AFP, LONDONEurope’s main stock markets stumbled on Friday on disappointing economic data heading into the weekend, while London marked a year since Brexit with another pale session. European stock markets are “on the back foot, with a host of eurozone PMI [purchasing managers’ index] surveys ... providing a somewhat cautious assessment,” IG Group PLC analyst Joshua Mahony said. Data monitoring company IHS Markit Ltd said its composite PMI came was 55.7 points, the lowest reading in five months and down from 56.8 last month. “After a string of exceptionally strong figures, the composite PMI for the eurozone has come down to earth in June,” UniCredit SpA economist Edoardo Campanella said. “As a heatwave engulfs Europe, equities may suffer from sticky conditions near-term,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists, including Ronan Carr, said in a client note on Friday.
AFP, BEIJINGChina’s banking regulator has ordered an inspection of potentially risky loans to major Chinese companies that have invested heavily overseas, one of the firms under scrutiny said on Friday. Dalian Wanda Group Co (萬達集團) said other domestic companies caught up in the review include AC Milan owner Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux, Club Med’s Fosun Group (復星集團) and HNA Group Co (海航集團). The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) this month ordered banks to carry out credit and risk analysis at the firms “that engaged in ferocious overseas investment and had relatively large bank exposure,” Wanda said, confirming an earlier report in Chinese business magazine Caixin. Beijing has encouraged Chinese companies to invest overseas to open up new markets. Many firms obliged, pouring billions of US dollars into overseas purchases to such an extent that Chinese authorities became worried about capital flight and bad loans.
By Lin Chia-nan and Wu Cheng-ting / Staff reportersIllegal animal vaccines from China repackaged and disguised as liquor were seized at Kinmen Airport, Council of Agriculture (COA) officials said yesterday. The person admitted the actual liquid in the bottles was a duck vaccine they had smuggled from China, but did not clarify what disease the vaccine was for, officials said. The substance is to be analyzed by the council’s Animal Health Research Institute and results are expected in a week, he said. Police seized a total 240 liters of vaccines, enough for 300,000 ducks, Coast Guard Administration Kinmen Mobile Investigation Team Deputy Chief Hsu Yu-sheng (許育勝) said. Vaccines should be stored between 4?C and 8?C or they could spoil, but the smuggler did not use any refrigeration, Kinmen Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Director Wen Shui-cheng (文水成) said, adding that some bottles contained dead flies.
Energy stocks led the way, and those in the S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent for the largest gain of the 11 sectors that make up the index. EQT Corp, a producer of natural gas and crude, had the day’s biggest gain in the S&P 500, jumping US$4.16, or 8 percent, to US$56.19. However, Friday’s gains were not enough to keep energy stocks from closing out their worst week in nine months. Energy stocks lost 2.9 percent over the course of the week. The biggest decliner in the S&P 500 was Bed Bath & Beyond Inc, which reported weaker-than-expected earnings for last quarter and revenue short of Wall Street forecasts.
By Lee Hsin-fang / Staff reporter, with CNAPresident Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that her administration would continue work to declassify old government records as part of its transitional justice efforts. Tsai made the remarks at the opening of a symposium hosted by the Academia Historica in Taipei. Declassifying old government records is not just for transitional justice, but it also befits the government’s “open government” ideals and allows public access to government information, Tsai said. Tsai applauded the Academia Historica under the leadership of president Wu Mi-cha (吳密察) for having swiftly compiled 260,000 documents for online publication. The collection includes manuscripts, electronic documents, letters, books, maps, photographs and other articles, the institute said, adding that they represent 98.8 percent of all existing documents related to Chiang.
Liberty Times (LT): The government has decided to restart reactors at the Guosheng Nuclear Power Plant in New Taipei City’s Wanli District (萬里) and the Ma-anshan (馬鞍山) Nuclear Power Plant in Pingtung County to compensate for increased electricity usage during the summer. Certainly, ending nuclear power production cannot be accomplished quickly; problems of electricity usage are immediate concerns. It is the basis which the “old guards,” who are supportive of nuclear energy, keep bringing up to defend its continued use, leading to consistent set-backs in transitioning to alternative energy sources. The government in April published the Energy Development Policy Guidelines and is working on an energy transition report. During the transition phase, nuclear power plants would still operate, and while the amount of power generated by coal power plants might not decrease, the overall ratio of coal power generation would drop.
“We are very grateful for the Taoyuan City Government’s help with the venues. In preparation for the games, the Taipei City Government allocated NT$4.9 million (US$161,184) to the Taoyuan City Government to renovate the city’s sports venues, while the Taoyuan City Government allocated NT$8.6 million. The World Taekwondo Federation said the Taoyuan Arena’s taekwondo venue is the best Universiade taekwondo venue of the past 15 years, Cheng said. “We will find another place [in the city] to relocate the prefabricated pool to and a technical team has already evaluated several venues,” Cheng said. Asked what he had learned from Cheng, Ko said that he admires Cheng’s handling of relations between the city council and the city government.
