Big Blue’s results shine
Technology colossus IBM reported second quarter income of US$2.77 billion on Thursday, up 22 percent on the same quarter last year on strong global growth in sales of services, hardware and software. Revenue rose 13 percent to US$26.8 billion, with 7 percent of that growth stemming from currency gains caused by the record weakness of the US dollar. “IBM had an outstanding quarter and a strong first half for 2008. These results demonstrate that IBM has the ability to thrive in both emerging and established markets,” said Samuel Palmisano, IBM chairman, president and chief executive officer.
Crude prices inch higher
Oil prices rose US$2 to stand above U$131 a barrel yesterday, after a 10 percent decline in the past three trading sessions lured buyers. Easing tensions between Iran and the West and worries that high prices and a weaker US economy will undermine demand have sent US crude down US$15 in just three days, putting it on track for its biggest weekly fall since the contract started trading in New York in 1983. US light crude rose US$2.12 to US$131.41 a barrel by 8:45am GMT, still way off its June 11 record high of US$147.27, as Wednesday’s report of an unexpected build in US crude oil stocks continued to weigh on the price. London Brent crude gained US$2.18 to US$133.25 a barrel.
UBS overhauls US operation
UBS AG overhauled its offshore private banking business for US residents on Thursday in the face of accusations by congressional investigators that the Swiss bank helped clients dodge taxes. In a dramatic hearing on Capitol Hill before a Senate subcommittee, a senior UBS executive apologized and announced the bank would cease offering cross-border private banking through its unregulated units to US-domiciled customers. Mark Branson, chief financial officer for UBS Global Wealth Management and Business Banking, said the bank’s 80,000 employees were alarmed by reports of misconduct.
Sinopec issues warning
Chinese oil giant Sinopec, formally known as China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, says its first-half profit will fall more than 50 percent from the same period last year because of government controls that limit its ability to pass on record-high crude costs to consumers. A Sinopec statement, dated on Thursday, gave no estimate of first-half earnings. But the company, Asia’s biggest refiner by volume, reported profits of 36.2 billion yuan (US$5.3 billion) in the year-earlier period. “The net profit for the first half of 2008 will decrease by more than 50 percent compared to the same period of last year,” Beijing-based Sinopec said. It blamed China’s “strict control over refined oil prices.”
Wii on top in the US
Nintendo said on Thursday that its globally popular Wii has become the top-selling video game console in the US, a crown coveted by rivals Microsoft and Sony. Market-tracking firm NPD Group reported that 666,000 Wii consoles were sold in the US last month, raising the total sales count in the country to nearly 10.9 million units. The Japanese video game giant scored another victory with its DS portable devices, selling more than 783,000 in the US last month, to raise total sales there to 20.8 million units.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly