By Ted Chen / Staff reporterDaBomb Protein Corp (達邦蛋白), which makes advanced soybean meal animal feed, is optimistic about business growth in China as the country tightens regulatory standards in light of rising food safety risks. The agricultural technology company manufactures soybean meal with its proprietary peptide hydrolysis technology that has several benefits for livestock, including boosting animals’ immune system, balancing their intestinal microflora and high protein digestibility. The company’s advanced soybean meal is designed to cut reliance on harmful antibiotic additives and has earned Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and ISO 22000 certifications from SGS SA. However, several risks remain for the company, including its reliance on soybean imports, and vulnerability to commodity pricing and foreign exchange volatility, the company said in its listing filings. In the April-to-June quarter, the company’s net income grew 65.02 percent annually to NT$7 million, while sales grew 7.06 percent to NT$562 million.

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BloombergAmazon.com Inc is in the running to acquire Landmark Theatres, a move that would vault the e-commerce giant into the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, people familiar with the situation said. With Landmark, it would acquire a chain focused on independent and foreign films that was founded in 1974. Amazon, which declined to comment, offers a service called Amazon Protect, which offers accident insurance on consumer goods. Amazon has previously invested in Indian-based digital insurance startup Acko Technologies and also placed job advertisements for insurance product managers. Amazon is “disrupting the way traditional product insurance services are acquired and delivered and creating a new palette of services,” an internal job advertisement said.

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By Sean Lin / Staff reporterThe Executive Yuan yesterday finalized its general budget plan for fiscal 2019, which includes a 5.6 percent increase in the military budget, with the total exceeding NT$2 trillion (US$64.84 billion) for the first time. The proposed NT$2.022 trillion budget is to be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review by the end of this month. The increased budget would drive domestic demand, which would lend support to the nation’s economic growth momentum over the short, middle and long term, he said. National defense ranked third with NT$329.5 billion earmarked, an increase of 5.6 percent, or NT$18.3 billion, from the current fiscal year, the data showed. Proposed military personnel costs totaled NT$156.5 billion, a decrease of 1.3 percent, or NT$2 billion, which the DGBAS attributed to savings from ending conscription.

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The new wages are to take effect on Jan. 1, the ministry said. “The results are unacceptable,” said Taiwan Confederation of Trade Unions president Chuang Chueh-an (莊爵安), who represented workers at the meeting. “The ministry evidently favored employers [in its decision].”Workers’ groups had called for the minimum monthly wage to be increased from NT$22,000 to NT$28,862 and for the minimum hourly rate to be raised from NT$140 to NT$182. That could be the last straw, causing many small and medium-sized companies to fold, which would affect youth employment, he said. While companies are not happy with the results, they will have to comply with the ministry’s final decision, Ho said.

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AFP, WASHINGTONUS newspapers big and small yesterday hit back at US President Donald Trump’s relentless attacks on the news media, launching a coordinated campaign of editorials stressing the importance of a free press. “But insisting that truths you don’t like are ‘fake news’ is dangerous to the lifeblood of democracy. Other papers joined in, defending their place in society — from upholding the truth to simply saving people time. “It’s not as lofty a statement as the First Amendment, but it serves.”Free press advocates have said that Trump is a real threat to the role of the press. “The people who read editorials don’t need to be convinced,” he said.

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“Such behavior will not win society’s support,” Lai said in an interview that aired on Wednesday night on Chinese Television System. “China’s reaction to this natural act was grossly excessive,” the premier said. The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Some Chinese netizens have labeled the bakery chain, which has more than 1,000 branches worldwide, including in China, as a pro-Taiwanese independence business for receiving Tsai at a store in Los Angeles and threatened to boycott it. China’s overreaction could be rooted in the pressure it was feeling from its trade war with Washington, Lai said.

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“China welcomes dialogue and communication on the basis of reciprocity, equality and integrity.”US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in June held talks with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (劉鶴) in Beijing. Liu had met with US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin in Washington a month earlier. However, the discussions failed to reduce tensions as the US slapped tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese goods early last month, triggering an immediate dollar-for-dollar retaliation from Beijing. China responded by this month threatening to impose new tariffs on US$60 billion of US goods. However, analysts said that China could feel the full effect of tariffs this month.

