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Taiwan News Morning Briefing - March 31
Taiwan News
2014-03-31 09:16 AM
Market & Commodity

■ Taiwan stock market (TAIEX) opened 28 points, or 0.32 percent, higher on Monday at 8,802 on turnover of NT$2.14 billion.

■ U.S. Stocks were ending broadly higher Friday as traders were encouraged by an increase in consumer spending last month. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose eight points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 1,857. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 58 points, or 0.4 percent, to 16,323 and the Nasdaq composite rose four points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,155. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.72 percent. (AP)

■ The Taiwan Stock Exchange trended higher but pulled back on Friday and broke a two-year high in intersession trading while dipping as low as 8812.41 points. However, momentum could not be maintained and the index fell 4.93 points, or 0.06% to 8774.64 points. (Taiwan News)

World News

■ North Korea said Sunday it "would not rule out" a new nuclear test as it defended its recent mid-range missile launch that triggered international condemnation, according to CNN.

■ Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris preparing to meet his Russian counterpart in another bid to calm tensions and resolve the crisis over Ukraine.Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are meeting later Sunday. They'll sit down at the residence of the Russian ambassador to France to go over Moscow's response to a U.S. plan to de-escalate the situation as Russian troops continue to mass along the Ukrainian border. (AP)

■ The search for floating debris from the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was in high gear Sunday as 10 aircraft, six ships and four helicopters combed an Indian Ocean search zone west of Australia more than three weeks after the Boeing 777 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. (AP)

Local News

■ Up to 500,000 people gathered in front of the Presidential Office Building Sunday to voice their support for the students occupying the Legislative Yuan in protest against the trade-in-services pact with China, organizers said. (Taiwan News)

■ A number of international news channels covered Sunday’s protests against the service-trade pact with China, including Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and BBC News. The Wall Street Journal quoted the opponents who expressed concern that the deal “will favor conglomerates and leave small to medium enterprises in Taiwan struggling to compete.” On the other hand, the report also mentioned another group of people in Taipei were urging the protesters to retreat from the legislative building and let lawmakers go back to work. (Taiwan News)

■ The protesters against the service-trade pact with China flooded the streets of central Taipei on Sunday. The organizer—the Black Island Nation Youth Front—claimed on its official Facebook page the number of protesters exceeded 350,000 by early afternoon and revised the number up to 500,000 in the late afternoon. The group issued a press release relating the anti-service pact protests to the civil awakening of a nation as well as a social movement rebuking deception and violence by the authorities. (Taiwan News)

■ Former President Lee Teng-hui took to Facebook Sunday to urge the nation’s leaders to listen to the voice of the people, understand their suffering and offer a specific and sincere response to the demands of students and the people. He called for a national constitution conference to discuss recent political problems and seek solutions to the many issues that are dividing the people of the nation. (Taiwan News)

■ A leader of the students occupying the Legislative Yuan rejected President Ma Ying-jeou’s comments made during an hour-long news conference Saturday. Ma rejected the students’ key demand that the government should withdraw the trade accord signed last June from legislative consideration, but made apparent concessions on other issues. (Taiwan News)

■ In order to complete the trading mechanism of the Taiwan Stock Exchange, provide investors with hedging strategy options, and increase market momentum, the centralized trading market lifted the ban on day trading for investors on January 6, 2014. (Taiwan News)

■ A number of Taiwanese studying in Hong Kong were joined by local university students in a march Sunday in solidarity with the mass demonstration that took place on Ketagalan Boulevard in Taipei. A total of about 500 persons marched to protest the Taiwan government’s handling of the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) with China. (Taiwan News)

■ Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Taipei Sunday to urge an end to the student occupation of the Legislature and a "rational discussion" of a disputed service trade pact with China, while over 100,000 opponents of the pact converged on the Presidential Office plaza in a widening of the protest movement. Hundreds rallied by civic group the Civil Justice Alliance shouted "come forward for the sake of Taiwan's stability and a more liberalized economy," as they massed around the Taipei Main Station waving Republic of China flags and wearing white t-shirts. (CNA)

■ In a bid to assuage public misgivings, President Ma Ying-jeou said Saturday that a controversial service trade pact with China has a mechanism for dealing with problems once it goes into effect. (CNA)

■ If a service trade agreement with China is not approved by the Legislature, the financial sector could shift the focus of its outreach to Southeast Asia rather than China, an official of Fubon Financial Holdings said Saturday. (CNA)

■ Taiwan's Agriculture and Food Agency said Saturday that it will increase exports of garlic to 8,000 metric tons this year in an attempt to lower the domestic supply and stabilize prices. (CNA)

China's top negotiator with Taiwan said Sunday that it will be regrettable if a trade-in-services agreement between Taiwan and China fails to pass Taiwan's Legislature in the near term. (CNA)

■ The head of Taiwan's central bank has said the island must reach out to other countries and approve a trade pact with China, otherwise its industries and workers would suffer. (CNA)

■ Taiwan and the United States will hold their next round of talks under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) on April 4 in Washington, the government announced Saturday. (CNA)

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