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Wed, Sep 07, 2005 - Page 12 News List

World Business Quick Take


■ Japan
Toyota keeps eyes glued

Japanese automaker Toyota has developed a safety technology that it says will keep the driver's eyes on the road. An image-processing computer system developed by Toyota Motor Corp and a Toyota affiliate uses a camera near the steering wheel to detect when the driver stops looking straight ahead. The system flashes a light on the dashboard display and emits a beeping noise when the eyes start to wander. If the driver still doesn't respond, brakes kick in, Toyota said yesterday. The feature will be offered in Lexus luxury models set to be sold in Japan in spring next year.

■ South Korea

Roh calls for integration

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun called yesterday for efforts to integrate the Asia-Pacific economies, saying it will bring a "brighter future" for the region. Roh made the remark at the opening ceremony of this year's meeting of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council in Seoul which wraps up today. He said seeking a regional economic bloc like the EU and the North American Free Trade Agreement would be "far more efficient" than pursuing individual free-trade agreements between countries. "There is much to be done for the sake of a brighter future for the Asia-Pacific region," Roh told the forum, according to prepared comments provided by his office. "Compared with the EU and the NAFTA, the level of economic integration is still low."

■ Hong Kong

BA fined for rights violation

British Airways PLC has been fined HK$5,000 (US$641) after pleading guilty to violating the labor rights of the head of its Hong Kong cabin crew union, officials said yesterday. In the first successful prosecution of its kind in Hong Kong, the airline pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of preventing or deterring union leader Carol Ng from exercising her labor rights under Hong Kong laws, judiciary spokesman Mackenzie Mak said. The airline allegedly "informally monitored" Ng and issued written and verbal warnings to her last August in an attempt to deter her from taking part in union activities, according to a Labor Department summons. British Airways said it accepted the court ruling and felt "comfortable that this low fine reflects the seriousness of the case."

■ Hong Kong

Disneyland mulls long hours

Hong Kong Disneyland said yesterday it is considering extending opening hours and adding more shows as the territory's Financial Secretary expressed concern about the large crowds and long lines when the park is operating at its capacity. "The queues are really long," when the park is filled to its capacity of 30,000 people, financial secretary Henry Tang said late on Monday. "We don't want tourists to think it's a downer to have to queue up for so long," Tang said. The park officially opens next Monday, but it has already been receiving guests on a number of rehearsal days. The park has been open from 10am to up to 9pm during the rehearsal days. Hong Kong Disneyland is expected to draw 5.6 million people in its first year of operation, with mainland Chinese tourists accounting for about a third of that number.

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