Holiday travel predictions
Chinese authorities expect tourists to take 2.2 billion trips over the Lunar New Year holiday in February, a news report said yesterday. Tourists are expected to take nearly 2 billion trips by road during the 40-day travel season that begins Feb. 3, the Xinhua news agency said, citing the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's main planning agency. Travelers will take 155 million trips by train and more than 19 million by air, Xinhua said.
Carmaker chiefs meet
Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp confirmed that Chairman Fujio Cho met Ford Motor Co President and CEO Alan Mulally in the wake of media reports of talks last week in Tokyo, a company spokeswoman said yesterday. Toyota spokeswoman Yasue Kato said Cho and Mulally "met and exchanged greetings," but refused to offer any further details, including when and where the talks took place. The meeting was held at Ford's request, the Kyodo news agency said yesterday, citing an unidentified Toyota official. The talks appear to have focused on how the two companies can strengthen cooperation in environmental technology, Kyodo and the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.
New DRAM chip released
Samsung Electronics Co said yesterday it has developed a new mobile memory chip that is thinner and uses less power than its predecessor. The 1-gigabit mobile DRAM is at least 20 percent thinner than the existing product, which stacks up two 512-megabit chips and uses about 30 percent less power than the predecessor, Samsung said in a release. The new product can be used for a wide range of advanced handset applications as well as for digital still cameras, portable media players and portable gaming products, the company said. "Samsung plans to mass produce the new device beginning in the second quarter of 2007," the company said.
Essar to buy partners
India's Essar group, which owns a 33 percent stake in mobile phone firm Hutchison Essar, has offered to buy out its partners in the company, a report said yesterday. The Essar group has the first rights to buy the 52 percent stake owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa. The remaining 15 percent is held by two individuals. Analysts said the company is worth approximately US$15 billion. The Essar group made the offer through its advisors, Morgan Stanley and Bear Stearns, who met senior Hutchison officials in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the Economic Times said yesterday.
■ US economy
Retail rises moderately
US retail spending rose modestly over the Christmas holiday season, helped by a late surge from last-minute shoppers, surveys showed. The data suggested the world's biggest economy continued to grow, but at a less than spectacular pace. A report on Tuesday by MasterCard research arm SpendingPulse showed overall spending up 6.6 percent excluding automobiles. But adjusted for an extra shopping day this year, the growth was only 3 percent. That compared with 8.7 percent growth last year, or 5.2 percent after adjustments. The report noted that electronics and luxury retail sales were generally strong, while apparel spending lagged.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit