■ MacroeconomicsNo hard landing for China
US Treasury Secretary John Snow predicted Friday that China would avoid a "hard landing" as it tried to bring soaring growth back to Earth. But, in an interview with CNBC television, he also renewed a call for Beijing to loosen the yuan-dollar peg. "There has been overheating in the Chinese economy," the chief US economic policymaker said. The Chinese authorities were trying to dampen inflationary pressures without slowing growth so far that the economy no longer produced a lot of jobs, Snow said. "It is a difficult thing to do. I think they will be successful in avoiding the so-called hard landing," the treasury secretary said. "But, again, the procedures and processes being used to slow the economy down don't include something that we think should be there, and that is reliance on greater flexibility in the yuan."
UN corruption probe widens
Exxon Mobil Corp and ChevronTexaco Corp confirmed Friday that they have been subpoenaed for records related to a United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York is investigating alleged improprieties in the program. A spokeswoman for Exxon Mobil said the subpoena covered only documents related to the program and did not accuse the Irving-based oil giant of wrongdoing. "We are in receipt of the subpoena, and we are responding accordingly," said the spokeswoman, Prem Nair. "We follow all laws and regulations." Exxon Mobil declined to comment further on the subpoena or say exactly when it received the subpoena.
Carmaker orders recall
A Chinese joint venture with Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co has ordered the recall of more than 70,000 cars because of potential fuel tank problems, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The recall covers 70,240 Honda Accord sedans produced by Guangzhou Honda Automobile Co Ltd in southern China between Jan. 15, 2003, and Oct. 29, 2003, Xinhua said. They will be inspected beginning Monday for welding cracks in fuel tanks, it said. So far, no accidents have occurred because of the defect, which road tests have found was aggravated when the car travels at high speeds on rough roads, Xinhua said Friday.
Transfer speed record set
US telecom group Sprint and a Swedish partner said Friday they set a new world speed record of data transport over the Internet of 4.23 gigabits per second. "This result is almost three times better than the current record listed in the 2004 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records," Sprint said in a statement. "For Internet users whose need for speed is a priority, this feat would be equal to streaming 600 full-length movies simultaneously out to movie theaters," said Chase Cotton, director of data systems engineering for Sprint. Sprint said its engineers and a team from the Swedish National Research and Education Network (SUNET) in April sent nearly 840 gigabytes of data from a computer in San Jose, California, roughly halfway around the globe to associates at another PC at the University of Lulea in northern Sweden in under 27 minutes. The data traveled across Sprint's Internet backbone and the SUNET network at 4.23 gigabits per second "using commercial networks and commonly available computer networking hardware."