bank and Hasne Alam, Deputy Managing Director & Head of International Banking Wing addressed the program as special guests.
Dr Mahmood Ahmed, Executive Vice President and also the Director General of Islami Bank Training & Research Academy addressed welcome speech. Mohammad Shafiqul Imdad, Joint Director of Bangladesh Bank conducted session as Resource Person on Trade Based Money Laundering Reporting.
Md. Rafiqul Islam, Senior Vice President and Deputy CAMLCO, A.G.M. Quamrul Islam, Senior Vice President, Md. Habibur Rahman, Vice President and Mohammad Shahadat Hossain, Senior Assistant Vice President were present on the occasion.
In-charges of Foreign Exchange Department of 60 Authorized Dealer (AD) Branches of the bank were present in the daylong workshop.
Detroit, Oct 27 (AP/UNB) — General Motors says it will ask the federal government for one national gas mileage standard, including a requirement that a percentage of auto companies' sales be zero-emissions vehicles.
Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president of product development, said the company will propose that a certain percentage of nationwide sales be made up of vehicles that run on electricity or hydrogen fuel cells.
"A national zero emissions program will drive the scale and infrastructure investments needed to allow the U.S. to lead the way to a zero emissions future," Reuss said.
GM, the nation's largest automaker, spelled out the request Friday in written comments on a Trump administration proposal to roll back Obama-era fuel economy and emissions standards, freezing them at 2020 levels instead of gradually making them tougher.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose state was one of many opponents to the mileage rollbacks filing objections to the Trump plan, stood in front of Interstate 5 in Sacramento on Friday to urge the cause of cleaner cars and condemn the administration's proposal.
"Foolishly, it mandates gas guzzlers instead of clean and zero-emission vehicles," Brown told reporters as trucks and passenger traffic roared past. "Wrong way to go, Donald. Get with it. Bad."
Under a regulation finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency at the end of the Obama administration, the fleet of new automobiles would have to get 36 miles per gallon (15 kilometers per liter) by 2025, 10 miles per gallon (4 kilometers per liter) higher than the current requirement.
But the Trump administration's preferred plan is to freeze the standards starting in 2021. Administration officials say waiving the tougher fuel efficiency requirements would make vehicles more affordable, which would get safer cars into consumer hands more quickly.
GM on Thursday said it doesn't support the freeze, but wants flexibility to deal with consumers' shift from cars to less-efficient SUVs and trucks.
Its proposed requirement would be based on current standards now required in California and nine other states. Under those rules, GM must sell a minimum of around 2,200 fully electric vehicles in California this year, or about 1.1 percent of the roughly 200,000 cars, trucks and SUVs that it normally sells in the state each year.
California sets the requirements based on a complex formula that considers the total number of vehicles sold by an automaker and gives credits for fully electric vehicle sales and partial credits for plug-in gas-electric hybrid vehicles. Credits can be banked or sold to other automakers that need them.
GM's proposal would set lower zero-emissions vehicle requirements than California, but spread them to the entire nation. The requirements would gradually increase until 2025.
Reuss said GM's proposal is a starting point for discussions on one set of national fuel efficiency and zero-emissions vehicle standards.
"We want really one national set of standards," he said. "Engineering to multiple standards is very costly and frankly, unnecessary."
Federal and California gas mileage standards have been the same since 2010. But if President Donald Trump's administration ends up relaxing the requirements, it could create two standards, one for California and states that follow it, and another for the rest of the nation.
California, whose unique authority to set its own vehicle emissions standards would be rolled back under the administration's proposal, submitted more than 400 pages of analysis rejecting the plan and the research behind it.
California argues freezing emissions standards for six model years would exacerbate climate change, depress research in cleaner technologies and lead to higher spending on gasoline. It also says the plan endangers the U.S. auto industry by allowing other countries to take the lead in developing affordable electric vehicles and batteries.
"I think a lot of the car companies know they've got to build clean, electric or hydrogen cars," Brown said at Friday's interstate news conference. "If they don't, they'll be working for Chinese companies."
Separately, 21 attorneys general and five cities signed a letter saying the administration's proposal is illegal.
Trump could challenge California's power to set its own standards, granted under the Clean Air Act, and that could set up a lengthy legal battle since California has pledged to defend its quest to reduce pollution.
The EPA's acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler, has said he wants a single mileage standard nationally. Wheeler "has pledged to work in earnest with states and stakeholders to find a solution as we take comments on the new proposal," agency spokesman James Hewitt said Friday.
Environmental groups still are likely to oppose any changes in the standards. Daniel Becker of the Safe Climate Campaign, an environmental advocacy group, said automakers like GM want the federal government to set standards rather than California because it's easier to lobby for loopholes in Washington.
"The auto companies want to be able to make a small number of electric vehicles and a large number of gas-guzzling SUVs and other trucks instead of complying with the existing mileage and emissions rules," Becker said.
The deadline for written comments on the Trump administration plan were due Friday, with a final decision expected in March.
GM, which offers the all-electric Chevrolet Bolt with 238 miles of range, and the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, has invested millions to develop battery technology so additional electric vehicle sales nationwide would help its bottom line. The company has promised to introduce 20 new all-electric vehicles globally by 2023.