Japan won't budge on beef
Japan yesterday refused to budge on its ban against imports of US beef, despite assurances from visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that US beef is "safe." During a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura yesterday afternoon, Rice urged Japan to lift its ban on US beef imports, adding that the time had come to solve the problem. "There is a global standard on the science involved," Rice told Machimura. Her Japanese counterpart told her that Japan will respond "appropriately" to the ongoing dispute without hurting overall Japan-US relations. "I understand US side's feeling but we cannot say when to lift the ban," he told Rice.
■ Cuban Economy
Peso revaluation begins
Increasingly optimistic about his communist nation's economy, Cuban President Fidel Castro has put in motion a gradual revaluation of the national currency and promised to later consider raising the country's low government salaries. The 7 percent revaluation of the Cuban peso went into effect Friday, the first change in the exchange rate since it was frozen in December 2001. Castro told the nation's top leadership late Thursday it was the first step in the revaluation of the currency used for state salaries and government subsidized goods and services. Improved trade relationships with Venezuela and China "have created conditions for a progressive, gradual and prudent revaluation of the national currency," Castro said.
Opera to use SVG technology
Opera Software announced Wednesday that its new browser will be the first to include scalable vector graphics, which automatically scales any Web page to the size of a user's screen, be it a cell phone or a flat-panel monitor. The Oslo-based company said the new technology, also called SVG, would become part of the Internet mainstream as Web pages continue to become complex and sophisticated. Opera is the third-largest browser used by consumers to navigate the World Wide Web, although its share is tiny to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape. Opera co-founder and Chief Executive Jon S. von Tetzchner said the new beta-version of Opera offers the SVG software as standard, rather than something users would have to download as a plug-in. SVG is an XML-based language for Web graphics developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, or W3C.
Court rules against Yukos
Withered Russian oil company Yukos lost another round Friday in its ongoing effort to seek protection in US courts from further Russian government-ordered selloffs of its assets. US District Judge Nancy Atlas rejected the company's request that she protect Yukos' remaining assets while it appeals a bankruptcy judge's dismissal of the company's case filed in Houston in mid-December. Yukos turned to Atlas after US Bankruptcy Judge Letitia Clark last month threw out its bankruptcy and related lawsuits and refused to change her mind a week later. The company lost 60 percent of its oil production capacity with the Russian government-ordered December sale of a key subsidiary in Moscow. Without protection, Yukos claimed the company could disappear before an appeal ran its course if the Russian government orders more asset sales to further pay a disputed US$27.5 billion back-tax levy.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
END TO SPECULATION: The hotel’s management contract has been extended, despite reports that it wanted to end its alliance with Hyatt Hotels over a deal with Riant Capital Singapore-based Hong Leong Hotel Development Ltd (豐隆大飯店股份) yesterday said it has extended a management contract to ensure the continued presence of the Grand Hyatt brand in Taipei, ending rumors that the two sides were parting ways. “We are pleased Hyatt is able to come to terms on the extension of the management contract of Grand Hyatt Taipei,” said Kwek Leng Beng (郭令明), executive chairman of City Developments Ltd (城市發展) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Ltd (千禧國敦酒店). Hong Leong Hotel Development is a subsidiary of Millennium, and both fall under the Hong Leong Group (豐隆集團). The Grand Hyatt Taipei (台北君悅大飯店), owned and built by
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion