Yao Ming sues Coca-Cola
Chinese basketball player Yao Ming (姚明) is suing Coca-Cola for one yuan (US$0.12), accusing the soft drinks giant of using his image improperly, Chinese officials and state media said yesterday. The Houston Rockets center, a spokes-man for Pepsi, demanded the immediate recall of all Coca-Cola products and promotional materials bearing his image and name, the China Business Weekly said. Yao also "demanded an open apology on nationwide media," the newspaper said. Coca-Cola said it had a contract with the Chinese Basketball Association to use the image of any athlete on the national team, including Yao. A spokes-woman said the company would not pull products carrying Yao's image.
Mazda cutting luxury line
Japanese automaker Mazda Motor will withdraw from the luxury passenger car market by stopping produc-tion of its Millenia model by the end of the year and halting sales by the end of next year, a report said yesterday. The move is designed to concentrate the company's resources on small and mid-size passen-ger vehicles and sports cars, the Nihon Keizai news-paper said. Mazda released three upmarket models in the early 1990s but at their peak sales only reached around 35,000 annually. It halted two of the models in 2000 and only 1,300 of the remaining model, the Millenia, were sold last year, the newspaper said. Mazda officials declined to com-ment on the report.
Workers return to Tianjin
Toyota Motor Corp has told 12 of its Tianjin, China-based employees who had temporarily returned to Japan to go back, as concern eases about the spread of SARS. Toyota has told the emplo-yees, who returned to Japan for pro-tection from the epidemic, to go back to China this week, according to spokes-man Shinya Matsumoto. Toyota makes Vios compact cars for the Chinese market at its plant in Tianjin.
Malaysians seize fake DVDs
Malaysian police have seized some 1.5 million copies of pirated DVDs worth more than 22.5 mil-lion ringgit (US$5.9 million) in a major raid carried out in Kuala Lumpur, local media reported yesterday. Mon-day's pre-dawn raid had crippled what is believed to be the country's biggest distributing syndicate of pirated DVDs and VCDs, a deputy police chief said. Three men in their 20s were also arrested after officers discovered the DVDs in cardboard boxes in a vacant shop lot, officials said.
Beef imports may be cut
Canada might cut some imports of Australian and New Zealand beef to help the domestic beef industry which is reeling from lost exports to several countries in the wake of the mad cow disease crisis. The question was raised in parliament on Monday by the leader of the opposition, Stephen Harper. He urged the government to "temporarily suspend the over-quota import of foreign beef and allow Canadian producers to fill the entire demand of the Canadian market."