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Starbucks, Burger King dragged in as China food scandal spreads

A toxic food scandal in China is spreading fast, dragging in US coffee chain Starbucks, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others, as well as products of McDonald’s Corp as far away as Japan.

McDonald’s and KFC’s parent Yum Brands Inc apologised to Chinese customers on Monday after it emerged that Shanghai Husi Food Co Ltd, a unit of US-based OSI Group LLC, had supplied expired meat to the two chains.

On Tuesday, Starbucks said some of its stores previously sold products containing chicken originally sourced from Shanghai Husi, a firm that was shut down on Sunday by local regulators after a TV report showed staff using expired meat and picking up meat from the floor to add to the mix.

McDonald’s said meat from the supplier had been sold to its branches in Japan where it was used in the firm’s McNuggets.

Fast-food chain Burger King and Dicos, China’s third-ranked diner owned by Ting Hsin International, said they would remove Shanghai Husi food products from their outlets.

Pizza chain Papa John’s International Inc said on its Weibo blog that it had taken down all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi and cut ties with the supplier.

Food safety is one of the top issues for Chinese consumers after a scandal in 2008 where dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine led to the deaths of six infants and made many thousands sick. Other food scandals have hit the meat and dairy industries in recent years, and many Chinese look to foreign brands as offering higher safety standards.

Starbucks said on its Chinese microblog site that it had no direct business relationship with Shanghai Husi, but that some of its chicken acquired from another supplier had originally come from Husi for its “Chicken Apple Sauce Panini” products. This had been sold in 13 different provinces and major cities.

Starbucks added that all the products had already been removed from the shelves.

TOXIC SPREAD

The scare has stirred local consumers and become one of the most discussed topics online by the country’s influential ‘netizens’, with some users writing and spreading long lists of firms thought to be tarnished.

The incident highlights the difficulty in ensuring quality and safety along the supply chain in China. Wal-Mart Stores Inc came under the spotlight this year after a supplier’s donkey meat product was found to contain fox meat. It also came under fire for selling expired duck meat in 2011.

Burger King said in a Weibo statement posted late on Monday that it had taken off its shelves all meat products supplied by Shanghai Husi Food and had launched an investigation.

Dicos said it pulled all ham products supplied by Shanghai Husi, and would stop serving its ham sandwich product for breakfast. “We will continue to carry out a probe into Shanghai Husi Food and its related firms, to understand whether or not it followed national regulations,” Dicos said in a statement.

IKEA said on Weibo that Shanghai Husi had previously been a supplier, but had not provided the firm with products since September last year. Domino’s Pizza Inc and Doctor’s Associates Inc’s Subway brand, which were named in online reports as being supplied meat from Shanghai Husi, said their outlets in China did not use meat products from the firm.

Yoshinoya-parent Hop Hing Group Holdings Ltd, Japanese convenience store FamilyMart Co Ltd and Chinese chain Wallace urged diners not to worry, and said they did not currently use any products from Shanghai Husi.

The post was originally posted by Asia One News at http://news.asiaone.com/news/soshiok/starbucks-burger-king-dragged-china-food-scandal-spreads

MIDA Eyes RM55 Bln Investments In Manufacturing And Related Service Sectors

The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is confident of attracting at least RM55 billion worth of investments in the manufacturing and related service sectors this year compared with RM52 billion last year.

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, said for the first five months of this year, the sector attracted RM41.7 billion in investments, an increase of 100 per cent from the same period last year.

"This will help create 34,000 high-skilled jobs," he told reporters after announcing the investment performance of the manufacturing and related service sectors for January till May 2014, here today.

Mustapa said most of the jobs created would be in the electrical and electronic, chemical and chemical products, basic metal products and scientific and measuring equipment sub-sectors.

He said during this period, about 196 projects (60.4 per cent), worth RM25.2 billion, were new while the balance came from expansion and diversification projects.

Foreign direct investments (FDIs) contributed 60.3 per cent, or RM25 billion, with Japan, China, Germany, Singapore and South Africa being the leading investors accounting for 84.5 per cent of FDIs, he said.

Mustapa said Johor topped the list attracting investment of RM14.9 billion due to Petronas’ Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project.

It was followed by Sarawak (RM7.8 billion), Pahang and Kedah (RM4.3 billion each) and Selangor (RM3.7 billion), he said.

He said Malaysia’s investments abroad currently were significantly higher than the FDIs into the country, which were mainly in the oil and gas, property and Finance.

"Malaysia is a limited market and we encourage expansion of our domestic investments abroad as at the end of the day the revenue will be brought back to the country," he said.

The post was originally posted by Bernama at http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v7/newsindex.php?id=1054556

Some Asian carriers quit Ukraine airspace months ago

The Malaysian airliner MH17 apparently shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine was flying over airspace that a number of other Asian carriers abandoned months ago because of security concerns.

South Korea’s two main airlines, Korean Air and Asiana, as well as Australia’s Qantas said they all re-routed flights from as early as the beginning of March when Russian troops moved into Crimea.

“We stopped flying over Ukraine because of safety concerns,” Asiana spokeswoman Lee Hyo-Min said.

Korean Air re-routed its flights 250km south of Ukraine “due to the political unrest in the region”, an official for the carrier told AFP.

A Qantas spokeswoman said its London to Dubai service used to fly over Ukraine, but the route was changed “several months ago”.

Quizzed as to why Malaysia Airlines had not taken similar precautions, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said today that international air authorities had deemed the flight path secure.

“The aircraft’s flight route was declared safe by the International Civil Aviation Organisation. And (the) International Air Transportation Association has stated that the airspace the aircraft was traversing was not subject to restrictions,” he said.

Other Asian carriers such as Indonesia’s Garuda, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways said their routes had never crossed Ukraine.

The post was originally posted by Free Malaysia Today at http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2014/07/18/some-asian-carriers-quit-ukraine-airspace-months-ago/

HTC senior execs resign ahead of smart wearable launch

HTC may be back on its road to recovery thanks to its One (M8) flagship phone, but it’s now facing yet another managerial change. According to Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan, the phone maker’s CMO Ben Ho has just resigned, making it a rather short stint since he joined a little over a year and a half ago. Our own sources implied that this had been expected for a while, and that the $1 billion “Here’s To Change" marketing campaign was the main culprit, as it failed to get its money’s worth in return (despite chairwoman Cher Wang being a big fan of the hipster trolls featured in the ads). While Ho is no longer the CMO, he will remain at HTC until end of this year.

Culpan also reported that Fred Liu, the President of Engineering and Operations, has dropped day-to-day operations to pick up a strategic advisory role, as he prepares for retirement after almost 16 years of service. According to Taiwanese magazine Global Views, back then it took HTC founder HT Cho over a year to convince Liu to leave Digital Equipment Corporation — the former employer of Cho and CEO Peter Chou — and join his then new smartphone OEM.

Neither resignation should affect HTC’s roadmap in the very near future. We understand that the Taiwanese company’s preparing to launch its first smart wearables in the coming months — maybe to coincide with IFA in September. Regardless, it shouldn’t take long before HTC fills these voids.

The post was originally posted by Engadget at http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/15/htc-cmo-ben-ho-coo-fred-liu-resign/

World Cup Piracy Crackdown Hits Sites That Weren’t Even Streaming

An Indian company is trying take down about 500 web pages in the name of the World Cup, set to reach its climax on Sunday in Brazil. The idea is to cut off pirate sites that offer illegal streaming of World Cup events by having Google remove them from its search engine, but this sweeping crackdown is hitting all sorts of other legitimate sites as well.

The June 13 takedown notice covers several sites that simply talk about watching the World Cup online, including the Bleacher Reportthe BBC, and a number of interesting books hosted by Google itself. And it appears to be the result of some sloppy work by Markscan, a company that India’s Sony Entertainment Network hired to enforce its World Cup Streaming rights.

So far, Google has ignored many of the requests, and that’s a good idea, says Nate Glass, the owner of Takedown Piracy, a U.S. company that does similar copyright takedowns. “It sounds like this one company is kind of a rogue agent who’s maybe taking a scattershot approach and not really being very precise with their notices,” he says.

This Sunday’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina will, no doubt, be one of the most-watched sporting events of all time. The group that puts on the World Cup, FIFA, says that close to 1 billion people watched the 2010 finale, and this year’s game—a trans-continental match-up pitting a European Team against one from South America—seems likely to draw in even more viewers.

