Paris, Oct 11 (AP/UNB) — French carmaker Renault dismissed its chief executive officer on Friday, overhauling its leadership once again after the jailing of its previous chairman and CEO.
It came days after Nissan, with which Renault shares a deep alliance, named a new CEO, indicating the two companies were intent on cleaning house after a scandal over former chief Carlos Ghosn rattled their upper ranks.
The decision by the board to dismiss Thierry Bolloré was effective immediately.
Bolloré replaced Ghosn after the former CEO was jailed in Tokyo in last November on charges of falsifying financial reports in under-reporting compensation and breach of trust. Ghosn, who led the Nissan-Renault alliance, is currently awaiting trial and denies wrongdoing.
The company said Bolloré will be replaced on an interim basis by current Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos.
Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard will become president during the interim period.
Renault owns 43% of Nissan but their alliance came under strain after Ghosn's jailing. Renault had considered a merger offer from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that would have created the world's third-largest automaker, but the talks fell apart due to concern over Nissan's role.
Frankfurt, Oct 10 (AP/UNB) — Top European Central Bank officials were united over the need for more stimulus at their last meeting but some pushed back against the eventual decision to launch bond purchases that inject newly printed money into the economy.
The written account of the meeting released Thursday backed up recent evidence of an unusual amount of dissent over a key decision at the Sept. 12 meeting.
The account says that "all members" agreed on the need for some kind of additional stimulus for the 19-country eurozone economy. But "a number of members assessed the case for renewed asset purchases as not sufficiently strong," according to the account.
They were quoted as saying that bond purchases would either be ineffective or should be held back as a last resort.
The 25-member rate-setting council in the end decided by "clear majority" to start 20 billion euros ($22 billion) in purchases a month and to cut a key interest benchmark to minus 0.5% from minus 0.4%. The bank also said it would keep rates low indefinitely until inflation is clearly coming back in line with the bank's goal of just under 2%.
The export-focused eurozone economy is suffering a drop in growth due to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China, among other things. Yet with market interest rates already very low after years of central bank stimulus efforts, a debate has broken out about how much difference another blast of monetary support will make. Many bonds issued by eurozone governments, for instance, trade at negative interest yields.
Several ECB council members have publicly expressed disagreement with the extent of the stimulus package backed by President Mario Draghi. They included Klaas Knot from the Netherlands and Jens Weidmann of Germany, while German official Sabine Lautenschlaeger, a member of the top six-member executive committee that runs the bank day to day, voiced opposition to bond purchases ahead of the meeting and resigned afterward - more than two years before the end of her term - without publicly stating a reason.
"It is not the first time in ECB history that there have been dissenting voices in the Governing Council, but they have rarely been as loud and persistent as they are now," said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist for Germany at ING.
The stimulus measures have been widely criticized by economists and news media in Germany, where they are perceived as aiding financially weaker eurozone governments and as depriving savers of interest returns.
The dissenters are in the minority, up against Draghi, who has shown a willingness to deploy unconventional tools to support the eurozone economy, and against central bankers on the council from the southern European countries that have benefited from the stimulus efforts as they recover from the eurozone's crisis over high debt.
Open dissent can be problematic for the central bank since it can sow doubts in financial markets over whether it is determined to stay on its course. Draghi leaves office at the end of October but designated successor Christine Lagarde has indicated she supports his stimulus efforts.
Harare, Oct 10 (AP/UNB) — When going shopping, the only thing Isaiah Macheku can budget for is shock.
Hyperinflation is changing prices so quickly in Zimbabwe that what you see displayed on a supermarket shelf might change by the time you reach the checkout.
"It is a nightmare," Macheku said. "I can't plan."
Before a coup unseated the late president Robert Mugabe in late 2017, Macheku could afford all his family's basics on his salary, which equals about $24. Now the same amount can hardly buy 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of beef.
He ended up buying chicken skin for his family's supper. "I cannot afford the actual chicken," he said. It is the closest his family gets to eating meat.
Zimbabwe now has the world's second highest inflation after Venezuela, according to International Monetary Fund figures. The southern African nation went through this a decade ago but says there is no getting used to it, and coping has become both creative and desperate.
This time Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downward spiral for more than a year as hopes fade that Mugabe's successor and former deputy, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, will deliver on his promises of prosperity.
