Samsung rejects claims
A study commissioned by Samsung Electronics rejected assertions that employees might have been exposed to carcinogenic chemicals at its plants, as several cancer-stricken former employees of the world’s largest maker of memory chips seek compensation for their illnesses. Despite the findings, the South Korean firm said it would consider offering financial support for some of its former employees diagnosed with cancer, following allegations by civic groups and some former employees that its working environment caused leukemia. Samsung said 26 of its employees who worked at its chip plants had been diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma, and 10 of them had died of cancer. Civic groups say there are many more workers who have fallen ill due to a hazardous working environment.
Rare earth quotas raised
China’s Ministry of Commerce said yesterday it was issuing a second batch of rare earth export quotas for this year, with the second batch totaling 15,738 tonnes. China produces 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used in electronics and defense and renewable energy industries. The WTO ruled last week that China breached trade law by curbing exports of eight raw materials, a judgement Europe and the US said meant China should also be forced to increase exports of 17 rare earths.
India inflation hits 9.44%
India’s annual inflation accelerated to 9.44 percent last month, official data showed yesterday, increasing pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates further. The rise in the benchmark wholesale price index — the government’s most-watched cost-of-living barometer — was up from May’s 9.06 percent, the ministry reported. The Reserve Bank of India has increased key rates 10 times since March last year and it is expected to raise them again at its next monetary policy meeting later this month despite signs the economy is losing steam.
GDP grows despite quake
New Zealand’s economy grew a better-than-expected 0.8 percent in the March quarter, despite a deadly earthquake, data showed yesterday, sending the local dollar up to a record high against the greenback. Finance Minister Bill English said the fourth-quarter figures — double the forecast 0.4 percent — showed the resilience of the economy in the face of the February earthquake, which shattered Christchurch and left 181 people dead. The Statistics New Zealand data also revealed full year growth of 1.5 percent, also above expectations.
Yum up on overseas sales
Yum Brands Inc, owner of the Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC fast-food chains, said on Wednesday that strong sales overseas served up 10 percent growth in its second-quarter profit, even though its US business continued to struggle. Yum’s sales in China rose fast, and its profits there soared. But the company reported across-the-board declines in the US, including a 5 percent drop in revenue at Taco Bell restaurants open at least a year. Louisville-based Yum said it earned US$316 million, or US$0.65 per share, for the quarter that ended June 11, up from US$286 million, or US$0.59 per share, a year earlier. Its revenue rose 9 percent to US$2.8 billion.
Luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental Taipei (文華東方酒店) plans to reopen its guestrooms in December to take advantage of a boom in domestic travel. The reopening would come six months after the five-star facility suspended room operations to cut costs as countries across the region impose border controls to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, diminishing demand for business travel. “We are delighted to share that Mandarin Oriental Taipei will resume room operations on December 1,” the hotel said in a statement yesterday. The hotel in Songshan District (松山) said it would adopt stringent health and safety practices to ensure the well-being of its guests and employees. It
India’s COVID-19 economic gloom turned into despair this week, on news that its per capita GDP for this year might be lower than that of Bangladesh. “Any emerging economy doing well is good news,” Kaushik Basu, a former World Bank chief economist, said on Twitter after the IMF updated its World Economic Outlook. “But it’s shocking that India, which had a lead of 25% five years ago, is now trailing.” Ever since it began opening up the economy in the 1990s, India’s dream has been to emulate China’s rapid expansion. After three decades of persevering with that campaign, slipping behind Bangladesh hurts
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down bars and concert halls in the US in March, a new phenomenon was born: the vacation-rental nightclub. Professional party promoters started scanning Airbnb, Vrbo and other short-term rental sites for mansions and luxury condos for hire. Tickets were going for US$90 on Eventbrite and TikTok for soirees with bottle service and DJs. “People were looking to escape from their own homes and came into our tiny neighborhood to party all day, every day,” said Kristen Robinson Doe, a resident of a quiet suburban Dallas neighborhood, where a party pad was being rented out for more than
HSBC Bank (Taiwan) Ltd (匯豐台灣商銀) has approved two sustainability-linked loans totaling NT$450 million (US$15.55 million) for Taya Group (大亞集團) and Sinbon Electronics Co (信邦電子), the bank said yesterday, adding that interest rates would fall if the borrowers’ sustainability performance improves. Those marked the first sustainability-linked loans granted by HSBC Taiwan, it said. While HSBC Taiwan has experience providing green loans for the nation’s developers of renewable energy sources to support their projects, the bank began focusing on sustainability-linked loans to meet rising demand from companies in other sectors planning to undertake sustainability programs, it said. “As we reward our clients who reach their