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Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Airlines

Cathay to hire 1,550 people

Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific said yesterday it will create 1,550 jobs as it resumes cargo flights to China's commercial hub of Shanghai at the end of the month after a 15-year absence. "It's part of our expansion. We have launched new routes and have more new planes. The company is growing," a company spokeswoman said. With nine new aircraft scheduled for delivery this year, Cathay Pacific said it will employ 1,550 more staff with most of them cabin crew, and the remainder pilots and ground staff. The company regained the rights for the Shanghai route after the government awarded it 12 weekly cargo flights under a Sino-Hong Kong aviation pact agreed last year.

■ Macroeconomics

China lowers money target

China's central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan (周小川) said yesterday it has set a money supply growth target of 15 percent for this year, down from the 17 percent target last year. M2, the broad measure of money supply, is estimated to come in at 14.5 percent for last year, a statement on the bank's Web site said. The People's Bank of China has said the new loan target for this year stood at 2.5 trillion yuan (US$300 billion), compared with 2.2 trillion yuan last year. M1, the narrow measure of money supply, is expected to grow 15 percent this year. M1 was up 13.8 percent year-on-year at the end of November.

■ Pharmaceuticals

Bristol to sell OTC line

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is in talks to sell its consumer over-the-counter (OTC) drug line, which includes pain relievers Excedrin and Bufferin, cold medicine Comtrex and Keri lotions. The pharmaceutical giant, which has struggled to restructure in the face of lost patents on key drugs, is working to shed non-core consumer products as it focuses on drugs to treat and prevent disease, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday on their Web sites, citing people familiar with the discussions. The Times said UK-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc and some private equity firms were said to be interested in the unit.

■ Transport

Motorcycles to get airbags

Japan's Honda Motor has launched research into developing the first safety airbags that could be mounted on motorcycles, a report said yesterday. Japan's nation's largest motorcycle manufacturer aims to commercialize motorcycle airbags in about three years, the mass-circulation Yomiuri Shimbun said without citing sources. Honda plans to develop an airbag that will fit under the handlebars and protect the driver from the head to lower back when it is opened in the event of an accident, it said. No immediate comment was available from Honda.

■ Services

New Year girlfriends to rent

Agencies in China's Chengdu City are offering rented girlfriends to bach-elors who need someone to show off to relatives during the upcoming Lunar New Year, state press said yesterday. "Love agencies are springing up in Chengdu offering an invaluable service for those men whose parents are nagging them to settle down," the China West Metropolitan News reported. A hired girlfriend can cost as much as 300 yuan (US$36) a day, the paper said, a third of an ordinary worker's monthly salary in China.

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