"Anyone who thinks a solution is in sight must be very brave," said economist John Robertson in the capital, Harare. "Government officials don't want to admit the real causes and don't want to fix the real problems. People should brace for worse." He said the real causes include the government spending beyond its means.
To shop, money alone is no longer enough. Calculators, mobile phones and notebooks have become necessary tools. In one sparsely attended groceries wholesaler, there were more people taking pictures of price stickers than those picking items from shelves.
"I sent the pictures to my husband. We have to decide fast before the prices go up again," said one shopper, Marianne Hove. "He is in another supermarket sending me pictures of the prices there. We compare and decide which items to buy and from where."
Others did quick calculations and called home to confirm items to buy.
In other shops, prices are only available at the checkout - and even then the cashier might stop a customer mid-payment to change prices.
Retailers said they would go out of business if they don't adjust prices frequently.
"It is becoming increasingly impossible to appropriately price goods. The replacement value has been our Achilles heel," said Denford Muntashu, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers.
The situation is "synonymous with hyperinflation" even though the government statistics office has stopped publishing annual inflation data, Muntashu said.
Some businesses are closing while others are limiting their product range to reduce risk, he said.
Prices in Zimbabwe are changing faster than at any point in a decade. In 2009, the country's currency collapsed under the weight of hyperinflation. The government then adopted a multi-currency system dominated by the dollar.
This year the government outlawed the use of foreign currencies, part of frequent and sometimes confusing changes to the country's complicated monetary framework.
The local currency has been rapidly devaluing, "fostering high inflation, which reached almost 300 percent in August," the IMF said after a review mission last month.
Weakening confidence, policy uncertainty and a continuation of foreign currency market distortions are exerting pressure on the exchange rate, the IMF added, while a severe drought and foreign debt hampering Zimbabwe's access to external funding have impacted the economy hard.
Most businesses import products from abroad due to the collapse of local industry. Foreign currency shortages and rapid devaluation of the local currency are hard on both businesses and customers.
Zimbabwe's president, Mnangagwa, continues to appeal for more time.
"Getting the economy working again from being dead will require time, patience, unity of purpose and perseverance," he said in a state of the nation address on Oct. 1.
Like Mugabe, the president largely blames U.S. sanctions for the crisis, while the U.S. points out that the sanctions don't target the government but selected officials, including Mnangagwa himself, over past alleged human rights abuses.
The patience of many Zimbabweans is wearing thin, considering the lengths they are going to cope.
"We cannot continue to live like this. Why did they remove Mugabe if they had no solutions?" said Harare resident Praise Sibanda.
"We are tired of 001," she said, using the local slang for the growing trend of families resorting to a single meal a day.
Some innovative vendors have begun repackaging items such as cooking oil into sachets small enough to prepare a single meal.
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, people are increasingly using such sachets known as "tsaona," a word in the local Shona language that means "accident."
Paris, Oct 10 (AP/UNB) — Heads of states, CEOs and global health leaders gathered Thursday in France to try to raise at least $14 billion to finance the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria over the next three years.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was hosting the conference in the city of Lyon, wants the event to raise more than the $12.2 billion brought in at the last conference in 2016.
A dozen heads of state and government, mostly from African countries, were attending the two-day conference of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
Macron urged leaders to accelerate the donations in his opening speech.
"If we meet our commitments in the next three years, 16 million lives can be saved", he said. "We must reach $14 million in the next three hours."
He said France raised its pledge by 15% to 1.24 billion euros ($1.37 billion).
The U.S. Congress has approved a commitment to give a total of $4.68 billion over three years. The U.S. and France are the biggest donors.
The donations from governments, philanthropic donors and the private sector will be used to finance health programs in more than 100 countries. Major recipients of the fund are Nigeria, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
The Global Fund said the money would help avert 234 million infections and try to get back on track to end HIV, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics by 2030.
The organization said the programs it has supported since its creation in 2002 have saved 32 million lives.
Dhaka, Oct (UNB)- Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) Pabna Branch organised a conference of Center Leaders and Deputy Center Leaders on Rural Development Scheme of the Bank recently.
Md Shahabuddin, Vice Chairman of the Bank addressed the programme as the chief guest presided over by Md Kawsar-ul-Alam, Head of Rajshahi Zone.
The programme was also addressed by Md Khalilur Rahman, Head of Pabna Branch, Shibjit Nag, President of Pabna Press Club and Dr Jannatul Ferdaus.