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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek technology

OCTOBER 8, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 40

From the Web

    ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Computers
Software that speaks your language


Illustration by Sonya O. Wu
Looking for Satellites
You may not be stuck on Everest or lost in the Gobi desert, but you too can benefit from the financial black hole they call Iridium - and you won't need to spend a fortune on a brick-sized satellite phone to do it. Cast aside the handset and grab your telescope instead. Iridium's network of communications satellites may have proved a costly failure as a business proposition, but the astral weakling is providing the best free show in the sky. When the sun hits the satellites' antennae, the light reflects down to Earthbound observers producing bright streaks known as "Iridium flares." But before you rush out to stand in a field for hours, craning your neck to the cosmos on the offchance of catching the spectacle, check out Heavens-Above. Enter your location and the site will tell you when to expect the next flash.

Hong Kong's Got Mail
AOL Anywhere is the slogan and America Online colored in another patch on its campaign chart Sept. 28, with the launch of its new Hong Kong service. As elsewhere in the online behemoth's empire, AOL Hong Kong will combine Internet access with its easy-to-use, even-easier-to-laugh-at, proprietary network. It's a mass-market strategy that never fails to make the lips of hipsters sneer "bland" - but it also plain never fails. With the tech-savvy already surfing, AOL is hoping its cuddly image will woo Hong Kong's digital doubters onto the Net next. And if they can't win hearts, there is always Plan B: AOL's prices undercut those of major competitors Cable & Wireless HKT and AT&T.

Yahoo! China OK. Maybe
The mist surrounding a foreign-investment ban in China's dot-coms has dissipated a little. On Sept. 27, Minister of Information Industry Wu Jichuan hinted that regulations would be fine-tuned to officially allow mainland firms to have foreign investors. Meanwhile, some folks were carrying on regardless. Three days earlier, U.S. portal giant Yahoo! unveiled a new website, a joint venture with a Beijing firm. The guest of honor: the vice minister for information industry. The site's host: MII-run China Telecom. So no confusion at all.

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