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Hyundai Probe Widens, China Implements Time-Saving Flight Routes


A probe into graft at South Korea's Hyundai Motor widens as police briefly detain two senior executives on suspicion of creating a slush fund for illegally lobbying policymakers. And China signs a deal to save air travelers time, cut airlines' costs, and reduce air pollution levels.

Legal scrutiny of South Korea's number one automaker, Hyundai Motor, has intensified, with Chief Financial Officer Lee Jung-dae and Vice President of Accounting Kim Seung-nyun being detained for several hours Friday in connection with a bribery investigation.

South Korean police say they plan to question Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo after his return from a business trip to China. They also plan to question his son, Chung Eui-sun, who runs Hyundai affiliate, Kia Motors.

China is opening up some more of its airspace to civilian flights - and probably saving passengers time.

The Singapore-based International Air Transport Association - or IATA - says it has successfully completed six years of talks with Beijing aimed at establishing new flight routes across northwest China.

Albert Tjoeng, a corporate communications manager for IATA, says the routes are a big boost not only for the bottom line, but also the environment.

"Flight times between Europe and China will be cut by about an average of 30 minutes. This translates into $30 million savings in the fuel bill [per year]," said Tjoeng. "The more direct routing will result in eliminating 84,000 tons [per year] of carbon dioxide emissions."

The new routes are expected to affect 110 flights each week.

And rail travelers in Hong Kong can look forward to some savings of their own.

Authorities have approved terms for merging the territory's main subway system, known as the MTR, with the Kowloon-Canton Railway, or KCR system. The KCR connects Hong Kong's more densely populated center with outlying areas, and extends north into mainland China.

Hong Kong Environment and Transport Secretary Sarah Liao says commuters will get immediate benefits from the rail merger.

Liao says from the first day of the merger, the almost three million daily passengers will enjoy a reduction in train fares.

Hong Kong's government fully owns the KCR, and holds a majority stake in the MTR.

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