Tue, Nov 24, 2020
A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday said that due to mutual trust between Taiwan and the US, “we will not confirm nor comment” on related issues. Studeman is director of the J2, which oversees intelligence, at the Indo-Pacific Command, according to the US Navy Web site. The Pentagon declined to comment when asked whether Studeman was visiting Taiwan. The visit is the latest show of support from US President Donald Trump’s administration, which has sold Taiwan billions of US dollars of weapons and sent the highest-level delegation to Taipei in four decades. Taiwanese officials have also said that US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler would visit Taipei next month. In Beijing, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) said that China “resolutely opposes” any form of exchanges between US and Taiwanese officials or the two having military relations. “The Chinese side will, according to how the situation develops, make a legitimate and necessary response,” he said, without elaborating. In related news, the commanding officer of the USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, reiterated on Sunday that its transit through the Taiwan Strait and presence in the South China Sea are vital to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific. “The freedom of all nations to navigate in
Three young Hong Kong dissidents, including Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), were yesterday remanded into custody after pleading guilty to inciting a rally during last year’s pro-democracy protests, deepening the crackdown against Beijing’s critics. Hong Kong was convulsed by seven straight months of huge and often violent democracy rallies last year in which millions took to the streets. Beijing has refused demands for free elections, and authorities have pursued democracy supporters with criminal cases and a sweeping new National Security Law. Wong, 24, was prosecuted alongside fellow activists Ivan Lam (林朗彥), 26, and Agnes Chow (長周庭), 23, over a protest that took place last summer outside the territory’s police headquarters. The three were members of the since-disbanded pro-democracy political party Demosisto. “We will continue to fight for freedom — and now is not the time for us to kowtow to Beijing and surrender,” Wong told reporters on his way to court. Once inside Wong pleaded guilty to inciting and organizing an illegal assembly. Lam pleaded guilty to incitement, while Chow admitted inciting and joining the protest. All three were remanded into custody pending sentencing on Wednesday next week, meaning a jail term is all but guaranteed. The maximum sentence a magistrate’s court can hand down is three years. “Everyone hang in there. I know it’s tougher for you to remain out there,” Wong shouted inside court. Small groups of supporters surrounded their prison van as they were driven away shouting: “Add oil (加油, phrase of encouragement),” and “No rioters, only tyranny.” Despite his youth, Wong has already spent time in prison for leading democracy protests and told reporters that he was ready to return. “Emotionally I am reluctant in every way to be jailed, but rationally I have absolutely no space to complain in comparison with many others,” he said outside court, in a reference to the
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one imported case of COVID-19 — a Taiwanese man who is the nation’s first case to test positive in another country and return via a medical charter flight. The man, who is in his 50s, had traveled to Ghana for business in February, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC spokesman. The man had close contact with a confirmed case late last month and took a test for COVID-19 on Nov. 4, which came back positive, so he had been quarantined at home, Chuang said. The man had shortness of breath, chest pain and fever during quarantine, and was hospitalized for treatment on Nov. 11, but his condition continued to worsen, so he applied to Taiwanese authorities to arrange for an emergency medical charter to return home, Chuang said. The man arrived on Friday, and was immediately taken to a hospital for testing and treatment, with the result yesterday coming back positive, he said. “The man is the 618th confirmed case in Taiwan,” Chuang said. “He is also the first approved special case of an individual confirmed with COVID-19 to return to Taiwan on an emergency medical charter.” Some have questioned why the man was allowed to return when he does not meet the requirements for Taiwanese infected with COVID-19 in other countries to return home. The requirements, announced by the center in June, are that: “the onset of symptoms and the flight boarding date must be at least two months apart and their symptoms must have been relieved,” and “must test negative in two polymerase chain reaction [PCR] tests conducted at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms.” The CECC approved the man’s application because his condition is serious, as he has an underlying condition, has undergone tracheal intubation
HELP COMING? The UK developer said the drug is 70% effective at stopping the virus, while the US expects 20 million to be vaccinated next month The developers of a COVID-19 vaccine in Britain yesterday claimed success after mass testing, as the US announced plans to give jabs to 20 million people before the end of the year to combat surging infections. AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford said their drug had proved on average 70 percent effective at stopping the virus after trying it on 23,000 people, days after tests of two other drugs suggested they had more than 90 percent effectiveness. The bright news on vaccines comes as Europe and the Americas battle rising caseloads that are pushing health systems to the brink, forcing governments to issue stay-at-home orders and close businesses even as the crucial Christmas period approaches. Canada’s biggest city, Toronto, shut down late yesterday, as officials banned private indoor gatherings and limited the size of weddings and funerals — similar to measures in place in France and other European nations. At the other end of the confinement cycle, Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, continued to emerge from a four-month lockdown, with authorities lifting a ban on travel across state borders. “When I went across the border I beeped the horn, ‘Yahoo,’” Melbourne resident Margaret Forster said after being allowed to drive from Victoria into New South Wales for the first time since June. The virus has killed almost 1.4 million people worldwide since emerging in China late last year. The latest vaccine results are particularly important as the Oxford drug can be transported easily at normal refrigerator temperatures — unlike some of the other candidates, which need extremely cold storage. AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot said despite the vaccine’s lower effectiveness compared with the other candidate drugs, it would still be highly effective and would have an “immediate impact.” The firm said it planned to develop up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine next year if it passes the
A New Yorker who helped drive the global phenomenon known as the Ice Bucket Challenge to tackle a deadly neurodegenerative disease has died at the age of 37, his team said on Sunday. Patrick Quinn was in 2013 diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). “It is with great sadness that we must share the passing of Patrick early this morning,” his team wrote in Quinn’s ALS advocacy Facebook group, “Quinn for the Win.” “We will always remember him for his inspiration and courage in his tireless fight against ALS,” the team said. Quinn did not start the Ice Bucket Challenge, which took social media by storm in 2014, but he and his family and friends helped it become a global phenomenon. Millions took up the challenge, which involved dousing themselves with a bucket of ice cold water and posting the video online, before making a donation to medical research and daring others to do the same. A host of celebrities, high-profile personalities and entire sports teams took part in the challenge, including Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates and even former US president George W. Bush. The campaign has reportedly raised US$220 million to fund research into ALS, whose sufferers’ bodies slowly shut down as their nervous systems degenerate. In a statement, the ALS Association thanked Quinn for cofounding the Ice Bucket Challenge and mourned his death. “Pat fought ALS with positivity and bravery, and inspired all around him. Those of us who knew him are devastated but grateful for all he did to advance the fight against ALS,” the association said. The condition is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after a baseball player who died of it in 1941. Pete Frates, a former US college baseball player diagnosed with ALS who also inspired the ice bucket challenge, died last year at the age of 34.
