A Russian court on Tuesday turned down two crucial appeals by the country's largest oil producer, Yukos. One was an attempt to stop the government from collecting a US$3.4 billion tax bill and the other a request to let Yukos sell shares in a rival company to help pay the claim. \nIn its first ruling, the court, the Moscow City Court of Arbitration, rejected a request to suspend collection of the 2000 tax debt -- at least until appeals against the seizure of the company's core subsidiaries had been heard, according to the Interfax news agency. \nThe court then threw out a request that Yukos be allowed to pay part of its tax bill using shares of Sibneft. Yukos tried and failed to merge with Sibneft. Sibneft called off the deal after the Yukos chief executive, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was arrested in October. Yukos still owns 20 percent of Sibneft. \nYukos is thought to be among the targets of a Kremlin-inspired campaign to wrest power from Russia's oligarchs. \nThe company's founder and controlling shareholder, Khodorkovsky, is on trial for tax evasion and fraud charges. \nHis trial resumes today, and prosecutors said on Tuesday that they would begin introducing witnesses. \nIn the last few weeks, Yukos executives have frequently warned that with corporate bank accounts frozen and a stop order in place on selling assets, bankruptcy and production cuts could be just around the corner. \nThe authorities, meanwhile, have been looking at Yukos' tax records for years other than 2000, and analysts say the company's tax bill could balloon to US$10 billion. \nYukos supplies a fifth of all of Russia's oil, but concerns about it being cut off from the world market eased somewhat on Tuesday, after Russia's government-owned railroad said that it would export Yukos oil even if the company could not pay the freight itself. \nThe media office of Russian Railways told Interfax that even if Yukos was unable to pay for rail freight, the agency could bill the traders who sell the oil. \nThe standoff against Yukos and the Kremlin remains tense. \nIf Yukos does file for bankruptcy, its core shareholders, including Group Menatep, Khodorkovsky's investment holding company, would be at the front of the creditors' line. \nAccording to one estimate, Group Menatep at the end of the second quarter held about US$10 billion of the liabilities of the parent company, NK Yukos, up from US$7 billion at the end of the first quarter. \nThe United Financial Group, a brokerage firm partly owned by Deutsche Bank, said in a note to clients that creditors other than Menatep were owed relatively little.
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South