Taiwan News Morning Headlines - December 18

Former Republic of China Navy Capt. Kuo Li-heng, who was sentenced to life for leaking classified arms procurement information in return for bribes, w

Market & Commodity ■ Taiwan stock market (TAIEX) opened higher at 8,361 points, up 8 points, or 0.11%, on turnover of NT$1.38 billion. ■ The Dow Jones industrial average eased nine points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 15,875.26 Tuesday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down five points, or 0.3 percent, at 1,781. The Nasdaq composite fell five points, or 0.1 percent, at 4,023.68. (AP) ■ The price of oil fell Tuesday as investors wait to see whether or not the U.S. Federal Reserve will decide to start reducing its monetary stimulus this week. Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery slipped 26 cents to $97.22 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (AP) ■ Gold and silver were lower following a report that showed U.S. inflation remains tame. The price for gold fell $14.30, or 1 percent, to $1,230.10 an ounce, while silver fell 26 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $19.84 an ounce on Tuesday. (AP) World News ■ European finance ministers from the 17 countries that use the euro currency are beginning two days of emergency meetings aimed at achieving agreement on more centralized control over banks. (AP) ■ Pfizer says it reached a settlement with Teva Pharmaceuticals that allows the generic drugmaker to launch a copycat version of its popular erectile dysfunction drug Viagra in 2017. (AP) ■ Facebook says it's testing video advertisements that will show up in its users' news feeds. When they appear, the advertisements will automatically start playing without sound. Users can either click on the video to view them with sound, or keep scrolling by if they're not interested. (AP) Local News ■ Former Navy Captain Kuo Li-heng, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by military authorities for his role in a procurement scandal involving French minesweepers, has been released from jail after serving almost 20 years behind bars. (Taiwan News) ■ Dr. Ko Wen-je, the most popular candidate for 2014 Taipei mayoral candidate in recent opinion polls, expressed satisfaction about his visit to Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Su Tseng-chang Tuesday, indicating he might decide whether or not to join the opposition party by March at the latest. (Taiwan News) ■ Reports from overseas say that secret talks in a third country between representatives of national security and intelligence units on both sides of the Taiwan Strait regarding the exchange of captured agents fell apart over the issue of former Army Major General Lo Hsien-che. (Taiwan Nwes) ■ Taiwan's central bank said Monday that a total of 117.29 billion yuan (US$19.32 billion) had been deposited in domestic banking units (DBU) as of the end of November, setting a new record high after Renminbi (RMB) business in Taiwan kick-started last February. The amount of RMB savings from DBUs last month jumped 28.8 billion yuan from October’s level. (Taiwan News) ■ Ten local investment projects launched by U.S.-based businesses could create more than 500 jobs for Taiwan, the Industrial Development Bureau said Tuesday. The investments are expected to generate industrial benefits worth NT$290.8 billion (US$9.3 billion), more than four times the initial investment amount of NT$7.15 billion, the bureau said. (CNA) ■ The environmental group Greenpeace on Monday warned consumers of "unpredictable health risks" associated with China-made garments and footwear, saying that it had found dangerously high level of residues of harmful chemicals in children's wear made in China. (CNA) ■ Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) was fined NT$5l0,000 (US$17,200) Tuesday for releasing untreated industrial wastewater through a bypass system from its plant in Chungli, northern Taiwan. (CNA) ■ Wmall, Taiwan's first online shopping service to accept Bitcoin, is enrolling businesses that want a slice of the virtual currency pie to serve as its suppliers, Wmall chief executive Chen Sheng-ming said Tuesday. (CNA) ■ Passengers on Taiwan's high speed rail system will enjoy an 8 percent fare discount on limited services from March 13, following a series of malfunctions on the system that have triggered public criticism. (CNA)