BHP hires top lobbyists
BHP Billiton Ltd hired advisers to three Canadian prime ministers to lobby for its US$40 billion hostile bid for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. Michael Coates, an adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the last three election campaigns, registered for BHP, according to the Web site of the country’s lobbyist registry. William Pristanski, an aide in the 1980s to former Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, and Bruce Hartley, former assistant to the Liberals’ Jean Chretien, also registered on behalf of BHP. BHP may face competition for the world’s largest fertilizer maker from China, with Sinochem Group (中國中化) hiring Deutsche Bank AG and Citigroup Inc to assess ways to disrupt the bid, the Financial Times said yesterday.
Sharp to buy solar firm
Japanese electronics giant Sharp said yesterday it would buy US solar power project developer Recurrent in an acquisition that would make the US company a wholly owned subsidiary. Recurrent said the deal could be worth up to US$305 million and was expected to close before the end of the year, with Sharp taking a 100 percent stake. In a statement, Sharp said the deal was made in anticipation of “greatly” increasing demand for solar power in North America as the number of related projects rises. Recurrent, an independent power producer in the US, develops and markets solar power plants by collaborating with power companies.
Siemens to book huge loss
German industrial giant Siemens said it would book a charge of up to 1.4 billion euros (US$1.86 billion) on its healthcare diagnostics division after a review of its prospects. “This impairment is being made in connection with a re-evaluation of medium-term growth prospects and long-term market developments in the laboratory diagnostics business,” a statement said late on Tuesday. The charge, which will be taken in Siemens’ fourth quarter, which runs from July through September, will not prevent the group from hitting annual targets, it said.
Users satisfied with Apple
US computer buyers are happy as ever, with Apple machines yielding top satisfaction and the Windows 7 operating system making amends for a loathed prior generation of the Microsoft software. Annual figures released on Tuesday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index showed a 4 percent improvement in the way people felt about their computers, with Apple leading the way by pleasing 86 percent of buyers. Overall satisfaction with PCs averaged 78 percent, with Windows-based models by Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others coming in 1 percentage point below the average, the index showed.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Cable to unveil investment
Business Secretary Vince Cable was to announce a review of corporate governance, takeovers and ways to promote long-term investment. Cable, who heads the Department for Innovation and Skills, was to give details of the plan yesterday at the annual conference of his Liberal Democrats party. Excerpts of his speech released in advance showed that Cable views short-termism and shareholder disengagement as increasing problems. One issue he intended to explore was whether the way in which directors are paid encourages takeovers. Concern about takeovers has risen since US giant Kraft Foods took over British firm Cadbury earlier this year.
INCREASED RISK: The Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant has higher immune evasive capacity, but the CECC is more concerned about newer subvariants such as XBB and BQ.1 With the peak season for infectious respiratory diseases coming to an end, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that details of the next phase of lifting COVID-19 masking rules — removing the mask requirement in most indoor settings — are to be announced this week. Discussions on lifting other COVID-19 restrictions are also being held, including further easing border control measures, home isolation requirements and revising the definition for reporting cases, while also downgrading COVID-19 to a lower category of notifiable communicable disease, said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC. As the daily
GUT FEELING: In the leaked memo, US Air Force General Mike Minihan urged mobile command personnel to go to a firing range, shoot at a target and ‘aim for the head’ A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 — most likely over Taiwan — and urged his commanders to push their units to achieve maximum operational battle readiness this year. In an internal memorandum that first emerged on social media on Friday, and was later confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon, Air Mobility Command Commander General Mike Minihan said that the main goal should be to deter “and, if required, defeat” China. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Minihan said. Minihan said that Taiwan’s presidential election
PEACE AND STABILITY: The two nations called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked France and Australia for voicing their support for Taiwan, saying that peace across the Taiwan Strait is crucial to the stability and prosperity of international society. France and Australia on Monday pledged to deepen ties with Taiwan and reiterated their support for its participation in international organizations at this year’s Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations in Paris. The meeting between French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong (黃英賢) and Australian Minister for Defence Richard Marles was the second
DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM: Czech president-elect Petr Pavel said his nation stands firmly on the side of democracy and would boost cooperation with Taipei in all aspects Czech president-elect Petr Pavel spoke by telephone with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday, a highly unusual move given the lack of formal ties and a diplomatic coup for Taipei. Tsai spoke with Pavel for 15 minutes in a harmonious atmosphere, Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said, adding that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) was also present during the conversation. Lin quoted Pavel as telling Tsai that Taiwan is a trustworthy partner, adding that the Czech Republic stands firmly on the side of democracy and supports Taiwan in maintaining a lively democratic system free from authoritarian coercion. The Czech Republic would