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Fri, Aug 04, 2006 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Banking
Travel fraud exposed

Japanese central bank employees have allegedly padded travel costs by ¥100 million (US$870,000), Kyodo News agency reported. The practice among some Bank of Japan staff members has been conducted over the last seven years, according to Dow Jones Newswires, which also reported the scandal, quoting unidentified sources close to the bank. The revelation is part of an ongoing investigation that began in January, when government auditors first discovered that Bank of Japan staff at two branches had charged too much for domestic business trips in recent years, Dow Jones said.

■ Aviation

HK to run Zhuhai airport

Hong Kong's airport has received approval from Beijing to manage Zhuhai Airport in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong under a joint venture agreement, in a move that aims to foster an integrated southern China aviation hub. The Hong Kong airport paid 198 million yuan (US$24.8 million) for a 55 percent stake in the joint venture, the Airport Authority said in a statement late on Wednesday. The Zhuhai municipal government contributed 162 million yuan. The new company, Zhuhai-Hong Kong Airport Management Co, will pay a franchise fee for the right to manage and operate Zhuhai Airport for 20 years.

■ Electronics

Ladies love gadgets: survey

A survey has found that women prefer tech gadgets like plasma televisions and iPods to more traditional luxuries like designer footwear and diamond jewelery. The Girls Gone Wired survey by women's cable television channel Oxygen Network found that 77 percent of women surveyed would prefer a new plasma television to a diamond solitaire necklace and 56 percent would opt for a new plasma TV over a weekend vacation in Florida. Oxygen CEO Geraldine Laybourne said the results showed that women have largely closed the technology gender gap with men.

■ Automobiles

Ford reports higher losses

Ford Motor Co said that its second-quarter loss was more than double what the automaker previously reported due to higher-than-expected pension costs, and added that its luxury car division will not turn a profit this year. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, Ford said it revised its loss to US$254 million, or US$0.14 per share, from the previously announced loss of US$123 million, or US$0.07 per share. That contrasts with a profit of US$946 million, or US$0.47 per share, posted in the second quarter of last year. Ford attributed the revision to an increase in full-year pension curtailment expenses to US$1.2 billion, up from its previous projection of US$1 billion.

■ Automobiles

Toyota to improve recalls

Toyota Motor Corp yesterday submitted a report to the government, pledging to improve its information system on vehicle claims and its defect-checking system. In a report, Toyota said it would keep the records on defects for 10 years, instead of the current five years, while it would keep records on defects that have led the manufacturer to consider recalls for 20 years, instead of 10 years. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport issued an instruction demanding improvement of Toyota's recall-related operations. The ministry is expected to inspect the company by the end of the year.

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