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Monday, July 9, 2001
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Aussie site back in China after censorship complaints

AN Australian government Web site was back online for China's 22 million Internet users for the first time in 18 months after complaints to Chinese officials over censorship, Australian officials said. The foreign affairs Web site, www.dfat.gov.au, returned to computer screens after Australian foreign affairs officials called in China's charge d'affairs Xie Xiaoyan in Canberra. "In the meeting we stressed the importance of access to the site by Australian travellers," a foreign affairs spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman said the Chinese government denied any censorship, saying technical problems were to blame for blacking out the website since late 1999. Late last year, the Chinese government introduced tough new bans on Internet use targeting information that might harm the country's unification policy, endanger national security or subvert the government.


Indian firm set to crack taboo

An Indian online bookstore aims to offer sex education on the Internet next month to crack myths in a country where sex is still a taboo subject. From Sunday, oxfordbookstore.com, India's equivalent of amazon.com, will impart tips for two weeks on its Web site www.oxfordbookstore.com on how to practice safe sex, and will also have experts discuss sexual problems with people. "Sex is taboo in India and no one wants to discuss it openly. The result is more and more teenagers are turning to sleazy sites to know about sex and getting a warped impression," Sanjeev Mehra, the firm's chief operating officer, said. Most Indian schools do not conduct sex education.

Hitachi to cut 550 jobs

Japan's biggest electronics maker, Hitachi Ltd, said it would cut 550 jobs at a Singapore unit and move the business to either China or Indonesia in a revamp of its Asian colour television operations. Hitachi, which like other Japanese electronics conglomerates is struggling to cut costs in the face of tough price competition, will also transfer vacuum cleaner production at the Singapore unit to a factory in Thailand, a spokesman said. Hitachi estimated the cost to dismiss 550 workers at S$27 million ($14.8 million) but said the figure had already been factored into its earnings forecasts. It will transfer production of colour televisions at the unit to Hitachi's factories in China and Indonesia by September 2001, seeking lower labour cost there, a Hitachi spokesman said.

Technology to change Japan

Corporate Japan will accelerate its move toward a merit-based salary for its employees from one that emphasises seniority as advances in technology reduce clerical jobs, a government report said. Job cuts were mostly seen in departments that were not directly linked to their core businesses, such as human resources, accounting, administration and public relations, the government's annual White paper on labour said. Japanese companies have traditionally based their salary scheme on seniority and have been protective of their workforce but that trend has been changing in recent years as they strive to compete in an increasingly tough environment. Despite a reduction in clerical work, information technology also created more than two million jobs throughout the 1990s across all industries, not only in the hi-tech sector.

Argentina groupís computers hacked

Hackers managed to destroy the computer hard disks of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, one of Argentina's best-known human rights groups formed amid the country's 1970s dictatorship, the organisation said. "They destroyed everything, including the hard disks," said Hebe de Bonafini, leader of the group that has campaigned to find out what happened to thousands of their sons and daughters who disappeared in the 1976-1983 dictatorship. The hard disks contained historical records and e-mails. The hacking was one of several incidents this year.

ó Reuters

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