The rare news conference came after Mr Bush held his
first cabinet meeting for three months, and probably the last such
meeting until his new term starts in January.
There has been much speculation about Mr Bush's
forthcoming reshuffle, but the president said he had not yet made any
"There will be some changes. I don't know what
they will be," he said.
He acknowledged disagreements over the invasion of
Iraq and said he would reach out to other countries and organisations
such as the European Union and Nato.
"Every civilised country also has a stake in the
outcome of this war," he said.
"Whatever our past disagreements, we share a
And we have common duties to protect our
In an allusion to US allies, such as France and
Germany, who opposed the invasion of Iraq, Mr Bush said he had made some
"hard decisions" to protect Americans.
"I understand that certain capitals in certain
countries, those decisions were not popular," he said. But he did
not signal any changes in foreign policy.
EU 'FAILING' ON ECONOMIC PROMISES
European Union leaders are failing to deliver on
economic reform promises made at the beginning of the decade, according
to a high level report.
The EU's aim to become the world's most competitive
economy by 2010 amounts to a series of "missed objectives",
former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok has said.
National leaders meeting in Lisbon in 2000 set the EU
the goal of outpacing the US economy within 10 years.
The EU appointed Mr Kok to examine how the Lisbon
objectives were progressing.
His document, which will be presented to EU leaders
at a two-day summit in Brussels, says the EU needs to focus more closely
on growth and employment.
It also recommends, among other things, that an
annual list should be published showing which countries are failing to
do enough to rejuvenate their economies.
"We have to focus very much on growth and
employment and make that the top priority of the EU in the years to
come," Mr Kok told.
The EU economy had "lost ground" to the US
and Asia in recent years, he said.
"There are differences from country to country,
but on the whole, even if every target could be met by 2010, it would be
highly improbable to expect that we would be the strongest economy in
the world," he said.
Mr Kok praised Nordic governments for the way they
were running their economies, but he said other EU member states
"had not delivered enough".
US CAR SALES BOOST FOR JAPANESE
Japanese carmakers — including Toyota, Nissan and
Honda — increased their market share in the US last month, latest
sales figures have shown.
Sales at Chrysler, the US arm of DaimlerChrylser,
also rose, but General Motors (GM) and Ford both lost ground.
GM has now said it will reduce its fourth-quarter US
production targets, by 10,000 to 1.27 million vehicles.
"Toyota and Nissan, they continue to hum,"
said Jim Sourges of consultants Capgemini.
There was more good news for the Japanese car
industry as Suzuki Motor Corporation, the largest minicar maker in
Japan, reported a 14.5% rise in first-half net profits to 28.7bn yen.
Suzuki's figures were helped by strong sales in
overseas markets such as India and Indonesia.
GERMANY UNVEILS DEBT CUT MEASURES
The German government has unveiled a series of
measures aimed at bringing the country's public deficit back below the
eurozone's 3% of GDP limit in 2005.
Berlin's planned actions, which include freezing
civil servants' pay, come despite a projected 8bn euro ($10.2bn;
£5.6bn) hole in its finances next year.
The German finance ministry blames this estimated
shortfall on a drop in taxes, but says its cost-cutting will work.
Another proposed way to reduce the deficit is scrapping a public
holiday. The government wants to move the annual October 3 unification
day holiday to a Sunday.
TEXTILES BOOST BANGLADESH EXPORTS
Bangladesh's exports surged by more than a quarter in
July and August, boosted by garment sales, according to the state-run
Export Promotion Bureau.
It said exports for the two months were up 26.72% to
$1.66bn (£900m), compared to $1.31bn for the same period in 2003.
July and August's export figures were also 8.5%
higher than the government's target of $1.53bn.
The rise in exports, driven by sales to the European
Union, came despite the worst floods in 15 years.
WEAK DATA BUFFETS FRENCH ECONOMY
A batch of downbeat government data has cast doubt
over the French economy's future prospects.
Official figures showed that unemployment was
unchanged at 9.9% last month, while consumer confidence fell
unexpectedly in October.
At the same time, finance minister Nicolas Sarkozy
warned that high oil prices posed a threat to French growth.
INDIA RAISES PETROL PUMP PRICES
The Indian government has increased the retail prices
of petrol, diesel and cooking gas to bring them more in line with upward
With 99% of India's filling stations in the hands of
state-run oil firms, petrol pump prices will be made the same as that of
The price of diesel will go up by a lesser extent,
but no figure was given.
It is the first time that the Indian government has
increased prices since August, despite global surges.
BLAIR URGES EU TO ACCEPT BUSH
Tony Blair is urging European leaders to wake up from
their "state of denial" over President Bush's re-election.
"America has spoken. The rest of the world
should listen," the prime minister says in an interview with The
Times newspaper, published last Friday.
Mr Blair also admitted he had gone to bed at 2230GMT,
well before the polls closed, thinking Mr Kerry may have won.
He woke up at 0530GMT to discover Mr Bush had won but
declined to say if he was pleased with the eventual result.
TYCOON 'STALKS' MAN UNITED AGAIN
US sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer is preparing to
sweeten his bid approach for Manchester United, reports say.
The Premiership club ended talks with Mr Glazer over
a possible takeover last month on the grounds that his bid relied too
much on borrowed money.
Mr Glazer is now thought to have revised terms of his
offer to buy the shares of John Magnier and JP McManus.
