Yesterday the stock market fell another 300 points off its high to well under 7000. Ma save us! Meanwhile the tourism industry here continues to be skeptical, according to the latest foreign media reports, as Beijing hangs Ma out to dry again. The relevant portion of Kyodo News’ Max Hirsch’s latest piece on the tourism industry here….

Eager to convenience incoming mainland tourists, Taiwan has implemented currency covertibility between the RMB and New Taiwan Dollar. To that end, the bank has ordered tens of millions of RMB from HSBC and the Bank of America in Hong Kong since June 11 to stock currency exchange counters island-wide.

But with Beijing declining to sell to Taipei RMB, Chen’s bank has little choice to go through Hong Kong banks and impose a limit of RMB 20,000 (US$2,580) per transaction.

”China won’t provide a steady, official source of RMB,” she says. ”So, we need to take it slow at first.”

Banks like hers, she adds, are waiting for more mainland visitors to come and increase the flow of RMB onto the island. Ma has said he envisions allowing in up to 10,000 mainland visitors daily by next year — a figure that some economists claim could contribute 1.5 percent to the island’s annual gross domestic product.

Ma’s current cap of 3,000 Chinese tourists daily is expected to contribute less than one-fourth of a percentage point to GDP growth, while Beijing is reportedly balking on that cap and allowing just 1,000 of its nationals to visit the island daily — another reason for Sun Moon Lake’s tourism industry’s less-than-electric mood.

“Beijing is reportedly balking…” and offering only 1,000 tourists a day. And not selling Taiwan RMB. Funny, isn’t it? All they had to do is give Ma what he wants…. in fact credible whispering birdies have whispered that Beijing thinks it is the one making all the sacrifices. There’s a simmering conflict here that sooner or later has to turn hot….

Despite all the “warming” ties, IHT reports that the Taiwan military is continuing to hold war games aimed at China:

As part of Ma’s program, the two sides launched regular weekend air services earlier this month and sanctioned an increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting the island.

“Even if relations are warming, we will not relax in our war preparedness,” Chiu told reporters.

He said troops will practice how to increase their effectiveness during the war game.

“We will practice redeploying our troops so as to avoid heavy casualties during the first wave of mainland missile attack, which would most likely target our key industries and military establishments,” he said.

WaPo reports that more officials in the Chen Shui-bian government will face “corruption” charges.

The Taiwan Supreme Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement that former justice minister Shih Mao-lin, former education minister Tu Cheng-sheng, former interior minister Lee Yi-yang, former examination minister Lin Chia-cheng and former civil service minister Chu Wu-hsien were among nine people indicted Tuesday. The sums each of the five former ministers were alleged to have embezzled by using false receipts to claim expenses ranged from about $12,000 to $200,000, according to the state-run Central News Agency.

The prosecutor’s office also said it had cleared several former officials of similar charges. They included former foreign minister James Huang, former economics minister Steve Chen and former Mainland Affairs Council chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, now head of Chen Shui-bian’s Democratic Progressive Party.

Too bad Rickards won’t report that none of the thousands of officials in the previous KMT administrations will be investigated. At least she reports further down in the article that Ma was indicted but acquitted. Rickards cites Andrew Yang, who is….Blue. But that goes without saying, so she doesn’t tell the reader.

Here at home the idiotic decision to build coal-fired power plants is leading to further local issues, as NIMBY comes out in force…. it seems the wharf for the coal is in dispute.

Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Lee Ching-hua’s (李慶華) attempt to overturn a Council for Economic Planning and Development decision not to allow the Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) to build a coal unloading dock at Fantziao (蕃仔澳) resulted in a confrontation with his KMT colleague, Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑), on Monday. The bay lies between Taipei County’s Rueifang Township (瑞芳) and Keelung. Leading some 500 residents from Rueifang in a demonstration outside the legislature’s front gate, Lee, who represents constituents in Taipei County, said the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taipower’s plan to build the dock at Rueifang to supply material to the nearby Shenao (深澳) coal-fired power plant had passed the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) environmental impact assessment and also won the support of township residents.

However, legislators from Keelung interfered, calling for a change of the construction site to Suao Port (蘇澳港) or the new Taipei Port, Lee said.

He accused those opposed to the project of seeking benefits from the shipment of coal and urged politicians from Keelung to stay out of Rueifang’s business.

Shouldn’t be building coal-fired plants in the first place — and on Taiwan’s gorgeous northeast coast! Clinical insanity….