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Tue, Jul 06, 2004 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Security
ADB sets up trust fund

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday that it has established a trust fund to help countries in the region combat terrorist financing and money laundering, as well as strengthen port security. The Cooperation Fund for Regional Trade and Finan-cial Security was set up through the initial contribu-tions of Australia, Japan and the US, the Manila-based bank said in a statement without giving figures. "The fund will support technical assistance to enhance port security, including airports, cargo ports and containers, and combat money laun-dering and terrorist financing in developing countries," it said. It would also establish "financial intelligence units and legal and supervisory regimes for anti-money laundering, and promoting the upgrade of customs security and modernization." The bank said it was seeking further contributions for the fund.

■ Trade

New US rules `a headache'

The head of Swiss-based drug giant Novartis says it's a "headache" to comply with new US corporate rules enacted in Washington in the wake of high-profile accounting scandals that shook investor confidence. "It's a real headache from the point of view of the sheer amount [of rules]," chief executive Daniel Vasella said. The latest rules come under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, passed by the US Congress after the scandals that embroiled Enron Corp, WorldCom Inc and other companies. They apply to companies listed in the US. The 66 pages of provisions require firms to document, test and certify their internal checks and balances governing all their business processes, such as payroll and accounts receivable. ``It is the nature of the beast that each time we have a scandal, regula-tion goes up. It is very tough to go down,'' he said, adding, ``I don't think we should push it further.''

■ Computers

Help for S Korea schools

Microsoft Corp plans to spend 10 billion won (US$8.7 million) over the next three years on compu-ter education at South Korean universities, the company says. The project will be implemented with the government-backed Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO), according to a statement released by Microsoft Korea. Microsoft Korea and KADO intend to supply schools with compu-ters and software in order to help standardize informa-tion technology education across the country. The company plans to spend 4 billion won this year to have computers and software in place by next June. That funding will also cover a youth volunteer team, envisioned as traveling overseas to help introduce information technology in developing countries.

■ Aviation

Cathay Pacific gearing up

Cathay Pacific Airways is building up its fleet in gearing up for the huge China market and also sees growth in Taiwan, Japan, the US and Australia, its chief operating officer said in remarks published yesterday. "The Hong Kong-China traffic is going to be really huge," Philip Chen told The Business Times. "This population base is much bigger than what European countries have," added Chen, recently named chief executive designate. Cathay Pacific is embarking on a fleet expansion to meet the growing demand for air travel within Asia, Chen said. Cathay's fleet size will reach 100 aircraft "very soon," Chen said.

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