Xbox in time for Xmas
The next version of Microsoft Corp's Xbox game console will be available in the US two days before the American Thanksgiving holiday, in time for the Christmas shopping season, the company said. The Nov. 22 launch of Xbox 360 in North America will be followed by a Dec. 2 launch in Europe and a Dec. 10 launch in Japan. The releases will allow the Redmond-based software maker to get a head start over rival Sony's PlayStation 3, which is slated to replace the market-leading PlayStation 2 next spring. The Japanese unit will cost ¥37,900, or about US$345 -- slightly less than the US$399.99 the company is charging in the US, Canada and Mexico. Microsoft had previously disclosed the US price, as well as the European price of euro399.99 (US$492.55).
PetroChina plans expansion
China's largest oil and gas company, PetroChina, says it plans to spend up to 100 billion yuan (US$12.3 billion) to expand its network of oil and gas pipelines over the next five years to meet soaring demand. Much of the 15,000km of new pipelines will be located in the southwest, northwest and northeast, part of an effort to reach more end users and beef up PetroChina Co's refining business, the company said in a statement yesterday. PetroChina is the listed arm of China's largest oil and gas producer, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), with shares traded in Hong Kong and New York. The plan include a cross-border pipeline to transport crude oil to PetroChina refineries from PetroKazakhstan, which was recently acquired by CNPC for US$4.2 billion, the official China Daily cited an unnamed company official as saying.
`Friendly' robot goes on sale
Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd says their new Internet-linked robot "Wakamaru," unveiled yesterday, has a friendly personality that could make her a much-loved member of the family. "We have tried to create a robot you can have a relationship with, just like a human," said technical team leader Ken Onishi, who said that while none of her individual features are revolutionary, putting them together in one cute package was a mammoth task. Able to recognize up to 10 people and call them by name, the 1m tall Wakamaru will approach and greet family members in a gentle, feminine voice when they arrive home and offer to pass on telephone messages or read out any e-mails that may have arrived. A limited edition of 100 robots goes on sale in Tokyo today, at a cost of ¥1.575 million (US$14,260), with a monthly maintenance charge of around ¥10,000.
Nokia starts mobile e-mail
Nokia Corp is joining a suddenly crowded field of BlackBerry rivals, becoming the first major cellphone maker to weigh into the mobile e-mail market with its own brand and service. The Finnish company said the new application, Nokia Business Center, will join rather than replace the existing lineup of mobile e-mail and productivity options available on Nokia devices. Those include BlackBerry from Research in Motion Ltd, GoodLink from Good Technology Inc, and applications from Seven Networks Inc and Visto Corp. Much like those players, Nokia plans to offer the new service through wireless carriers, beginning in the fourth quarter.
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South