"After some time, when these experts were at a distance of 40 to 50 metres from the site of works, there was an explosion," ACR said."As a consequence, ventilation expert Naim Shyti lost his life and seven other miners were wounded," it added.Shyti and another miner were trapped in the rubble. The other man was taken out alive by rescue teams.The explosion comes after DCM DECOmetal and its 700 miners at Bulqiza agreed to end a strike of almost three months after DCM DECOmetal raised their wages by 20 percent.DCM DECOmetal said the blast occurred when it started opening a new well to comply with the requirements of its concession agreement with Albania’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy.The company said the specific reason for the explosion was not yet known, and ACR was awaiting the conclusions of a team of experts and the government agency in charge of mining standards.Shyti is the first casualty at ACR since it took full control of the concession in 2008.Fourteen miners have died in the last three years in the area of Bulqiza, one of the richest in chrome in the Balkans. They worked for some of the 60 companies exploiting the mines or the old stocks of chrome or else mined illegally.


The company, which also makes snowmobiles and motorcycles, expects 2011 profit of $3.10-$3.16 a share on sales growth of 30-32 percent.Polaris’ third-quarter net income rose to $67.6 million, or 95 cents a share, from $47.2 million, or 69 cents a share, a year ago.Sales jumped 26 percent to $729.9 million. Sales of off-road vehicles rose 25 percent to $486.2.Analysts had expected earnings of 84 cents a share on revenue of $693.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.


* Investors to focus on holiday quarterBy Poornima GuptaSAN FRANCISCO, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Apple Inc once more faces lofty expectations after smashing iPhone sales records, but Wall Street remains confident the world’s largest technology company will deliver another bumper quarter.Investors worried about crumbling consumer spending, a darkening economic outlook and the rapid expansion of Google Inc’s Android mobile software got some assurance after the company moved 4 million iPhone 4S units in three days — more than double its predecessor — despite lukewarm reviews.Apple’s shareholders have had plenty to fret about since August, when Steve Jobs handed the reins to Tim Cook.The company then lost its leading visionary and co-founder when he died Oct. 5. Some analysts say the short-term disruption offered a brief window for rivals like Google and its foremost Android partner, Samsung , to swoop in.But the world’s largest technology company by market value is expected to present a positive short-term picture — sparked by roaring sales of its iPhone and iPad — when it reports results for the July-September period Tuesday.The iPhone 4S sales numbers catapulted Apple’s shares to a record high last week, even though some of that rally rested on the iPhone 4S being available in two additional countries and more telecoms carriers from launch day.The record sales have heightened expectations for the current quarter, which many investors expect will be enormous for Apple.”The quarter we are focusing on is the holiday quarter,” said Channing Smith, co-manager of the Capital Advisors Growth Fund, which owns Apple shares.”We expect Apple to absolutely blow the doors off during Christmas.”Still, Apple has encountered a few uncharacteristic glitches or hiccups since Jobs exited in August. While the iPhone 4S rode pent-up demand and wider availability to record numbers, the initial response was disappointment over a lack of design changes.And while the woes of rivals such as Research in Motion — which experienced its severest outage last week — appear to benefit Apple, the impending re-launch of Microsoft Corp and Nokia into the mobile arena and the increasing footprint of Android could hit Apple’s sales.Others worry that Apple’s shares have gone too far, too fast.On Monday, BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis lowered his recommendation on Apple to hold, citing a steep run-up in price and some short-term turbulence such as some risk to profit margin from education pricing discounts offered on some Apple products and competition to the iPad from low-cost manufacturers.”The company has to constantly set records just to meet expectations,” Gillis said. “There is nothing wrong with Apple’s business model or execution, but we do see that sentiment is overwhelmingly positive.”“It is possible shares pull back below $400, possibly even this week after the earnings report,” he added.For Cook and his executive bench, quarterly results offer what some analysts say is a welcome opportunity to focus on business, after headlines were dominated for a fortnight by Jobs’ passing, which ignited a spontaneous outpouring of grief and sympathy from heads of state, Silicon Valley royalty and across the Internet.Apple’s iPhone delivers more than 40 percent of its revenue and provides much of the growth momentum. Wall Street has begun building in projections for up to 30 million of the smartphones sold in the December quarter, the crucial holiday period.As with previous quarters, Apple — which provides current-quarter estimates that Wall Street says are typically conservative — needs to truly surpass expectations to drive a share rally, analysts said.Current average projections put fiscal fourth-quarter revenue at $29.6 billion and earnings per share at $7.38.But according to StarMine SmartEstimates, which places more emphasis on the timeliest forecasts by the most historically accurate analysts, Apple is expected to post earnings of $7.47 per share — about 2.4 percent above the average estimate.Revenue could come in at $29.8 billion — about 1 percent above the average expectation.BEYOND IPHONESSome investors recommend looking beyond merely iPhones and looking at Apple’s other main devices: the two-year-old iPad, and the stalwart Macintosh line of desktop and laptop computers.Wall Street in general expects sales somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million to 22 million iPhones in the September quarter, north of 4 million Macs, and about 10 million iPads.”Investors have plenty to look forward to from Apple as the year comes to a close, including stronger than expected demand for the new iPhone 4S, a strengthened digital ecosystem with the recent launch of the iOS 5 and iCloud, the continued momentum around the iPad 2,” Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said.Beyond 2011, the picture is less clear. Many analysts expect Apple, sustaining its long-established product cycle, to unveil the third version of the iPad, which helped create the tablet computing market that it still dominates.But rivals aren’t sitting still. Microsoft is gearing up to launch Windows 8 for tablets, and its new phone operating software will soon debut on new partner Nokia.Google, whose Android is already the world’s most-used mobile software, continues to score partners. And Samsung, riding Android’s success, may overtake Apple as the world’s bestselling smartphone brand in the fourth quarter and beyond.Still, investor enthusiasm for Apple continues for now.”It’s very hard to find any type of problem in the business,” Capital Advisors Growth Fund’s Smith said.


* Added 12,580 staff in Q2, highest quarterly addition in 2 yrs* Says does not expect increase in prices due to negative environment* Shares end down 1.2 pct ahead of results announcementBy Prashant Mehra and Sumeet ChatterjeeMUMBAI, Oct 17 (Reuters) - India’s top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services said it does not expect to increase its prices in the near term due to global economic uncertainty, after posting a slightly lower-than-expected 14.7 percent rise in quarterly net profit.India’s showpiece $76 billion industry gets more than 90 percent of its revenue from providing technology services to overseas clients and counts the United States and Europe as its biggest markets.Europe is the second largest market for the software firms, and the euro zone debt crisis is a worry for the sector that has been looking to increase its sales to the region to hedge against their excessive exposure to the United States.”If the global economic situation worsens, the sector could see a temporary blip with customers opting to suspend technology spending,” said Eric Mookherjee, the Paris-based chairman of Shanti India fund.”I see no reason for the healthy demand momentum not to continue in the medium to long term as companies will continue to looks at ways to cut costs,” said Mookherjee, whose fund owns TCS and No.2 software exporter Infosys shares.TCS Chief Executive Officer N. Chandrasekaran said there were “ambiguities in the external environment in the short term” but the company had not yet