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Fri, Jul 29, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Airlines
United staff threaten `chaos'

About 25 United Airlines flight attendants protested at the Hong Kong Airport yesterday, threatening to hold a "chaos strike" -- a random, unannounced walkout -- over the termination of the carrier's pension plan. The airline's employees were holding similar rallies in Tokyo, London, Frankfurt, Germany and 14 US locations,Jack Kande of the Association of Flight Attendants said. "We are informing the public that we can go on chaos strike at any time without warning. We could shut down the whole system," Kande said. Some of the protesters held signs that said, "Chaos is coming to Hong Kong" and "Save our pension."

■ Aviation

China wants overseas pilots

China wants to recruit foreign airline pilots to relieve a shortage plaguing the world's fastest-growing aviation sector, official media reported yesterday. "Overseas pilots will be able to be employed by Chinese carriers after obtaining flight licenses in China," the China Daily quoted an official of the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China as saying. China's booming commercial aviation industry is taking off faster than the country can train pilots, threatening future growth and hard-won advances in air safety, China Daily said.

■ Insider trading

Businessman sentenced

High profile Australian businessman Steve Vizard was fined A$390,000 (US$292,000) and banned from serving on corporate boards for 10 years yesterday after being convicted of insider trading while a director of telecom giant Telstra. Vizard, a former entertainer and television talk-show host, had admitted using confidential information gained as a Telstra director to trade A$850,000 dollars worth of shares in technology companies in which the telco was planning to invest. Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein called Vizard's actions "dishonest and a gross breach of trust" and said the Securities and Investments Commission's recommendation for a five-year corporate ban was not sufficient.

■ Electronics

Japanese firms post losses

Japanese electronics companies led by Sony said yesterday that they plunged into the red in the three months to June as falling prices led to cutthroat competition as demand cooled. Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi, NEC and Pioneer all posted losses in the first quarter, although Matsushita and Fujitsu bucked the trend by cost-cutting and restructuring. Sony posted a net loss of ¥7.3 billion (US$65 million) compared with a net profit of ?23.3 billion in the same period last year. Matsushita's sales went down 2.6 percent and its pretax profit plummeted 17.7 percent. But the company was able to eke out growth in net profit of 1.9 percent year-on-year to ¥33.4 billion.

■ Retail

Wal-Mart now in Shanghai

Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's biggest retailer, opened a new store in China's biggest city, Shanghai, yesterday as part of a plan to double its presence in China. The new Shanghai store is owned by Wal-Mart East China Stores Co, a joint venture between US-based Wal-Mart and China's CITIC Group. The venture also operates a store in Nanjing. Wal-Mart, which has its China headquarters in the southern financial center of Shenzhen, said this week it plans to have 90 outlets in China by the end of 2006 -- up from the current 48.

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