Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 March, 2011, 12:00am

California to enforce anti-slavery act on big firms

As of next year, big companies trading with California will be required to report on what they are doing to eradicate slavery in their supply chains.

In September last year, the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act was signed into law and comes into effect at the beginning of next year. Retail and manufacturing companies with revenues of more than US$100 million annually trading with California will have to reveal whether they evaluate and address human trafficking risks in product supply chains. According to socially responsible investment group, Christian Brothers Investment Services, the new law will affect 3,200 companies worldwide.

There is a seminar in Hong Kong on Friday at the Hankow Centre conducted by Rachelle Jackson, the director of research and development at STR Responsible Sourcing.

According to the United Nations, most forced labour is found in Asia, in industries such as prostitution, manufacturing and food processing.

Companies that handle those fancy electronic gizmos that we all love so much had better look out. For example, the working conditions of migrant labour in electronics factories in Penang that produce some of these gizmos are grim, to say the least, according to the Berlin-based group WEED.

Taipans mark historic flight

It was a taipan twosome last week as aviation buff and entrepreneur Sir Michael Kadoorie hosted a lunch for Cathay Pacific Airways chairman Christopher Pratt and members of the Aerospace Forum Asia to celebrate 100 years of flight in Hong Kong.

The event, held in the Peninsula hotel's aviation-themed China Clipper lounge, was to commemorate the first powered flight in Hong Kong on March 18, 1911, at Sha Tin by Belgian aviation pioneer, Charles Van den Born.

The Cathay taipan handed over a suitably inscribed plaque to mark Hong Kong's aviation achievement and both taipans (above) toasted the occasion.

A peek into BA's first class

Readers have asked how to enter the British Airways competition for a return first-class trip to London with three nights at the Langham. Go to You have to say in less that 20 words who you would most like to sit next to in BA's first class and why.

Readers have sent in a few suggestions. One writes: 'The last governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, to ask him if he has been invited to the royal wedding.' Another, more darkly, suggests: 'Richard Branson - the best setting to get an understanding of how British Airways tried to railroad Virgin Airlines,' adding: 'I don't think that will win.'

Too right. We're open to more suggestions.

Whisky myths

Our item on whisky tasting has prompted one reader to state that we were incorrect to suggest that by adding water to our whisky we were diluting the impact of the alcohol.

There are those that maintain that if you doubled the volume by adding water to a measure of whisky, you would need to have two of these to have the same impact as drinking the same measure of undiluted whisky.

We consulted the president of the Hong Kong Medical Authority, who assures us that this is not the case. Diluting the whisky does not reduce the amount of alcohol consumed although it may cause slightly less irritation to various organs in the body in its diluted form. He said that diluting whisky could indeed help the alcohol into the bloodstream faster.

We got the impression he wasn't a fan since he added that diluting the whisky 'did no less harm'.

To drink red wine is glorious

China has reacted to concerns over the widening wealth gap by banning outdoor advertising that promote hedonistic or high-end lifestyles.

The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce said businesses had until April 15 to rectify such advertisements along with any that excessively promote 'foreign' things, AFP reports.

Newly forbidden words include 'supreme', 'royal', 'luxury', or 'high class', all of which are frequently used in the promotion of houses, vehicles and wines. These words apparently create a politically unhealthy climate, the department said.

Is the thinking here that by not showing luxury goods on billboards that people will be lulled into thinking there is no wealth gap. It smacks eerily of George Orwell's 1984 and 'newspeak'. Should the Chinese instead describe luxury goods as 'doubleplus good'. Or perhaps paraphrase Deng Xiaoping: 'To drink red wine is glorious'.

Either way, it's hardly a positive step forward.