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Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Aerospace
Boeing, Hughes pinched

Boeing Co, the world's biggest satellite maker, and Hughes Electronics Corp will pay a US$32 million fine for sharing rocket and missile technology with China without the US government's permission. "The companies accept full responsibility and express regret for not having obtained licenses," they said in a statement. Hughes, which sold its satellite unit to Boeing in 2000, illegally gave China information to help it determine causes of two failed rocket launches in 1995 and 1996, the US State Department said. Such help to China or other nations could "have a negative impact on national security," the companies said in a statement. Analysts said the technology can be used to make intercontinental missiles. By settling the case, Boeing avoided being penalized with export restrictions that could have lasted for as many as three years and cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.

■ Software

Computers to be merged

Japan is set to launch a consortium in April, including high-tech giants Fujitsu, Hitachi and NEC to develop software to merge the computing power of thousands of PCs, an official said yesterday. The three-year project will cost around ?15 billion (US$127 million), with half of the budget shouldered by the government, said Hiroyuki Kazama from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. "The government wants to support the development of this technological trend," Kazama said. "It may create business models that have never existed before in Japan." Some ?2.8 billion has already been included in the government's budget for the year to March 2004, which has passed the lower house of parliament and is waiting for upper house approval.

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