■ Economics Fewer rules the better \n \nFewer business rules lead to more efficient economies, the Wall Street Journal said, citing a World Bank study on the costs of business development in 130 coun-tries. The Doing Business report studies the costs of registering a company, get-ting credit, hiring and firing workers, enforcing con-tracts and working through bankruptcy courts, the paper said. The most effi-cient economies and least regulated countries include the UK, the US, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore, it said. Too much regulation in much of Africa, Latin America and the former Soviet Union stifled production, the paper said. Govern-ments in those countries need to focus on protecting property rights, the Journal said. Legal systems that enable com-panies to collect debts are the biggest factor in attract-ing business to a country, the paper said, citing the co-author of the report. Countries with slow debt-collecting systems include Brazil, Guatemala and Burundi, the Journal said. \n \n■ Semiconductors \nIntel cuts chip prices \n \nIntel Corp slashed prices by as much as 34 percent for processors that enable laptop computers to make wireless connections to the Internet. The 1.7-Ghz Mobile Intel Pentium M chip was cut to US$423 each from US$637 in batches of 1,000, the company said on its Web site. The price of Intel's Centrino chips fell as much as 30 percent to US$497 apiece from US$713 per 1,000. Laptops using Cen-trino are designed to con-sume less power and auto-matically connect to the Internet through wireless networks. Intel regularly cuts prices to boost demand for older chips as it devel-ops less costly manufac-turing methods and intro-duces higher-performing products. \n \n■ Internet \nMicrosoft adjusts programs \n \nMicrosoft Corp said it will make ``modest'' changes to its Windows operating system and Internet Explorer browser because of a patent violation. The move is a response to an August verdict that Micro-soft violated a patent held by Eolas Technologies Inc, the company said in a state-ment. Microsoft intends to appeal the ruling once it's been made final, spokesman Mark Murray said. Taking steps to remove the dis-puted technology from its software may limit the additional royalties Micro-soft might have to pay, should the judge agree to Eolas's request to extend the royalties to include sales beyond September 2001. The jury awarded Eolas US$521 million, or US$1.47 for each of copy of Internet Explorer sold between Nov-ember 1998 and September 2001. \n \n■ Computers \nIBM adds laptop sensor \n \nInternational Business Machines Corp added an air bag-like motion-detection system to some new laptops to help protect information on disk drives if the machines are dropped. The ThinkPad models, which went on sale yesterday, have a chip that senses motion acceleration. The chip sends a command to the disk drive, which secures the write-record head and prevents it from crashing into the disks that hold information, IBM said. IBM is the first to use this type of motion-detection in com-puters, analysts said. Disk-drive heads fly about a millionth of an inch above the surface of the disks, which spin as much as 7,200 revolutions per minute as they hold data, making the devices especially sensitive to shocks.
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
‘HEROIC’: A lack of personal protective equipment has led to high infection rates among health workers in places like Spain and Italy, a nurses’ association said More equipment is needed to protect the world’s nurses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives, the head of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said. “They are heroic. I think there is no other way to describe what they are doing at this moment,” said Howard Catton, a British nurse who is the council’s CEO. Infection rates of 9 percent and 12 to 14 percent have been reported among health workers in Italy and Spain respectively, he said, adding that nurses have died in the two nations, as well as Iran and Indonesia. “We have no doubt
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo