BIZ BRIEFS

Hitch in MS Word

BONN: Yet another security hole has been discovered in Microsoft Word. Attackers can use specially prepared text documents to take full control of computers, warns the German Federal Agency for Security in Information Technology (BSI). Such documents can be sent as attachments to e-mail messages. This makes it all the more crucial for users not to open Word files from unknown senders. No patches or small software updates designed to fix the hole have been released as yet. Microsoft had recently released a set of patches to close other security holes. — DPA

Tycoon stays defiant

TOKYO: Disgraced dot-com tycoon Takafumi Horie slammed his conviction and harsh sentence for securities fraud on Sunday, insisting he had committed no crimes and that he had more than paid for any mistakes by losing his company. On Friday, Horie was found guilty of masterminding a network of decoy investment funds to illegally manipulate earnings at his Internet startup, and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. “I did not intentionally attempt to pad earnings, and there was no false accounting,” an intent-looking Horie, former president of Livedoor Co, told a TV Asahi talk show on Sunday. — AP

Weak link in economy

TOKYO: It should be payback time for the Japanese salaryman, the overworked cog in the nation’s well-oiled capitalist machine. With many companies enjoying bumper profits as the economy awakens from a decade-long slumber, Japan’s army of loyal workers might have been forgiven for expecting a bigger pay rise after years of corporate thrift. Instead this year’s annual spring wage talks again resulted in paltry pay increases at many employers. — AFP

Common fare card

TOKYO: Tokyo’s public transportation system Sunday introduced a common fare card called Pasmo, which allows commuters to ride almost all the trains, subways and buses in the capital without buying separate tickets. East Japan Railway Co (JR East), one of the nation’s main railway operators, has already offered a similar service in Tokyo with a rechargeable integrated-circuit card called Suica. Users of Suica, which also can be used as a commuting train pass, do not need to buy tickets and simply hold it over a censor at gates to get on trains.—AFP

Malaysia, US FTA talk

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will not set a timeframe to conclude a free trade deal with the United States, deputy prime minister Najib Razak said on Sunday. “Malaysia is not tied down to any fixed timeframe. We will study thoroughly every issue being negotiated (before deciding on the free trade agreement),” he was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency. The US government Friday all but ruled out the chances of a deal with Malaysia before a crucial deadline expires in two weeks.—AFP