Unpaid leave for Dragonair
Hong Kong's Dragon Airlines Ltd has asked its 2,800 workers to take four weeks' unpaid leave between next month and September to trim costs as concern about SARS, keeps travelers at home. "A special leave scheme, applicable to all staff, has been announced," Dragon-air said in a statement. "Under the scheme, Dragon-air is seeking the support of all its staff in taking four weeks' unpaid leave over a four month period." The airline earns most of its profit from services to China. The carrier has cut scheduled flights by 64 percent since mid-March because of SARS, sus-pending 10 of its 29 routes. Dragonair is losing US$1 million a day, flying with as few as 700 passengers daily, compared with as many as 13,000 a day on average at this time of year, the South China Morning Post reported last week. The company declined to confirm the numbers.
White House backs dollar
The White House on Monday reiterated its support for a strong dollar after US Secretary of the Treasury John Snow hinted over the weekend that a weaker currency might help boost US exports. "There's no change in dollar policy," spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters as President George W. Bush headed to Omaha, Nebraska, to tout his tax-cut plan. "The government continues to support a strong dollar," Fleischer said. The euro soared above US$1.16 for the first time since 1999 after Snow's comments, but settled back to US$1.1541 from US$1.1489 in New York on Friday. The dollar stood at ?117, down from ?117.18 on Friday. Snow's comment in an interview over the weekend that the declining US currency has effectively helped the coun-try's exports provided fuel for the rally against the dollar.
Trade shows cancelled
Two major trade shows have been cancelled because of the SARS outbreak in Singapore, dealing another blow to the already beleaguered airline, hotel and tourism related sectors, organizers said yesterday. Semicon Singa-pore 2003, Southeast Asia's biggest exposition for semiconductor manufac-turing technology, and Tax Free World Association (TFWA) Asia Pacific, an event for the duty-free and travel retail industry, have fallen victim to the outbreak even though the situation is stabilizing here. More than 10,000 visitors from more than 30 countries attended the Semicon show last year.
Man settles SEC suit
A man accused of sending out as many as 1 billion "spam" e-mail messages agreed to pay US$107,510 to settle charges with US stock market regulators, officials said Monday. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said K.C. Smith, a 20-year-old Kentucky resident, agreed to the settlement of charges that he illegally promoted some investment schemes as government-guaranteed. An SEC complaint alleges that Smith "created Web sites for two fictitious investment opportunities ... offering double-digit monthly returns on investments purportedly insured by the `United States Deposit Insurance Corporation' or `USDIC,' another entity invented by Smith." The SEC said that none of the money Smith raised through the sites was invested and none of it was insured. Smith used the money to pay his personal expenses.