seen any project cancellations or cutback in client spending on technology.”Even though the macro uncertainty continues and there is a lot of negativism, we are getting positive vibes from customers in terms of their IT spend going forward,” Chandrasekaran said, adding the firm was eyeing at least 10 large deals currently.TCS added 12,580 staff in the July-September quarter, its strongest pace of addition in two years, and retained its forecast of adding 60,000 employees in this fiscal year, underscoring hopes of strong outsourcing demand.TCS and its local rivals, who provide a host of IT services to Fortune 500 firms, face stiff competition from global players including IBM and Accenture for large outsourcing deals from global corporations.Chandrasekaran said the company saw a marginal decrease in second-quarter prices, and billing rates were unlikely to go up in the near term due to the negative macro environment.”Volumes are quite good. Pricing (increase) may be delayed because macro uncertainty has gotten worse,” he said.Infosys, seen as a trend-setter for the sector, last week reported a 9.7-percent rise in second-quarter profit, roughly in line with estimates, easing worries of a slowdown in the outsourcing sector due to economic concerns.Third-ranked Wipro is expected to report a 0.7 percent drop in its quarterly net profit on Oct. 31.PROFIT RISESTCS, a unit of the salt-to-steel conglomerate Tata Group, said its fiscal second-quarter net profit rose to 24.39 billion rupees ($498 million) in accordance with international financial reporting standards, from 21.26 billion a year ago.Revenue rose by a quarter to 116.34 billion rupees, as it added 35 new clients in the period to take the tally to 1,010.This compares with a Reuters poll forecast of 24.77 billion rupees in profit and revenue of 117.05 billion rupees for the company, whose major clients include Citigroup , General Electric , British Airways and Sony .The company reported a 195 basis point drop in its profit margins from a year ago to 21 percent in the quarter, as the cost of hiring a large number of employees and wage hikes took their toll.But a weaker rupee, which has fallen more than 10 percent since end July after touching the 2011 high, had a positive impact of 1.7 percent on margins in the quarter for the exporter that gets more than half its revenue from the United States.Shares in TCS, valued at about $45 billion, closed down 1.2 percent at 1,120.25 rupees ahead of the result announcement in a Mumbai market that closed 0.27 percent down.


* Sees revenue run-rate reaching $100 mln next yearBy Tarmo Virki, European Technology CorrespondentOct 13 (Reuters) - Swedish startup Rebtel, the second largest mobile Internet telephony firm after Skype, expects sales to surge next year based on strong initial demand for its new application combining Internet calls and traditional calling.Venture-backed Rebtel has built a clientele of 13 million users offering cheap international calls for cellphone users, and it aims to reach $100 million annual revenue rate during next year, compared with $62 million revenue seen for 2011.It unveiled on Thursday its new application for international calls, which provides free calls between Rebtel users, and technology enabling switching between traditional voice calls and Internet calls if call quality drops too low.Rebtel says its the second largest mobile VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider after Skype, which Microsoft is buying for $8.5 billion. Internet protocol services offer free voice and video calls routed over Internet networks.Andreas Bernstrom, Rebtel’s chief executive, said the ability to use also telecom networks and allow calling to any number, including landlines or simple cellphone models, make the offering stand out among rivals.Operators have tried to block such services in some countries and Bernstrom forecast the battle for $628 billion voice calls market to continue.”We’re kind of a friend and an enemy for operators: from wholesale perspective they like us, but from consumer perspective they don’t,” Bernstrom said.Index Ventures and Benchmark Capital invested $20 million in Rebtel in 2006 and Bernstrom said there were no imminent plans to raise more capital as the firm turned profitable last year, but said this could change if launch of the new app goes well and capital markets would be better.”It might make sense to arrange Series B,” he said.


* Sees revenue run-rate reaching $100 mln next yearBy Tarmo Virki, European Technology CorrespondentOct 13 (Reuters) - Swedish startup Rebtel, the second largest mobile Internet telephony firm after Skype, expects sales to surge next year based on strong initial demand for its new application combining Internet calls and traditional calling.Venture-backed Rebtel has built a clientele of 13 million users offering cheap international calls for cellphone users, and it aims to reach $100 million annual revenue rate during next year, compared with $62 million revenue seen for 2011.It unveiled on Thursday its new application for international calls, which provides free calls between Rebtel users, and technology enabling switching between traditional voice calls and Internet calls if call quality drops too low.Rebtel says its the second largest mobile VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider after Skype, which Microsoft is buying for $8.5 billion. Internet protocol services offer free voice and video calls routed over Internet networks.Andreas Bernstrom, Rebtel’s chief executive, said the ability to use also telecom networks and allow calling to any number, including landlines or simple cellphone models, make the offering stand out among rivals.Operators have tried to block such services in some countries and Bernstrom forecast the battle for $628 billion voice calls market to continue.”We’re kind of a friend and an enemy for operators: from wholesale perspective they like us, but from consumer perspective they don’t,” Bernstrom said.Index Ventures and Benchmark Capital invested $20 million in Rebtel in 2006 and Bernstrom said there were no imminent plans to raise more capital as the firm turned profitable last year, but said this could change if launch of the new app goes well and capital markets would be better.”It might make sense to arrange Series B,” he said.


* French lfl hypermarket sales down 4.6 pct vs Rtrs poll 4 pct* Says faced with increasingly uncertain economic climate* Shares down 5 pct vs flat European retail sector (Adds CFO comments, analysts, updates shares)By Dominique VidalonPARIS, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Carrefour , Europe’s biggest retailer, issued its fourth profit warning in as many months on Thursday, adding to signs cash-strapped shoppers are cutting back and increasing doubts about its turnaround plan.The French group, battling to reverse years of underperformance in its main western European markets, said it expected 2011 operating profit to fall by up to 20 percent, compared with about 15 percent previously.Its shares, already down around 40 percent this year, were off 5 percent by 1025 GMT.The warning, coming after several strategy U-turns, is a fresh blow to the credibility of chief executive Lars Olofsson, who so far has retained the backing of the group’s powerful top shareholder Blue Capital — an alliance between French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault and U.S. investor Colony Capital.A Blue capital spokesman would not comment on recent speculation that Olofsson may be running out of time.A source close to the matter said the alliance understood the turnaround, notably in France, could not succeed overnight.In a call with analysts, new finance chief Pierre-Jean Sivignon blamed the warning mainly on worsening trading conditions in Europe, although he also flagged a drop in discretionary spending in China.European retailers are struggling in their home markets as shoppers are hit by higher prices, subdued wage growth and government austerity measures.On Wednesday, smaller French retailer Casino also reported slower growth in France but offset that with a strong performance in emerging markets.Carrefour is suffering more than most because it makes the bulk of its sales in hypermarkets, which are losing out to specialist stores in mature western European markets.It has also admitted mistakes, such as raising prices in France before rivals such as E Leclerc and Intermarche. In August it announced a new drive to cut prices.Analysts said the latest warning raised question marks over the chances of a swift recovery next year.”Despite the significant issues facing the business in France, consensus is forecasting a 17 percent bounce-back in (2012) EBIT (earnings before interest and tax),” Espirito Santo analysts said. “We are more cautious on 5 percent.”FRENCH HYPERMARKET WOESCarrefour, the world’s second-biggest retailer by sales after U.S. group Wal-Mart , said third-quarter sales edged up 0.3 percent to 22.8 billion euros ($31 billion), in line with forecasts as robust growth in Latin America barely offset weak sales in France and western Europe.Sales at French hypermarkets open at least a year dropped 4.6 percent excluding fuel, deteriorating from a 1.7 percent decline in the second quarter.That included a 9.6 percent plunge in underlying sales of discretionary non-food goods, highlighting the extent to which shoppers are cutting back on non-essential purchases.Carrefour, which makes about 40 percent of its sales in France, tied part of the decline to the initial impact of a new action plan it launched that entailed fewer promotions and more longer-term price cuts.Sivignon told analysts it was taking time for shoppers to “assimilate” the change and that process could take 18 months.Carrefour reduced its price gap with fierce rival Leclerc by one percentage point in France in the quarter, Sivignon added.Elsewhere in Europe, austerity and economic uncertainty weighed on consumer sentiment in Spain and Italy, while Belgium confirmed its rebound.Emerging markets remained sources of growth, with sales in Latin America rising 10.2 percent at constant exchange rates.But China was disappointing with an 11.2 percent drop in non-food sales, which reflected the effect of inflation on discretionary spending, new regulation prohibiting markdowns and a strong comparable basis, Sivignon said.JP Morgan Cazenove analysts said the group’s performance in countries like China and Brazil was lagging rivals like Tesco and Casino respectively.Recognising the challenges for its hypermarkets, Carrefour set out an ambitious plan to reinvent the format last year with new “Carrefour Planet” stores that drop the commitment to sell everything under one roof in favour of a smaller number of specialist areas like fresh food and baby foods.Carrefour said the roll-out was on track, but did not give an update on the first few stores, which Citi analysts said raised suspicions they were not trading as well as hoped.”If this is the case, we would see the fact that they are persisting with the rollout as concerning,” they said. ($1=0.725 Euros)


By Damir Sagolj The opinions expressed are his own Eyes from behind the mirror: a rare glimpse into the forbidden as crisis grips North Korea I walked through the mirror to see what I’ve seen before – hunger and poverty, sad eyes of those in need and politics that promise no changes for the better any time soon. I crossed into North Korea for the first time in my life to witness what should have been the distant past. I considered myself lucky; only my privileged status as an outsider prevented me from returning home the moment our plane landed and the first signs of grey reality were seen through the window of our plane. This is not the place you want to be if you don’t have a guaranteed return ticket in your pocket. I was on a trip with colleagues from Reuters Foundation’s Alertnet and two tough and experienced women from MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres). Our visit was approved, organized and tightly controlled by government officials but we would be granted rare access to rural places that the media does not visit very often, if ever. I knew it would be strictly controlled and that I would be, at moments, frustrated not to be able to photograph what I thought relevant and important. But I was determined to get the maximum out of it, no matter now little that could be. I know the eyes of malnourished children don’t lie. I know how to hear silent complaints of poor people whose empty looks say more that a thousand words. I also know that from the dark side of the mirror our world is much clearer to see, to appreciate and to be ashamed of our own problems that we often exaggerate. However, as we soon learned, the visit included rare access to collective farms, orphanages, hospitals, rural clinics, schools and nurseries where we could photograph farmers, children, orphans and at least have a glimpse into their daily life. This was my first ever trip to North Korea. But, as a teenager I spent years in the former Soviet Union and former communist block where my father worked as a correspondent so certain things I saw in North Korea were not new to me; collective farms, tightly controlled movement, streets with no advertisements, shops with very little to offer, empty roads, propaganda music and posters on every corner. But, there was also some sort of order that makes this crisis very different from the chaos we see in countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, Iraq or the Balkans. I have also worked with government officials that follow every step I make on many occasions earlier in my career – in Saddam’s Iraq, in Iran or embedded with different armies on different occasions. Only a few weeks ago, on a very different occasion with very different hosts, I had exclusive access, shot and wrote a story on ICTY, a UN war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia and its detention unit, as the first journalist ever to report from inside after it was established in 1993. That was controlled too and there were doors I could not peek behind, though it would have satisfied my curiosity and hunger for information. One can argue about the freedom of press but rules are rules in different places and if you don’t follow them, there will be no pictures and no witness report. Is the limited access better that no access? Is seeing even a small part of a big story better than only listening to those with ultimate power? In that respect, many places I have worked in are similar to hospitals we visited in Haeju where we saw just a part of it. There were not that many patients in the hospitals and when we asked why, officials would give us different reasons – one was lack of transportation. A duty doctor told us that one mother traveled 72 km (44 miles) on her bicycle to bring her sick child to the hospital. Children had purple paste on their face – Delphine, an expert from MSF traveling with us explained that it is usual – it works as an antiseptic but also makes wounds and cuts dry faster. The condition of the child I photographed, his tiny