Rio Tinto trial to begin
Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu (胡士泰) will face trial in China next week accused of industrial espionage and receiving bribes, the government in Canberra said yesterday. Australia said it was pleased that the case of Hu was moving to trial, eight months after he and three other employees of the Anglo-Australian miner were arrested in Shanghai during fraught iron ore contract negotiations. “Mr Hu and the other defendants will be tried by the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, commencing on Monday 22 March,” an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said.
Facebook surpasses Google
Social-networking Web site Facebook surpassed Google to become the most visited Web site in the US for the first time last week, industry analysts showed. Facebook’s homepage finished the week ending last Saturday as the most visited site in the country, industry tracker Hitwise said. The “important milestone,” as described by Hitwise director of research Heather Dougherty, came as the Facebook home page enjoyed a massive 185 percent increase in visits in the same period, compared with the same week last year. By comparison, visits to search engine home Google.com increased only 9 percent over the same time period.
BMW expects higher profits
The world’s leading luxury car maker, BMW, said yesterday it expected a “notable” increase in net profit this year after managing to end last year in the black despite a global sector crisis. BMW boss Norbert Reithofer told a press conference that BMW hoped to sell more than 1.3 million vehicles, up from 1.29 million last year, and thus remain ahead of German rivals Audi and Daimler, the maker of the Mercedes-Benz range of automobiles. The company stood by last year’s net profit of US$290 million, a drop of 36.4 percent from the previous year, on sales that slipped by 4.7 percent.
Reliance eyes gasfield
Indian conglomerate Reliance is in late-stage talks to buy a big stake in a US natural gasfield, a report said yesterday, after suffering several recent setbacks in overseas investments. Reliance is nearing a deal to invest between US$1 billion and US$1.5 billion in a joint venture with Atlas Energy, which controls part of a huge gasfield in the northeast of the US, the Wall Street Journal said. While Reliance is “the prime player” in the discussions, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources, other parties such as San Diego-based Sempra Energy are also negotiating to be part of the deal.
Siemens joins rail bid
The German industrial group Siemens has teamed up with a Chinese public consortium to bid for a big Saudi Arabian rail contract, the Financial Times said on Tuesday, citing sources close to the matter. Siemens decided to join forces with the state-owned China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corp (中國南車), which could win the US$7 billion tender, a sign of growing Chinese strength in the rail sector, the newspaper said. The Haramain rail project is designed to link the Saudi holy cities of Mecca and Medina with a high-speed train service, the report said.
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by
CASH BOOST: Foreign spouses with residency permits are also eligible for the coupons, which can be bought at post offices or linked to digital payment options Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
RELATIONSHIP ‘TERMINATED’: US Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the president’s action was ‘an act of extraordinary senselessness,’ a tone Chinese media echoed US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that Washington would withdraw funding from the WHO, end Hong Kong’s special trade status and suspend visas of Chinese graduate students suspected of conducting research on behalf of their government. Trump said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the organization to mislead the public about the outbreak. “We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly, but they have refused to act,” he said. “Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be