The Irish duo hold a 28.9% stake, while Mr Glazer,
owner of American Football team Tampa Bay Buccaneers, holds 28.1%.
EADS BOOSTED BY AIRBUS ORDERS
European aerospace firm EADS has reported strong
profits for the first nine months of 2004, boosted by sales in its
Airbus plane-making subsidiary.
The company said net profits were a
better-than-expected at 597m euros ($766m; £415m), up from 242m euros
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.
The Bank's rate-setting committee has put up rates
five times in the past year, but rates have been on hold since September
amid signs of a slowdown.
Economic growth has slowed with manufacturing output
falling, and there are few signs of rising inflation.
ASIAN TELECOM FIRMS COME TOGETHER
Seven Asian telecommunications firms are coming
together to invest between $30m and $40m (£16.3m and £22m) in new
mobile phone services and technology.
The Bridge Mobile Alliance will run for three years
and aims to develop a common mobile phone service platform.
With a potential subscriber base of 300 million
users, member companies include Singtel from Singapore, Cellular from
Taiwan, and India's Bharti.
They are joined by firms from Malaysia, Australia and
Indonesia. The Phillippines' Globe Telecom is also represented.
BUSINESS START-UPS GROWING IN UK
Small businesses are popping up more and more in the
UK as official figures show the highest number of VAT registrations
since records began.
Last year saw the largest percentage increase in
VAT-registered companies since 1997, leaving the highest number of
registrations since 1994.
An 8.1% rise in the number of firms becoming VAT
registered outweighed the 6.4% increase in de-registrations. There are
now around 1.8 million registered companies in operation.
BLAIR TO DISCUSS EU ASYLUM PLANS
Tony Blair is to meet with European Union leaders to
discuss a five year asylum and immigration plan.
The prime minister will attend a summit in Brussels
to consider proposals aimed at streamlining the issue.
He recently said the UK would only participate in EU-wide
action where it was in Britain's interests.
SFO TO INVESTIGATE BAE CONTRACTS
The Serious Fraud Office is looking into allegations
of false accounting in connection with contracts between the Saudi
Arabian government and BAE.
The investigation concerns travel contracts between
three firms BAE, Robert Lee International and Travellers World —
relating to the Saudi contracts
The SFO initially made two arrests recently after
raiding eight locations in London and the south of England.
WORLD LEADERS CONGRATULATE BUSH
World leaders have congratulated US President George
W Bush on the clear-cut election victory that will give him a second
term in office.
But many — including key allies have warned that
the US faces major challenges in the Middle East.
Mr Bush won about 51% of the vote and at least 274
electoral college votes to beat John Kerry. Mr Kerry admitted defeat
when it became clear that he would not win the key state of Ohio. Mr
Bush praised his opponent and said he was "proud to lead such an
TIME WARNER SETS ASIDE LEGAL FUND
Media giant Time Warner has set aside $500m (£280m)
to cover costs arising from an ongoing official inquiry into the
accounts of its AOL internet unit.
Time Warner added that third-quarter profits fell 8%
on the year to $499m.
Revenues came in at $9.96bn, up 5% on the year, and
ahead of the $9.84bn forecast by analysts.
YUKOS SHAREHOLDERS TO DECIDE FATE
Yukos will ask shareholders in December to vote on
whether or not the embattled Russian oil and gas giant should file for
Chief executive Steven Theede said that the firm will
hold a meeting on 20 December where investors will be asked to decide
the future of the firm.
Yukos has been hit with tax bills of as much as $17bn
(£9.2bn; 13bn euros) and has been fighting to keep key assets.
FIRSTGROUP PROFITS STAY ON TRACK
A strong performance from FirstGroup's UK rail
services have helped to boost profits at the transport firm.
Income from FirstGroup's five UK rail passenger
franchises rose 11% in the six months to 30 September, pushing pre-tax
profits up 9% to £62.1m ($114m)
UK 'ADDICTED' TO PAYING ON CREDIT
Britons are "officially addicted" to
plastic, owning more than half of all the credit cards in Europe, a
report has said.
In 2003, there were more credit cards than people,
with 67 million credit cards in use in the UK, according to a report by
Datamonitor. The firm said the number of cards in use is expected to
DEAL TO SAVE NHS 7% ON DRUGS BILL
The NHS will save 7% on branded prescription drugs
over the next five years after a deal was struck between the government
and drugs industry.
The UK-wide deal on medicines that are still under
patent is worth £1.8bn in England alone.
In return, the pharmaceutical industry has been given
a 5% increase in its allowance for research and development.
ASBESTOS CLAIMS 'COULD HIT £20BN'
The cost of asbestos claims in the UK could reach
£20bn in the next 30 years, research by an actuarial body has said.
The Actuarial Profession warned only half the cost
will be met by insurers, with the government having to foot the rest of
The research, the first of its kind in the UK, was
based on new data collected by the group from major UK insurers.
CONSUMER SPENDING LIFTS US GROWTH
US economic growth accelerated in the third quarter,
helped by strong consumer spending, official figures have shown.
The economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.7% in the
July to September period, the Commerce Department said.
The figure marked an increase on the 3.3% growth
recorded in the second quarter, but fell short of the 4.2% rate
pencilled in by forecasters.
NEW MORTGAGES HIT FOUR-YEAR LOW
September saw the lowest number of new mortgage
approvals in the UK since August 2000, official figures show.
Mortgage approvals fell by 10,000 during the month to
89,000, according to the Bank of England.