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Posts Tagged ‘data’

WikiLeaks says US grand jury requests supporter Twitter data

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm

WikiLeaks said Saturday the Twitter accounts of four supporters had been subpoenaed in connection with an espionage investigation into the whistleblowing website led by a secret US grand jury.

WikiLeaks, which began releasing 251,287 US diplomatic cables in November, added it had reason to believe Facebook and Google had also received court orders requesting details on users.

“Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into Wikileaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain,” WikiLeaks said in a statement.

WikiLeaks said legal action taken by micro-blogging website Twitter “revealed that the US State Department has requested the private messages, contact information, IP addresses, and personal details of Julian Assange and three other individuals associated with WikiLeaks, in addition to WikiLeaks’ own account, which has 634,071 followers”.

It did not name the three other people, but Icelandic lawmaker Birgitta Jonsdottir said on her Twitter feed on Saturday US authorities had asked Twitter to submit her account details and personal information.

“Just got this: Twitter has received legal process requesting information regarding your Twitter account in (relation to wikileaks),” the media freedom champion posted overnight.

“The request for my tweet information is from the US department of justice.” “The request for information from twitter is also for my personal information not just tweets,” she said.

Jonsdottir — a close associate of WikiLeaks who in September suggested Julian Assange step aside as the site’s spokesperson because of rape allegations against him — said she discussed the request with Iceland’s justice minister.

“He is looking into the case of demands of DoJ (department of justice) wanting my twitter details,” she posted shortly after 1100 GMT Saturday.

She explained she had 10 days to stop the legal process and stressed the US Department of Justice, not Twitter, was to blame.

WikiLeaks said Saturday it was “opposing the subpoena order and is currently taking action to instruct US lawyers”.

It urged Twitter to protect its users’ private information and stressed that other than Assange, the three people whose accounts had been subpoenaed had never worked for the site.

“Two were instrumental in helping WikiLeaks bring the Collateral Murder video — which showed a US helicopter crew celebrating as they gunned down civilians — into the public domain,” WikiLeaks said.

The April 2010 release of the classified video, which shows a US Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad that killed several people in 2007, helped push WikiLeaks into the global spotlight.

The site has since angered the Pentagon by posting in July 2010 secret documents on the war in Afghanistan, followed in October by a massive leak of so-called “Iraq war logs”.

Its November release of US diplomatic cables has embarrassed governments worldwide and prompted many calls for WikiLeaks to face legal action.

The site has also faced financial pressure when credit card giants Visa and Mastercard said they would stop facilitating donations to the website.

“Having tried to silence WikiLeaks by pressuring Paypal, Visa and Mastercard to cut off funds, the US government is now intruding into the private lives of some of WikiLeaks most high-profile supporters,” WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange said Saturday.

Assange, the 39-year-old Australian who is the public face of WikiLeaks, is currently on bail in Britain facing extradition proceedings to Sweden on charges of sexual assault.


Source: SGGP

Need for climate-change data

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:09 am

Need for climate-change data

QĐND – Thursday, December 30, 2010, 20:37 (GMT+7)

HCM City needs to create a legal approach so that it can successfully develop programmes to cope with climate change, experts have said.

The city still lacks legal criteria for evaluating or determining what industries or areas will be most seriously hit by climate change, according to Nguyen Trung Viet of the Steering Committee of Climate Change.

The city also lacks a comprehensive database about industries or areas that could be most seriously affected.

Viet noted that programmes to cope with climate change can not be developed successfully without such a database.

Experts say general residential areas with insufficient infrastructure, such as District 12 as well as Can Gio, Hoc Mon and Binh Chanh districts, willbe hit hard by climate change.

Many industrial zones in lowland areas, especially industrial clusters in the city, will also be hit hard by climate change.

If the sea level rises one metre, about 500 factories, which account for nine percent of total factories in the city, and 16 industrial zones will be submerged under water, experts have warned.

