Among those who will benefit from the package will be
construction, engineering and shipping industries.
However, tax relief is also being offered for tackle box
makers, producers of bows and arrows and fan importers, which has led
critics of the bill to claim that it does little to benefit ordinary
Legislators hope the House of Representatives and Senate will
both pass the bill when the two chambers adjourn ahead of next month
"There are a lot of things in this bill that are very popular
with senators of both parties," said Republican Senator Mitch McConnell.
The bill's provisions include a controversial one year tax
relief enabling US multinational firms to repatriate earnings at 5.25%
instead of the normal 35% rate.
Critics of the measure, which include Treasury Secretary John
Snow, have argued that it will encourage firms to move jobs overseas.
IMF FAILING TO
AGREE ON DEBT PLAN
The world's leading finance officials and ministers appear to
have failed to reach agreement on debt relief for the poorest nations.
Wrapping up a weekend of International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and World Bank talks in
no agreement seems to have been secured.
UK Chancellor Gordon
Brown has put forward a specific 100% debt relief programme, others are
So far the IMF members have not been able to agree on a
All the IMF's policymaking arm — International Monetary and
Financial Committee — could agree to on Saturday was to reaffirm its
pledge to ease the debt burden of the world's most impoverished nations.
In a statement it said it "looks forward to further
consideration of outstanding issues in the proposed framework for debt
sustainability, before it is made fully operational, and of further debt
relief, including its financing."
The failure to reach agreement appears to have come despite
the best possible efforts of Mr Brown.
Earlier he had reiterated the
UK government's pledge to
write off its share of debt owed to the World Bank and the African
Development Bank by poor countries and called on other nations to do the
"Many countries are still being forced to choose between
servicing their debts and making investments in health, education and
infrastructure," said Mr Brown.
"There's a growing consensus that multilateral debt relief
has to be dealt with as soon as possible." The IMF left the issue for
REACHES FRENCH PLANT
A controversial shipment of
plutonium has reached a processing plant in southern France.
Several dozen anti-nuclear protesters met the convoy on
arrival at the plant in Cadarache. They said the plutonium was vulnerable
to terrorist attack.
The 125kg consignment was heavily guarded on its journey
The state-owned firm which will reprocess it — Areva —
insists it is safe and will be converted into fuel to generate electricity
The treatment is part of a post-Cold War agreement between
the United States
and Russia to get rid of plutonium from excess nuclear warheads.
BILLS TO RISE IN US
US households are facing
higher fuel bills this winter as a result of the surge in oil prices to
Heating costs are set to rise sharply between October and
March although the impact will not be felt until after November's
Residential oil bills could jump about 28% while natural gas
costs will rise 15%, the US Energy Department said.
With lower temperatures than normal forecast across parts of
America this winter, fuel demand is set to rise.
The rise in US crude oil prices, which are 55% higher than at
the start of the year, will filter through to household fuel bills, the
The average household in the north-east of the country will
pay about $1,220(£687) in oil bills over the winter, three times as much
as in 2001.
Natural gas customers in the
Midwest will pay an
estimated $1,000(£563) over the winter months, up from $870 last year.
CHINA WARNS OF MORE POWER CUTS
China has warned that
several of its key regions face more power shortages this winter and
China suffered shortages
in the summer, as temperatures soared and air conditioning units used up
While cooler weather has temporarily helped, the need for
heating and maintenance will soon mean facilities cannot meet demand,
China's current power
generation capacity is struggling to keep up with the country's rapid
Cheng Guangjie, vice president of the East China Power Grid,
said the eastern provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui and Fujian, and the
city of Shanghai, are all likely to be hit by power shortages in the
DENMARK HOPES TO CLAIM NORTH POLE
Denmark hopes to claim
the North Pole and search for oil in high Arctic regions, the Science
Ministry has said.
It announced that the country would send a team to try to
prove that the seabed beneath the North Pole was a natural continuation of
The world's largest island is a semi-independent Danish
territory whose northern tip is around 725km (450 miles) from the Pole.
Possible claimants to the area with the Pole also include
Russia and Canada.
Danish scientists hope to prove through hi-tech measurements
continental socket is attached to a huge ridge beneath the floating Arctic
ice, the Associated Press reports.
The country has allocated 150 million kroner ($25m) for the
project on the Lomonosov Ridge and four other potential claim areas around
ECOLOGIST WINS NOBEL PRIZE
Kenyan environmentalist and human rights campaigner Wangari
Maathai has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
She is the first African woman to be awarded the peace prize
since it was created in 1901.
A surprised Mrs Maathai broke the news to reporters minutes
before the official announcement.
US President George W.
Bush has said he was right to invade Iraq, despite confirmation that
Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
America is safer today
with Saddam Hussein in prison," he told reporters in Washington.
