Taiwan News Morning Headlines - December 20

As the K7 plant alone employs over 5,000 workers, the possibility of its suspension has also caught the attention of the Cabinet-level Council of Labo

Market & Commodity ■ Taiwan stock market (TAIEX) opened lower at 8,400 points, down 7 points, or 0.09%, on turnover of NT$1.52 billion. ■ Stocks are mostly lower on Wall Street a day after hitting their latest record high. Long-term interest rates and the dollar rose after the Federal Reserve said it would reduce its bond purchases. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 11 points, or 0.07 percent, to 16,179 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 fell a point, or 0.06 percent, to 1,809. The Nasdaq composite fell 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,058. (AP) ■ The price of gold is slumping below US$1,200 an ounce, the lowest in more than three years, after the Federal Reserve pulled back on its stimulus program. Gold plunged $41.40, or 3.4 percent, to $1,193.60 an ounce Thursday. It hadn't closed below $1,200 an ounce since August 2010. ■ The price of oil rose 1 percent Thursday as stockpiles declined. Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery rose 97 cents to close at $98.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (AP) World News ■ U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is telling Congress that he will have only a few weeks after Feb. 7 to avoid an unprecedented default on the United States' debt. He says Congress should act quickly next year to raise the borrowing limit. (AP) ■ Samsung and LG say their curved TVs will get bigger and sport the sharpness four times the regular HD television sets. The world's two largest TV makers said separately on Thursday they will announce ultra-HD TVs with curved screens that measure 105 inches diagonally. (AP) ■ Honda Motor Co. has topped the insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety on Thursday gave 39 vehicles top safety ratings for 2014. That is dramatically fewer than the 130 on the list last year because vehicles now must meet tougher standards. (AP) ■ President Vladimir Putin says Russia's $15-billion bailout for Ukraine is driven by a desire to help a partner in a desperate situation and isn't linked to its talks with the European Union. (AP) Local News ■ Lai Chung-chiang, convener of the Democratic Front against the Cross-straits Agreement on Trade in Services, slammed the KMT for proposing an extraordinary session of the Legislative Yuan on Sunday to ram through approval of the pact. (Taiwan News) ■ The Control Yuan dropped a second attempt to impeach Prosecutor-General Huang Shih-ming for the leaking of confidential information, reports said Thursday. (Taiwan News) ■ Minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) Kuan Chung-Min said Thursday that government does not rule out the possibility of cooperation between Taiwan's free economic pilot zones and the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone. (Taiwan News) ■ Following the Ministry of the Interior's release Wednesday of a list of seven illegal B&Bs in Nantou County, Magistrate Chen Chih-ching announced that the county government was prepared to take action to close down the resorts. The county government said that some of the designated businesses may be able to submit an application within one month to continue operating. (Taiwan News) ■ Environmental authorities in Kaohsiung said Thursday that they will review overnight a written improvement plan submitted by Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE) to fix its pollution problems. If the Environmental Protection Bureau does not approve of the plan, ASE's K7 plant will be forced to suspend operations. (CNA) ■ Taiwan's GDP could grow by more than 3 percent in 2014 despite continued global economic uncertainties, the head of a local think tank CIER said during a Thursday conference on Taiwan's economic outlook. (CNA) ■ Taiwan and Hungary are expected to sign a working holiday agreement in the near future, as both sides have completed negotiations, a Taiwanese foreign affair official said Thursday. (CNA) ■ The winding down of the U.S. quantitative easing policy is not expected to have much direct impact on Taiwan, Council of Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-ming said Thursday. The change of policy, however, could affect some Southeast Asian countries, which in turn might have an indirect effect on Taiwan, Kuan said. (CNA)