US pay czar orders cuts
US President Barack Obama’s pay czar on Tuesday ordered executive compensation at five prominent bailed-out firms to be cut by 15 percent, amid voter anger over Wall Street pay. Kenneth Feinberg said 119 executives at AIG, Chrysler, Chrysler Financial, General Motors and its troubled former finance arm GMAC would this year see their cash rewards slashed by a third and total pay cut by 15 percent versus last year. In a statement the US Treasury — where Feinberg’s office is located — said 82 percent of the executives covered by the ruling will receive cash salaries of US$500,000 or less.
Conflicting reports on WTO
Officials say the WTO has ruled that European governments unfairly financed Airbus and harmed the fortunes of rival US plane maker Boeing, even as the France-based Airbus claimed it won. Two officials from different countries with knowledge of Tuesday’s confidential WTO ruling say it upheld findings of an “interim” decision handed down last September. That verdict was also confidential. It faulted European governments for providing Airbus with subsidies through risk-free loans, research funding and infrastructure support, officials said. However, Airbus said “70 percent of the US claims were rejected” and that the WTO panel rejected Boeing’s claims that its performance suffered as a result of European subsidies.
East Asian swap launched
East Asian nations yesterday officially launched a US$120 billion regional currency swap agreement, giving them a safety net against future liquidity shortages. The Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization covers South Korea, China, Japan and the 10-member ASEAN. The agreement will allow each member to swap local currency for dollars for an amount in proportion to its contribution. Japan and China will each provide 32 percent, US$38.4 billion, of the total. South Korea will contribute US$19.2 billion, or 16 percent, with the remaining US$24 billion shared between the ASEAN members.
Adobe’s Q1 earnings decline
Adobe Systems Inc said on Tuesday that fiscal first-quarter earnings declined on higher expenses, but sales climbed as demand for its design and publishing software improved with the economy. Adobe said it earned US$127.2 million, or US$0.24 per share, during the three months that ended on March 5. That is down 19 percent from a year earlier. Revenue rose 2 percent to US$858.7 million, surpassing analysts’ expectations.
Fiat may cut 5,000 jobs
Automaker Fiat is seen cutting 5,000 jobs as part of its strategic plan due to be unveiled next month while at the same time increasing Italian production by 50 percent, newspaper la Repubblica reported. The job cuts would affect three plants in Italy and represent 15 percent of the 30,000 workers employed on assembly lines in the country, the newspaper said..
EasyJet chooses new CEO
Budget airline easyJet says it has chosen publishing executive Carolyn McCall as its new chief executive. McCall, 48, has been group chief executive of Guardian Media Group, publisher of the Guardian and Observer newspapers, since 2006. EasyJet said yesterday that she replaces Andy Harrison, who will be taking up a new job as chief executive of hotel and restaurant group Whitbread PLC.
The government and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday both spoke out against plans by the Chinese government to enact a national security law in Hong Kong. Chinese officials yesterday confirmed that the National People’s Congress would review a bill “on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.” The Presidential Office said that the announcement was evidence that the “one country, two systems” framework fundamentally clashes with democratic freedoms. The de-escalation of tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing relies on the Chinese government’s willingness to respond to Hong Kongers’ demands,
NPP WARNING: The NPP’s chairman said that a security law proposed by Beijing means it has renounced its promise to maintain ‘one country, two systems’ in HK The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) yesterday proposed changing the law to provide protection for those seeking political asylum. China at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Thursday introduced a draft security law for Hong Kong to ban treason, subversion and sedition, with a review expected next week. TPP caucus whip Jang Chyi-lu (張其祿) said that the party is concerned about democracy advocates in Hong Kong and has taken action to support them. The party has proposed an amendment to Article 18 of the Act Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau (香港澳門關係條例), which stipulates that the government can offer
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,