■ CopyrightLawsuit threat over arrest
A businessman arrested for alleged copyright infringement at a shoe fair in Dusseldorf is to sue the German government over his ordeal, a news report said yesterday. Michael Ho was dragged away from his stand at the International Dusseldorf Shoe Fair earlier this month and accused of infringing the copyright of sports shoe manufacturer Puma. Ho claims he was stripped and interrogated before being released on bail. No charges have been laid against him and Ho said he was given no details of his alleged offence. After arriving back in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Ho's wife, Lo Yee-wah, said her husband would sue the German government for lost business as a result of his ordeal, according to the Hong Kong Standard.
Bagels, taxes used as bait
New York is using better bagels and tax breaks in its fight to keep motion picture production in the Big Apple. The lure worked for Mel Brooks, who announced on Tuesday that the film version of his Broadway hit musical The Producers, would become the first major project filmed at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn, a massive complex that has also benefited from subsidies. Brooks, flanked by politicians and studio executives, said, "without tax breaks, the horrible truth is this movie would have been made in Kabul or wherever the cheapest place in the world was to shoot the movie." Governor George Pataki signed a bill that would provide a tax credit of up to 15 percent to film and television companies that complete 75 percent of a production in New York.
■ Delivery service
Deutsche Post delays target
Deutsche Post, the semi-privatized German postal authority, said yesterday it was shifting the break-even target for Express Americas, the US arm of its DHL express delivery unit, to 2006 instead of 2005 after deciding to invest more in the region. "We will increase spending on improving our infra-structure, marketing and service quality in a move that will shift the break-even target for Express Americas to 2006," Deutsche Post said. "The additional expenditures underline our long-term commitment to the key US market," where Express Americas competes with market leaders Fedex and UPS. As a result of the increased spending, Express Americas was now expected to run up a loss of 500 million euros (US$615 million) this year, wider than the 300 million euros originally envisaged. "And in 2005, a loss of as much as 300 million euros can also be expected," Deutsche Post said.
■ US economy
Consumer confidence down
Job worries helped push consumer confidence down in the US in September for the second consecutive month, a New York-based private research group said on Tuesday. The Consumer Confidence Index fell 1.9 points to 96.8 from a revised reading of 98.7 last month, according to The Conference Board. "The recent declines in the index were caused primarily by a deterioration in consumers' assessment of employment conditions," said Lynn Franco, director of the organization's Consumer Research Center. "Soft labor market conditions have clearly taken a toll on consumer confidence." Those anticipating conditions to worsen in the next six months increased to 9.4 percent from 8.8 percent. But those expecting business conditions to improve increased to 21.4 percent from 20.2 percent last month.