Visitors stepping into Toy Story Land at Hong Kong Disneyland will feel like “Star Wars” action figures in a land of Barbie dolls — smaller-than-life interlopers in a land of larger-than-life toys.
Super-sized Tinker toys, Lincoln logs and dominoes line the walkways as towering “Toy Story” characters Rex the dinosaur and Woody the cowboy welcome visitors at the twin entrances to the lushly landscaped land.
Set to open as early as 2011, Toy Story Land is part of a nearly $500-million expansion at Hong Kong Disneyland that calls for the addition of three themed lands.
The three new rides include:
* A 115-foot-tall RC Racer-themed U-shaped shuttle coaster with a magnetic launch system similar to the half-pipe ride at Denver’s Elitch Garden theme park.
* A spinning Slinky Dog-themed caterpillar ride with a circular, undulating track similar to the classic Music Express or Himalaya carnival rides.
An identical Toy Story Playland opens at Walt Disney Studios Paris in June 2010 to coincide with the theatrical release of “Toy Story 3.”
Hong Kong's economic growth slowed in the third quarter mainly because of weak exports, although domestic consumption remained resilient thanks to abundant liquidity and China's robust recovery.
Rory McIlroy made a good start in the Hong Kong Open by firing a four-under-par 66 on Thursday.
Hong Kong’s economy probably grew for a second straight quarter, cementing the city’s recovery from its worst slump since the Asian financial crisis.
Drag on Growth
Retail sales grew for the first time in eight months in September as unemployment fell from a four-year high.
China’s demand has put a floor under Hong Kong’s exports as the world’s fastest-growing major economy rebounds from the global crisis. In September, the city’s shipments to the mainland grew 3.4 percent from a year earlier, in contrast with a 27.8 percent plunge in exports to the U.S.
Hong Kong is a new target of U.S. prosecutors pursuing a global campaign against evaders of federal taxes, spurred by data acquired in their crackdown on Swiss banks.
Probes Beyond Switzerland
Debriefings of Chernick started probes of financial institutions in Switzerland and beyond, “in particular tax- haven jurisdictions such as Hong Kong,” prosecutor Michael Ben’Ary said Oct. 30 at Chernick’s sentencing in Florida.
Global Tax Standards
The OECD has a so-called gray list of countries that haven’t complied with global tax standards. Hong Kong and Singapore announced in February that they would put forward legislation to meet them, according to Pascal Saint-Amans, who heads the tax competition division at the OECD. Macau made a similar announcement in March.
John McCarthy, a businessman in Malibu, California, admitted Oct. 20 that he failed to declare $1 million in a UBS Swiss account tied to a Hong Kong entity.
‘Scouring the 7,500 Disclosures’
“We’re going to be scouring the 7,500 disclosures to identify financial institutions, advisers and others” who helped taxpayers cheat on taxes, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said Oct. 14.
“The availability of corporate services and the relative ease with which shell companies can be purchased contribute to the risk of Hong Kong being used for structuring of the proceeds of financial crime, corruption, tax evasion and smuggling,” according to a June 2008 report by the task force, which works to combat money laundering.
‘Legitimate Tax Benefits’
“I suspect it’s probably more for the legitimate tax benefits of operating through Hong Kong that Hong Kong companies are used rather than its efficiency in evading U.S. tax,” said Ellis of Mayer Brown JSM. “I would have thought for evading U.S. tax you would want a different jurisdiction. But Hong Kong is maybe the legitimate end of it.”
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Hong Kong offered to reduce the amount of water taken from southern China to help ease the region’s worst drought in six decades and has been advised it doesn’t need to do so at present.
Worst in 60 Years
Guangdong’s drought is the worst in 60 years, the Information Daily newspaper said yesterday, citing the water resources department. Rainfall in most parts of Guangdong in August through October was half last year’s level, according to the newspaper, based in the provincial capital of Guangzhou.
Low-income families and the elderly in Macau will receive subsidies to buy bottled water if the salt level of municipal supplies is too high, the statement said.
Michael Kitchen, MarketWatchHong Kong's stock market rose in early trading Wednesday, helped by mostly strong Chinese economic data released at the session's open. The Hang Seng Index rose 1.1% to 22,501.9, while the mainland Chinese-focused Hang Seng China Enterprises Index was 0.4% higher at 12,426.9. The Chinese economic numbers showed October industrial production up 16.1%, better than the 15.5% expected by a Dow Jones Newswires survey of economists, though consumer prices fell 0.5% from a year earlier, a steeper drop than anticipated. Top advancers included HSBC Holdings PLC (HK:5 93.50, -0.50, -0.53%) (HBC 60.27, +0.17, +0.28%) , which rose 4.2% after it said overnight that its third-quarter pretax profit would be "significantly ahead" of year-earlier levels. Over on the mainland, the Shanghai Composite failed to pull into positive territory after the data release but was off earlier lows, trading down 0.3% at 3,167.36