Toyota plans new hybrid
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp plans to begin selling a second dedicated brand of hybrid automobiles in 2009, following up on its market-dominating Prius hybrid, a news report said yesterday. Japan's No. 1 auto maker plans to sell as many as 100,000 of the as-yet-unnamed hybrid annually around the world at the outset, the Nikkei Shimbun said. The vehicle would be Toyota's second hybrid-only brand following the Prius, the newspaper said. Toyota offers several other hybrid models, including hybrid Camry and hybrid Lexus models. The new vehicle is expected to play a key role in Toyota's plans to increase hybrid sales to 1 million vehicles a year after 2010.
Branson may join AirAsia
British billionaire Richard Branson of Virgin Group is reportedly ready to take a stake in Malaysia's new AirAsia long-haul budget airline, the Star newspaper reported. Branson would take a 20 percent stake in Fly Asian Express, teaming up with Asian aviation tycoon Tony Fernandes to run flights from Malaysia to China, Europe and Australia, the newspaper reported, citing sources familiar with the negotiations. It said AirAsia CEO Fernandes and his deputy, Kamarudin Meranum, would sell 20 percent of their stake to Branson. Although Fernandes had previously denied Branson's involvement, he admitted that the two parties were in discussions.
Natural gas hydrate found
South Korea said yesterday it has successfully recovered samples of natural gas hydrate, a potential future energy source, from the floor of the Sea of Japan. The samples were collected last week at a depth of 135km in the sea northeast of Pohang, the commerce, the industry and energy ministry said in a statement. South Korea is the 5th country to recover natural gas hydrate samples, following the US, Japan, India and China, the ministry said. Gas hydrate, also known as "combustible ice," is found in seabeds or tundras. It has the potential to be converted into liquid natural gas and hence used as an energy source.
Genetic tomatoes a hit
Israeli researchers say they have genetically engineered tomatoes to give hints of lemon and rose aromas that have done well in testing on volunteers. The transgenic tomato includes a gene from a variety of lemon basil, Ocimum basilicum, that produces an aroma-making enzyme called geraniol synthase, said Efraim Lewinsohn of Newe Yaar Research Center and colleagues. A panel of 82 people have tested the experimental fruit against unmodified counterparts. The GM tomatoes were preferred by 49 members of the panel, while 29 preferred unmodified tomatoes.
Vietnam growth to continue
Vietnam, already growing at one of the fastest rates in the world, is set to continue that momentum for several more years, a senior government official said yesterday. Its economy expanded nearly 8.2 percent last year -- one of the world's fastest rates after China -- and First Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said that pace of growth would continue for the period from 2010 through 2015. "We expect that we will retain such an economic growth of eight to 10 percent per annum," he said. Vietnam's economy grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter.
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
WORKING OVERTIME? NTU professor Lee Duu-jong denied that he had held a part-time position at a Chinese university or joined China’s Thousand Talents Program A candidate for the post of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) president yesterday dropped out of the race following a report questioning his links to Chinese academia and government programs. Lee Duu-jong (李篤中), a professor at National Taiwan University’s (NTU) chemical engineering department, was a member of China’s Changjiang Scholars’ Program in 2006 and was on the list of its Thousand Talents Program in 2017, a report by Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine said yesterday. The article said that Lee is suspected of having held a part-time job at the Harbin Institute of Technology in China and was the recipient