And Mr Bush insisted that the former Iraqi leader retained
the "intent" to produce WMD.
A report by the Iraq Survey Group has fuelled the debate
about justification for last year's invasion.
HITS FRENCH PRESS
The French newspaper industry is facing cuts and job losses
as circulation figures plummet and major publications report financial
Leading titles including
Le Monde, France-Soir and
Le Parisien have recently disclosed losses running into millions of euros.
Le Monde has announced plans to lay off up to 100 staff.
Meanwhile, journalists at
conservative daily Le Figaro have voted on a resolution warning the
paper's new owner against interfering in news coverage.
UK INTEREST RATES REMAIN AT 4.75%
UK interest rates have
been kept on hold at 4.75% following the latest meeting of the Bank of
England's rate-setting committee.
The move was widely expected after recent figures showed a
fall in factory output and a cooling housing market.
The Bank has raised rates five times since November 2003,
most recently in August, in a bid to rein in the
UK property market and
MAY SELL TROUBLED KBR
Halliburton said it will restructure and may even sell its
Kellogg, Brown and Root subsidiary, the business at the root of recent
KBR, an engineering and construction business, has come under
scrutiny over contracts in
Iraq and employee
corruption in Nigeria.
Halliburton will decide on the future of KBR once it has
settled the unit's $4.2bn (£3.2bn) asbestos claims bill. It will favour a
sale if the overhaul fails to boost the share price.
SOOTHES US MOVE CRITICS
Australia's News Corp has
adopted corporate reforms aimed at soothing critics of its planned move to
The media giant, owner of Fox TV in the
US, and the Times and Sun
newspapers in the
promised not to issue new shares with extra voting rights.
AIRBUS DISPUTE TO WTO
US government is to take the European Union to the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) in an effort to stop member states "subsidising"
Robert Zoellick, the
US trade representative,
said Airbus was now bigger than its US rival Boeing and continued public
funding was unfair.
"This is about fair competition and a level playing field,"
Mr Zoellick said.
The EU said its relationship with Airbus was legal and it
planned counter action over
US support for Boeing.
CHINA OPENS UP TO ELECTRONIC ARTS
Electronic Arts, the world's biggest computer games firm, is
setting up a development studio in
The firm said it hopes to have 500 staff at the Chinese arm,
which should help it capitalise on the massive demand in
Asia for online gaming.
EA, best known for sports and strategy titles, is settling
the plan's details with the Chinese authorities.
Encouraging more online gaming would give firms like EA a way
around the software piracy prevalent in
HITTING IVORY COAST
The start of the new cocoa harvesting season in
Ivory Coast has been
delayed due to a dispute over how many levies farmers must pay to industry
Ivory Coast is the
world's biggest cocoa producer and with growers protesting on the streets,
President Laurent Gbagbo has promised to act.
According to the BBC's James Copnall in
Abidjan, the growers do
not trust the three main trade bodies and vice versa. President Gbagbo
proposes the creation of a central government body for cocoa.
EUROZONE RATES ON HOLD
The European Central Bank has kept eurozone interest rates
unchanged at 2% for the sixteenth consecutive month last week.
The decision, widely expected by economists, had little
impact on the financial markets.
It came amid signs of a slowdown in the tentative economic
recovery in the 12-nation eurozone.
Economists believe the ECB is likely to wait until the
economic impact of soaring oil prices is clearer before adjusting interest
AT&T TO CUT A
FURTHER 7,000 JOBS
American telecoms giant AT and T has announced that it plans
to cut its workforce by 20% this year, or by just over 12,000 jobs.
This means that nearly 7,000 more jobs are being lost than
was first indicated by the company earlier this year.
SHOW RENEWED VIGOUR
UK house prices rose by
1.4% in September from August, says Halifax, the UK's biggest mortgage
This reversed the previous month's small fall and casts doubt
on whether the housing market is cooling.
The bank said the surge in prices was not out of the ordinary
for the time of year and that the market had lost some momentum.
UNEMPLOYMENT RISES AGAIN
Unemployment rose sharply in
Germany in September, a
sign that the economy remains weak, official data has shown.
The number of workers without jobs, adjusted for seasonal
factors, rose by 27,000 on the month to 4.4 million, the Federal Labour
The increase was double that expected by economists, and
marked the eight consecutive monthly rise in the adjusted jobless total.
CHINA HOLDS FIRM OVER YUAN REFORM
China has dashed hopes of
a rapid revision upwards in the value of its currency, the yuan.
At present, the government in
Beijing fixes the yuan
against the US dollar.
US, among other states, says the rate at which it is fixed is too low,
giving Chinese companies unfair trading advantages.
Chinese officials rebuffed suggestions of an early shift to letting the
financial markets set the rate.