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor rights, the second concentrating on environmental protection and education issues, and the third urging proper land use and freedom of speech. The protesters collectively called on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to revoke her executive order to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, and for Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to step down over government policies that caused public complaints, Lee said. A small, black stage decorated with white flowers was also set up on the back of a truck, mimicking a funeral hall, and black banners hung on the sides read “Ractopamine-containing pork poisoned Taiwan, democracy is dead,” “Say farewell to the health we are about to lose and mourn over Taiwan’s freedom of speech.” The rally organizers had said political parties were welcome to join the parade, but politicians would not be allowed to speak on the main stage. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) set up its own stage at Liberty Square, while the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) called a news conference outside the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT Station. Two large inflatable pigs flanked the KMT’s stage, while KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu
Medical practitioners and disease prevention personnel would be given priority in receiving COVID-19 vaccinations when they become available, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, adding that it is working toward starting vaccinations in the first quarter of next year. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said that there have been fewer reported cases of children infected with COVID-19 and most of them only experience mild symptoms, so they would not be included in the center’s priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination. Priority would be given to medical practitioners, followed by disease prevention personnel, including airport quarantine officers; people whose duty is to maintain social stability, including police and military police; long-term care center workers and social workers; and military personnel, he said. As for access to the vaccine according to age, people aged 65 or above would be given first priority, followed by people aged 19 to 64 with a high-risk chronic disease, rare disease or catastrophic illness, and healthy adults aged 50 to 64, he said. As all COVID-19 vaccine candidates are still undergoing clinical trials, the CECC has to diversify risks by trying to secure vaccines in three ways: the global COVAX platform, supporting domestic vaccine makers and negotiating bilateral agreements with other global vaccine manufacturers, Chuang said. The COVAX platform initially listed nine available vaccine candidates, but it later opened up some vaccine options for participating countries that signed an optional purchase agreement, he said. Additional options include the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, the AZD1222 vaccine candidate by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca PLC, and a vaccine by Sanofi SA and GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Chuang said, adding that the CECC would contact those companies. Asked when COVID-19 vaccines would become available in Taiwan, he said that a more
PATH TO DISRUPTION: Local government leaders are China’s gateway to influencing the nation, and a lack of oversight gives Beijing an opportunity, a campaigner said Civic groups yesterday urged legislators to create councilor-at-large seats in local governments to attract more young people to local leadership positions and to root out party cronyism. The long-standing Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) system of partisan clientelism, of which the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is also guilty, must be given up to allow room for local talent and smaller parties, Economic Democracy Union president Lin Hsiu-hsin (林秀幸) told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei. The nation cannot keep allowing party factions to run local governments, she said, calling on legislators to amend the Local Government Act (地方制度法) to allow for councilor-at-large seats, without changing the overall number of seats. The nation’s local governments are its testing ground for democracy, but also its Achilles heel, Lin said. Due to the threat posed by China, Taiwan is in a more perilous position than other third-wave democracies, she said. To uproot historical threads of authoritarianism and prevent local governments from falling under China’s influence, the nation must go through a second democratic reformation and strengthen its sense of identity, she added. After President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was elected in 2016, Beijing refused to communicate with the central government, instead dealing directly with local groups and individuals, she said. After the 2018 elections, in which the KMT won 15 city and county seats, Beijing shifted its focus to local government leaders, hoping to bypass the central leadership, she added. Local governments are the last mile on the nation’s road to democracy, but they are also China’s shortest path to disruption, Lin said, calling for electoral reform in the hopes of opening up local leadership. Reform is urgent, as Beijing is skilled at manipulating social divisions to weaken the state, Lin added. She cited as examples the debates regarding marriage equality and food imports from Japan, saying that Beijing manipulated borough wardens,
The Taipei Public Library system purchased a Chinese-made book that glorifies that country’s COVID-19 response measures, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) told reporters yesterday. The publisher, Changjiang Children’s Publishing Group, is a partner of the Chinese Communist Party’s Publicity Department — commonly known as the Chinese Propaganda Department, Chen said, adding that she would ask the library to remove the book from its catalogue. Taipei Public Library Deputy Director Wang Shu-man (王淑滿) said that an order for nine copies had been placed, but they had not yet arrived, so she would temporarily cancel the order, and have a digital version of the book removed from the library’s online system. Wang said she would call a meeting of the library’s collections committee to inspect the book before deciding whether it should be added to the library’s collection. Works from the book’s Chinese publisher — as well as its Taiwanese distributor, Chinese Creation Publishing Co — would be more closely scrutinized, she said. She has not ruled out removing both firms from the library’s list of suppliers, she said. Chen said the book had been brought to her attention by several residents who were angry that Chinese propaganda had ended up in the Taipei public library system, even more so because it was aimed at children. An investigation showed that the book was part of a campaign Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) launched last year to publish books that promote Chinese political thought, as well as Xi’s “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Chen said. Wang said that although the book had been reviewed by the library, its review system for children’s books focused only on works containing depictions of sex or violence. “Although Taiwan safeguards free speech, we should not allow children’s books to become a tool of Chinese propaganda. This touches
Taiwan on Sunday condemned the arrest of two pro-democracy Hong Kong district councilors under the territory’s new national security legislation. Hong Kong police arrested Yuen Long District Councilor Henry Wong Pak-yu (王百羽) and Kowloon City’s Timothy Lee Hin-long (李軒朗) on Sunday morning for allegedly exaggerating their election expenses. Police have made a series of arrests of media figures and politicians under Hong Kong’s National Security Law, which Beijing imposed on the territory in June, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said in a statement. The arbitrary detentions by Hong Kong police on national security grounds have infringed on Hong Kongers’ freedom and human rights, the commission said. The Hong Kong government’s frequent use of national security legislation as a political tool to suppress political dissidents will only lead it to lose the hearts and minds of people and undermine its status as an international financial hub, the commission added. It called on the authorities to exercise restraint and discontinue the oppression and coercion of opposition activists. A D100 Internet radio channel host, Wan Yiu-sing (尹耀昇), also known as “Giggs” (傑斯) was on Saturday arrested for launching a campaign to raise money for people who had fled Hong Kong for Taiwan. Three former lawmakers, Ted Hui, Ray Chan (陳志全) and Eddie Chu (朱凱迪), were arrested on Wednesday last week over a June incident in which a foul-smelling liquid was thrown in the territory’s Legislative Council. Shatin District Councilor Li Chi-wang (李志宏) was arrested on Tuesday last week for allegedly acting in a disorderly way in public in May near Canal Road Flyover in Causeway Bay. Li was previously arrested on May 24 during a rally in Causeway Bay against the National Security Law.
DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD: About 80 percent of US pork does not contain the additive, but Taiwanese might reject all US pork, the minister of health said Not all US pork contains ractopamine and just because pork contains the additive does not mean it is poisonous, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. Chen made the remark at the Legislative Yuan in response to requests for comment on the annual “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) labor protest march, which on Sunday focused on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine, from Jan. 1. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan People’s Party joined in support. The Consumers’ Foundation has also said that more than 140,000 people had signed its petition against allowing imports of pork containing the drug. The rally’s organizers said that more than 50,000 people attended the march, although Chen said it was uncertain if that many people opposed ractopamine pork. “In addition, the protesters were expressing their concerns on multiple issues, so we cannot say that all 50,000 people were against one certain policy,” he said. “Nonetheless, we will respect the expression of public opinion.” “Just as most people understand that not all US beef contains ractopamine ... US pork does not mean pork containing ractopamine, and pork containing ractopamine is not equal to poisonous pork,” he added. The government is responsible for ensuring food safety and would require country of origin labeling for meat imports, he said, adding that it would also respect people’s economic behaviors. At a meeting of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee, KMT Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) said that pork containing ractopamine residue only makes up about 22 percent of the US’ total pork production, but if Taiwan plans to only request country of origin labeling on imported pork, it might cause Taiwanese consumers to reject all US pork. Chen said that the government hopes that US authorities would understand that allowing imports of US pork containing ractopamine might
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing F-16 and its pilot, media reported. The ministry said that Huang was in charge of ground equipment and had no direct connection to the missing jet. The F-16, serial number 6672, disappeared from radar at 6:07pm on Tuesday last week over waters east of Taiwan, two minutes after taking off from Hualien Air Base. The aircraft and its pilot remain missing as of yesterday morning, with search operations ongoing. A news report said that Huang had asked his roommate to buy dinner for him, and when the roommate returned, they found the door to the barracks locked from the inside. The ministry said that it had sent officers to comfort Huang’s family and would cooperate with investigators to determine the cause of the incident. It would also step up counseling in military units to prevent similar incidents, it said. In July, Navy Lieutenant Commander Yang (楊) was found hanging by the neck in his room at Kaohsiung’s Zuoying Naval Base. He was one of the supervisors of a navy anti-landing drill in which three marines were killed. At the time, the military declined to speculate on whether Yang’s suicide was related to the fatal boat accident.
NEW YEAR DRIVING: To ease traffic flow, freeway toll fees would be shelved from 12am to 5am from Jan. 1 to 3, while certain freeway access ramps would be closed The Freeway Bureau yesterday unveiled a series of measures to facilitate traffic flow on freeways during the New Year holiday, which include not charging toll frees from 12am to 5am. The New Year long weekend begins on Jan. 1, a Friday, and ends on Jan. 3. The measures were decided upon after reviewing freeway traffic during the New Year holiday last year, which was from Saturday to Tuesday, as well as traffic during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays this year, the bureau said. Traffic during this New Year holiday would mostly be caused by travelers who want to watch the sun set on Dec. 31, join festivities on New Year’s Eve and watch the sunrise on Jan. 1, the bureau said. To facilitate traffic flow, freeway toll fees would be waived daily from 12am to 5am during the three-day holiday, it said. Drivers of small passenger vehicles would be charged NT$0.9 per kilometer traveled, and the usual daily toll-free distance of 20km would fall away, the bureau said. Drivers would receive an additional 20 percent discount if they take the route between the Hsinchu (新竹) and Yanchao (燕巢) interchanges on the Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3), the bureau said. The high-occupancy vehicle policy would be implemented on the Chiang Wei-shui Memorial Freeway (Freeway No. 5). Specifically, high-occupancy hours would apply to southbound drivers entering the freeway from the Nangang (南港) Interchange from 6am to 12pm on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2. On Jan. 2 and 3, northbound travelers accessing the freeway through the Suao (蘇澳), Luodong (羅東), Yilan and Toucheng (頭城) interchanges should observe the high-occupancy policy from 2pm to 9pm. The high-occupancy hours are subject to change, depending on the amount of traffic on Freeway No. 5, the bureau said. At the Sun Yat-sen Freeway’s (Freeway No. 1) Pingjhen (平鎮) and Puyan (埔鹽) interchanges,
Chunghwa Post is today to launch a co-branded Visa debit card with EasyCard Corp that also functions as an EasyCard, enabling cardholders to use it to ride public buses and rail systems nationwide, as well as pay for items at convenience stores and supermarkets. This is the first time that the postal company has launched a co-branded card with a different business. The card’s design features homing pigeons, with which people used to deliver messages, Chunghwa Post said. When paying for items, cardholders can choose to pay with the money stored in the EasyCard account or with the Visa debit card, with both accounts being linked to their Chunghwa Post checking or savings accounts, it said. Cardholders can adjust the card’s settings so that NT$500 or more would be automatically added to their EasyCard account if it does not contain enough funds to pay for transportation or items they want to buy, the postal company said. However, if their postal savings or checking account has less than NT$100 in it they can still add funds to their EasyCard using the machines at MRT stations, it said. The amount of money that can be automatically added to the EasyCard account is capped at NT$3,000 per day, and the total amount that can be stored on the card is capped at NT$10,000. Chunghwa Post said that it hoped that the co-branded cards would increase its number of Visa debit card users, which has grown slowly over the past 10 years. Statistics from the postal company showed that it has about 4.13 million Visa debit card holders since it launched the card in September 2009. From Jan. 16, the company’s other debit card holders can use their card to pay for fares on the Kaohsiung MRT system and the Taoyuan Airport MRT line.
Tseng Wen-pin (曾文賓), who is known as one of Taiwan’s “fathers of blackfoot disease,” passed away in his sleep on Sunday evening in Hualien County. He was aged 98. A memorial service for Tseng is to be held at Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital on Dec. 20, the hospital said yesterday, adding that an academic seminar would be held in his honor the same day. Tseng, who was an honorary superintendent of the hospital, practiced medicine for more than 50 years. He earned the title of Taiwan’s “father of blackfoot disease” for his dedication to researching the peripheral vascular disease. In 1958, while he was a part-time attending physician at National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital’s Department of Internal Medicine, Tseng joined the blackfoot disease research team at NTU’s College of Medicine. As part of his research, he traveled to the central and southern parts of the nation several times to collect information on thousands of cases, and discovered that the disease was caused by elevated levels of arsenic in well water. In 1968, his research on the relationship between the prevalence of the disease and arsenic content in drinking water was published in an international journal on environmental health. The article has been cited more than 1,000 times, earning Tseng respect from the international community and status as a pioneer in epidemiology in Taiwan. Tseng also helped to facilitate a NT$800 million (US$27.77 million) government investment to increase the penetration rate of tap water and prevent blackfoot disease. About 150,000 people from four townships benefited from the project at the time. In the 1970s, Tseng also proposed important research on the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure and coronary heart disease in middle-aged and older Taiwanese, as well as epidemiological research on cardiovascular disease among Aborigines. Following the opening of Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital, Tseng resigned as deputy superintendent of
Trial runs on the first line of the Taichung MRT rail system, which were suspended after a malfunction on Saturday, could resume as soon as Tuesday next week, its operator said yesterday. Services on the Green Line, which began trial runs on Monday last week, were initially suspended for 1.5 hours on Saturday afternoon after one of the trains reported an abnormality at the terminal of the Taichung High Speed Rail Station. After an investigation, the system’s operator, Taichung Mass Rapid Transit Corp (TMRTC), later in the day said that all services would be suspended until the problem is resolved. The train’s Japanese manufacturer, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, said that the breakdown involved a US-made coupling connecting the two-carriage train that broke, something Kawasaki said had “never happened before.” Kawasaki has begun removing the couplings from all of the 18 trains running on the line and they would be submitted to a third-party manufacturer to check for defects, TMRTC said yesterday. The couplings would then be reconnected for further test runs, TMRTC said, and if everything goes smoothly, Kawasaki would provide safety certificates for each train and trial runs on the line would resume. The resumption could happen as soon as Tuesday next week, TMRTC said, but added that if the couplings are found to be defective, the suspension of services would continue until the parts are replaced. A preliminary investigation report on the malfunction would be presented by Kawasaki before Dec. 7, it added. Taichung Mayor Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) yesterday said that comprehensive checks would be conducted on all 18 MRT trains. “We will not resume operations just for the sake of it,” she said, adding that the trial runs would resume only when it is completely safe to do so. Despite the incident, the formal launch date of the city’s
