Philips reports profit drop
Dutch electronics giant Philips yesterday reported a net profit of 45 million euros (US$62.6 million) in the second quarter, a drop of 94 percent compared with the same period last year. The results were higher than expected by analysts, who had predicted a net loss of 125 million euros after a net profit of 732 million euros in the second quarter of last year. Philips turnover stood at 5.23 billion euros in the second quarter, down 19 percent from 6.46 billion euros in the same period last year, because of “continuing weakness in consumer and professional markets,” the group said.
US unconcerned about dollar
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday he was not concerned that the US dollar is weakening as a reserve currency, despite recent criticism from China, Russia and France. “A strong dollar is in the interest of the United States,” Geithner said in an interview on CNN, “and our commitment to the world, and of course, the American people, is to make sure we’ll put in place the policies that can sustain confidence in this economy and this financial system.” Geithner’s comments come as France joined a chorus of other countries critical of the dollar’s dominance over other currencies, with French President Nicolas Sarkozy saying on Thursday that a “multipolar world must be a multicurrency world.” Sarkozy is the first European leader to join with China and Russia, who have called for a new international reserve currency similar to the Special Drawing Rights — an artificial currency used by the IMF.
S Korea posts record surplus
South Korea posted a record trade surplus last month as the value of imports fell more than exports amid the global recession, government figures showed yesterday. The Korea Customs Service said the surplus was US$7.27 billion last month, the highest since data began to be compiled in 1952. It was the fifth consecutive month of surpluses since February, with the cumulative surplus for the first half standing at US$28 billion. Exports fell 12.4 percent last month from a year earlier to US$32.63 billion, while imports dropped 32.9 percent over the same period to US$25.36 billion.
Honda to expand hybrids
Honda Motor Co, Japan’s second-biggest carmaker, plans to expand the number of hybrid vehicles it offers domestically to compete with Toyota Motor Corp’s best-selling Prius. The carmaker will bring out a hybrid version of the Fit car next year and the hybrid CR-Z sports coupe in February, chief executive officer Takanobu Ito, told reporters yesterday in Tokyo. The new vehicles will give Tokyo-based Honda four hybrids in its lineup.
Slump leads to depression
The number of people in Hong Kong suffering from depression has risen by more than a third as the global economic crisis rocks the wealthy city of 7 million people, a survey released yesterday showed. Twelve percent of the city’s adult population now suffer from mild or more severe depression, said the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, which surveyed more than 2,000 people. The percentage is the highest level in seven years and a sharp rise on the 8.8 percent recorded last year and 8.3 percent recorded in 2007, researchers said.
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
‘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,
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