Chopsticks to fuel Japan
Japan will try to turn the millions of wooden chopsticks that go discarded each year into biofuel to ease the country's energy shortage, officials at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said yesterday. Restaurants and convenience stores generally hand out disposable, wooden chopsticks without asking. Each of Japan's 127 million people uses an average of 200 sets a year, meaning more than 90,000 tonnes of wood, government data show. Earlier this month, a Chinese food association called for an end to the use of disposable chopsticks, saying 45 billion pairs were thrown away in China every year.
■ REAL ESTATE
Shanghai limits purchases
Shanghai plans to tighten controls on purchases of property by foreign companies to help cool surging real estate prices, a report said yesterday. "We no longer encourage foreign companies to purchase en-bloc properties rather than develop their own," the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily quoted an official of the city's Foreign Economic Relations and Trade Commission, as saying. "Stricter requirements are applied to the approval of such acquisition deals to prevent prices from being pushed up by speculative investors,'' the official said.
Sharp to launch 108-inch TV
Sharp Corp, Japan's biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display (LCD) televisions, plans to sell a 108-inch (274cm) set as soon as this year end to capture demand for larger models. The new model will be Osaka-based Sharp's biggest television, company president Mikio Katayama said at a briefing in Tokyo yesterday. Sony Corp, Sharp's closest Japanese competitor, sells a 70-inch LCD model, according to Tokyo-based Sony's Web site. Sharp aims to sell the model by 2010, Katayama said. The company also said it set up a sales unit in Moscow.
Delta board elects new CEO
Delta Air Lines said on Tuesday its board had elected industry veteran Richard Anderson as chief executive officer, succeeding retiring Gerald Grinstein, who brought the carrier out of bankruptcy. Anderson, 52, will take over on Sept. 1 at Delta, the third-largest US carrier, which emerged from creditor protection on April 30. Anderson has nearly 20 years of airline industry experience and will become the eighth CEO in Delta's 78-year history, the company said. Delta exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after 19 months of court-supervised bankruptcy protection, with the airline industry rocked by a slump in travel following the 2001 terror attacks in the US.
Tribune Co to go private
Tribune Co shareholders in Chicago voted to take the media giant private on Tuesday in a US$13 billion deal orchestrated by real estate mogul Sam Zell. But with the bulk of the deal financed through debt, concerns have been raised that it will fall apart in the current credit crunch roiling US financial markets. In a statement announcing that 97 percent of shareholders had approved the deal, the company tried to soothe concerns over the financing provided by Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan Chase. Tribune chairman Dennis FitzSimons said that financing was "fully committed" and that the deal ought to close in the fourth quarter of this year following approval from federal communications regulators.