Marvel passes Disney deal
Shareholders of Marvel Entertainment Inc, home to the X-Men, Iron Man, Spider-Man and other comic books and characters, approved the company’s acquisition by the Walt Disney Co on Thursday. Marvel, in a statement, said shareholders approved the US$4.3 billion deal announced in August under which the comic book giant and its stable of action heroes will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney. The acquisition is Disney’s biggest since its purchase of animation house Pixar three years ago. Marvel’s cast of more than 5,000 characters includes Captain America, the Fantastic Four and Thor.
UTSI fined for bribes
UTStarcom Inc (UTSI), a US telecom company, agreed on Thursday to pay US$3 million in fines for bribing Chinese officials with Hawaiian vacations and other junkets, US officials said. The Justice Department said UTSI had agreed to pay a US$1.5 million fine for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by providing “travel and other things of value” to employees of state-owned Chinese telecom firms. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the Alameda, California, company had agreed to pay an additional US$1.5 million for authorizing millions of dollars in unlawful payments to Asian government officials.
PDVSA, ENI sign deal
Venezuela’s state oil company has announced a deal with the Italian company Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI) for producing and refining crude from an exploration project in the eastern strip of the Orinoco basin. An official notice published on Thursday by Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) says two joint companies will be formed under the deal, with PDVSA holding a 60 percent stake in each and ENI 40 percent. No financial value was given for the agreement. The deal is part of improved relations between the two sides since Venezuela’s 2006 takeover of an oil field run by ENI that was part of a broader nationalization of Venezuelan oil projects held by foreign companies.
Icahn ups casino ante
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn plans to pump still more cash into his bid to buy Donald Trump’s bankrupt casinos, papers filed in federal court showed. Icahn already had agreed to buy a majority of the US$486 million bank debt on the three properties: Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort and Trump Marina Hotel Casino. In a statement filed on Tuesday in US Bankruptcy Court, Icahn Partners Inc committed another US$125 million toward propping up struggling Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc. Trump Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection in February.
Fox extends deadline
The Fox television network allowed its broadcast signal to be carried by Time Warner Cable for a brief extension past a midnight deadline as talks over fees continued. Time Warner Cable Inc made the announcement as the clock rolled past midnight on Thursday on the East Coast. Fox, which carries The Simpsons, had threatened to pull the signal from 14 TV stations it owns, a move that would have affected more than 6 million customers of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida. The dispute focuses on how much Fox is paid by cable companies to retransmit those stations’ signals. Neither company said how long the extension would last.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Two US senators were critical of the WHO after a senior WHO official appeared to hang up on a Hong Kong reporter who asked about Taiwan’s membership status in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. During a video interview with Radio Television Hong Kong’s Yvonne Tong (唐若韞) on Saturday, WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward first claimed not to have heard her question on whether the WHO would consider giving Taiwan membership. When Tong repeated the question, he asked her to “move on to another one.” The video then showed the line disconnecting after Tong said she would like to hear more about Taiwan.