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Qantas Plans to Buy Up to 188 New Planes


Australia's largest airline, Qantas, is going on a buying spree for new aircraft to fend off competition. The country's power stations, meanwhile, top a list of the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters. Claudia Blume at VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong has more on these and other business stories from the region.

Australia's largest airline Qantas Airways said it would buy up to 188 new planes from U.S. manufacturer Boeing and European plane maker Airbus. The airline said the purchase would help Qantas defend its 65 percent share of the Australian domestic market and expand further into Asia.

Qantas also plans to expand facilities for its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar in Perth and Darwin to help serve the fast growing Asian markets.

In other news from Australia, the country's power sector is the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases on a per capita basis. This is the result of a worldwide survey conducted by the Center for Global Development, a U.S. based think tank.

David Wheeler, a senior fellow of the center, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that Australia's power plants produce more than 11 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per person each year. Power stations in the United States ranked second, ahead of China. But Wheeler says China comes close to the United States' annual output of two-point-eight billion tons of greenhouse gases, and may soon overtake it.

"If what is in store on the planning boards actually comes true, then China will be far ahead of the U.S. in carbon emissions from this sector within five years," he said.

China Development Bank will set up a $10 billion fund with North Korea's Daepung investment group to help Chinese firms build roads, railways and other infrastructure projects in North Korea. China is the biggest trading partner of the isolated communist country.

Indonesia's economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter until September, at a rate of 6.5 percent. It was the country's strongest quarter of growth since the Asian financial crisis ten years ago. The expansion was mainly driven by strong commodity exports and low interest rates.

And Malaysia's carmaker Proton said it plans to team up with manufacturers in Iran and Turkey to produce an 'Islamic car' with special features for Muslims.

These include a compass to determine the direction of Mecca for prayers and a roomy glove compartment to keep a copy of the Koran and a headscarf.