Blockbuster could go bust
Troubled video-rental chain Blockbuster Inc could file for bankruptcy protection, a Wall Street Journal article reported. Citing unnamed sources, the Journal said Blockbuster is working with creditors to develop a bankruptcy restructuring plan that would free it of debt and allow the company to keep some stores open and focus more on digital distribution. If Blockbuster misses an interest payment on Sept. 30, more than US$900 million in debt will be due in full.
Dell to release second tablet
Dell chief executive Michael Dell said on Wednesday the firm would release a second tablet computer to compete in a hot market dominated by Apple’s iPad. Dell made the announcement during an on-stage presentation at Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, but gave no details about the gadget, its price or when it would hit the market. Industry insiders believe the new tablet will have a seven-inch touchscreen and run on Google Inc’s Android software.
New Mexico plant planned
Volkswagen unveiled plans on Wednesday to invest US$550 million in a new plant in Mexico to help the giant German automaker strengthen its position in the North American market. The announcement came jointly with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who said the plant would be a “next generation” engine facility in the central state of Guanajuato, to supply the assembly plant in Puebla and a US facility in Tennessee. Volkswagen aims to triple is US sales by 2018 to 1 million annually and hopes to overtake Toyota as the world’s biggest automaker. The German firm produced 325,000 vehicles in Mexico last year and hopes to boost that by 35 percent this year.
Unicredit looking for CEO
The chairman of Italy’s largest bank, Unicredit, said a new chief executive for the lending giant would be found “quickly,” following a shareholder rebellion that has weighed down investor confidence. “The succession to Alessandro Profumo will be handled quickly, but with great care,” Dieter Rampl said in a letter to company employees. The bank’s share price has fallen 6.11 percent in the past two days to 1.823 euros (US$2.44). Profumo was ousted on Tuesday at an emergency board meeting. Rampl has temporarily taken over Profumo’s duties.
Franz gets Lufthansa CEO job
Deutsche Lufthansa AG on Wednesday named Christoph Franz, the head of its passenger airline business and the man who presided over the restructuring of Swiss International Airlines, as its new chief executive. Franz, 50, will take over as chief executive on Jan. 1, Germany’s biggest airline said. His term will run through May 31, 2014. Franz will replace Wolfgang Mayrhuber, who has led the company since 2003.
Nissan, Renault to cut costs
Japan’s Nissan Motor and its partner Renault of France will jointly develop a platform for at least 10 models to consolidate suppliers and cut procurement costs, a report said on Wednesday. The two companies, which intend to design the common platform for medium-sized sport utility vehicles and sedans, also plan to standardize 70 key components, including windows and brakes, the Nikkei reported. The key components account for about 80 percent of the total cost of parts and materials, the report added.
The US Department of State yesterday criticized Beijing over its misrepresentation of the US’ “one China” policy in the latest diplomatic salvo between the two countries over a bid by Taiwan to regain its observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decisionmaking body of the WHO. “The PRC [People’s Republic of China] continues to publicly misrepresent U.S. policy,” Department of State spokesman Ned Price wrote on Twitter. “The United States does not subscribe to the PRC’s ‘one China principle’ — we remain committed to our longstanding, bipartisan one China policy, guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, Three Joint Communiques, and
FATES LINKED: The US president said that sanctions on Russia over Ukraine must exact a ‘long-term price,’ because otherwise ‘what signal does that send to China?’ US President Joe Biden yesterday vowed that US forces would defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack in his strongest statement to date on the issue. Beijing is already “flirting with danger,” Biden said following talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, in which the pair agreed to monitor Chinese naval activity and joint Chinese-Russian exercises. Asked if Washington was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan, he replied: “Yes.” “That’s the commitment we made,” Biden said. “We agreed with the ‘one China’ policy, we signed on to it ... but the idea that it can be
INFORMATION LEAKED: Documents from Xinjiang purportedly showed top leaders in Beijing calling for a forceful crackdown and even orders to shoot to kill Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday held a videoconference with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet as she visited Xinjiang during a mission overshadowed by fresh allegations of Uighur abuses and fears she is being used as a public relations tool. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of detaining more than 1 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the region as part of a years-long crackdown the US and lawmakers in other Western nations have labeled a “genocide.” China denies the allegations. Bachelet was expected to visit the cities of Urumqi and Kashgar on a six-day tour. The US
SUBTLE? While Biden said the US policy of ‘strategic ambiguity’ on Taiwan had not changed, the group targeted China and Russia without naming them Leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the US yesterday warned against attempts to “change the status quo by force,” as concerns grow about whether China could invade Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan loomed over a leadership meeting in Tokyo of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) nations — the US, Japan, Australia and India — who stressed their determination to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of an increasingly assertive China, although Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the group was not targeting any one country. The four leaders said in a joint statement issued after their talks