Agricultural areas will be most seriously hit by climate change, according to the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The city has urbanised only 30 percent of its total area. Of 24 districts, 10 districts are located in agricultural areas where farmers grow vegetables for sale to city residents.

According to the Steering Committee, the city will need to spend at least 20 trillion VND (1 billion USD) to cope with climate change from now until 2015.

The amount willbe spent mostly on research on how to effectively deal with global warming, Viet said.

Funds to develop programmes to cope with climate change willbe sourced from support or loans from international organisations (50 percent), State budget (30 percent), local budget (10 percent) and businesses (10 percent).

Under a Netherlands-backed programme, the city will be given 6 million EUR (8.2 million USD) to develop climate-change initiatives that willfocus on water resources, seaports, and floating cities for residents.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Latest jobs data is blow to Obama as elections loom

In Uncategorized on August 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

WASHINGTON, Aug 6, 2010 (AFP) – The latest grim data on unemployment has dealt a new blow to President Barack Obama as he struggles to maintain his party’s majority in Congress in November elections.

Obama, who has been hurt by the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, has been scrambling to highlight his economic management in helping lift the US economy out of its worst slump in decades.

But the latest data released Friday showed the recovery is sputtering: A Labor Department report showed 131,000 jobs were lost in July and the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.5 percent, which is better than the worst levels this year but still painfully high.

(AFP file) A man uses a computer to fill out paperwork at an employment centre in Oakland, California.

The private sector created a modest 71,000 jobs for the month, which was not enough to offset the massive government layoff of 143,000 census-takers.

Overall economic growth slowed to a pace of 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2010, and other economic indicators are soft, even though Obama points to four quarters of economic growth.

The White House has dismissed the likelihood of a double-dip recession but some economists warm of a Japanese-style economic stagnation.

Obama tried to put the best face on the most recent employment figures.

“Climbing out of any recession, much less a hole as deep as this one takes some time. The road to recovery doesn’t follow a straight line. Some sectors bounce back faster than others,” Obama said.

Obama said the data showed jobs growing in the private sector for seven consecutive months.

“That’s a good sign. Meanwhile our manufacturing sector that’s been hit hard for as long as folks can remember has added 183,000 jobs this year. That’s the most robust seven months of manufacturing growth in over a decade,” he said.

“But for America’s workers, families, and small businesses, progress needs to come faster. Our job is to make sure that happens.”

Obama said the latest figures underscored the need for final passage of a bill aimed at saving 160,000 teaching jobs, which has cleared the Senate, and for other measures favoring small business.

“We need to decide whether we’re willing to do what it takes to keep this economy moving in the right direction… but also to secure a clean energy future and accelerate our recovery and rebuild our economy around three simple words, ‘made in America.'”

But Republicans are waging their own campaign and blaming Obama for wasting a large part of the big 787 billion dollars in stimulus funding approved a year ago. It remains unclear whether the opposition party will be able to block any new stimulus efforts sought by the White House.

With the recovery appearing to falter, two key members of the Obama economic team are on their way out. Budget director Peter Orszag announced his departure in June and top economic aide Christina Romer said on Thursday she would return to teaching.

Obama continues to press his case, hitting the road to tout the rebound in the US auto sector, the finance reform and the huge health care reform measures approved this year.

Source: SGGP

Asia stocks edge up as U.S. data spurs dollar

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2010 at 7:20 am

Asian stocks edged higher on Thursday after solid corporate earnings, including from Toyota Motor and chipmaker UMC, and strong U.S. economic data that lifted the beaten-down dollar.

The upbeat U.S. reports on the services sector and private jobs eased some worries about a stumbling economic recovery and prompted Japanese government bonds (JGB) to pull back from Wednesday’s rally, when yields fell to a seven-year low.

Data from the Institute for Supply Management showed the services sector grew at a faster pace than expected in July. In a separate report, payroll-processing company ADP said private employers added more jobs in July than forecast.

A man looks at a display board showing stock market prices inside a brokerage in Taipei May 25, 2010.

