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Japan passes $33 bln fourth extra budget
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Feb 8, 2012

Japan's parliament on Wednesday approved a $33 billion fourth extra budget to finance subsidies for disaster-struck businesses and the auto market, as the government looks to stimulate a faltering economy.

The upper house passed the extra budget of 2.53 trillion yen ($32.88 billion) for fiscal 2011 following its passage through the lower house.

The budget will provide funds to those affected by the March quake-tsunami disaster and the resulting Fukushima nuclear accident who are trying to service loans to restart businesses but who are saddled with repayments on now worthless or non-existent assets.

It will also finance market incentives for environmentally friendly cars.

Japan in November passed a 12.1 trillion-yen extra budget, following a four-trillion-yen package in May and another two trillion yen in July.

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Debt crisis, earthquakes slam Munich Re 2011 profits
Frankfurt (AFP) Feb 2, 2012
Munich Re, the world's biggest reinsurer, said Thursday that profits plummeted last year due to heavy losses from both the eurozone debt crisis and a string of natural catastrophes. Munich Re said in a statement it booked bottom-line net profit of 710 billion euros ($935 million) in 2011, a drop of 71 percent from a year earlier. "The year was marked by a series of severe earthquakes and ... read more

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