Seoul to import US beef
South Korea will resume US beef imports which were suspended early this month after inspectors discovered banned bones in one shipment, officials said yesterday. The Agriculture Ministry said it would resume inspections of US beef on Monday, removing a potential irritant in trade relations. A spokesman said Washington had admitted in a letter that the shipment of backbones and ribs -- designated as risk material for mad cow disease -- had been sent by mistake. "However, we will maintain a ban on US beef processing centers that shipped banned bones," he said. US beef imports had been suspended several times since South Korea last year relaxed a three-year total ban imposed to keep out mad cow disease.
PRC launches crackdown
China has launched a four-month "war" on tainted food, drugs and exports, state media reported yesterday, as beleaguered officials embraced time-tested campaign tactics to clean up the nation's battered image. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi (吳儀) told officials that the campaign, to run to the end of the year, would focus on problem products that have corroded local and foreign consumers' confidence in the "made in China" label. "This is a special battle to protect the health and personal interests of the public and to protect the reputation of Chinese goods and the national image," Wu said in a posting on the government Web site.
Alstom wins China contract
Alstom SA has won a 135 million euro (US$183 million) contract from Chinese industrial group Dong Fang for the supply of four steam-turbine generator packages, the French transport and engineering company said yesterday. The turbines provided by Alstom will be used for a new nuclear power plant to be built at Hong Yan He in Liaoning Province, Alstom said in a statement.
Brazil, China firms team up
Brazilian miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and China's Baosteel Group Corp (寶鋼) have agreed on a joint venture to build a steel slab plant in Brazil, CVRD said yesterday. The Brazilian firm said the plant would be located in Anchieta, in the southeastern Brazilian state of Espirito Santo, and have an annual production capacity of 5 million tonnes of steel slabs. Baosteel, China's biggest steelmaker and parent of Shanghai-listed Baoshan Iron & Steel, will hold up to 80 percent of the joint venture at the initial stage and Vale do Rio will hold the remainder, said the statement, which gave no financial details.
Sony unveils sugar battery
Sony Corp said it had developed a prototype battery cell that generates electricity from sugar and carbohydrates. The test cells have achieved output of 50 milliwatts, enough to play music on a Walkman, Sony said. In a demonstration in Tokyo on Thursday, a Sony employee poured a sugary sports drink to power a music player and speakers. Sony said it came up with the battery by studying how living creatures generate energy. Sugar batteries would biodegrade and the source material can be found in plants grown around the world. Plants regenerate through photosynthesis, "underlining the potential for sugar-based bio batteries as an ecologically friendly energy device of the future," Sony said.