FAVORABLE: Demand for information and communication products is still strong amid the pandemic, but it might have peaked, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said The nation’s industrial production last month increased 7.06 percent year-on-year, but slid 1.4 percent from September’s record peak, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said yesterday. It was the ninth straight month of continuous year-on-year growth for industrial production, as demand for information and communications technology products remained strong, the ministry said, but added that demand might have peaked. “The demand for COVID-19-related electronics is still robust when you look at it on a year-on-year basis, even though it is down from last month’s record,” Department of Statistics Deputy Director-General Huang Wei-jie (黃偉傑) told a news conference in Taipei. By sector, production of electronic components was up 16.93 percent year-on-year, but down 1.35 percent monthly. In particular, production of integrated circuits rose 23.03 percent annually, but fell 2.98 percent monthly, the ministry said in a report. Production of LCDs and associated components was up 9.41 percent from a year earlier, although it was down 1.37 percent from the previous month, and that of electronic and optical products increased 6.2 percent annually, but declined 5.76 percent monthly, the report showed. “Due to strong demand from a new electronic product release, the continued work-from-home demand, and 5G and high-performance computing needs, the electronic components sector reported the 11th month of continuous growth in production,” Huang said. “The flat-panel display sector posted increases both in price and volume, which also boosted production.” Production of chemical materials last month expanded 8.95 percent year-on-year due to increased demand for epidemic prevention-related products as well as a lower comparison base last year, which saw plummeting oil prices and the US-China trade dispute weighing on production. On a monthly basis, the sector’s production increased 11.81 percent, the report showed. Production of base metal products moved up 7.52 percent from a year earlier, which Huang attributed to a lower comparison base for the same
The nation’s unemployment rate last month dropped to 3.8 percent, falling for the sixth consecutive month, as fewer people quit their jobs, although more people became unemployed due to business downsizing or closures, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday. The data represented a fractional 0.03 percentage point retreat from one month earlier as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to subside, but has not disappeared altogether, the statistics agency said. “The job market is quite stable, even though it has not fully recovered to the pre-pandemic level,” DGBAS Deputy Director Chen Hui-hsin (陳惠欣) said. The reading after seasonal adjustments stood at 3.77 percent, also lower than 3.78 percent one month earlier, affirming a slow, but steady improvement, the agency’s monthly report showed. The hospitality sector has mostly come out of the woods judging by their staffing size from a year earlier, while construction and real-estate sectors appeared unharmed, Chen said. The working population grew by 48,000 since the government lifted major social distancing requirements in June, allowing people to gather, shop and travel domestically, she said. The number of unemployed people fell to 455,000, shrinking 0.66 percent from one month earlier, as the number of people who quit decreased by 3,000, the agency said, adding that the number of first-time jobseekers and people who lost seasonal jobs both fell by 1,000. However, the number of people who lost their jobs due to business downsizing and closures gained 2,000, it said. The average period of unemployment was 22.9 weeks, longer than 20.9 weeks one month earlier, with first-time jobseekers taking 23.5 weeks to land a position, the report found. The number of people who had been unemployed for longer than a year dropped by 2,000 to 51,000, it said. A breakdown of the figures by education level showed that university graduates had the highest unemployment
More than 700 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green energy has been sold through the Taiwan Renewable Energy Certificate (T-REC) program, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspections said yesterday. The “first batch” of deals, announced in May, was dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), while the “second batch,” announced yesterday, featured more diverse players including Taipei 101, L’Oreal Taiwan and the Winkler Partners law firm, the bureau said. In addition, the transaction volume also surpassed the bureau’s expectation, bureau division director Huang Chih-wen (黃志文) said. “We knew that a lot of deals were coming, but somehow we were still taken by surprise,” Huang said. Huang last month told the Taipei Times that the bureau predicted “more than 500 million kilowatt-hours” of green energy would be sold through the T-REC platform by the end of the year. With 113 million kWh of certificates sold through the first batch and 705 million kWh of certificates sold through the second batch, the bureau has surpassed the 500 million kWh prediction. An innovation on the part of the bureau was allowing companies without an account number with Taiwan Power Co (Taipower, 台電) to purchase the certificates, Huang said yesterday. “As far as Taipower is concerned, Taipei 101 is one entity. So when L’Oreal Taiwan [located within the building] wanted to buy T-RECs, we had to come up with a system to accommodate them. Now other companies in commercial buildings sharing a common Taipower account can use the same system,” Huang said. The other notable change is the inclusion of onshore wind in the T-REC system, Huang said, adding that the first batch was entirely solar photovoltaics. There are about 800 megawatts of onshore wind power capacity in Taiwan in total, he said. T-REC is recognized by international organizations such as RE-100, Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) and the Carbon
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has panicked manufacturers in local traditional industries, especially makers of screws and fasteners, who fear they could lose their competitiveness if forced to pay higher tariffs than rivals from RCEP members. The government has tried to assure local industries that the effects of the new pact would be moderate in the short term, considering its patchy coverage, and given that some sensitive industries are to be exempted from customs duty. Taiwan already has agreements with 70 percent of RCEP members that reduce tariffs to zero, officials have said. However, the tax agreements mostly cover electronic items, not steel or petrochemical products, or the screws used in the automotive and construction sectors, industry insiders have said. Local screw and fastener manufacturers pay customs duties ranging from 5 to 30 percent for goods shipped to Southeast Asia, Taiwan Industrial Fasteners Institute chairman Tsai Tu-chin (蔡圖晉) told reporters on Sunday before attending a meeting with economic officials to discuss measures to deal with the new trade pact. Taiwanese manufacturers have suffered a double blow from heavy import tariffs and the New Taiwan dollar’s volatility against the US dollar over the past few years, leading to a downtrend in production value, Tsai said, adding that this year the challenge would be even greater given the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The production value of screw and fastener makers is likely to reach just NT$110 billion (US$3.82 billion), he added. The production value of local screw and fastener makers last year shrank almost 19 percent, from NT$176 billion in 2018 to NT$143 billion, the institute’s statistics showed. As China is catching up with Taiwan in competing for a bigger slice of the Japanese market, the institute fears that the RCEP deal will put local manufacturers at a disadvantage, it
Beijing’s media mouthpieces in Hong Kong last week reported that China is planning to create a list naming “die-hard Taiwan independence activists,” and that those on the list would be “severely punished” and “held accountable for as long as they live.” On Wednesday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) said that “they and their financiers” and other supporters would be “cracked down on in accordance with the law,” although “the legal rights and interests of the wider population of Taiwanese compatriots” would be fully protected. With threats and division, in addition to military pressure, Beijing has now added this trick to its arsenal of “united front” tactics, a trick it first tried in May 2018. At that time, Beijing also used red media outlets to make it known that it was gathering names for a list of Taiwan independence activists, and the TAO said that “everyone who has walked this path will leave a footprint.” China’s official media outlets made Taiwan independence playing cards that included images of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and then-premier William Lai (賴清德). All the talk about name lists was treated as a joke, and eventually died out. Then, at the end of 2018, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a great defeat in the nine-in-one local elections. Perhaps those in charge of the anti-Taiwan effort felt that it was thanks to their activities and decided to use the same old trick now, as they are increasing verbal attacks on Taiwan. China has implemented the Hong Kong National Security Law. The way the legislation defines “patriotism” and “one country,” the promotion of democracy as instigating unrest and democracy activists as “Hong Kong independence activists,” and indiscriminate arrests mean Beijing has in effect implemented a rule of terror in the territory. The suppression of Hong Kong whetted Beijing’s appetite, and it is
The National Communications Commission (NCC) last week unanimously rejected CTi News’ license renewal application, in a decision that should be a milestone in Taiwan’s journalistic history, as it provides an opportunity for the commission to establish standards for journalistic ethics and editorial autonomy in news media. The commissioners’ decision was based on CTi News’ repeated breaches of media regulations; its malfunctioning internal control mechanisms; the severe interference of its largest shareholder, Want Want China Times Media Group founder Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明); and its inability to show that it could improve. CTi News has been fined NT$11.53 million (US$400,306 at the current exchange rate) for 25 breaches of media regulations since its license renewal in 2014. Complaints regarding its content increased from 72 in 2017 — less than 5 percent of all complaints the NCC received that year — to 962 last year, or about 31 percent of all complaints. These factors demonstrate CTi News’ lack of journalistic expertise, as well as its broken internal controls and self-discipline mechanisms, the commission said. Furthermore, based on evidence presented at an administrative hearing on Oct. 26 and a meeting between commissioners and CTi News on Nov. 4, Tsai had intervened in the news production process directly and indirectly. In 2018, the full-time post of managing director in the news department was left unfilled for five months before Tsai’s special assistant, Chiu Chia-yu (邱佳瑜), was appointed, a move that breached the channel’s independent convention. The management did not object to Tsai’s decision to interfere in the news department, which again confirmed that it lacked proper internal controls. Although the channel’s management made eight commitments during the license renewal process, CTi News did not specify how it would prevent improper intervention by its largest shareholder. There were also no internal controls that allowed for the questioning or examination of such practices. The Satellite Broadcasting
TURNAROUND: Daniil Medvedev this month has seven wins against top-10 players — he had zero wins over top-10 opponents in the preceding 12 months Daniil Medvedev did not travel an easy path to the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals. He beat world No. 3 Dominic Thiem for the championship after earlier getting past No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal. By switching tactics and coming back for a 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 victory over US Open champion Thiem in Sunday’s final, world No. 4 Medvedev became the first player to defeat each of the men ranked No. 1 to No. 3 at the season-ending championship — and only the fourth to do so at any ATP Tour event since 1990. “Means a lot,” Medvedev said. “Shows what I’m capable of when I’m playing good, when I’m feeling good mentally, physically. So I know what I’m capable of. Just need to produce it more and more.” The win against Thiem on an indoor hard court in an arena without spectators, who were absent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, followed those against Djokovic in the round-robin and Nadal in Saturday’s semi-finals. Medvedev went 5-0 in all, quite a turnaround from a year ago, when he was 0-3 at the ATP Finals. The tournament now ends its 12-year stay in London and heads to Turin, Italy, next year. Medvedev closed the year by going 10-0 this month, including seven wins against members of the top 10. He had zero victories over top-10 opponents over the preceding 12 months. He called the run “a great boost of confidence for all the Slams coming up and all the tournaments.” “Hopefully, I can continue this way,” the 24-year-old Russian said. Thiem’s defense and power from the baseline put him on top early, and strong serving at key moments allowed him to save the first eight break points he faced. “He was crushing the ball like [there] was no tomorrow,” Medvedev said. However, Medvedev finally
Taiwan Steel on Sunday defeated Hang Yuan 3-1 to clinch the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) title with a match to spare after Taipower were held to a 1-1 draw by National University of Sport. The victory saw Tainan achieve the rare achievement of being “double champions” after the Uni-President Lions baseball team won the CPBL championship earlier this month against the CTBC Brothers. Turks and Caicos striker Marc Fenelus powered a header into the top corner to give the league leaders an early lead over Hang Yuan in New Taipei City. Just before the hour mark, Hang Yuan defender Hsu Yi fouled Haitian forward Benchy Astama inside the penalty area and the referee awarded Taiwan Steel a spot-kick. Fenelus blasted the ball past goalkeeper Huang Chou-lin to notch his 18th goal of the season, before turning provider in the 67th minute, hitting a cross-field pass to Astama on the right, who turned his markers and drove a fierce shot into the top-left corner. With the clock winding down, Hang Yuan poured forward and Tsou Yu-chieh grabbed a consolation following a goalmouth scramble, but they were unable to rein in the new champions. “We did have problems earlier this season, but our team has consolidated to have better cohesion, especially the interplay between the foreign and Taiwanese players. That was important for us to be able to claim the title,” Taiwan Steel manager Lo Chih-chong said. Taipower held on to second place after rallying for a point against National University of Sport in Taichung. Speedy winger Chen Chun-ting put the hosts in front when he raced into the penalty area and smashed a shot into the Taipower net. However, Taipower mounted a typical late comeback when, from a corner in stoppage-time, forward Chen Chao-an pounced on the loose ball to slot home. Tatung remained fourth by edging Ming Chuan University
Liverpool on Sunday shrugged off an injury crisis to move level on points with Tottenham Hotspur at the top of the English Premier League with a 3-0 win over Leicester City, while 10-man Arsenal were left to cling on for a 0-0 draw at Leeds United by Nicolas Pepe’s red card. The champions were without the injured Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xherdan Shaqiri, while top scorer Mohamed Salah was absent due to COVID-19. Yet, Juergen Klopp’s men were still imperious in easing past a Leicester side that had started the weekend on top of the table. The Foxes did not do themselves any favors when Jonny Evans turned James Milner’s corner into his own net to reward Liverpool’s bright start. Diogo Jota then became the first ever Liverpool player to score in his first four home league games with a downward header from Andy Robertson’s cross. Only a combination of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and the woodwork kept Liverpool from a repeat of the 4-0 thrashing they dished out to Leicester when the sides last met in December last year, but Robert Firmino then rounded off a fine night for the champions with a towering header from another Milner corner six minutes from time. “Playing them like that tonight, I do not take for granted,” Klopp said. “The boys were on fire.” Liverpool have now set a new club record of 64 unbeaten league games at Anfield. Leicester’s loss means Arsenal are just five points off the top four, but Mikel Arteta was furious at Pepe’s lack of discipline as the Gunners were lucky to escape with a point at Elland Road. “It’s unacceptable,” said the Spaniard, whose side have won just one of their past five league games. “With 10 men it is a big disadvantage. I really
Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday scored twice to bring his tally to 10 league goals this season before limping off with a muscle strain as AC Milan stayed top of Serie A with a 3-1 win at 10-man SSC Napoli. Milan move back two points ahead of US Sassuolo — 2-0 winners earlier at Hellas Verona — with AS Roma third after Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted a brace in a dominant 3-0 win over Parma. “For me Zlatan is stronger now than 10, 12 years ago,” Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso said of his former Milan teammate. “Milan strongly believes in Ibra, his teammates trust him 100 percent. In my opinion, their team is not the strongest, but they have the mentality. We play well, but lose as soon as it gets difficult.” Ibrahimovic continued his fine form, heading in a Theo Hernandez cross after 20 minutes and then sending in the second with his knee nine minutes after halftime, but the 39-year-old pulled up clutching his left hamstring and was substituted after 79 minutes. The Swede has scored in all six games he has played this season, having missed two after contracting COVID-19. Coach Stefano Pioli missed the trip south due to a positive COVID-19 test, but his side got their first league win in Naples since October 2010, the season they last won the scudetto, with Ibrahimovic also on the score sheet that time. Napoli played the final half an hour a man down after Tiemoue Bakayoko was sent off for two yellow cards, just after Dries Mertens had pulled a goal back for the hosts. Norwegian Jens Petter Hauge completed the scoring five minutes into stoppage-time, the 21-year-old getting his first Serie A goal. Last season’s runners-up Inter moved up to fifth after a Romelu Lukaku brace inspired a 4-2 comeback win over Torino, with Napoli dropping from
AUSTRALIAN POLL: While women did as well as men when they asked for raises and promotions, more promotions go to men when firms take the initiative Far fewer women than men are promoted in the finance industry unless they first ask for seniority, a sign of institutional gender bias, according to a new study in Australia. The survey of 2,000 finance industry professionals showed 76 percent of men were offered a promotion at least once without requesting it, compared with 57 percent of women. The study was compiled by lead researchers Ardea Investment Management and Australian National University in conjunction with industry experts. The findings provide “evidence of that culture that things come to men without asking,” said Bronwen Whiting, who worked on the survey and is a senior lecturer in applied statistics at the university. “It can’t all be on women to act differently to fix it.” A report by consultancy Kearney this year showed Australia tops the UK, the US and India for the proportion of female lawmakers and board members in its top 100 firms. Yet the latest survey’s results show ongoing gaps, including the fact that male fund managers on average earn more than twice as much as female counterparts. Male quantitative research analysts are paid 43 percent more than women, and men in compliance roles received an additional 76 percent, based on last year’s data. Official Australian figures put the overall gender pay gap at 14 percent. In the UK, the gap in financial services is well over 20 percent, according an analysis of government data. The Ardea-Australian National University study found that women asked for pay increases and promotions at the same rate as men, and when they do so, there was no difference between the genders in terms of receiving them. Yet the gap appeared when companies took the initiative with promotions. “One of the arguments put forward as to why women are paid less is that we are too agreeable,” Laura Ryan, head of research
It is not often a top bureaucrat in Singapore publicly discloses personal vulnerabilities, but the novel coronavirus pandemic is upending what is seldom discussed outside close circles. Singaporean Economic Development Board Managing Director Chng Kai Fong (莊凱峰), a former top aide to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), opened up about his mental health struggle during the pandemic at a technology conference held virtually on Sunday. Chng began his online panel at the She Loves Tech conference by this year as “an unprecedented year in terms of personal crisis.” In April, he lost his brother-in-law to cancer, while a close family member is going through serious mental health issues, he said. He described his emotional and mental state as one he had never experienced in his 40-plus years. “There was this feeling of heat and anger starting with palms and then sort of moves towards your entire body,” Chng said. “There was one day when I couldn’t even wake up; I had to really drag myself out at 11:30 and go for a run because I knew these were signs of depressive bouts. Even during the run, I was super breathless. It was a bad sign.” He is not alone: More employees in Asia are reporting high stress levels since the start of the pandemic, a Mercer survey published last month said. It said the percentage of senior management who reported experiencing high levels of stress jumped from 9 percent to 33 percent. Chng said he decided to share his experience with others who might be facing pressure to lead during times of fear and uncertainty. One thing that helped him cope is to “acknowledge that it’s OK not to be OK,” he said. “Another is to seek help,” he said. “We can do a lot more as leaders to acknowledge that and to share a ...
