Goh promises to step down
Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong (吳作棟) said he would be comfortable about stepping down in favor of chosen successor Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍) if the economy grew 3 percent to 4 percent, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. Goh, who has been Prime Minister since 1990, chose Deputy Prime Minister Lee in August to succeed him, saying the transition could occur before the next general election due in 2007 and possibly even next year if the economy recovered. The newspaper quoted Goh as telling reporters on Saturday he would decide after the first quarter of next year. "Political transition is on track. At the moment, I am open. I do not have any date in mind," Goh said. The government's official forecast is for GDP growth of 0.5 to 1.0 percent this year, rising to between 3 percent and 5 percent next year.
About 70 percent of business leaders believe the Japanese economy is improving, a Kyodo News survey showed. According to the survey results released late Saturday, not only was business sentiment improving but there was optimism for a full recovery next year, with 75 percent of business executives expecting the economy to moderately expand. Twenty-eight major companies, or 25 percent, of the 112 polled said the economy "remains flat" -- a sharp decline from 85 percent in a similar survey in the summer, Kyodo said. In contrast, 78 firms regarded it as "expanding moderately," with none suggesting it was "suffering a setback."
Australia-US talks planned
Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile may visit Washington late next month to complete a free-trade agreement with chief US negotiator Bob Zoellick, Sydney's Sunday Telegraph reported. Talks remain unresolved on opening US agricultural markets to more Australian exports, Australia's strict quarantine laws and on government-mandated prices charged in Australia for some US drugs, the newspaper said. Australian Prime Minister John Howard and US President George W. Bush had said they wanted to sign an agreement by the end of this year. Annual trade between the two nations was worth US$31 billion last year. A free-trade agreement may be worth US$2.7 billion in extra annual sales for Australian businesses, an Australian government report said. The US is Australia's biggest market for beef and lamb, and is a major buyer of minerals and fiber.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
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
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
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be