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Morning business round-up: JAL ups profit forecast

What made the business news in Asia and Europe this morning? Here's our daily business round-up:

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Japan Airlines (JAL) has raised its forecast for full-year profits from 130bn yen ($1.7bn) to 140bn yen after releasing six-month results.

Net profit for the half year to the end of September came in at 99.7bn yen, up 2.3% from the same period last year.

JAL relisted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in September, having filed for bankruptcy in January 2010 in one of Japan's worst corporate failures.

Meanwhile, across the sea, there's good news for anyone making regular business trips to Pyongyang, as the "hotel of doom" may finally be set to open.

The 105-storey pyramid-shaped building, which dominates the skyline of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, may open next year, 26 years after construction began.

The chief executive of the Kempinski group, which will manage the Ryugyong hotel, said only 150 rooms on the top floors would be used as a hotel.

Elsewhere in Asia, the World Bank has approved an $80m grant and pledged lending for Burma, the continent's second poorest country, for the first time in 25 years.

The money will go to rural communities to build roads, bridges, schools and health clinics.

It comes after the current government began implementing economic, political and other reforms.

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In Europe, one of the continent's biggest banks, Royal Bank of Scotland, has set aside a further £400m ($645m) to cover the cost of claims for payment protection insurance (PPI) that was mis-sold as a packaged product with residential mortgages in the UK.

It takes the bank's total charges for PPI mis-selling to £1.7bn.

The figures were disclosed as RBS reported a pre-tax loss of £1.26bn for the three months to 30 September, against a £2bn profit a year earlier.

Also in the UK, governance at the Bank of England - the country's central bank - has been described as "defective" by the chairman of the parliamentary Treasury Committee following the publication of three independent reviews into the Bank's performance

The reviews, commissioned by the Bank, questioned its "centralised and hierarchical" structure, and suggested the Bank paid too little attention to possible individual bank failure in 2008.

"The decision to commission these reviews fell well short of what was required," Andrew Tyrie, the committee chairman, said.

Meanwhile, in Greece, there has been a further development in the "Lagarde list" scandal, that threatens to engulf many leading businessmen and politicians.

A journalist has been acquitted of breaching privacy for publishing the names of 2,000 suspected tax evaders from the list.

Costas Vaxevanis published a list of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, including a government minister and other prominent figures in public life.

In the latest Business Daily podcast from the BBC World Service, Robert Reich and Douglas Holtz-Eakin discuss the "game of chicken" being played out between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney over the US fiscal cliff.

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