■ CREDIT CARDS
China to allow foreign cards
Citigroup Inc and four other banks will become the first foreign institutions allowed to issue credit cards on their own in China once they meet regulatory standards, the government said. Foreign banks have been allowed to issue cards since 2004 but until now were required to work through local partners. "After they have satisfied technical standards, the banks can officially start bank card services," a representative of the China Banking Regulatory Commission said on Tuesday on a government Web site.
Chevron signs CNPC deal
US energy giant Chevron Corp has signed a 30-year product-sharing contract with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) to jointly develop a large gas field in southwestern China. The gas block, occupying 1,969km2, marked China's largest onshore exploration involving a foreign group, said a CNPC statement released Tuesday. Under the terms, CNPC, the parent of China's largest oil producer PetroChina, will hold a 51 percent stake in the Chuandongbei gas block in Sichuan Province while Chevron has the remaining 49 percent, it said. The field has proven reserves of 175.97 billion cubic meters.
Matsushita in OLED talks
Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial, Canon and Hitachi are in talks on a multibillion-dollar deal to team up in thin panels for televisions and other electronics, a report said yesterday. The three companies are in the final stage of negotiations on forming an alliance to produce organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels, the Nikkei Shimbun economic daily said without naming sources. They also aim to invest £300 billion (US$2.6 billion) to build a new factory to make small and midsized liquid-crystal-display (LCD) panels, it said. The three companies declined to comment on the report, saying nothing had been decided.
■ PRODUCT SAFETY
Chinese toys recalled
A Japanese importer is recalling 230,000 toys made in China due to excessive levels of toxic substances, an official said yesterday, the latest in a wave of global recalls of Chinese goods. The recall, which began on Tuesday, covers toys that were sold from 2004 up to the beginning of December this year, an official of Marushin Toys said. According to Japan's Toy Association Web site, the importer slapped fake safety labels on 16 items without the necessary authorization or inspections. Among the recalled toys, at least 132,000 contained excessive levels of lead and other chemicals, the association said. It was unable to check the remainder as there were none left in stock.
British bank eyes share
British banking giant Royal Bank of Scotland is in talks to buy 19.9 percent of Suzhou Trust in China, its latest attempt to ramp up its position in the Chinese market, state media said yesterday. "The two parties have got initial results in negotiations over key issues such as the selling price and the size of the stake," the 21st Century Business Herald cited an unnamed source close to the deal as saying. The value of the deal was not disclosed, the newspaper said. The potential deal would be the Royal Bank of Scotland's second purchase of Chinese financial assets. It currently holds 8.25 percent of Bank of China, one of the nation's big four state-owned lenders.
China reported 45 new COVID-19 cases for Saturday, down from 54 the previous day, with all but one involving travelers from overseas, the country’s health authority said yesterday. In the past seven days, China has reported 313 imported cases of the novel coronavirus, but only six confirmed cases of domestic transmission, Chinese National Health Commission data showed. Most of those imported cases have involved Chinese returning home from abroad. Airlines have been ordered to sharply cut international flights from yesterday, while restrictions on foreigners entering the country went into effect on Saturday. Five more people died on Saturday, all of them in Wuhan,
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
‘HEROIC’: A lack of personal protective equipment has led to high infection rates among health workers in places like Spain and Italy, a nurses’ association said More equipment is needed to protect the world’s nurses working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic to save lives, the head of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said. “They are heroic. I think there is no other way to describe what they are doing at this moment,” said Howard Catton, a British nurse who is the council’s CEO. Infection rates of 9 percent and 12 to 14 percent have been reported among health workers in Italy and Spain respectively, he said, adding that nurses have died in the two nations, as well as Iran and Indonesia. “We have no doubt