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Taiwan News Morning Briefing – July 18
Taiwan News
2014-07-18 09:10 AM
Market & Commodity

■ Local bourse opened sharply lower Friday on poor U.S. stock market performance and after the crash of a passenger jet in Ukraine which spooks investors. Foreign media reported that the Malaysia Airlines jet was brought down by something like a Buk missile launcher out of sky over Ukraine. Taiwan stock market (TWSE) opened 72.86 points, or 0.77 percent, lower at 9,335.38, with turnover reaching NT$2.60 billion.

■ U.S. stocks closed sharply lower as traders worried about an escalation of tensions between Russia and the West following the downing of a passenger plane in eastern Ukraine. Traders were also unsettled by poor corporate earnings and a weak indicator for the housing market. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 161 points, or 0.9 percent, to close at 16,976 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index lost 23 points, or 1.2 percent, to 1,958. The Nasdaq lost 62 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,363. (AP)

■ The price of oil rose 2 percent Thursday on lower U.S. inventories and concerns that geopolitical tensions could disrupt global supplies. Benchmark U.S. crude for August delivery rose $1.99 to close at $103.19 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (AP)

World News

■ Malaysia Airlines said late Thursday it lost contact with a plane over Ukrainian airspace. MH17 was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. A Ukrainian government adviser Anton Gerashenko said on Facebook that a plane carrying 295 people was shot down over a town in the east of the country. The airline said on Twitter that more details were coming. (AP)

■ The Malaysia Airlines jet was flying far above the range of conventional portable anti-aircraft launchers when it was destroyed Thursday -- but it was well within the altitude range of the powerful Buk missile-launcher. That Russian-made system was blamed by an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister for the catastrophe, and defense experts said one could have fallen into the hands of separatist pro-Russia rebels fighting Ukrainian government forces. (AP)

■ A typhoon that barreled through the northern Philippines leaves at least 38 people dead and knocks out power in entire provinces and forced more than half a million people to flee its lethal wind and rains. Most businesses, malls and banks in the Philippine capital reopen a day after Typhoon Rammasun left the country. (AP)

■ Heavy rains have killed at least 18 people in southern China and a state news agency said six more were missing Thursday after a landslide. Southern China was also bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Rammasun, with wind gales expected to reach up to 150 kph (90 mph). (AP)

■ A court orders the Netherlands to compensate the families of more than 300 Bosnian Muslims killed after Dutch troops handed them over to Bosnian Serb forces in 1995, in a ruling that could make countries more leery to contribute troops to peacekeeping missions. (AP)

■ CNN reported that the Israeli military launched a ground operation into Gaza late Thursday and called an extra 18,000 reservists into the conflict with Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the ground action to destroy tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory, according to a statement from Netanyahu's media adviser.

Local News

■ Former New Party legislator Yao Li-ming finally relented Thursday and agreed to join the campaign team for Ko Wen-je in the Taipei City mayor’s race. Yao’s addition to the team raises questions about his history as a member of the Red Shirts movement that opposed former President Chen Shui-bian and how he will mesh with supporters of a candidate who serves on the medical team looking after Chen’s health. Ko downplayed the differences in political ideologies, pointing out that he has said he wants to introduce diversity to his team. (Taiwan News)

■ Huang Ching-tai, the former speaker of the Keelung City Council, says that his hat is still in the ring in the mayor’s race in Keelung, vowing that he will not pull out of the contest. Huang was yanked from the campaign by the KMT Central Standing Committee following allegations that he had accepted bribes from developers in the city in return for squelching demolition orders for dilapidated buildings. (Taiwan News)

■ Largan Precision Co., Ltd. released its earnings report for the first half of 2014 Thursday. Q2 consolidated gross profit margin reached 58.195%, an increase of 2.595 percentage points over Q1, and the highest result since Q4 2006. Q2 net income was NT$5.01 billion and set a single quarter record. Cumulative EPS for the first half of the year was NT$50.11. The Commercial Times reported that foreign investors have been bullish on Largan recently, setting target prices uniformly above NT$3,000. (Taiwan News)

■ The stock listing process of domestic aerospace manufacturing leader Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC 2634) has proceeded smoothly. The company is set to hold a pre-listing earnings conference on July 22. Shares will be released in August. Institutional investors expect AIDC to list in the shipping and transportation category ahead of schedule in August. (Taiwan News)

■ Taiwan Sugar Corporation, also known as Taisugar, originally planned to invest NT$3 billion in building a sugarcane ethanol plant with expected annual capacity of 120 million liters. However, the company announced termination of this plan as Taiwan government has long been unable to nail down its renewable energy policy. (Taiwan News)

■ Taiwanese associations such as the Taiwan Society North, World United Formosans for Independence, and Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan held a “DPP freeze Taiwan independence, Taiwanese freeze the DPP” press conference Thursday to publicize their opposition to the abandonment of Taiwan independence. (Taiwan News)

■ Thailand will waive visa fee for Taiwanese and Chinese travelers during a peak tourism period Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, Thai media reported Thursday. The visa fee-waiver decision is part of the efforts by Thailand's National Council for Peace and Order to restore normalcy and lure back tourists to the country following months of political turmoil and deadly protests. (CNA)

■ Plans for the green line of the Taoyuan MRT have passed an environmental impact assessment, the Taoyuan County Government said Thursday, meaning construction on the line that will link Taoyuan City to the airport could begin as soon as next year. (CNA)

■ Jeremy Lin, the first NBA player of Taiwanese descent, will start a week-long visit to Taiwan Thursday, amid great public interest in his recent transfer to the Los Angeles Lakers. (CNA)

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