Taiwan News Morning Briefing – August 19

Director Luc Besson on Monday gave a heartfelt thanks to the people of Taipei for their help in the filming of his new action thriller "Lucy" and said

Market & Commodity ■ Taiwan stock market (TWSE) opened 50.99 points, or 0.56 percent, higher to 9,192.30 on Tuesday, with turnover reaching NT$2.32 billion. (Taiwan News) ■ U.S. stocks moved higher on Monday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 175 points, or 1.1 percent, to close at 16,838 Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 16 points, or 0.9 percent, to 1,971. The Nasdaq composite gained 43 points, or 1 percent, to 4,508. (AP) World News ■ According to CNN, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed to extend the current Gaza cease-fire by 24 hours, Gamal Shobky, the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Egypt, said Monday. ■ After two days of U.S. airstrikes, an Iraqi military spokesman says Iraqi security forces and Kurdish fighters have retaken control of the country's largest dam from the hands of Islamic militants who captured it less than two weeks ago. (AP) ■ China's government says it has concluded Mercedes-Benz violated anti-monopoly laws and charged excessive prices for parts, adding to a growing number of global automakers snared in an investigation of the industry. The luxury unit of Germany's Daimler AG abused its control over supplies of spare parts to engage in "vertical price-fixing," according to the official Xinhua News Agency. (AP) ■ Rescuers safely recover 13 more people from a tourist boat that sank after hitting a reef in central Indonesia, but are searching for a Dutch man and an Italian woman who are still missing, officials say. The boat sank Saturday evening on its way from Lombok island to Komodo island carrying 20 foreign tourists, four Indonesian crewmen and an Indonesian guide. (AP) ■ Pope Francis wraps up his first trip to Asia by challenging Koreans --from the North and the South -- to reject the "mindset of suspicion and confrontation" that clouds their relations and find new ways to forge peace on the war-divided peninsula. Before boarding a plane back to Rome, the pope held a Mass of reconciliation at Seoul's main cathedral, attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye as well as some North Korean defectors. (AP) Local News ■ Vincent Chang Hsien-yao, who stepped down last week as the principal deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), is disputing the official statement given out by MAC regarding his reasons for leaving his post. In a statement handed out to reporters at a noon press conference Monday, Chang said that he had been "told to resign" by the council on August 14, two days before the Executive Yuan claimed on August 16 that Chang had offered to resign “for family reasons.” (Taiwan News) ■ European Union (EU) recently resolved to launch an anti-evasion investigation against Europe-bound Chinese solar panel suppliers and those assisting Chinese suppliers to avoid voluntary export restraints. If Taiwan was also listed as a target of investigation, Taiwanese solar cell manufacturers and relevant businesses will probably take the hit. Taiwanese solar shares opened the week with loss on this news. Neo Solar Power Corp. (3576), Giga Solar Materials (3691), and Green Energy Technology (3519) fell to their daily limits on Monday. (Taiwan News) ■ The continuing spread of the “Medigen effect” has caused anxiety among financiers, adversely impacted numerous stocks with high institutional ownership, and caused significant declines. (Taiwan News) ■ Executive Yuan spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun announced Monday that Premier Jiang Yi-huah and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu will meet during the afternoon of Friday, August 22, to exchange views on safe development of the petrochemical industry in Taiwan. (Taiwan News) ■ Taiwanese smart phone maker HTC will launch its second generation Butterfly smartphone August 19 in Tokyo, Japan ahead of large screen rivals such as the iPhone 6. This smartphone will be positioned as HTC’s flagship phone in Asia and the market is expecting this release to reestablish Q3 sales momentum. (Taiwan News) ■ Taiwanese actor Kai Ko (Ko Chen-tung) is being detained in China on suspicion of illegal drug use, his agency in Taiwan said Monday. Agency’s executive officer Chai Chih ping said a suspect under the charge is usually detained for 14 days, but she did not have any information on the nature of the suspected violation. (CNA) ■ Officials in Kaohsiung said Monday they have recorded 713 dengue fever cases so far this year as of the previous day, with 26 new cases reported every day on average since Aug. 12 alone. Health officials in the southern city said the recent outbreaks occurred in Siaogang and Fongshan, two districts near the site of gas explosions on July 31, where badly damaged drainage systems have resulted in water-filled ditches easily flooded when it rains. (CNA) ■ Taiwan opened its doors Monday to independent travelers from 10 more Chinese cities, bringing the total number of cities in the Free Independent Traveler program to 36, Chinese and Taiwanese tourism officials announced. (CNA)