■ McDonald's \nMcKids clothes expanding \nUS fast food giant Mcdonald's said yesterday it had tied up with apparel company Shanghai Longtrust Trade to sell its new McKids clothing line in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea. Shanghai Longtrust would be responsible for the design, manufacture, distribution and promotion of clothing, accessories and footwear in those markets, Mcdonald's said in statement. Mcdonald's first introduced the McKids line in 1987 and has expanded it to cover footwear, toys, games, videos, music, books and other products. McKids products are already on sale in Shanghai, and would be available in the US, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan and western Europe early next year, it said. The company has some 600 fast food outlets in China and plans to nearly double those by 2008 in time for the Olympic Games in Beijing. \n■ Currency \nIMF supports ringgit peg \nThe International Monetary Fund sees no need for Malaysia to consider dropping the fixed exchange rate it imposed six years ago during the Asian financial crisis, backing up the stance of new Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. But this Southeast Asian country could benefit from greater exchange rate flexibility in the future, the IMF said in an annual report released Wednesday in Washington. Despite following the dollar in a sizable depreciation over the past 18 months, "the ringgit exchange rate does not appear to be substantially misaligned" and its real effective exchange rate "remains close to its long-term trend," the report said. Speculation mounted after Abdullah took office five months ago that he would loosen the ringgit's peg of 3.8 to the US dollar, a level fixed in 1998 by then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. \n■ US Economy \nJobs, deficit greatest fears \nThe jobs drought and a massive budget shortfall present the gravest immediate threats to the US economy, top business economists said in a survey released yesterday. Both unemployment and the deficit topped the list of short-term risks, each picked by 25 percent of a panel of 203 members of the National Association of Business Economists (NABE). Terrorism was selected as the biggest threat by 19 percent of respondents, it said. The US economy churned out a meager 21,000 jobs in February, government data showed, meaning the nation has gone through a record 44 months without a single month of job creation exceeding 250,000. The unemployment rate was stuck at 5.6 percent. \n■ Aircraft \nAirbus targets China market \nEuropean aircraft manufacturer Airbus estimates China will buy up to 1,500 planes over the next 20 years and hopes to grab a 50 percent market share, state press reported yesterday. As the Chinese economy continues its rapid expansion, the largest demand will be for 100- to 200-seat planes such as the company's A320 model, Olivier Andries, an Airbus senior vice-president told the China Daily. "There is no doubt that the Airbus share of Chinese fleets can be expanded from today's 30 percent to 50 percent in future years," Andries said. In January, Airbus estimated it aims to sell more than 800 aircraft to China over the next 20 years, with the rest being supplied by Boeing.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
‘BASELESS ACCUSATIONS’: Ker Chien-ming said it was not possible to drop Chen Chu’s nomination, while KMT lawmakers accused their DPP rivals of ‘homicidal behavior’ The Legislative Yuan is to vote on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nominations for the Control Yuan on July 17 after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators regained access to the legislative chamber yesterday after it was occupied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers for about 19 hours. The Legislative Yuan had been scheduled to meet yesterday morning to discuss its planned extraordinary session, but more than 20 KMT lawmakers on Sunday afternoon broke into the main chamber and occupied the legislative speaker’s podium to protest Tsai’s nomination of former Presidential Office secretary-general Chen Chu (陳菊) to be Control Yuan president. The KMT caucus