YAN Zhixiang, deputy director general of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, announced an ''all out'' effort to improve the country's air safety record. Since last July there have been five commercial passenger crashes, killing 331 people. AS OF the end of July, Chinese companies owed the state US$2.14 billion (about HK$16.5 billion) in back tax according to a report in China Taxation News. THE Economic Daily reported that China intends to launch five satellites over the next 12 months. AS A first step to reforming its banking sector, China announced plans to set up a long-term development trust bank and an import-export credit bank by the end of the year. THE deadline for recalling illegal interbank loans was extended to the end of the year after acknowledging that two-thirds of the loans had not been collected by the August 15 deadline, according to a report in the China Daily Business Weekly. THE government announced measures aimed at curbing soaring investment in fixed assets, the main cause of inflation and economic instability. CHINA has spent US$11.9 billion in foreign funds to accelerate construction of its power stations in the past decade, according to figures released by the Power Industry Ministry. THE People's Bank of China is to build a nationwide satellite telecommunications network to improve its foreign currency management. The US$4 million project is expected to go into operation early next year. THE Harbin Commercial Construction and Decorating Engineering company was ordered to pay 10,000 yuan (about HK$13,500) to a 23-year-old man whose health had suffered from noise pollution. The award is believed to be the first case in China of compensation for noise pollution, according to a report in the China Environmental News. AN ADDITIONAL 22 non-Chinese law firms, including six from the US, have received permission to practise in China. The firms are authorised to provide consulting to foreign investors, and can represent foreign clients in China as well as Chinese companies abroad, according to a China Daily report. JAPAN Air Lines announced plans to shift some of its aircraft maintenance to China, where labour costs are said to be one-tenth of those in Japan. The airline is to take a 10 per cent stake in Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Maintenance Co which is 51 per cent owned by the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. CHINA claimed victory over the US following a bitter argument about the cargo on board a Chinese ship bound for the Middle East. Washington had alleged the vessel was transporting chemicals to Iran for weapons production. Experts from the US, China and Saudi Arabia inspected the ship and found nothing. THE People's Construction Bank of China signed an agreement with Lehman Brothers to float US$120 million of bonds in New York. CHINA Southern Airlines announced plans to add eight 737-300s and two 767-300ERs to its fleet early next year.