Sun, Dec 05, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ CorruptionHK executive arrested

The chairman of a Hong Kong listed company and one of China's richest men will appear in court on Thursday on charges of stealing company cheques worth US$6.2 million. Stephen Wong Wang-sang, 48, the chairman of television-maker Skyworth Digital, was one of 15 people arrested by corruption officers over the misappropriation of company funds. Wong was recently ranked by Forbes Magazine as China's 31st richest man with a net worth of about US$270 million. He is jointly charged with conspiracy to steal along with his executive director, Wong Pui-sing, 37. Both will appear in Eastern Magistrates Court on Thursday. A former executive director of Skyworth Digital was also among those arrested in the investigation by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption.

■ Internet

Lycos suspends spam-killer

The Web portal Lycos Europe on Friday terminated a spam-fighting campaign that had been criticized as a breach of Internet civility. The decision follows complaints from security experts that Lycos was acting as a vigilante and could potentially harm legitimate Web sites by distributing a screensaver program that aims to overwhelm what Lycos defines as spam servers. Lycos spokesman Kay Oberbeck said the "Make Love, Not Spam" campaign was always meant to be temporary. He said Lycos decided to stop it solely because the company felt satisfied the program had managed to raise awareness and spark discussion. About 100,000 people had down-loaded the free screensaver. When a computer running the screensaver was idle, the program sent bogus traffic to alleged spam sites designated by Lycos, increasing band-width costs for the sites' operators.

■ Fast food

Better McDonald's promised

McDonald's Corp's new chief executive, Jim Skinner, pledged on Friday to maintain and even accelerate the fast-food giant's recent resurgence with more new products and a continuing focus on restaurant operations. Speaking publicly for the first time since succeeding the ailing Charlie Bell last week, Skinner emphasized that "changing leadership does not mean changing strategy." He told reporters he will carry on with existing initiatives aimed at making McDonald's "better, not just bigger." Skinner, 60, acknowledged mixed emotions because of the circumstances that elevated him to the top job after 33 years with the company. He was vice chairman until Bell stepped down on Nov. 29 to devote his energy to fighting colon cancer. Bell was diagnosed with cancer just two weeks after succeeding Jim Cantalupo, who died on the job of a heart attack in April.

■ Communications

Intelsat recovers satellite

Intelsat said on Friday it had regained control of a communications satellite whose failure had threatened the planned US$3.1 billion sale of the satellite operator. Although testing of the satellite's capabilities was ongoing, operations had been restored on a portion of the satellite's transponders and service was expected to be restored to several key customers by the end of the day, the company said. Service from the Americas-7 satellite was lost following a sudden "electrical distribution anomaly." The satellite provides service to North America, Alaska, Hawaii and parts of South America. Intelsat, which wasn't insured for the loss, said it made other satellites available to most of its customers.

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