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(MENAFN - AFP) Gripping his mallet, Peng Zhichun gallops towards goal on a Chinese polo field, one of a growing number of the country's wealthy elite discovering the joys of the saddle and the whip.

"New clubs are opening, people are more into equestrian sports, into polo, there are more international players coming, so it's growing really fast," the young man, dressed in ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Faced with snaking queues at immigration, overflowing baggage carousels and expensive flight delays, Asian nations are rushing to build hundreds of new airports to cope with surging demand for air travel in the region.

From China and India to the Philippines and Indonesia, the fast-growing middle classes are looking to spend their cash by spreading their wings, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Japan's smoking rate has dropped below 20 percent for the first time, according to a new survey, as a recent rise in cigarette prices helped to further discourage the habit.

The proportion of adult smokers stood at 19.7 percent as of May, down 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier and the lowest rate since the survey started in 1965.

The number of ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The new chairman of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) said Wednesday that he was determined to change the unhealthy lifestyle choices that have made his region the fattest in the world.

Palau President Tommy Remengesau said that junk food had become a blight on Pacific island communities, leading to epidemic rates of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Britain's state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group said on Thursday that net profits slumped 57 percent in the first half, hit by compensation for insurance mis-selling and fines over Libor rate rigging.

Earnings after taxation dived to £665 million ($1.125 billion, 840 million euros) in the six months to June.

That was down from £1.560 billion a year earlier ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) BNP Paribas on Thursday posted a net quarterly loss of 4.3 billion euros ($5.75 billion), as a record fine for violating US economic sanctions sent it into the red for the first time since 2008.

The French banking giant recorded an exceptional expenditure of 5.95 billion euros for the second quarter, linked to the penalty imposed for moving billions of dollars ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Sony said on Thursday it saw a $261 million first-quarter net profit thanks to brisk sales of its PlayStation 4 console and a weak yen, but said it still expects a full-year loss.

The company's net profit came to 26.8 billion yen ($261 million) for the three months through June, up from 3.1 billion yen a year earlier, with sales rising 5.8 percent to 1.8 trillion ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The G20's pledge to boost growth could be wiped out by rising interest rates and weakening emerging economies, an IMF report said, as chief Christine Lagarde warned Thursday of "slow" progress in reaching the goal.

Lagarde said there was uncertainty over whether the group of 20 leading economies had the will to meet their two percent additional growth target, ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Samsung said Thursday net profit plunged almost 20 percent in the second quarter as competition from cheap Chinese phones and the strong won saw sales slump in its key mobile business.

The South Korean electronics giant said net profit came in at 6.25 trillion won ($6.1 billion), down 19.6 percent in the first on-year decline for nearly three years.

Operating ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Argentina was in default Thursday for the second time in 13 years after the failure of last ditch talks with US hedge funds it has branded "vultures."

After hours of meetings Wednesday in New York, Economy Minister Axel Kicillof emerged to confirm that no deal had been reached.

This left it inevitable that Latin America's third largest economy was unable ...

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