Strong results from Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) boosted sentiment and propelled Japan’s benchmark Nikkei average (.N225) 1.2 percent higher, reversing much of Wednesday’s 2.1 percent drop when investors worried that a yen rally toward 15-year highs would hit exports.

Toyota climbed more than 3 percent before losing some steam after reporting its biggest operating profit in two years and lifting its forecasts.

In Taiwan, United Microelectronics Corp (UMC) (2303.TW), the world’s second-biggest contract chipmaker, lifted the market by reporting strong quarterly earnings and an increase in its 2010 capital spending plans.

Japan’s benchmark 10-year government bond yield rose from a 7-year low to above 1 percent, with bonds sold on profit-taking as Tokyo stocks recouped some of the ground they lost a day earlier and after the dollar rebounded against the yen.

The dollar rose to 86.29 yen from an eight-month low of 85.32 on Wednesday, moving away from the closely watched level of 84.81, a 15-year low for the dollar struck in November.

The dollar index (.DXY) edged up 0.1 percent to 80.983, putting it back above its 200-day moving average at 80.768. However, it still needs to get past 81.650 to break a bear trend of the past seven weeks. Otherwise, it risks falling to its April low of 80.031.

The optimism reflected in the U.S. data has offset to some extent expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve might take further steps into quantitative easing at its policy meeting next week, undermining safe-haven U.S. Treasuries and JGBs.

“So not only is the services sector – the vast bulk of most modern economies – expanding, it is doing so at a faster pace,” said Adam Carr, a senior economist at broker ICAP, referring to the U.S. data.

“Commodities are telling us that this global recovery has reasonable momentum,” he said, adding that iron ore prices had risen around 20 percent in the past month, while copper was up 16 percent and wheat 40 percent.

Commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian and Canadian dollars remained strong.

The Aussie hovered around three-month highs against the dollar and the dollar slipped to its lowest in six weeks against the Canadian currency.

On Thursday, the MSCI index of Asia Pacific ex-Japan stocks (.MIAPJ0000PUS) was up 0.1 percent, after rising 2.3 percent this week to a three-month high. Consumer staples (.MIAPJCS00PUS) and resources (.MIAPJMT00PUS) were the drivers.

“Investors are tempted to lock in profits as the market continues to renew 2010 highs this week,” said Kwon Byung-ryol, an analyst at Eugene Investment And Securities.

“But rising momentum remains intact and the market could rebound any time, because we have no firm data yet indicating the economy is set to slow down sharply.”

Aggressive bets are also coming off ahead of the U.S. jobs data on Friday with the government report expected to show a drop of 65,000 in July as Census jobs dried up.

Oil prices fell for a second straight day, moving toward $82 a barrel, crimped by the dollar’s strength and after U.S. stocks of gasoline and distillate fuels, including diesel, added to a string of gains

Source: SGGP

UAE ban on BlackBerry data a security badge of honor

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 7:20 am

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 3, 2010 (AFP) – Security experts said Tuesday that banning BlackBerry data service in the United Arab Emirates smacks of political backlash and could be a testament to how hard it is to snoop on that network.

“The BlackBerry security model is very different from other phones,” said Kevin Mahaffey of Lookout mobile security firm.

“It is end-to-end and the encryption is so strong nobody knows how to monitor it.”

A user tries out the new Blackberry Torch 9800 smartphone after it was unveiled at a news conference August 3, 2010 in New York City. AFP

Canada-based Research In Motion built its own platform for business customers that encrypts BlackBerry email messages and routes them in a way that keeps the data off limits from even telecom firms that carry the transmissions.

“They have such good security that I think some countries are uncomfortable with the fact that they can’t intercept it,” said Lookout chief executive John Hering.

While iPhones have been all the rage with smartphones users thrilled by games, social networking, video watching and other casual uses, BlackBerry has remained a favorite for business people craving secure wireless communications.

BlackBerry smartphones can be hard targets for countries that do electronic snooping in the name of national security.

RIM on Tuesday denied allegations it had offered some governments access to customers’ data and not others, as it faced a ban in two Gulf States and India.

The UAE has said that BlackBerry services including messenger, web browsing and email will be suspended because they “allow individuals to commit violations” that the country cannot monitor.

People who use BlackBerry handsets as personal smartphones don’t enjoy the same protections as companies that contract with RIM to deploy the devices to employees.

BlackBerry security is designed to let business users “transmit information wirelessly while also providing them with the necessary confidence that no one, including RIM, could access their data,” according to RIM.

RIM uses a special layer of coding to shield email as it is routed to the company’s servers and then on to intended recipients, according to Mahaffey.

BlackBerry also uses encrypted validation to identify handsets connecting to the network, according to Peter Beardmore of Russia-based computer security firm Kaspersky Lab.

“BlackBerry is a more highly secured device,” Beardmore said.

“There are a wide variety of services available through the BlackBerry network that you are going to be hard pressed to find in other services.”

Typical smartphones route email through telecom service providers, which can intercept data for governments.

Text messages, voice calls, and Internet browsing activity are up for grabs on all smartphones because telecom service providers can see that activity, said Nicholas Percoco, vice president of SpiderLabs at Trustwave Information Security firm.

Online purchases, banking and other financial dealings should be protected by encryption that is standard practice for such transactions.

Percoco wondered whether the move against BlackBerry in the UAE was political backlash.

Two years ago, RIM charged that an update issued by UAE’s largest telecom service provider, Etisalat, was actually spyware, and that it enabled unauthorized access to information stored on users’ smartphones.

Microsoft makes ActiveSync software for businesses that can encrypt email sent with iPhone, Android, or Windows smartphones, Percoco noted.

Secure, encrypted connections can be made wirelessly from laptops with the help of VPN software from Cisco. Good Technology sells software to protect messages on mobile phones.

“This whole thing may not be security charged, it may be politically charged,” Percoco said.

“From a security standpoint, it doesn’t really jibe,” he continued. “It looks like basically RIM wouldn’t let them put a bugging device in the phone.”

Source: SGGP

US firm supports Vietnam’s testing micro-modular data centre

In Uncategorized on July 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

US firm supports Vietnam’s testing micro-modular data centre

QĐND – Thursday, July 15, 2010, 20:43 (GMT+7)

US company Dot VN Inc. and Vietnam Internet Network Information Centre (VNNIC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a testing micro-modular data‘ (EMS) C3-SPEAR Micro-Modular Data Centre equipment at VNNIC’s primary Internet data centre in Hanoi.

Accordingly, Dot VN and VNNIC will partner together to evaluate the performance of EMS’ data centre infrastructure technology in a trial that is expected to initially last three months.

The test is aimed at demonstrating the technology’s capabilities with the intention of building data centres in Vietnam and Asia based on EMS’ Micro-Modular Data Centre equipment.

VNNIC will be responsible for providing the technical staff who will manage the testing and operation of the data centre unit, while Dot VN will provide support to VNNIC as necessary in the implementation of the test.

“We are extremely excited about the testing that will be performed in Hanoi over the next three months,” remarked Dot VN CEO Thomas Johnson.

He continued, “EMS’ C3-SPEAR Micro-Modular Data Centre is cutting edge technology that is both mobile and highly scalable. Given that both the cost and availability of electricity in Vietnam continues to be an ongoing challenge for sustained IT growth, we believe that the C3-SPEAR’s industry leading energy efficiency is the ideal solution to overcome this issue.”

California-based Dot VN, Inc. ( provides innovative Internet and telecommunication services for Vietnam and operates and manages Vietnam’s innovative online media web property,

The company now operates offices in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Shares rise on solid economic data

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 at 4:34 am

Shares rise on solid economic data

QĐND – Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 20:47 (GMT+7)

The VN-Index opened a new week on a positive note by closing up on June 21 by 0.7 percent to a one-month high of 514.75 points, as investors began to become more confident in supporting economic data and a looming uptrend in the market.

