■ TradeTaiwan gives work to China
Companies in Taiwan took almost a quarter of export orders received last month to their overseas factories for production, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing an unidentified Ministry of Economic Affairs official. Manufacturers are meeting 24.4 percent of the orders last month, a record-high level, from their overseas plants where production costs are lower than in Taiwan, the paper said. That compares with 23.9 percent in July. The government also found some major Taiwanese communications equipment companies have moved almost all their production units to China, the report said. Taiwan's export orders -- indicative of shipments in one to three months -- rose 11 percent from a year earlier to US$14.4 billion after climbing 15 percent in July, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said earlier this month. Factory production last month rose by 5.3 percent from a year earlier.
Chinese workers protest
More than 100 retired factory workers staged a silent protest outside Communist Party headquarters in Beijing yesterday, complaining about a sudden unexpected reduction in their benefits. The retirees, former employees of Beijing Synthetic Fiber Experimental Factory, have been congreg-ating at the party building every day for more than two weeks, and plan to continue doing so until their pleas are heard. "We will gather here every day," said Sun Zeshan, 60, one of the protesters. "So far, there hasn't been any response." The protesters, representing 1,645 retired workers from the factory, started assembling at the party headquarters on Sept. 11, and numbered more than 300 at the height of the protest, participants said. The protest was triggered after the factory declared bankruptcy, cutting retirement benefits by 120 yuan (US$14) a month, representing a 16 percent cut in benefits, according to the protesters.
Qantas grounds two 747s
Qantas said yesterday it has grounded two 747 jets after a crack was found in the fuselage of one of its aircraft during a regular inspection check. A Qantas spokes-woman said the airline was working with manufacturer Boeing to determine the extent of the damage. "As part of a regular heavy maintenance check we discovered some low-level damage to the fuselage of a 747-400 aircraft,'' the Qantas spokeswoman said. Qantas has 29 747-400 aircraft in service, the biggest number of jets in its fleet. Each can carry between 358 and 394 passengers. The spokes-woman did not say how many others, if any, of the 29 could be affected by future groundings due to the crack.
■ IPR protection
Man fined for `Hulk' posting
A New Jersey man who released a bootleg version of the movie The Hulk on the Internet before it opened in theaters, violating copyright law and costing Universal Pictures what it estimated to be millions of dollars in lost ticket sales, was sentenced Friday to probation and ordered to pay fines and restitution. The man, Kerry Gonzalez, of Hamilton, New Jersey, apologized in court for the misdeed, which will cost him US$5,000 in restitution to Universal, US$2,000 in fines and six months of home confinement, with three years on probation. Gonzalez, 24, pleaded guilty in June to one count of copyright infringe-ment. The tape that Gonzalez uploaded into an Internet chat room in early June was intended for use at an advertising agency.