■ NEW ZEALAND
Recession in third quarter
The country’s recession has extended into a third quarter, with data yesterday showing the economy contracted 0.4 percent in the three months to September. The contraction followed and was deeper than previous falls of 0.2 percent in the June quarter and 0.3 percent in the three months to March. The average annual rate of growth in the year to September was 1.7 percent, Statistics New Zealand said. The second consecutive quarter of contraction in the June quarter saw the country fall into its first recession for a decade. The the global financial crisis has since dashed previous projections that growth would resume late this year.
Telecom, Vodafone team up
German telecommunications group Deutsche Telekom is to join forces with British rival Vodafone to develop a fiber optic network for high-speed Internet access, a Deutsche Telekom official said. The two groups want to develop two projects in Germany to establish a high-speed Internet network that could serve 100,000 homes, said Timotheus Hottges, responsible for fixed telephone operations at Deutsche Telekom. We are going to see how this cooperation would work at the technical level,” he said. “We want to show that Deutsche Telekom does not want to monopolize the new networks.”
Casino sacks 500 staffers
Macau’s giant Venetian casino owned by troubled Las Vegas Sands has sacked 500 staffers, the company said in a statement, the latest sign of the firms’ struggles to deal with the global credit crunch. The Venetian, a massive hotel and casino complex billed as the cornerstone of a new Las Vegas-style strip, has cut the weekly working week for its casino workers and laid off 500 staff, the firm said in a statement released late on Monday. “The company has adopted a series of measures to control operating cost in all business areas, including letting go about 500 employees across all levels who are not Macau residents,” a spokesman said. “[These include] about 100 management-grade expatriate employees in gaming operations.”
Disneyland wants to expand
Hong Kong Disneyland’s much-awaited expansion would increase the size of the park by a third and cost around HK$3.5 billion (US$450 million), a report said yesterday. The park, desperate to expand its operation to boost disappointing visitor numbers, would aim to open three new themed “lands,” the South China Morning Post reported, citing park chief executive Andrew Lam. Lam said the expansion would amount to around half of the HK$7.2 billion cost of a planned cruise terminal. The park was in talks with the government, which owns a 57 percent stake, over financing for the expansion.
BOA dismisses reports
Bank of America (BOA), a major shareholder in China Construction Bank (中國建設銀行), has dismissed a report that it called off plans to sell a US$3 billion stake following objections from Beijing. “We suspended the sale of the shares for our own internal reasons,” BOA spokesman Robert Stickler said in a statement e-mailed to reporters late on Monday. The Financial Times last week cited people familiar with the situation as saying that BOA chief executive Ken Lewis scrapped the plans after a phone call with Guo Shuqing (郭樹清), his counterpart at China Construction Bank.