Trading volume on the HCM City Stock Exchange fell by 23.5 percent from the previous session total, however, reaching 48.25 million shares, worth a combined 1.47 trillion VND (78.2 million USD). Gainers outnumbered losers by 134-62, with Viet Nam Tanker Co (VTO) jumping into the position as the most-active share on the bourse with nearly 1.9 million share traded.

Many penny stocks – mostly transportation shares – rose to their ceiling prices in the final minutes of the day’s session, including VTO, PetroVietnam Transportation Co (PVT), Dong Do Marine Co (DDM), Marine Supply and Engineering Service Co (MAC), Sai Gon Maritime Co (SHC) and Southern Vietnam Container Shipping Co (VSG).

A majority of blue chips also posted gains, with foreign investors snapping up 300,000 shares out of over 340,000 shares of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Co (HAG) traded during the day. HAG rose 0.6 percent on the day to close at 83,000 VND (4.40 USD) per share.

The HCM City bourse on June 21 also saw three new listings, with shares of Ca Mau Trading Co (CMV) leaping by 20 percent – the daily limit for a new listing – to close at 36,000 VND (1.90 USD), with 16,000 shares traded.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange yesterday, the HNX-Index also rose by 0.4 percent to close at 164.01. Trading volume totalled 43.2 million shares worth a combined 1.38 trillion VND (73 million USD).

Advancers outnumbered decliners by 199-67, with PetroVietnam Construction (PVX) still the most heavily-traded share nationwide on a volume of nearly 4.5 million.

The Hanoi market also saw the addition of its 300th listed share, PetroVietnam Premier Recreation Co (PVR). PVR closed at 27,600 VND (1.46 USD) on a volume of nearly 1.2 million shares.

Foreign investors were net buyers on the HCM City market on the day, responsible for a net buy of 1 million shares worth 75 billion VND (3.97 million USD). They were still net sellers on the Hanoi market, however, to the tune of 2.3 billion VND (121,693 USD) worth of shares.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Asian stocks follow Wall Street down on poor US homes data

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 at 4:32 am

Investors sold Asian stocks on Wednesday as the optimism over China’s move to make its currency more flexible was replaced by concerns over the global economy caused by weak US housing data.

A foreign exchange dealer passes by an electronic board at the head office of Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul on June 21, 2010. (AFP Photo)

Hong Kong was 0.13 percent lower, Tokyo shed 1.69 percent by the break and Sydney fell 1.15 percent while Singapore dropped 0.64 percent. Shanghai slipped 0.73 percent.

Wall Street was off 1.43 percent after figures showed the property market in the world’s biggest economy was struggling.

Existing-home sales fell 2.2 percent in May after two consecutive rises, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday, despite support from a government tax-incentive programme.

The report “suggests that there may be greater fundamental weakness in housing demand than anticipated”, said Celia Chen at Moody’s

“The optimism we saw a few days ago has been snuffed by that weak US home sales data,” BBY senior institutional trader Peter Copeland told Dow Jones Newswires in Sydney.

The euro fell back as traders became more risk averse because of the falling stock markets.

The single currency bought 1.2245 dollars and 110.87 yen in Tokyo morning trade, down from 1.2270 and 111.12 in New York late Tuesday. The dollar slipped to 90.44 yen from 90.54 yen.

Regional markets soared on Monday after Beijing’s weekend announcement that it would allow the yuan to strengthen against the dollar.

However, that optimism faded the next day on the realisation that there would not be any major near-term changes to the foreign exchange controls by the Chinese government.

On Tuesday US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner welcomed China’s announcement but called for “vigorous implementation” of the move.

“The yuan-dollar rates have not moved much since the announcement. This confirmed anew that the Chinese authorities are aiming for an extremely gradual liberalisation of the currency system,” Credit Suisse said in a report.

