UK hit by record decline
The UK’s recession-battered economy shrank at its fastest pace in more than 50 years in the first quarter of this year, revised official data showed yesterday, amid the worst global slowdown in decades. GDP contracted 2.4 percent in the first three months of the year from the final quarter of last year, the Office for National Statistics said. On a year-on-year basis, Britain’s economy declined by 4.9 percent in the first quarter, the largest contraction since records began in 1948.
Inflation turns negative
Inflation in the 16 countries using the euro turned negative last month for the first time on record, dipping 0.1 percent over 12 months, an estimate from the Eurostat data agency showed yesterday. The Eurostat figure put eurozone inflation at the lowest point on records going back to 1996 and was down from the zero percent that the agency booked in May. The figure hit a record high point of 4 percent last year.
SEC looks to freeze assets
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seeking to permanently freeze the assets of a Taiwanese immigrant financier accused of bilking investors until his fraud trial is over. Judge Philip Gutierrez said on Monday that he would rule next week on the request concerning the assets of Danny Pang (彭日成), who is accused of bilking investors in his Private Equity Management Group companies. Gutierrez temporarily froze Pang’s assets in April, when he also ordered the California financier to repatriate any assets sent overseas and turn over his passports.
China mulls new company
China is weighing a plan to set up a new company to manage some of the country’s nearly 18 trillion yuan (US$2.6 billion) in state assets, a report said yesterday. The state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission has been working to establish an asset management company since 2005, the state-run China Daily reported, citing director Li Rongrong (李榮融). Li also warned many state-owned enterprises were not qualified to make overseas acquisitions and would have to improve their corporate governance. The commission currently oversees 138 state companies.
Qatarmakes Porsche offer
Qatar has offered to invest in debt-laden German sports car maker Porsche and to buy stock options it holds in Volkswagen, a Porsche spokesman said. “We have received an offer from Qatar for the acquisition of a participation and a purchase of options on Volkswagen shares,” he said late on Monday. The offer would serve as a basis for further talks, but must be examined by the Porsche and Piech families, who own all of the voting rights in Porsche, he added.
Small firm buys Pirate Bay
A small Swedish software firm announced yesterday that it had purchased Pirate Bay, the popular file-sharing Web site, for 60 million kronor (US$7.8 million). Global Gaming Factory X said the deal would include rights to use the Pirate Bay domain name and accompanying Web sites. The acquisition is expected to be completed in August, the firm said. Pirate Bay is one of the world’s largest file-sharing venues, with more than 20 million users worldwide. In April, four men connected with the site were sentenced to one-year prison sentences for violations of copyright law.
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