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Taiwan News Morning Briefing - March 17
Taiwan News
2014-03-17 09:06 AM
Market & Commodity

■ Taiwan stock market (TAIEX) opened 9 points, or 0.11 percent, higher on Monday at 8,697 on turnover of NT$1.84 billion.

■ Stock investors started the week worrying about China. They ended it waiting on Russia. Investors spent much of Friday monitoring developments in the Ukraine's region of Crimea, where residents will vote Sunday on whether to join Russia. Many investors took a cautious approach, turning to lower-risk stocks like utilities. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 43.22 points, or 0.3 percent, to end at 16,065.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 5.21 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 1,841.13. The Nasdaq composite dropped 15.02 points, or 0.4 percent, to finish at 4,245.40. (AP)

World News

Russian state media said Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to break with Ukraine and join Russia on Sunday, as Kiev accused Moscow of pouring forces into the peninsula and warned separatist leaders "the ground will burn under their feet". With over half the votes counted, 95.5 percent had chosen the option of annexation by Moscow, the head of the referendum commission, Mikhail Malyshev, said two hours after polls closed, according to Reuters.

Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was established that whoever flew off with the Boeing 777 had intimate knowledge of the cockpit and knew how to avoid detection when navigating around Asia. Satellite data suggested the plane flew for at least 7 ? hours -- more than six hours after the last radio contact -- and that it could have reached as far northwest as Kazakhstan or deep into the southern Indian Ocean, making the hunt by 12 nations involving more than 100 planes and ships one of the largest in aviation history. (AP)

■ The White House says that if Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn't back down in Crimea, he will face penalties from the West that will hurt the Russian economy and diminish Moscow's influence in the world. (AP)

■ The European Union is taking steps to increase sanctions against Russia over what many believe is a planned annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, as Moscow has changed from a wary partner to a diplomatic adversary in the space of a few months. (AP)

■ Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says it's gearing up to go public on a U.S. stock exchange in what is likely to be the world's biggest IPO this year. (AP)

China announced Saturday it will ease exchange rate controls that have been criticized by Washington and other trading partners as part of reforms aimed at making its economy more efficient. The band in which the tightly controlled yuan is allowed to fluctuate each day against the U.S. dollar will double in size but stay relatively narrow, allowing a 2 percent change up or down. (AP)

■ The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. has sued 16 big banks that set a key global interest rate, accusing them of fraud and conspiring to keep the rate low to enrich themselves. The banks, which include Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase in the U.S., are among the world's largest. (AP)

Local News

■ Five Taiwanese coast guard officers were freed after being held on board a fishing vessel from China, the Coast Guard Administration said Saturday. The incident occurred when the five boarded the Chinese ship for an inspection because it had allegedly crossed into Taiwanese waters, reports said. Doors and windows were closed and the officers did not succeed in entering the quarters. (Taiwan News)

■ Taichung Mayor Jason Hu won the Kuomintang opinion poll to run in the November mayor election, the ruling party announced Saturday. (Taiwan News)

Tsai Ing-wen officially announced Saturday she was running to reclaim the post of Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman in the May 25 election. (Taiwan News)

■ The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on Friday (local time) cleared Taiwanese smartphone vendor HTC of infringing on imaging patents belonging to Flashpoint Technology Inc. Taoyuan-based HTC filed a statement with the Taiwan Stock Exchange Saturday saying it was pleased with the USITC desicion, which is final. (CNA)

■ More businesses in Taiwan are seeking to hire than to downsize, according to a survey conducted by workforce firm ManpowerGroup, which found that 43 percent of respondents wanted more employees while only 4 percent wanted fewer. (CNA)

■ Two young women from Hong Kong were arrested in Tainan Sunday on suspicion of theft and vandalism related to their rental of a room in Taipei earlier in the week. (CNA)

■ Bank of America Merrill Lynch will sponsor an investors' conference in Taiwan beginning Monday that will focus on mobile technologies such as 4G infrastructure, cloud computing, wearable devices and affordable smartphones. (CNA)

■ Taiwanese tennis player Hsieh Su-wei and her Chinese partner Peng Shuai won the women's doubles title at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California Saturday. (CNA)

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