China’s central bank let the yuan weaken Wednesday, setting the central parity rate — the centre point of its allowed trading band — at 6.8102 to the dollar, 0.18 percent weaker than Tuesday’s 6.7980.

Eyes will now be on the end of a two-day policy meeting at the US Federal Reserve, where analysts will be looking for clues to the state of the economy.

Chinese shares were also hit after the government said it would scrap an export tax rebate on some commodities including metal products and chemicals, dealers said.

The removal of the rebate, from July 15, aims to reduce excess capacity in certain sectors by discouraging exports and comes after Beijing said it would ban capacity expansion plans in the steel industry as of the end of 2011.

Oil was lower. New York’s main futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in August dropped 68 cents to 77.17 dollars a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for August was off 70 cents to 77.34 dollars.

Gold opened at 1,240.00-1,241.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, up from Tuesday’s close of 1,236.50-1,237.50 dollars.


Source: SGGP

US probes Google Street View data grabs

In Uncategorized on June 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

SAN FRANCISCO, Jun 22 (AFP) – The attorney general of the US state of Connecticut is looking into whether Google broke the law by capturing people’s personal data from wireless networks while Street View bicycles and cars mapped streets.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced Monday that his office will lead a multistate probe of “Google’s deeply disturbing invasion of personal privacy,” which has drawn ire and scrutiny in several countries.

“Street View cannot mean Complete View — invading home and business computer networks and vacuuming up personal information and communications,” Blumenthal said.

AFP/File – A Google street-view car

People have a right to know what information Google gleaned, how it was done and why, according to Blumenthal. He also wanted the Internet giant to detail what safeguards are in place to fix the situation.

“While we hope Google will continue to cooperate, its response so far raises as many questions as it answers,” Blumenthal said.

“Our investigation will consider whether laws may have been broken and whether changes to state and federal statutes may be necessary.”

Blumenthal has asked Google to explain how and wed wireless networks and why they recorded the quality of wireless networks they passed.

“It was a mistake for us to include code in our software that collected payload data, but we believe we didn’t break any US laws,” a Google spokesman said in response to an AFP inquiry.

“We?re working with the relevant authorities to answer their questions and concerns.”

France last week joined the list of countries to focus investigations on Google for gathering personal data as its Street View bikes and cars photographed cities across the world for its free online mapping service.

The French data protection agency CNIL said it was examining private data collected for Street View, including emails and possibly banking details, to decide if the firm should face criminal charges or other sanctions.hen it learned its Street View bicycles and cars were capturing data from unencrypt

Google said it had also handed data to privacy authorities in Spain and Germany for analysis.

Canada’s privacy commissioner is probing the collection of data by Street View vehicles, while police in both New Zealand and Australia said this month they would investigate the Internet giant over alleged privacy breaches.

In Europe, Germany, Austria, Italy and France were among the countries investigating whether their citizens’ privacy had been breached by the California-based company.

Street View lets users view panoramic street scenes on Google Maps and take a virtual “walk” through cities such as New York, Paris or Hong Kong.

The service, which began in 2006, first came in for criticism for threatening the privacy of people caught — sometimes in embarrassing situations — in the photos taken by cars cruising cities in over 30 countries.

But when it emerged that Google’s cars and bikes had also been gathering fragments of personal data sent over unsecured Wi-Fi systems, legal action and official probes were quickly announced around the world.

Google has gone on record saying it was cooperating with authorities in France and elsewhere and would delete data if legally obliged.

“Our ultimate objective is to delete the data consistent with our legal obligations and in consultation with the appropriate authorities,” Google told AFP last week.

Google said last month it was halting the collection of WiFi network information after saying it had mistakenly gathered personal data.

On June 1 it said it had deleted private wireless data mistakenly collected in Austria, Denmark and Ireland.

It had insisted previously that it was only collecting WiFi network names and addresses with the Street View cars.

The company said it has had experts examine its data-gathering software and shared its findings with data protection authorities.

Source: SGGP

Asian markets lower as dealers await US jobs data

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2010 at 10:13 am

HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian shares fell in quiet trade on Friday with Japanese investors unmoved by the election of a new prime minister while most dealers stayed on the sidelines ahead of key US jobs figures.

Asian shares have fallen in quiet trade with Japanese investors unmoved by the election of a new prime minister (AFP file)

Tokyo’s Nikkei fell and the yen edged lower after former finance minister Naoto Kan, a supporter of a weaker currency and proponent of deflation-fighting measures, was confirmed as the country’s new leader.

Japanese shares closed 0.13 percent, or 13 points, lower at 9,901.19 after Kan succeeded Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned Wednesday over the bungled handling of a US base dispute.

The index had already soared 3.24 percent Thursday, with dealers pricing in expectations that Kan would take the helm of the world’s second biggest economy.

Despite his preference for a weaker yen, which would be good for the country’s key exporters, dealers stuck with the safe-haven unit due to lingering fears over Europe’s debt problems.

The dollar edged up to 92.73 yen in late Tokyo trade, from 92.69 in New York Thursday. The euro rose to 112.88 yen from 112.74 and to 1.2179 dollars from 1.2158.

Analysts had predicted the dollar could pass 93 yen if Kan was elected prime minister. But Mizuho Securities strategist Tsuyoshi Segawa told Dow Jones Newswires: “It is still hard to say if the market really wants ‘DPJ victory-inspired stability’ in the upcoming election.”

Japan will hold upper house elections next month where the Democratic Party of Japan must win a majority to free itself of its coalition partner and ensure a smooth enactment of legislature.

Sydney fell 0.82 percent, or 36.6 points, to 4,449.4. Hong Kong lost 0.30 percent by the break and Singapore was flat.

Dealers moved to sell off and take the cash after Thursday’s rallies, which were boosted by strong US housing data.

Markets were given a weaker lead from Wall Street Friday as the Dow edged up just 0.06 percent after a mixed batch of news showing a weekly drop in initial unemployment claims and a disappointing report on private-sector job creation.

However, focus was on a US Labor Department report due later Friday that will reveal job creation and unemployment figures for May, giving a much clearer idea of the state of recovery in the world’s biggest economy.

Most analysts expect the government will report 500,000 non-farm jobs were created last month, up from 290,000 in April, as the economy mounts a slow recovery from recession.

Unemployment was expected to dip to 9.8 percent from 9.9 percent in April.

Shanghai gave up 0.49 percent, with heavyweight banks leading the fall amid pressures over the imminent launch of Agricultural Bank’s massive initial public offering, dealers said. Many fear the issue could dilute the market, putting pressure on prices.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday warned Hungary to cut its budget deficit faster in order to pull itself out of a “delicate situation” amid fears it risked a Greek-like debt crisis.

Oil was lower. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July shed 29 cents to 74.32 dollars a barrel while Brent North Sea crude for July dropped 31 cents to 75.10 dollars per barrel.

Gold opened at 1,206.00-1,207.00 US dollars an ounce in Hong Kong, down from Thursday’s close of 1,223.00-1,224.00 dollars.

In other markets:

— Seoul closed 0.14 percent, or 2.29 points, higher at 1,664.13.

— Taipei fell 0.21 percent, or 15.69 points, to 7,344.59.

IT giant Hon Hai was 0.8 percent lower at 124.5 Taiwan dollars while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company rose 0.33 percent to 61.0

— Manila closed flat, edging up 1.82 points to 3,357.05.

SM Prime Holdings was unchanged at 11.00 pesos, Banco de Oro Unibank fell 1.0 percent to 46.00 and Ayala Corp was off 2.9 percent at 325.00.

— Wellington added 0.20 percent, or 6.04 points, to close at 3,030.14.

Telecom led the market higher, gaining 1.6 percent to 1.86 New Zealand dollars, but exchange operator NZX ended down 1.9 percent at 1.55.

Source: SGGP