Jumat, 15 Agustus 2008

Papua govt, Freeport to build cement factory

JAYAPURA (Antara): PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) and Papua's provincial government are set to build a cement factory using the giant US-based copper and mining company's tailings waste as feedstock, a PTFI spokesman said.

The cement factory project would be carried out based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Papua Governor Barnabas Suebu and PTFI President Director Armando Mahler some time ago, PTFI spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan said Wednesday.

"The aim of building the factory is to help process PTFI's tailings into cement products. Actually, some of PTFI's tailings are already being used in various projects in Timika. The waste can also be used in other places for infrastructure development," he said.

Mindo did not mention the details of the project, saying these matters were up to the provincial government to decide


Oil prices fall below US$126 despite drop in US crude stocks

BANGKOK (AP): Oil prices fell below US$126 a barrelFriday in Asia, extending a decline of more than US$4 in the previous session as a stronger dollar and falling demand outweighed a huge unexpected drop in U.S. crude oil stocks.

The U.S. Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said delays in unloading oil tankers along the Gulf Coast had led to the 8.8 million-barrel drop in crude oil inventories for the week ended May 23, and that explanation helped to lessen the impact of its report. Analysts surveyed by Platts had expected a gain of 750,000 barrels, and usually such a discrepancy would send prices soaring.

"The impact of it was lost," said David Moore, commodity strategist with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney. "Their explanation for the decline of the crude inventories really countered the impact of the actual number."

Traders instead focused on gains in the U.S. dollar, analysts said, which hit a three-month high against the yen overnight and held near 105.50 in Asia currency trading in Tokyo. And late in the day, the euro continued to sink against the dollar, dropping belowUS$1.55.

Investors who buy commodities such as oil as a hedge against inflation when the dollar is falling tend to sell when the greenback strengthens. Also, a stronger dollar makes oil more expensive to investors dealing in foreign currencies.

Late afternoon in Singapore, light, sweet crude for July delivery was down US$1.19 at US$125.43 a barrel in electronic trade on the New York Mercantile Exchange


Indonesian businessman plans to drop money from airplane

JAKARTA (AP): If you're short of cash and don't mindrunning in tropical humidity and smog for a few bucks, read on.

An Indonesian businessman plans to throw 100 million rupiah (US$10,600) out of an airplane over the capital this Sunday as a publicity stunt to promote his new book.

"I want to create a rain of money in Jakarta," author and motivational speaker Tung Desem Waringin said. "It's a little bit crazy, but it's marketing."

Police spokesman Col. I Ketut Untung said authorities may not allow the plan to go forward because it could draw huge crowds and cause chaos.

Tens of millions of Indonesians live on less than US$1 a day and food and aid giveaways always draw large numbers.

The 42-year-old Tung said instead of opting for regular advertising for his book, he came up with an idea that "will make people happy."


PAC Payments by Edwards Appear Legal

While John Edwards has drawn widespread scorn and ridicule for his affair with a video producer on his payroll, campaign-finance lawyers say the payments were most likely legal

"There is nothing that has come out already that screams FEC violation," said Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer with Perkins Coie LLP. "I think that the senator's problems rest in the court of public opinion, not the Federal Election Commission."

Campaign-finance laws give politicians wide discretion over how to spend money in their accounts. Candidates can also create what is called a "leadership PAC," or political action committee, which can be used for political purposes but not to support their own candidacy.

Mr. Edwards's leadership PAC paid the company of Rielle Hunter a total of $114,000. Her company, Midline Groove Productions, produced four videos for Mr. Edwards in 2006 before he announced his presidential candidacy. Five people are listed on the credits for the films, which averaged about five minutes in length and documented Mr. Edwards behind the scenes before public events, including a speech he gave on Wal-Mart, an appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," and a three-day trip to Uganda.

The company was paid $100,000 over a four-month period in 2006 and then an additional $14,000 on April 1, 2007. The 2007 payment coincides with a transfer of about $14,000 made on the same day from Mr. Edwards's campaign account to his leadership PAC. The purpose of the transfer is listed on his campaign-finance reports as a sale of furniture from one committee to the other.

Former Edwards aides said the payments to Ms. Hunter's firm were for goods and services she provided. The campaign no longer has a spokesman.

Candidates aren't allowed to use their campaign money for personal use, which includes paying a family member more than fair market value for goods or services. The Federal Election Commission specifies about 25 different types of people that could be called family members of the candidate, including the wife of a step-sibling and someone sharing a residence. It doesn't include a romantic interest.

Leadership PACs have more discretion in spending, facing no such restriction on personal use. Candidates have often used them for expenses benefiting themselves.

"The personal-use restrictions do not apply to leadership PACs; they apply to the use of campaign committee funds," said Michael Toner, a former FEC chairman and a counsel to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. "That doesn't make a lot of sense rationally, but that is what it is under the law."