Oracle makes concessions
The EU’s competition watchdog on Monday welcomed concessions made by US business software giant Oracle over its bid for Sun Microsystems, saying the deal is now likely to be approved. EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes “is optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome, while ensuring that the transaction will not have an adverse impact on effective competition in the European database market,” the EU’s executive arm said in a statement. “Today’s announcement by Oracle of a series of undertakings to customers, developers and users of MySQL [open source database] is an important new element to be taken into account in the ongoing proceedings,” the commission said. The commission is particularly impressed by Oracle’s extension for up to five years of the terms and conditions of existing commercial licenses.
Google sued by Netlist
Google Inc, the owner of the most-used search engine, was sued by computer-memory systems maker Netlist Inc over a patented invention designed to increase the speed of memory modules. Google’s computer servers infringe a patent for a memory module that increases capacity and improves energy efficiency, Netlist said in a complaint filed on Dec. 4 in federal court in San Francisco. Netlist is seeking cash compensation and a court order that would prevent further use of its invention.
Mexico downgraded to BBB
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Mexico’s sovereign debt to BBB status on Monday on concerns about the country’s fiscal outlook sparked by the global economic crisis. The downgrade for the Latin American and emerging-market powerhouse from BBB+ comes as the country continues to wrestle with the fallout from the international credit crisis. The downgrade spells more expensive borrowing for the country as it tries to kick-start the economy. Although still investment grade, S&P said the downgrade reflected concerns that Mexico’s tax base will be slashed and on slumping petrol revenues, that make up about 35 percent of the national budget.
Kirchner tackles debt
Argentina announced on Monday it had set aside US$6.5 billion to guarantee the payment of its public debt for next year, as the country sought to end its isolation from global credit markets. The message, broadcast nationally by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, sought to reassure international investors, who are still skittish after the country’s massive 2001 sovereign debt default. The Bicentennial Fund for Debt Repayment and Stabilization, backed by 14 percent of the central bank’s US$47 billion in foreign currency reserves, “gives international markets security that the debt is covered,” Kirchner said.
Joblessness rises to 7.1%
Unemployment in the Philippines rose to 7.1 percent in October, up from the 6.8 percent posted for the month last year, the government’s National Statistics Office said yesterday. However, this rate was down from the 7.6 percent posted in July, the last unemployment figure released by the statistics office. Underemployment, defined as those working fewer than 40 hours a week, rose to 19.4 percent in October, down slightly from the rate posted in July. However, this was sharply up from the 17.5 percent posted in October last year.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten