■ Banking HSBC to buy Korean bank \n \nGlobal banking giant HSBC has agreed to buy Korea First Bank in a deal which will put the British bank in competition with its US rival Citigroup in the world's 11th largest economy, a source said yesterday. US invest-ment fund Newbridge Capital plans to sell its entire 48.56 percent stake in Korea First Bank (KFB) to HSBC Holdings PLC, the source close to the deal said. KFB, the country's eighth-largest lender with 47 trillion won (US$45 billion) in assets, has held a board meeting "to approve the proposed transfer of management control to HSBC," the source said. KFB confirmed the board meeting was held but indicated the deal could be delayed. \n \n■ Automakers \nGlobal production rises \n \nJapan's top three automakers Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co said yesterday that global production rose sharply in November on the back of strong overseas demand. Worldwide output by Japan's biggest automaker, Toyota, rose 16.3 percent year-on-year to 613,643 vehicles, while that of rival Nissan rose 9.9 percent to 274,735. "Strong overseas demand supported our worldwide production. In particular, demand in China and Indonesia was growing fast," a spokesman for Toyota said. Nissan said brisk demand in the US and Mexico had boosted its global output last month. Japan's third-largest automaker, Honda, said its global output last month grew 12.8 percent to 278,676 units. However, scandal-hit Mitsubishi Motors said its worldwide output last month fell 4.2 percent to 112,877, marking the 19th consecutive year-on-year decline. \n \n■ Airlines \nFlight rights formalized \n \nTransport ministers from Singapore, Thailand and Brunei are slated to sign a deal on Monday to liberalize airline passenger traffic between the three countries, a newspaper reported yesterday. The deal, to be inked at a ceremony in Bangkok, formalizes rights that airlines from the three already have -- allowing them to operate an unlimited number of passenger services on any route between the countries -- the Straits Times newspaper said. It was confirmed yesterday by a spokesperson from Singapore's transport ministry. Officials hope the multilateral pact will spur other Southeast Asian states toward similar deals, the report said. "It establishes a useful framework for ASEAN to liberalize its passenger services eventually," a spokesman for Singapore's transport ministry was quoted as saying. \n \n■ Automakers \nGM, VW to recall vehicles \n \nGeneral Motors Corp, the world's largest automaker, will recall 717,302 minivans in the US because a power sliding door may injure passengers. Volkswagen AG is recalling as many as 350,000 Jetta, Golf and GTI cars to fix faulty lighting switches. The General Motors recall affects 1997 to 2005 Chevrolet Ventures, 1997 to 2004 Oldsmobile Silhouettes and 1997 to 2005 Pontiac Trans Sport and Montana models, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its Web site. Volkswagen is recalling 2000 through 2002 cars to replace switches that may burn out and cause turn signals and flashers to fail, NHTSA said. Passengers in the General Motors models can injure their lower arms against a seat backrest if they don't let go of the power sliding door's handle as it moves backward, the agency said.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We