Taiwan News: TAIEX's Largest Ever 1-Day Drop, Same-Sex Marriage Vote Planned

Taiwan News: TAIEX's Largest Ever 1-Day Drop, Same-Sex Marriage Vote Planned
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The TAIEX fell to its steepest one-day point drop on record Thursday, after Wall Street saw its worst losses in eight months overnight, but the government opted not to activate its National Stabilization Fund.

The market closed down 660.72 points, or 6.31 percent, at 9,806 and turnover for the session totaled NT$205.33 billion (US$6.63 billion).

All major stock categories lost ground, with shares of more than 555 companies on the TAIEX and the over-the-counter market dropping by the daily maximum 10 percent.

Finance Minister Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) said the government decided not to activate the NT$500 billion (US$16.15 billion) National Stabilization Fund to prop up the market because the decline was not led by "non-economical factors," but refused to rule out using it if needed.

The drop in the index was precipitated by the plummeting shares of smartphone lens supplier Largan Precision Co, which fell 9.89 percent to close at NT$3,235, and chipmaking giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), which was down 6.76 percent to NT$227.5.

The Financial Supervisory Commission is seeking to allay investor concern, saying the country's economic fundamentals remain sound and healthy.

According to the commission, it is encouraging companies to buy back their shares and will help them organize performance review meetings to allow the public to pick a good time to invest.

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The Central Election Commission has passed two same-sex marriage equality referendums..

They will now likely be held alongside next month's local elections.

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Credit: KOKUYO / CC-BY-SA 4.0
Taiwanese LGBT rights activist Chi Chia-wei (祁家威).

The proposals were initiated by Miao Po-ya (苗博雅) of the Social Democratic Party and LGBT rights advocate Wang Ting-yu (王鼎棫).

The election commission says they both collected enough signatures to clear the 281,745 threshold for the second phase of the referendum process.

One of the proposals calls for same-sex marriage to be legalized under the Civil Code's marriage chapter, while the other backs the inclusion of issues related to homosexuality in sex education lessons.

The commission will decide next week whether the proposals will be on the ballot on November 24.

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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), speaking at the opening of the Yushan Forum in Taipei, said her administration's New Southbound Policy is seeing results.

According to Tsai, in the two years since its launch, Taiwan is seeing closer ties in terms of trade, economic and cultural exchanges between with the countries targeted by the policy.

At the forum, Tsai said some of the results have been significant. These include a marked rise in the number of students from New Southbound countries choosing to study in Taiwan, an increase in tourists from countries covered in the policy and an increase in bilateral trade with those countries.

Organizers of the annual Yushan Forum say 48 speakers from 18 countries are attending the two day event.

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Visiting Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said the friendship between his country and Taiwan will not change and Paraguay will remain the island's loyal ally in South America.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Taiwan, Abdo dismissed concern his country could seek to establish formal ties with China, saying Paraguay has business relations with every country in the world but that was no reason to abandon its allies.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen and Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez in Taipei on Oct. 8, 2018.

According to Abdo, Paraguay won't sacrifice ties with any of its allies or good friends over business relations with another country.

He went on to say that he firmly believes no country in the world can restrict Paraguay's sovereign decision to make friends with another country.

Abdo arrived in Taiwan on Sunday to attend Wednesday's National Day celebrations.

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American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James Moriarty says he believes the most significant aspect of President Tsai's National Day address was her commitment to a pragmatic and peaceful cross-Strait policy.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Moriarty said Tsai tried to strike a very positive and yet reserved tone, a tone that could open doors but also indicated that her administration will stick to its principles.

According to Moriarty, Tsai's address was a call for a "constructive, creative and flexible approach" to cross-strait relations and supports U.S. calls for dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Moriarty also suggested that Taiwan should make it clear that it welcomes constructive talks with Beijing in order to facilitate or initiate dialogue with China.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has announced a series of measures aimed at countering China's pressuring of Taiwan's diplomatic allies to sever ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing.

According to the ministry, the three measures also seek to tackle any potential economic and political fallout from the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

The ministry says the government will step up cooperation with Taiwan's diplomatic allies as well as with other major global powers, seek to join major regional trading partnerships and work with the U.S. as part of its Indo-Pacific Strategy.

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The principal deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency praised Taiwan's contribution to environmental protection, describing it as "a source of inspirations for other countries in the region."

Speaking at the Yushan Forum in Taipei, Jane Nishida said Taiwan has made great progress in tackling environmental issues over the past 20 years, and countries across Asia have been drawn to Taiwan's environmental example.

Nishida says the contributions are now being shared under the International Environmental Partnership (IEP) and Taiwan has become a "leader in environmental protection and a true global example."

Nishida has visited Taiwan several times in the past to promote the IEP and launch other joint programs, most recently in July of 2017.

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Visiting Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi said he is seeking to engage Taiwan in his two major initiatives to "globalize compassion."

The statement comes after Satyarthi held talks with President Tsai Ing-wen. According to the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, he spoke with Tsai about his "Laureates and Leaders for Children" and "100 Million for 100 Million" global movements and she was "very supportive and positive."

Satyarthi also said he will explore the possibility of holding a summit of the Laureates and Leaders for Children here in Taiwan, as he believes such a meeting will send a very strong message to the rest of the world.

Satyarthi is in Taiwan to attend the Yushan Forum, which is a platform to promote cooperation among nations targeted by the New Southbound policy.

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The Investigation Bureau has said is it seeing a sharp rise in the use of illegal drugs and is urging authorities to tackle the problem.

The bureau is also seeking to step up law enforcement cooperation with other countries to combat what it says is an increase in cross-border drug trafficking.

The proposals are outlined in its annual report in which it detailed anti-drug prevention efforts in 2017 and analyzed the new trends in the drug market.

According to the report, the amount of illegal drugs seized by authorities grew markedly last year and most of the drugs were smuggled into to Taiwan from the United States or Canada.

The bureau is calling for international law enforcement cooperation to clamp down on cross-border drug trafficking, due to what it says are "the entrepreneurial approaches adopted by drug rings in producing, transporting and marketing narcotics."

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The Taichung District Prosecutors' Office has indicted independent city council candidate Wang Chao-kun (王朝坤) for vote-buying for allegedly handing out gifts of soy sauce.

According to prosecutors, Wang was aware that bottles of soy sauce worth around NT$360 (US$11.62) were given to voters in the Houli and Fongyuan districts, where he is running for office.

Prosecutors say the gifts were in violation of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act.

However, Wang is denying the charges and says a broker gave the soy sauce gift packages to several people to thank them for helping with his election campaign.

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A Canadian national who has been living in New Taipei for more than five decades has been granted Taiwan citizenship.

Pierre Loisel is the first non-clergy person in the city to be granted citizenship without having to give up his own.

The 78-year old has lived in New Taipei since 1964.

Loisel played a significant role in building the local ICT industry, assisted with the launch of the world's first Chinese computer interface and helped establish of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei.

He became a leading advocate for organic agriculture and farming after he retired.

Loisel was awarded a Friendship Medal of Diplomacy by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) in August in recognition of his contribution to Taiwan.

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)

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