■ Oil \nAsian prices down US$0.31 \nOil retreated further from its US$53 per barrel threshold in Asian trade yesterday, but players in the market remained edgy about tight supplies heading into North America's winter heating season. Output is still badly crippled in the Gulf of Mexico due to hurricane damage, and fears of violence in Nigeria and an oil strike in Norway added to worries that have pushed crude to record levels on the New York and London futures market. Oil for November delivery was trading at US$52.36 in online New York Mercantile Exchange dealings mid-afternoon in Asia yesterday, down US$0.31 from the final price during Thursday's regular session in New York. \n■ Retail \nSeiyu plans supercenter \nSeiyu Ltd, a Japanese retailer 37-percent owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc, said it will build a two-level outlet near Tokyo as part of a new focus on supercenters. The outlet, modeled after Wal-Mart stores in the US, will open next year in Hiratsuka, south of Tokyo, the company said. The store would be Seiyu's second supercenter since its first opened in April in Numazu, west of the capital. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, seeks to expand in Japan through Seiyu. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart is helping Seiyu adopt new inventory and data management systems to improve efficiency and to compete against Aeon Co, Ito-Yokado Co and other retailers. Tokyo-based Seiyu will this year open three new general merchandise stores and six supermarkets, spokesman Ryuichi Goto said. \n■ Censorship \nChina to screen games \nChina plans ratings systems for online games, books and movies to protect children from violence and sexual content, its latest effort to tighten controls on various media, reports said yesterday. The system for censoring online games will be introduced by the end of this month, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily said, citing officials attending a conference in Shanghai. Online games will be divided into: games suitable for all; those for junior high school students and older; those for high school students and older; those for 18-year-olds and older; and those for adults, it said. The ratings will be based on various factors such as horror, violence and sexual content. The number of players in China is expected to soar to almost 42 million by 2007. Despite efforts to control content, online games revenues are expected to hit 9.3 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion) by 2006, they said. \n■ Software \nSpyware scheme tackled \nThe US Federal Trade Commission has filed the first case in the US against software companies accused of infecting computers with intrusive "spyware" and then trying to sell people the solution. The commission accused the companies of infecting computers with unsolicited software, showering computer screens with pop-up ads and then trying to get consumers to pay. It is seeking an injunction to get the companies, owned by the same person, to stop, and to offer restitution to consumers. The FTC requested a temporary restraining order on Thursday from the US District Court for the District of New Hampshire against Seismic Entertainment Productions Inc, Smartbot.Net Inc and Sanford Wallace.
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
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
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
Beijing is to ease a ban on foreign airlines starting on Monday next week, changing course one day after the administration of US President Donald Trump demanded that China reopen to US airlines or face curbs on its own carriers flying passengers to the US. Foreign airlines excluded from an earlier pact would be able to operate one commercial passenger flight to China per week, the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration said. It did not name any countries or carriers, but the move opens up a chance for US airlines to return for the first time in four months. While the timing might