■ German economy
Wise Men forecast deficit
The German government's so-called "Five Wise Men" panel of independent economic advisors, said yesterday they expected the German public deficit to amount to 4.1 percent of GDP this year, far more than the 3.0-percent limit allowed by the EU. Furthermore, the German deficit ratio will exceed EU limits again next year, the economic advisors predicted in their annual report published yesterday. The advisors said that their base forecast, which does not take into account the government's proposals to bring forward planned tax cuts to the beginning of next year, was for a public deficit ratio of 3.4 percent in next year.
Oracle upset by offer
Oracle Corp may drop its hostile takeover bid of PeopleSoft Inc because its rival is offering generous customer refunds if the deal goes through. Oracle filed a sternly worded court motion on Monday, demand-ing that PeopleSoft halt its "Customer Assurance Program." The program guarantees customers will receive refunds of two to five times their initial license fee -- often tens of millions of dollars or more -- if an acquiring company fails to support PeopleSoft products. Oracle criticized the program as so "draco-nian" and "unreasonable" that it could make the takeover "unfeasible." PeopleSoft began offering customers generous refunds shortly after Oracle began its takeover bid in June. Oracle said it became aware that the program could cost as much as US$800 million only on Oct. 27.
Current account surplus up
Japan's current account surplus in September jumped 37.6 percent, led by strong exports to Asia and Europe and a sharp con-traction in the services deficit, the finance ministry said yesterday. The surplus on the current account hit ¥1.59 trillion (US$14.7 billion), recording a third consecutive monthly gain, the ministry said. For the six months to September, the current account surplus rose 20 percent from a year earlier to a record ¥8.35 trillion, with the trade surplus up 0.8 percent to ¥6.03 trillion. Exports in the first half rose 5.1 percent to a record ¥25.8 trillion and imports grew 6.5 percent to ¥19.8 trillion, the ministry said. In September alone, the trade surplus was up 8.7 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.29 trillion, with exports rising 9.3 percent to ¥4.63 trillion and imports up 9.6 percent to ¥3.34 trillion.
Business fares hold steady
Business travel fares likely won't rise in Europe next year as companies switch to economy-class tickets for employees and low-cost carriers force traditional airlines to cut prices, said Andrew Buckley, an American Express vice president. "We will see more travelers going to the back of the cabin," Buckley said, citing a study by his company. He spoke at an airline conference in London. Slowing economies in Europe and a three-year slump in travel exacerbated this year by the war in Iraq and an outbreak of the SARS virus have hurt earnings at British Airways Plc and others. Low-cost carriers such as Ryanair Holdings Plc and EasyJet Plc have seen demand rise by attracting budget-conscious travellers. No-frills flights accounted for 20 percent of European travel in the eight months through August, tourism consultancy IPK Interna-tional said yesterday.
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to