Here in the U.S., the final game will be broadcast on ABC, so it will be available even to cable-cutters. But that hasn’t been the case with all of the World Cup games. ABC and ESPN, for example, made early World Cup games available to non-subscribers via broadcast television and internet streaming, but then pulled the plug on this giveaway during key elimination matches. And Sunday’s final won’t be available for free in some countries, particularly in Asia, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

That means that sites such as Firstrow and Rojadirecta will probably be busy Sunday. It’s “likely be the most pirated sporting event in history,” says Glass. “You’re talking about, potentially, millions of people.”

FIFA itself has taken steps to cut down on copyright infringement. It’s sent warning letters to streaming sites, and DMCA notices to Twitter. News of the Markscan takedown was first reported by TorrentFreak. Google, Markscan, and Sony Entertainment Network could not immediately be reached for comment.

The post was originally posted by Wired at http://www.wired.com/2014/07/markscan-takedown/

Oier leaves Barcelona for Granada

After only two appearances in seven years for the senior Blaugrana side, the 24-year-old goalkeeper has opted to continue his career with the Andalusian outfit

Goalkeeper Oier has left Barcelona to join Granada on a free transfer, the Catalan club have confirmed.

The 24-year-old joined Barca’s youth academy in 2007 as an 18-year-old, but was unable to make the full step up to senior level despite making 122 appearances for the B team.

Oier played just twice for the senior side in his time at Camp Nou, but will hope for more playing time at Granada after agreeing a four-year deal with the club.

"Granada Football Club can report that it has reached an agreement with FC Barcelona for the transfer of Oier Olazabal for four seasons," a statement on Granada’s official website read.

"Oier arrives on a free to Granada, but the Blaugrana retain a clause to receive a financial percentage in the case of a future transfer of the goalkeeper."

Oier will have a challenge on his hands if he is to displace regular goalkeeper Roberto, who made 32 appearances for the club last season.

The Andalusian club narrowly avoided relegation from La Liga last term, finishing just two points clear of the drop zone in 15th.

The post was originally posted by Goal at http://www.goal.com/en-my/news/3956/transfer-zone/2014/07/12/4953157/oier-leaves-barcelona-for-granada

Microsoft repositions as ‘the productivity and platform company for the mobile and cloud-first world’

In a rallying email to staff, Satya Nadella, who became Microsoft’s chief executive in February this year, outlined the next stage of the company’s transformation under his leadership.

It is hoped the new approach will drive a turnaround in Microsoft’s fortunes, a company that has lost more than 35 per cent of its stock value since the year 2000, having failed to keep up with competition form the likes of Apple, Sony and Google.

Microsoft has been describing itself as a “devices and services” business ever since 2012 when former CEO Steve Ballmer announced the company’s overarching “One Microsoft” transformation strategy and a major restructure designed to ensure its products and services were marketed and designed in a more joined-up fashion. 

However, Nadella says that while the devices and services descriptor was useful in starting the company’s transformation one year ago, Microsoft now needs to “hone in” in on its “unique” strategy.

He adds: “At our core Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. We will reinvent productivity to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to do more and achieve more.”

Going forward, Microsoft will consider every user as a “dual user” - people who use technology for work or school, but also in their personal life. Nadella says the company will also work harder to ensure Microsoft experiences become more connected to each other.

Using Microsoft’s Siri-like personal assistant app Cortana as an example of this approach, Nadella says: “Increasingly all experiences become more connected to each other. In the future, Cortana will be even more intelligent as a personal assistant who takes notes, books meetings and understands if my question about the weather is to determine my clothes for the day or is intended to start a complex task like booking a family vacation.”

As Nadella has previously outlined, Microsoft’s Cloud OS - in particular its Azure cloud platform - represents the company’s largest opportunity for growth. He also adds that Microsoft will look to make investments in Windows to ensure it becomes the “most secure, manageable and capable OS for the needs of a modern workforce and IT” and that the company will continue to innovate and grow its Xbox fan base, which it hopes will create additive business value. 

To prepare itself for transformation, Nadella says Microsoft’s culture must innovate too, which will include major engineering and organisational changes. Further details on those will be announced on 22 July when Microsoft reports its latest quarterly results.

He ends his email by saying: “With the courage to transform individually, we will collectively transform this company and seize the great opportunity ahead.”

The post was originally posted by Marketing Week at http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/technology-and-telecoms/news/microsoft-repositions-as-the-productivity-and-platform-company-for-the-mobile-and-cloud-first-world/4011080.article