Ecuador to rejoin OPEC
Ecuador will return to OPEC's fold next month, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said in his weekly radio program on Saturday. Ecuador's bid is backed by Venezuela, the only Latin American member of OPEC. Ecuador produces 530,000 barrels of oil per day -- the country's top export -- and is the fifth-largest producer in South America. Correa had announced that Ecuador would apply to rejoin OPEC after he was elected last November. However, the Andean nation faces a debt to OPEC of US$5.3 billion left over from when it withdrew from the group.
HK airport's traffic soars
Hong Kong International Airport, Asia's third-busiest, said the number of flights it handled in the six months through last month rose 6 percent as a stronger euro boosted demand for Asia's goods. Planes carrying cargo increased 8.5 percent to 23,205 and passenger traffic rose 5.3 percent to 123,405, Airport Authority Hong Kong said in a statement yesterday. The European currency climbed 5.5 percent against the Hong Kong dollar in the same period. "The long-haul freight markets to the US and Europe have been particularly robust, with the latter benefiting from the appreciation of the euro," chief executive officer Stanley Hui (許漢忠) said in the statement.
Quixtar sues bloggers
Direct-marketing firm Quixtar Inc, a sister company of Amway Corp, has sued 30 people who anonymously posted what it considers disparaging remarks about Quixtar in blogs and online forums and in YouTube.com videos. In the lawsuit filed last week in Ottawa County Circuit Court, Quixtar seeks an injunction and damages of more than US$25,000 against the posters, identified only as John Does. Quixtar believes the videos and other postings are part of an organized effort by former distributors who unsuccessfully sued Alticor and are under court order not to disparage the company or disclose proprietary information, according to the lawsuit.
■ SOUTH KOREA
Seoul warns tax evaders
Seoul's city government yesterday threatened to ban thousands of delinquent taxpayers from traveling abroad in a rare campaign to collect nearly US$900 million in unpaid taxes, officials said. The city government said in a statement it would wage "a war against delinquent taxpayers" till year's end, vowing to mobilize all possible means. It said some 6,500 people, who each owe the city government 50 million won (US$54,000) or more in taxes, should pay the money by late next month or face a travel ban by the justice ministry. It said the amount of unpaid taxes totaled some US$890 million as of last week, adding 76 percent of the delinquents were rich enough to pay their unpaid taxes.
Kerela questions Coke
Kerala state government has asked US soft drinks giant Coca-Cola to respond to allegations that its bottling plant was polluting water and soil, an official said yesterday. The plant has been closed since March 2004 following a temporary ban by the government and subsequent protests by residents who say the facility was also depleting water in the region. "We have given them 15 days to respond to our notice," S.D. Jayaprasad, an official with Kerela's Pollution Control Board said.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be