More Wal-Marts unionize
Employees at two more Wal-Mart stores in China have formed unions, raising the number to four amid efforts by labor officials to have the US retailing giant's 60 Chinese outlets unionized, an official newspaper said yesterday. Employees at Wal-Mart Stores Inc outlets in Nanjing and Shenzhen voted at the weekend to form unions, the Workers' Daily said. Wal-Mart workers in Quanzhou voted last week to form the company's first union in China. Employees at another store in Shenzhen also voted on Saturday to unionize. The union votes followed a lobbying campaign by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, the umbrella group for unions permitted by the communist government. The group had accused Wal-Mart of blocking efforts to organize its employees. Wal-Mart has few unions elsewhere in its worldwide operations.
Japan Airlines trims losses
Asia's largest carrier said yesterday it trimmed net losses in the three months to June to ¥26.7 billion (US$232 million) from ¥38.3 billion a year earlier because of a recovery in demand for travel to China. Japan Airlines, which has been slashing international routes, said its revenue rose by 3.7 percent to ¥522.2 billion, with international passenger revenue going up by 5.2 percent during the period. In international routes, "demand on China routes bounced back, making a remarkable recovery from the negative impact that last year's anti-Japanese demonstrations had on travel to China," Japan Airlines said in a statement. For the first quarter to June, however, Japan Airlines booked an operating loss of ¥31.9 billion, almost unchanged from the ¥32 billion loss the previous year, and recurring loss of ¥35.5 billion, a slight improvement from the ¥37.4 billion loss a year earlier.
Keppel secures rig contract
Singapore's Keppel Group said yesterday that it had secured a US$270 million contract to build an offshore oil drilling rig for a Brazilian firm. This is the first time that Keppel, the world's biggest maker of offshore oil rigs, is building a drilling rig for Brazil, Keppel said in a statement. The semi-submersible rig, to be designed and built by Keppel Offshore and Marine, will be delivered to the privately owned Brazilian drilling contractor Queiroz Galvao Perfuracoes in the third quarter of 2009. "The new contract represents a milestone in the deepening confidence of Brazilian contractors and operators in Keppel's ability to deliver quality products and services on time and on budget," said Keppel Offshore and Marine managing director Tong Chong Heong. Tong said the rig will follow an "innovative and highly cost-effective new design" to meet operational requirements for deepwater exploration in the "Golden Triangle" region, comprising Brazil, Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. This region accounts for 85 percent of the world's deepwater exploration and production expenditures over the next five years.
Gates interview faked
A Norwegian journalist has admitted he fabricated interviews with Microsoft Corp co-founder Bill Gates and US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, media reports said yesterday. Freelance writer Bjoern Benkow said in a statement that the interviews, published in Norwegian and Swedish media, were partially concocted because of financial "desperation," newspaper Verdens Gang reported.