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The Turkish lira has lost nearly 40 percent against the US dollar this year, driven by worries over Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s growing control over the economy and his repeated calls for lower interest rates, despite high inflation. The weakness of the Turkish currency has rippled through global markets. The lira rebounded yesterday after Qatar on Wednesday pledged US$15 billion in investment to Turkey, which is to be channeled into banks and financial markets, a Turkish government source told reporters. Turkish Minister of Finance Berat yesterday tried to soothe the markets over the lira’s fall, with a international conference call with thousands of investors. About 3,000 investors from the US, Europe and Asia registered to join the conference call, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

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By Steven Crook / Contributing reporterWhat are the three most visited places of worship in Changhua County’s Lukang (鹿港)? That’s easy: The exquisite Longshan Temple (龍山寺), the delightfully timeworn Tianhou Temple (天后宮) and the 21st century, made-of-glass Husheng Temple (護聖宮). It’s harder to say which of Lukang’s many religious sites is the most intriguing. The ancestors of Ding Shouquan (丁壽泉), the imperial examination degree holder and senior official, who in 1893 commissioned the construction of Lukang Ding Mansion (鹿港丁家古厝), were undoubtedly Muslims. Beitou Kuocuo Baoan Temple (北頭郭厝保安宮), rebuilt most recently in 1991, is on the corner of Yongfeng Road (永豐路) and Siwei Road (四維路), less than 300m north of Tianhou Temple.

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By Ann Maxon / Staff reporterThe New Power Party (NPP) yesterday filed a complaint with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headquarters, requesting it investigate DPP Taichung City Councilor Ho Wen-hai’s (何文海) alleged sexual harassment of NPP Taichung city councilor candidate Wu Pei-yun (吳佩芸), who said Ho suggested that she show her breasts in her campaign poster. Wu on Tuesday wrote about the incident on Facebook and provided more details and thoughts in another post on Wednesday. “I sincerely apologize to Wu and members of the public, as my inappropriate expression has caused her to feel uncomfortable. As a city councilor and public figure, I need to be responsible for my words,” he later said on Facebook. Following the news conference, Wu, Hsu and NPP Secretary-General Chen Hui-min (陳惠敏) visited DPP headquarters to file a sexual harassment complaint.

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By Ann Maxon / Staff reporterThe Control Yuan yesterday issued corrective measures against the Ministry of Education and National Taiwan University (NTU), saying both were responsible for a number of procedural and regulatory flaws that led to the controversy surrounding the university’s presidential election. The university’s election regulations have also been ineffective in preventing conflict of interests, the Control Yuan said. The ministry needs to develop clear procedures for handling legal disputes between itself and universities, it added. Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said the ministry would prioritize reforming regulations on university presidential elections and called on NTU to work with the ministry to solve the issues regarding the election. Having met with NTU officials, the election committee, faculty members and student groups, he is aware there are opposing opinions regarding the issue within the school, he said.

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It referred another group of 246 plaintiffs to the Taiwan High Court for a retrial. After the ruling, the RCA Self-Help Association, which is made up of former RCA employees and deceased workers’ family members, vowed to keep fighting, saying that they would not compromise on their demands. According to information from the association, more than 1,300 former RCA employees have been diagnosed with cancer, while 221 of them have died from cancer and related illnesses. RCA opened its Taoyuan factory in 1970, under its subsidiary RCA Taiwan Ltd. Environmental groups and labor activists have described the contamination at the RCA factory as the worst industrial disaster in Taiwan’s history.

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AFP, TAIPEIIsaac Hou (胡啟志) is one of Taipei’s best-known street artists, famous for his mesmerizing acrobatics using a giant spinning hoop. The 37-year-old Taiwanese-American is a master of the metal Cyr wheel, whirling himself around while stretched out inside the ring. Hou, who also practices the Brazilian dance-like martial art capoeira, as well as ballet, jazz and tango to balance his body, said he finds street performing liberating. He turned to the Cyr wheel as an alternative to torch juggling, which he had started to do for a living. However, the freedom he finds as a street artist also has its complications.

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Marriott was strongly criticized by Chinese authorities in January for listing Taiwan — along with Tibet and Hong Kong — as separate countries on its Web sites. “We are sternly protesting against Marriott International unilaterally listing our hotel as ‘Taiwan, China’” on the simplified Chinese version of a booking Web site for members, the ad read, adding that the firm would “dissolve” its contract. The traditional Chinese option on the Web site still lists the nation as “Taiwan.”Four Points by Sheraton business hotel brand, under the Starwood brand, was bought by Marriott in 2016. Lily Cheng (程麗莉), a spokeswoman for the Zhonghe hotel, told Agence France Presse that its name would be changed and it would no longer take reservations from Marriott’s booking system. The Linkou hotel, a joint venture between Marriott International and Taipei-based YeaShin International Development Co (亞昕國際開發), had its soft opening on July 30.

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By Shelley Shan / Staff reporterA music video introducing Taiwan as a travel destination to Japanese tourists had gone viral as of yesterday morning, accumulating more than 50,000 Facebook views since it was released on Saturday last week. The video, titled Let’s Meet In Taiwan (我們在台灣見吧), was produced by Taiwanese musician Sandy Huang (黃小玫). On Facebook, Huang said that she composed a rap song and produced a video for it because her Japanese friends have often asked her about which places they should visit in Taiwan. As of press time last night, the video had about 56,000 views and had been shared more than 1,000 times. In the video, Huang also warns Japanese tourists to use traffic signals only as a reference and watch out for cars and motorcycles when crossing the street.

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