Hotel construction halted
Grenada has ordered a Chinese company to stop construction on a nearly completed five-story hotel because it only had permission to build offices. The physical planning director says a lack of building inspectors and the hotel’s remote mountain location led to the late discovery. Cecil Frederick says he expected to hire more inspectors next year. SOGECOA Caribbean Ltd could not be reached for comment. The company is the same one building Grenada’s National Stadium. Authorities said they became suspicious when they confiscated a container supposedly carrying stadium supplies but found beds, tables and chairs. Frederick said on Saturday the hotel would be demolished if it violates any building codes.
Hyundai cuts production
South Korea’s Hyundai Motor intends to cut domestic production because of slowing demand, following production cuts in its US plants, a company spokesperson said yesterday. Hyundai Motor, the largest carmaker in South Korea, will cut production by suspending overtime or weekend work at all three of its domestic plants beginning today, spokesperson Song Meeyoung said. All assembly lines, except one producing Avante compact cars and i30 hatchback models at a main plant in Ulsan, will be affected, with daily work reduced from 20 to 16 hours during the weekdays, Song said. Last month, Hyundai said it was reducing production at its US plant at Montgomery, Alabama, because of falling demand amid the economic downturn.
Windows Live updated
Microsoft has announced an overhaul of its Internet-based Windows Live communications platform. Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Hotmail in particular have been equipped with a new user interface and added functionality, Microsoft said. Among the new functions is the ability to create Windows Live Groups. These let friends, colleagues or family members gather in groups for easier communication. Windows Live will also now include an automated POP3 e-mail retrieval capability. This would allow users to bundle all of their electronic communication into Microsoft’s Hotmail e-mail service.
US to invest on Kospi 200
US commodity regulators have approved the sale of futures contracts based on South Korea’s benchmark stock index. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission last week issued a “no-action” letter that allows US investment in Kospi 200 futures, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. US investors are the second-largest overseas group in South Korea’s main Kospi market after UK investors, the South Korean regulator said.
Truffle lands US$200,000
Defying the economic downturn, an Italian white truffle weighing just over 1kg sold at an international auction on Saturday for US$200,000. The prized tuber went for the second year running to Hong Kong-born casino mogul Stanley Ho (何鴻燊) after an auction held simultaneously in Rome, London, Abu Dhabi and Macau, auction organizers said. Last December, Ho bought a 1.5kg specimen — one of the biggest truffles unearthed in half a century — for a record US$330,000. The 1.08kg truffle — the biggest found in Italy this year — was flown first class to Macau, with an Italian chef accompanying it, for Saturday’s auction after it was picked on Nov. 21 in the central Molise region.