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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

DECEMBER 24, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 51

From the Web
Life's a Riot with eBay

Final Countdown
Asia is hoping for the best but bracing for the worst as the Y2K computer bug prepares to pounce

What you can do to get ready for the millennium

Air travel should be safe but delays are likely

From the Web
Life's a Riot with eBay

Oh those fickle protesters. Barely a fortnight ago, anti-WTO activists were braving tear-gas and pepper spray on the streets of Seattle, spilling the beans all over Starbuck's floor in a furious assault on global free trade. Now they're hawking riot memorabilia to the highest bidder on auction website eBay. Colorful protest costumes, anti-growth hormone "Killer Corn" placards ($5, stick not included) and the URL can be yours for a price. One seller was even asking a dollar for a rock "thrown in anger" at the cops. Free marketeers suffered a blow, however, when eBay banned the sale of items such as exploded concussion grenades and used rubber bullets included in a "tear-gas fun pack." Even used weapons are weapons, and anyway, these may rightfully belong to the Seattle police, noted eBay.

One Bad Apple
Oh, the irony. After years complaining that Microsoft is a copycat, Apple has started imitating Bill Gates and Co. And not in a good way. On Dec. 7, officials from the Fair Trade Commission raided Apple Japan's HQ in Tokyo. The problem? It appears Apple is suspected of violating antitrust laws, threatening to stop supplying retailers who dared to sell the company's iMac and iBook machines for below list price. So much for thinking different.

Lingua Franker
Surfing the Web is about to get a whole lot simpler for many of Asia's non-English speakers. Shunning the Roman alphabet, Singapore firm iDNS ( has developed what it calls the Internationalized Domain Names System (IDNS) - allowing web addresses to be registered in non-English characters for the first time. This month Taiwan Internet service provider TimeNet ( began offering dot-coms in Chinese and picked up customers at a rate of one per second. A total of 90,000 domains were snapped up in one week, with multinationals like Coca-Cola and Internet firms like Chinadotcom getting in early to beat the cybersquatters. IDNS, which grew out of a National University of Singapore research project, can also handle a further 35 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Arabic and Indian scripts.

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