AFP, BEIJINGAt least five people were found dead and more than 120 remained missing hours after a massive landslide yesterday buried a mountain village in southwest China as rescuers scoured through rocks for survivors. A fourth survivor was found, but rescuers were still trying to get to him hours after heavy rain triggered the avalanche in Sichuan Province, officials said. Wu Xiaobin, captain of the local fire department, told China Central Television (CCTV) that five bodies were pulled from the rubble. More than 120 people were still missing hours after the landslide, CCTV and the official Xinhua news agency reported. China’s national weather observatory said more heavy rain was expected in parts of Sichuan and other southwestern provinces.
Staff writer, with CNAThe Taipei City Government is to hold an event today to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) expected to hand out “red envelopes” to participants to symbolize good fortune. The event — to take place at the Taipei Travel Plaza near the Taipei Railway Station — is to feature a wide array of activities to celebrate the end of Ramadan, when families get together to pray and eat fine food, the city’s Department of Information and Tourism said. Ko is t to hand out 500 “red envelopes” with money inside to lucky participants. The Ministry of Labor has encouraged employers to allow their Muslim workers to observe Eid al-Fitr. The nation is home to about 252,000 Indonesian workers, 85 percent of whom are Muslims, ministry data show.
The current ID cards have been in use for many years and many people no longer resemble the photo’s on their cards, Chang said. Experts and academics from Germany and Estonia are also to take part, the ministry said, adding that Estonia has long used chip ID cards, while Germany issued chip ID cards a decade ago. Chang said the new ID card being studied would combine the function of the current ID card with that of a “digital citizen certificate” — an Internet ID for bilateral identification while exchanging information on the Internet. Amid reports that NT$3 billion (US$98.7 million) is budgeted for the new ID cards, Chang said the expenditure would have to cover counterfeit prevention technology and the quality of the cards, as well as future developments. The ministry late last year said that the use of chip ID cards was a global trend and that its plan was to introduce a chip ID card that would combine a “digital citizen certificate” and the National Health Insurance card, but would not contain any medical records.
AP, FRANKFURT, GermanyThe European Central Bank (ECB) has pulled the plug on two troubled Italian banks, sending them into insolvency proceedings as it pushes ahead with efforts to clean up weak banks holding back the economy. The two banks, Veneto Banca SpA and Banca Popolare di Vicenza SpA, have struggled to overcome high levels of loans that were not being paid back. It ruled they were “failing or about to fail,” and would now face insolvency proceedings in Italy. That meant it could not take over those banks’ bad loans, for which another solution would have to be found. The Italian banking fund Atlante invested 3.5 billion euros (US$3.92 billion) in Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza last year, but the financial position of the two banks continued to deteriorate.
DOHA -- Qatar confirmed Saturday demands communicated by four Arab states that cut ties with Doha this month over the country's alleged support for terrorism. According to a release from the Qatar News Agency, the 13 "collective demands" were initially received on Thursday. The first demand asks Doha to cut its diplomatic ties with Iran and close its diplomatic missions there. The demands state that Qatar should stop all forms of Qatari funding of any terrorist or extremist individuals, entities or organizations and extradite all terrorist individuals wanted by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. In addition, the document states that Qatar should agree to all the demands within 10 days of their submission, otherwise the list would be considered invalid.
June 24, 2017 06:56 UTC
BEIJING -- At least 141 people are missing after heavy rain triggered a landslide in south-western China, local authorities have said. A rescue mission was underway after approximately 40 homes were buried in Maoxian county in Sichuan province, the Xinhua news agency reported. A day earlier, two villagers died while four others were injured in Puge county of Sichuan province, also after rain-triggered landslides, Xinhua reported. China has been experiencing weeks of heavy summer rains that have caused extensive flooding and triggered landslides. Heavy rain is forecast to continue in Hunan over the next few days.
June 24, 2017 06:56 UTC
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Temperatures in Taitung County's Dawu Township soared to 38.2 degrees Celsius at noon Saturday, the highest recorded anywhere in Taiwan so far this year, the Central Weather Bureau said. The high, recorded at 12:08 p.m., was attributed to warm and dry gusts that descend from the sheltered side of mountains into valleys, according to the bureau. The reading broke the year's previous record of 37.8 degrees, which was seen two days ago in Dawu as well. The highest temperature Taiwan has ever experienced in June was 38.7 degrees, recorded in Dawu in 2015, according to the bureau.
June 24, 2017 06:22 UTC
BEIRUT -- At least 472 civilians, including 137 children, have been killed in the past month of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in Syria, a monitoring group said Friday. This is the highest monthly toll from coalition bombardment since September 2014, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The deaths were mainly from the provinces of Deir al-Zour and al-Raqqa, where Islamic State extremists are active, it added. The observatory's head, Rami Abdel-Rahman, said the fatalities included 222 civilians in Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria and 250 others in the north-eastern province of al-Raqqa, Islamic State's de facto capital. "This is the highest civilian death toll in the US alliance airstrikes since they (the coalition) began bombing in the country on Sept. 23, 2014," Abdel-Rahman said.
June 24, 2017 00:00 UTC