US to get more `green' SUVs
General Motors Corp and Toyota will unveil plans to introduce hybrid-electric versions of some of their sport-utility vehicles and pick-up trucks at next month's Detroit auto show, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. GM, the world's largest automaker, will announce plans to introduce hybrid systems as optional equipment across much of its line-up between 2004 and the end of the decade, according to company sources quoted by the daily. Toyota is expected to say it will launch hybrid versions of its Lexus RX300 luxury sport-utility vehicle and its Toyota Highlander before the middle of the decade. What's more, the Japanese powerhouse is considering developing hybrid versions of the Camry, one of America's best-selling family sedans, and the full-size Tundra pick-up truck, the Journal reported. Currently, American consumers who want to drive the more economical and environmentally-friendly hybrid electric vehicles have just two choices, both of them in the small car segment, Toyota's Prius and Honda's Insight.
■ High-speed Web
Sony may take stake in Usen
Sony Corp said its Internet unit may take a stake in Usen Corp's Use Communications, an owner and wholesaler of fiber-optic networks in Japan, bolstering its ability to offer high-speed Internet access. Details, including the timing and how much Sony Communication Network Corp may pay, will be decided by the end of February, said Hiroyuki Ueno, a Sony Communi-cation spokesman. Sony Communication will begin offering its customers Web access through Usen's fiber-optic network at that time. The move by Sony underscores efforts by the world's second-largest consumer-electronics maker to distinguish itself from rivals such as Korea's Samsung Electronics Co by offering products able to be linked to the Internet. Investors and analysts say it may take years for Sony's Internet investments to pay off.
■ Bank of japan
Private-sector chief wanted
The successor to the central bank governor, Masaru Hayami, should come from the private sector, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said. "It's desirable for the next Bank of Japan chief to be someone aggressive in fighting deflation," Koizumi said, speaking in a group interview with domestic media. "I want someone who knows what's happening in reality." Asked whether the Bank of Japan should adopt inflation targeting, Koizumi said the central bank should fight falling prices. "I think we, as the government, have done as much as we can on fiscal and tax policies. Given that, I think the BOJ's role in fighting deflation is quite big." He said the government and the central bank should cooperate in fighting deflation. Koizumi added that he had no plan to appoint Financial Services Minister Heizo Takenaka as the next BOJ governor.
■ Household produce
Lion to cut jobs by August
Lion Corp, Japan's fourth-largest maker of household products, said it will cut 120 jobs by Aug. 29 as part of its plan to reduce fixed expenses. The Tokyo-based company will achieve the reductions by offering early retirement to employees between the ages of 45 and 58 in March, June and August 2003, Lion said in a release after the market closed. The company will spend Japanese Yen 2.2 billion (US$18.3 million) on the reduction process next year, Domoto said.
Dignitaries from 47 countries yesterday congratulated President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on the commencement of her second term and highlighted Taiwan’s achievements in democracy and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his congratulations a day earlier. As of noon yesterday, 263 high-ranking officials from 47 countries and global organizations had congratulated Tsai via statements, letters, social media posts or recorded footage, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, while releasing a collection of footage sent by selected dignitaries. The governments of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies sent their congratulations, as did the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy,
REASSURING NUMBERS: Taiwan’s test capacity ranks sixth or seventh among 91 nations, and is not low compared with other nations, Chen Shih-chung said The quarantine period for foreigners visiting Taiwan for business would vary based on the COVID-19 situation of the nation or territory that they are coming from, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported the 13th consecutive day of no new cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told reporters at the center’s daily briefing that modified rules covering foreign business visitors had been completed and were ready for him to sign. The complete details of the new rules would be released later this week, he said. Foreigners on long business trips would have
IN PROTEST: The US’ top diplomat said the WHA had been deprived of Taiwan’s scientific expertise, while Tsai said political factors should not be put above health US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Monday condemned Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Assembly (WHA), while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday lodged a strong protest against the WHO for not inviting Taiwan. Twenty-two nations voiced support for Taiwan’s bid for participation on the first day of the assembly’s two-day virtual meeting, but despite the global community’s unprecedentedly strong support for Taiwan, it remained blocked from the assembly, with WHO member states on Monday agreeing to delay discussion on Taiwan until later this year. Pompeo, who on May 6 urged WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the WHA,
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced no new cases of COVID-19, adding that a ban on mask exports would be lifted soon under three conditions. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that 401 people from among the nation’s 440 confirmed cases have been removed from isolation. Yesterday was the 12th consecutive day that no new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Taiwan, and the 37th day of no new domestic cases. “As our local communities have gradually become safe, we should not become careless,” Chen said. “We should continue to take personal protective measures