■ Computers \nConnors departs Microsoft \nMicrosoft Corp chief finan-cial officer John Connors is leaving to join venture capi-tal firm Ignition Partners LLC. Microsoft has yet to name a replacement, the company said in a statement on Tuesday. Connors, a 16-year Microsoft veteran and finance chief for five years, orchestrated last year's US$75 billion payment to shareholders through a one-time payment, stock buy-backs and a higher divi-dend. On his watch, annual sales almost doubled to US$36.8 billion in the year ended in June and cash and short-term investments surged to US$64.4 billion. \n■ Finances \nHK floats sales tax idea \nHong Kong's government plans to propose a new sales tax in the next few months as a way to raise revenues to help plug its budget deficit, the Hong Kong Economic Journal newspaper reported yes-terday. Financial Secretary Henry Tang (唐英年) will reveal details of the new tax in his March budget and the government will begin consulting the public in April or May, the paper said. Last fiscal year, the territory recorded a budget deficit of HK$40.1 billion (US$5.2 billion). Activists and small businesses have already voiced opposition to a new sales tax, which they said would mostly affect the poor and drive up costs. \n■ IPR \nWeb-site operators cleared \nA South Korean appeals court yesterday acquitted the operators of a Korean-language Web site that allows users to share songs free of charge. Yang Jung-hwan, 31, and his bother, Il-hwan, 35, created Soribada, South Korea's most popular music-swapping Web site, in 2000. Prosecutors indicted them in 2001 on charges of aiding and condoning copy-right violations, a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. An appeals panel at the Seoul Central District Court said those who download songs through Web sites such as Soribada violate copy rights but the Yangs should not be held responsible for copy right infringements that took place on Soribada. \n■ Accounting \nChinese audit finds errors \nAn official audit of 181 Chinese state-owned enter-prises (SOEs) found that 120 submitted incomplete financial information, while 13 falsified records outright, state press reported yester-day. "The key trouble-makers are financial intermediaries," Xinhua news quoted Meng Jianmin, an official with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Com-mission, as saying. "The 181 SOEs have hired more than 300 such institutions to operate their financial busi-nesses and a great propor-tion of these intermediaries are actually not [meeting] their duties," Meng said at a recent accountancy asso-ciation meeting. "Some are even helping the SOEs to conceal facts." \n■ Entertainment \nDisney eyes video games \nWalt Disney Co said it's considering an expansion in the video-game business. "A growth business we need to look at is video games," Dis-ney president Robert Iger said on Tuesday at a confer-ence in Phoenix. Disney is developing games that carry Disney, ESPN and non-Disney brands for current game consoles. It's also targeting portable handheld devices and online games, he said. "I'm not suggesting a major acquisition of a publisher is imminent," Iger said. "But we're looking at a variety of opportunities, primarily at the developer level."
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
‘BASELESS ACCUSATIONS’: Ker Chien-ming said it was not possible to drop Chen Chu’s nomination, while KMT lawmakers accused their DPP rivals of ‘homicidal behavior’ The Legislative Yuan is to vote on President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nominations for the Control Yuan on July 17 after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators regained access to the legislative chamber yesterday after it was occupied by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers for about 19 hours. The Legislative Yuan had been scheduled to meet yesterday morning to discuss its planned extraordinary session, but more than 20 KMT lawmakers on Sunday afternoon broke into the main chamber and occupied the legislative speaker’s podium to protest Tsai’s nomination of former Presidential Office secretary-general Chen Chu (陳菊) to be Control Yuan president. The KMT caucus