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Mon, Oct 15, 2007 - Page 10 News List

World Business Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ ENERGY

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.

■ AVIATION

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.

■ RETAIL

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.

■ BEVERAGES

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.

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