body with almost no signs of life, was powerful enough even without that visual. In the kitchen for orphans the only food prepared for the day we visited was maize and thin soup – cooks said they lacked vital ingredients for adequate nutrition. Some of the children in hospitals had their mothers next to their beds; some had younger relatives accompanying them as their parents had to work in a field. In orphanages there were kids huddled together on the floor of a very basic clinic looking straight into my camera, they eyes burnt through the lens as experts from MSF measured their upper arms, a standard test for possible signs of malnutrition. Some of the children appeared in the danger zone when a plastic bracelet was used for measurement. This meant they could die without proper treatment. Still, they just looked straight into us. There was no crying, just a “We Have Nothing to Envy” song as we left. It was very emotional and we are only humans despite all the experiences we have under our belts. Again, I escaped behind the camera to make it all look like it’s just on a screen, some distant place with only shapes and colors. I played with angles and lenses and all these things but I knew it would not work. It would just make it worse if I focused on those eyes cutting everything else in the world out of my frame. What was important I captured straight into my photos and it burned into my memory to stay there forever. In that moment, there was no wider context, no bigger picture – just the eyes of a child who might die soon because of the lack of food; unacceptable and a sad reality. I’m not a big fan of sanctions. Yes, it is high politics and it might have a long-term positive effect, all these “Milosevics and Saddams” would be gone, but what about the collateral damage when it lasts too long? What about all these children that died or are still dying from illnesses that are easily treated in the rest of the world? What about all the professors, now only pale shades of themselves, who search trash bins and containers for a piece of bread to survive? What price is not too high? The hardest aspect of this assignment, like many times in my career, was to see the children suffering knowing their status might not change before it’s too late. It is always difficult to leave a room after photographing a helpless child, weak and sick, whose life might be very short even by North Korean standards – according to the UN, North Koreans live on average 11 years less than South Koreans due mainly to malnutrition. On the professional side, I have never seen so many pictures – through the window of our bus or just walking the streets – without being able capture them as I had to follow the strict instructions from the official. But, what I managed to photograph – people struggling with food and health in the 21st century just across the border from a country that has plenty – made this trip very unique and worth taking. Knowing the nature of the regime in North Korea and how difficult it is for a reporter to work there, what we saw in the provinces was more that expected on a rare trip outside the routine coverage of military parades and mass games foreign journalist usually see in the capital. We stayed in North Korea for a week – three days in the provinces and four days in Pyongyang meeting officials and different NGOs working there. We visited South Hwaghae province and briefly crossed the provincial border to visit an orphanage in North Hwanghae. I saw golden fields and people working in them with primitive tools but only one tractor on the duration of our trip. I tried to lock eyes with people we met – it didn’t work. They rushed past our alien group back into their grey struggle for at least a decent life. Officials traveling with us insisted on the pride of Korean people as the main reason for them turning their faces from our cameras. The children are different; more open and beautiful in their innocence, unaware of what is ahead. We are the first, hopefully not the last, foreigners they ever see. Back at the hotel in Pyongyang, an impressive building from the mid-eighties when the eastern block still guaranteed not total isolation – I looked at my pictures. They were many and they were strong and I almost didn’t need to edit them. But, it was all too little to make me feel really good about my reporter’s Pyrrhic victory of scoring a rare exclusive. There was something beyond that and it had to do with understanding the pain of others, especially those from the other side of the mirror. As I left North Korea, the headlines read Steve Jobs, a visionary from Apple, had passed. It was sad news as he was a cool man that made cool things and he went away too early. The papers printed that gone is the man who changed the world – big words! It is probably not the time and I don’t want to be taken wrongly but I can’t help thinking, asking myself did he really change the world? Maybe our consumer’s world of shiny gadgets but the word and lives of millions of those who still suffer behind the mirror did not benefit much – maybe it helped us to see things quickly on glossy screens but that will not help the kid from the orphanage who has everything to envy. It is us who can change the world. Picture by picture, word by word. What about reaching hands? (View a wider selection of images in Full Focus here)