Taiwan News Morning Briefing - May 29

A cat that escaped Taiwanese airport security checks and made its way to South Korea in its owner's check-in luggage was brought back to Taiwan Wednes

News of another act of heroism in the Taipei Metro stabbing spree last week emerged Wednesday, this time involving a woman who wielded only a handbag

Market & Commodity ■ Taiwan stock market (TWSE) opened up 1.75 points, or 0.02 percent, on Thursday's session at 9123.46, on turnover of NT$2.55 billion. ■ U.S. stocks closed mostly lower after setting a record high the day before. The Standard & Poor's 500 index edged down two points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 1,909 Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 42 points, or 0.3 percent, to 16,633. The Nasdaq composite lost 12 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,225. World News ■ Thailand's new military rulers say a sudden interruption of access to Facebook was not part of a censorship policy, but due instead to a technical hitch. The partial blockage came a day after the military government announced an Internet crackdown. Thailand's new military junta orders all national TV stations to broadcast videos showing some of the prominent political figures it has detained in an effort to convince the public that people in army custody are being treated well. (AP) ■ Charting an end to America's longest war, President Barack Obama plans to keep nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan after this year but then draw down those forces by the end of 2016. (AP) ■ A fire believed set by an 81-year-old dementia patient blazes through a hospital ward for the elderly and kills 21 people, mostly from smoke inhalation, police and fire officials say. The fire also injured seven people and raised concerns about lax fire regulations. (AP) ■ Beijing police detain a Chinese news assistant for a Japanese newspaper in the latest in a string of detentions ahead of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Every year, the government attempts to prevent any commemorations or public discussions of the anniversary, but activists say this year has been one of the most severe clampdowns. (AP) ■ Apple Inc. said Wednesday that it is buying Beats Electronics LLC for $3 billion to bring a music-streaming service, high-end headphones and music-industry connections to the technology giant as it seeks to reignite growth under Chief Executive Tim Cook, according to MarketWatch. Local News ■ The Control Yuan questioned national police chief Wang Cho-chiun about the police crackdown on the March 24 occupation of the Executive Yuan, reports said Wednesday. Some occupiers filed an investigation request with the Control Yuan, the nation’s top government watchdog. Tuesday’s questioning of the National Police Agency chief was a direct result of the request, reports said. (Taiwan News) ■ Tsai Ing-wen returned to her position as chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party Wednesday as the key members of her team became known. (Taiwan News) ■ China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) gave a thumbs-down to the “Greater One China” framework proposed by Shih Ming-teh and others Monday as a solution to the impasse that divides Taiwan and China on closer relations across the Taiwan Strait. Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman for TAO, responded to the feeler by stating emphatically that the mainland and Taiwan both belong to one China and that cross-strait relations "are not a matter of state-to-state relations.” Ma said the two sides should adhere to the 1992 Consensus and not Taiwan independence as a common political basis for peaceful development of cross-strait relations. (Taiwan News) ■ Two uncertainties have arisen in Hon Hai Precision Ind. Co., Ltd. subsidiary Ambit Microsystems’ bid to acquire Asia Pacific Telecom Co., Ltd. Since the sum of 700MHz and 900MHz spectral bandwidth possessed by both companies exceed limits and Ambit’s purchase of Huawei’s 4G mobile communications equipment has not been approved, these two factors will determine whether Ambit and Asia Pacific can proceed from investment to merger. (Taiwan News) ■ National Police Administration (NPA) Director Wang Chuo-chun announced Wednesday that police officers detailed to supplement security forces on the Taipei MRT will carry handguns rather than assault weapons in the future. The police were assigned to ride the rails to restore a feeling of safety for passengers after four persons died May 21 at the hands of a 21-year-old knife-wielder on an afternoon rampage. (Taiwan News) ■ The Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office reported Wednesday that a total of 21 persons have been charged in a bribery case involving the Kaohsiung Customs Office, the fourth wave of indictments to stem from an ongoing investigation into graft in the customs operation. Of the 21 indicted, 11 pleaded guilty to the charges. (Taiwan News) ■ Formosa Plastics Group (FPG) Chairman William Wong has urged Vietnam to punish rioters as soon as possible, saying it's sad that the Vietnam-China conflict over South China Sea engulfed foreigners' life and safety. Wong made the remarks during his meeting with visiting Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang Tuesday. (CNA) ■ Taiwan received three awards at the 2014 Asia Pacific/World General Assembly of the Airport Council International (ACI) in Seoul, South Korea Tuesday, including accreditation of Kaohsiung International Airport's carbon reduction management. (CNA) ■ A draft act on Taiwan's Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZs) encountered a roadblock in a joint legislative committee meeting Wednesday as opposition lawmakers staged a filibuster after the committee chairwoman decided to "invite" local government chiefs to attend the session. (CNA) ■ Taiwan and China will continue to pursue more liberalized bilateral trade, despite delays in the progress of two trade pacts with China, former Vice President Vincent Siew said Wednesday. (CNA)