■ China \nBankruptcy rules changing \nBeijing will close 2,000 money-losing state com-panies and phase out special bankruptcy rules that allowed laid-off workers to be paid before creditors, state media reported yesterday. The shutdowns, expected over the next three to five years, will be the last in China's drive to streamline its state-run sector, and the last time it invokes its policy of giving workers priority when disbursing funds from the sale of assets, newspapers and the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The announcement comes as China's legislature prepares to review a draft law on corporate bankruptcy that would remove differences in treatment for state-owned, private and foreign-invested companies. That law would ensure that all 8 million companies in the country follow standard international practice of using recovered funds to first pay back creditors, the reports said. \n■ Economy \nRising oil prices cause risk \nSharp increases in oil prices in recent months pose a risk, although a manageable one, for Asian economies as long as governments use the right policies, the Asian Development Bank said yesterday. "Asia remains particularly vulnerable to an oil shock because of its high dependence on oil imports," said the report by bank economist Park Cyn-young. Asia produces 10 percent of world crude supply but consumes 24 percent, with consumption in China and India rising, adding to the pressure on prices. Asia's increased appetite for oil "is not a temporary phenome-non," it said. It said GDP of 10 Asian nations would suffer a 0.1 percentage point reduction this year and a 0.5 to 0.6 percentage point reduction next year if oil prices remain at about US$40 a barrel. Inflation would also be higher in many of these countries particularly India, Indo-nesia, Malaysia, the Philip-pines, Singapore and Thailand. \n■ Automobiles \nBMW adapts to iPod \nApple Computer and BMW Group on Monday intro-duced an adapter that allows iPod and BMW customers to plug their music collections directly into their car sound sys-tems. The two companies worked for a year to jointly develop the system that will work in BMW's newer model 3 Series, Z4 Roadster, X3 and X5 sports utility vehicles and the Mini Cooper. Apple chief execu-tive Steve Jobs called the product a groundbreaking move -- one he hopes will lead to more integrated products between the auto industry and Apple's hot-selling iPod portable music player. Owners of iPods usually resort to third-party products to use their iPods in their cars. The BMW iPod Adapter will be available starting July 12 for 2002 to 2004 models. The Mini Cooper iPod adapters will be available later. \n■ Telecoms \nFrench, Motorola ink pact \nFrance Telecom and US equipment maker Motorola have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop and deploy inte-grated wireless services, they said in a statement on Monday. The companies will set up joint research and development teams, share research funding and intel-lectual property resulting from the collaboration."This collaboration aims at devel-oping and deploying new and innovative, integrated services, using a wide range of wireless access networks and technologies, for the home, office, car and on the move," the statement said.
UNFIT TO LEAD? The WHO head blamed Taiwan for attacks on his person and said that the nation’s bid to join had an ‘ulterior political motive,’ a report said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus should not allow politics to supersede professionalism, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said yesterday after it was reported that Tedros had complained about Internet commentary that he was pro-China and unfit to continue in his position. The Chinese-language report by Up Media on Thursday cited a source familiar with Taiwanese foreign affairs as saying that Tedros blamed Taiwan for attacks on his person and that the nation’s bid to join the WHO had an “ulterior political motive.” While Chang said he could not be certain what Tedros had said, regardless of the comments, his allegations were
‘TAIWAN MODEL’: The government aims to determine whether using normal scheduled flights better meets its objectives than the charter flights used previously The Straits Exchange Foundation yesterday announced a third set of flights to evacuate 440 Taiwanese from China’s Hubei Province due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The flights, operated by China Airlines Ltd (中華航空) according to its normal schedule, are on Sunday and Monday next week. They are to depart Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 7:50pm and arrive at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 9:50pm, the foundation said. China Airlines is to dispatch two Boeing 777. The aircraft has a capacity of 358 passengers, but each would only carry 220 to ensure a proper distance is maintained between those onboard, it said. Within hours of the foundation
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Thursday stood defiant in the face of a US$15 million bounty issued by the US for him to face drug trafficking charges, calling US President Donald Trump a “racist cowboy,” and warning that he is ready to fight by whatever means necessary should the US and Colombia dare to invade. Maduro’s bellicose remarks came hours after the US announced sweeping indictments against him and several members of his inner circle, for allegedly converting Venezuela into a criminal enterprise at the service of drug traffickers and terrorist groups. One indictment by prosecutors in New York accused Maduro and
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 17 new cases of COVID-19, bring the nation’s total number of confirmed cases to 252. Of the new cases, 15 were imported and two were locally transmitted, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said at the center’s daily news conference in Taipei. The 15 imported cases were seven women and eight men in their 20s to 60s who entered Taiwan between Monday last week and Monday this week, said Chen, who also heads the center. Prior to the onset of their illness, they had traveled to the US, the UK, New Zealand, Spain,