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Daily Archives: September 25, 2008

Rumour triggers race to withdraw savings from banks


 by Natalie Leung

The rumour which had Luso International Bank going bankrupt within two days was intensified yesterday after
several of its branches shut their doors after being affected by the typhoon, prompting thousands of concerned customers to race to withdraw their savings from their accounts.

The rumour was spread on the Internet on Tuesday claiming Luso International Banking Ltd (LIB) “has financial difficulties and owns Lehman Brothers bonds and it will soon be taken over by the Monetary Authority of Macao (AMCM)”. Although senior executive of the group had already clarified the matter as reported in Macao Daily News yesterday, hundreds of customers formed a long queue at LIB’s head office and branches within hours after opening at noon. At the same time, branches of Banco Weng Hang were also packed with people wishing to withdraw their money yesterday afternoon. The AMCM, Macau Banks Association, Luso International Banking as well as Banco Weng Hang held separate press conferences yesterday to deny the rumour and emphasise the banking system’s financial stability. Mr Leong, a gaming instructor who was among the LIB concerned customers at the head office in Avenida Dr Mario Soares, told the Macau Daily Times he had faith in the banking industry of Macau, but admitted that the rumour did prompt him to go cancel his investment account one day earlier than originally planned. Having opened an account last month for buying stocks but never using it since, Mr Leong said the recent fluctuation in the stock market held him up from investment and he’d wanted to cancel the account at LIB. “As the rumour is so hot I decided to come to the bank sooner. It’s always better to keep cash in hand,” he added.

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World leaders seek talks on financial crisis, multilateral reforms

by Gerard Aziakou*

World leaders on Tuesday demanded urgent steps to contain the global financial crisis and a sweeping reform of multilateral institutions, including the Security Council, during the UN General Assembly's annual debate.
A ministerial meeting of six major powers trying to scale down Iran's nuclear ambitions, scheduled for today on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, was meanwhile called off after Russia said it would not take part.
But on the first day of the 192-member Assembly's debate, the world's financial meltdown took centre stage, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon stressing the need to "restore order to the international financial markets."
In a farewell speech to the assembly, US President George W. Bush assured worried world leaders that his administration and the US Congress would approve an emergency 700-billion-dollar Wall Street bailout "in the urgent time frame required."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said those leaders most directly concerned by the issue had a duty "to meet before the end of the year to examine together the lessons of the most serious financial crisis the world has experienced since that of the 1930s."
The French leader, who holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, later told a press conference that he had in mind a "G8 format," referring to the eight leading economic powers, that could be opened to "emerging countries."
Bush also urged the world body to fully implement sanctions against North Korea and Iran over their nuclear programs, warning: "We must not relent until our people are safe from this threat to civilisation."
In Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement: "We do not see any fire that requires us to toss everything aside and meet to discuss Iran's nuclear program in the middle of a packed week at the United Nations General Assembly."
And Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that Tehran would "resist" Western bullies trying to prevent the country from acquiring civilian nuclear technology.
He lashed out equally at Israel and its chief ally the United States, saying "the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters."
Visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres slammed Ahmadinejad's speech, accusing the Iranian leader of "putting on the mantle of a preacher and using to deepen hatred."
"Iran is today the centre of terror," he added.
In their remarks, Sarkozy and his Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pressed for a sweeping reform of multilateral institutions, including the powerful Security Council.
The French leader said enlarging the 15-member UN Security Council as well as the G8 club of leading industrialised nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and Russia — was not "just a matter of fairness, (but) also the necessary condition for being able to act effectively."
Lula for his part said that "only legitimate and effective instruments can assure collective security," adding: "Today's structure has been frozen for six decades and does not relate to the challenges of today's world."
He welcomed the General Assembly's decision last week to begin inter-governmental talks on expanding the powerful Security Council — which comprises 10 rotating, non-permanent members and five, veto-wielding permanent ones (China, United States, France, Britain and Russia) — no later than next February 28.
The thorny issue of how to enlarge a body that has remained largely unchanged since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 has for years divided the UN membership.
Just four months before he leaves office at the end of his eight-year run at the White House, Bush also levelled some of his toughest-yet criticism at Moscow over its war with Georgia.
"The United Nations charter sets forth the equal rights of nations large and small. Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words," he said, vowing to keep supporting the former Soviet republic's territorial integrity.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili challenged the United Nations not to allow its principles to be "crushed" by Russia.
He called for an independent international probe into the five-day war between his country and Russia in August over South Ossetia and asked the world body to ensure that the French-brokered truce deal is observed and for the peaceful resolution of Georgia's separatist conflicts.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner for his part said here that a planned international meeting on the breakaway Georgian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abhazia, scheduled for October 15 in Geneva, was being downgraded from the ministerial to the expert level because of disagreement with Moscow.