Philips reports profit drop
Dutch electronics giant Philips yesterday reported a net profit of 45 million euros (US$62.6 million) in the second quarter, a drop of 94 percent compared with the same period last year. The results were higher than expected by analysts, who had predicted a net loss of 125 million euros after a net profit of 732 million euros in the second quarter of last year. Philips turnover stood at 5.23 billion euros in the second quarter, down 19 percent from 6.46 billion euros in the same period last year, because of “continuing weakness in consumer and professional markets,” the group said.
US unconcerned about dollar
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday he was not concerned that the US dollar is weakening as a reserve currency, despite recent criticism from China, Russia and France. “A strong dollar is in the interest of the United States,” Geithner said in an interview on CNN, “and our commitment to the world, and of course, the American people, is to make sure we’ll put in place the policies that can sustain confidence in this economy and this financial system.” Geithner’s comments come as France joined a chorus of other countries critical of the dollar’s dominance over other currencies, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying on Thursday that a “multipolar world must be a multicurrency world.” Sarkozy is the first European leader to join with China and Russia, who have called for a new international reserve currency similar to the Special Drawing Rights — an artificial currency used by the IMF.
S Korea posts record surplus
South Korea posted a record trade surplus last month as the value of imports fell more than exports amid the global recession, government figures showed yesterday. The Korea Customs Service said the surplus was US$7.27 billion last month, the highest since data began to be compiled in 1952. It was the fifth consecutive month of surpluses since February, with the cumulative surplus for the first half standing at US$28 billion. Exports fell 12.4 percent last month from a year earlier to US$32.63 billion, while imports dropped 32.9 percent over the same period to US$25.36 billion.
Honda to expand hybrids
Honda Motor Co, Japan’s second-biggest carmaker, plans to expand the number of hybrid vehicles it offers domestically to compete with Toyota Motor Corp’s best-selling Prius. The carmaker will bring out a hybrid version of the Fit car next year and the hybrid CR-Z sports coupe in February, chief executive officer Takanobu Ito, told reporters yesterday in Tokyo. The new vehicles will give Tokyo-based Honda four hybrids in its lineup.
Slump leads to depression
The number of people in Hong Kong suffering from depression has risen by more than a third as the global economic crisis rocks the wealthy city of 7 million people, a survey released yesterday showed. Twelve percent of the city’s adult population now suffer from mild or more severe depression, said the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, which surveyed more than 2,000 people. The percentage is the highest level in seven years and a sharp rise on the 8.8 percent recorded last year and 8.3 percent recorded in 2007, researchers said.
CARROT AND STICK: A new program aims to encourage those who have overstayed their visas to turn themselves in before the NIA increases penalties and enforcement Foreign visitors who entered Taiwan before today would be granted automatic 30-day visa extensions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The new measure is in response to tightened border control measures and flight bans implemented worldwide to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bureau of Consular Affairs said. “All travelers who entered Taiwan on or before March 21, 2020, on a visitor visa, a landing visa, or through a visa-waiver program and who have not overstayed their legal stay period will be granted an automatic 30-day extension,” the ministry said in a statement on its Web site. No application is required, although the
Passengers on domestic flights would not be allowed to board if their temperature is more than 37.5°C or if they refuse to have their temperatures taken, Uni Air (立榮航空) and Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) said yesterday. The two airlines made the announcement after their parent companies — EVA Airways (長榮航空) and China Airlines (CAL, 中華航空) respectively — announced similar pre-boarding requirements on Saturday, along with a requirement that passengers wear masks during their flights, except when they have meals or drinks. Uni Air and Mandarin Airlines said domestic passengers would be required to wear masks from the time they start using self-help
CASE COUNT RISES: One of the new domestic cases is a nurse at a long-term care center, but so far tests on all the residents and other staff have been negative Flight transits through all Taiwanese airports would be banned for two weeks, starting tomorrow, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it announced 16 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the nation’s total to 169. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said all flight transits would be banned through April 7. In light of the rapidly increasing number of imported COVID-19 cases, there was a need to further reduce cross-border travel and the risk of disease transmission, the center said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration has informed airlines about the new measures, and anyone who has
A public health expert yesterday warned that too many people are meeting in small groups in coffee shops and restaurants without keeping a proper distance from one another, as he urged the government to loosen the criteria for testing young Taiwanese returning from abroad for COVID-19. People need to keep a social distance of at least 2m, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said as the college presented its seventh weekly report on COVID-19 at a morning news conference. More than 300,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been reported in more than three-quarters of all