It takes Siraphob Attohi three hours to transform from a harried student into his drag queen persona Masala Bold — a wisecracking MC, who raises calls for gender equality during Thailand’s protests for democratic reforms. A regular at student-led rallies in Bangkok, Masala Bold’s glamorous presence and ribald jokes provide a teasing interlude between speeches from protest leaders demanding the resignation of Thailand’s prime minister and reforms to the monarchy. However, far from being simply an entertainer, theatre student Siraphob — who goes by the nickname Raptor and identifies as male offstage — says the movement’s goals align with the LGBTQ community’s desire for gender equality. “If we can’t get real democracy in Thailand, then the rights for the LGBTQ community wouldn’t exist either,” he said. “So it’s my pleasure and my honor to use my theater skills to be an activist and to help people, but actually it’s all about my future too.” The 21-year-old and other prominent LGBTQ personalities have played a visible role in the youth-led movement since it began in July. In demonstrations where the vibe can turn from festive to tense in just a matter of minutes, they have stood alongside black-clad protesters, dressed in eye-catching outfits and unfurling massive rainbow flags. The protesters’ key demands are for royal reforms, a rewrite of a military-scripted constitution and for the resignation of army chief-turned-Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. However, embedded in these core goals lies a clear path to marriage and gender equality in Thailand, said Angele Anang, a prominent transgender drag queen and the winner of popular reality show Drag Race Thailand. “We don’t have the same rights,” she said, adding that the community’s greatest goal is for same-sex marriage to be legalized in Thailand. “It is the key to unlocking inequality.” Thailand’s vibrant and diverse LGBTQ community has helped
A dancer in harem pants moves down a Berlin street next to a skinhead wearing a “Reich” flag: Germany’s escalating anti-mask protests in the coronavirus pandemic draw from a wide, seemingly contradictory range of political camps. A rally of nearly 10,000 opponents of government-imposed social restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Berlin last week brought together a motley band of demonstrators with ostensibly little in common — apart from crumbling faith in institutions and representative democracy. The scene in front of the Brandenburg Gate Wednesday marked a dizzying confluence of LGBT rainbow flags and Gandhi banners intermingled with posters for the increasingly international QAnon conspiracy movement. Marchers wearing red Trump “MAGA” hats could be spotted in the crowd next to evangelicals, climate activists and “peace”-shouting hippies. Most of the protesters remained peaceful while they railed against vaccines and dismissed the dangers of the virus, but a violent hard core attacked police. Some 77 officers were injured at the demonstration, with Berlin police chief Barbara Slowik saying that “the brutality of the violence was immense.” “Some have told me that we have not experienced something like that in decades,” she told the Tagesspiegel daily. “We are moving away from a very colorful public and are now increasingly dealing with a spectrum of people who generally reject our system and are prepared to use extreme violence.” Repeating a common but false refrain of the demonstrations, one protester, Ina Meyer-Stoll, claimed: “The death rate isn’t higher than ones you see for flu outbreaks.” Another activist on the streets, Achim Ecker, an erstwhile Greens voter in his 50s, said he had “lost confidence in the political parties” particularly with regard to potential approval of a vaccine. Others’ harmless appearance belied jaw-dropping views. Grandmother Birgit Vogt, 75, denied the existence of the pandemic and didn’t hesitate to draw a parallel between
A row over a Thai woman who held up a placard alleging sexual abuse in schools has put a spotlight on harassment in the education system even as she draws threats of legal action for misrepresentation and attacks for soiling Thailand’s image. The issue is the latest on which discussion has become more vocal as an anti-government protest movement seeking reform of the monarchy also emboldens people in a society where conservatism has often constrained criticism of the powerful. “I hope my case will raise awareness for people in society, for students in schools, for adults who send children to schools, for teachers and for the Ministry of Education,” Nalinrat Tuthubthim, 20, said. Nalinrat, now a university student, had made allegations on social media of being sexually harassed at school several years ago. But she grabbed attention at the weekend when she dressed in a high-school uniform at a protest in Bangkok, put black tape over her mouth and held up a placard that read: “I have been sexually abused by teachers. School is not a safe place.” Detractors criticized her for not being a real high-school student and she was bombarded with abusive messages. Some shared screengrabs of her Instagram account showing recent pictures in which she had modeled revealing outfits. “When a non-student wears school uniform, when you draw this much attention from society and from social media, you need to take responsibility for it and what follows,” said Pareena Kraikupt, a member of parliament for the Palang Pracharat Party of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. Pareena said she was planning to file a police complaint against Nalinrat for wearing a school uniform when she was not a school student, but also to call for a police investigation into her former school over the alleged harassment. Senator Somchai Sawangkarn condemned Nalinrat for damaging Thailand’s image and said
One often hears that the people of China are 98 percent Han, a complicated cultural term that is often used to imply a certain genetic relationship as well. Yet among the pre-1949 population of Taiwan, roughly 45 percent are descended from immigrants from Quanzhou (泉州) in China. Who might these people be? In medieval times Quanzhou was one of the world’s greatest ports, a melting pot of peoples from India and northeast, southeast and central Asia, along with Han and other peoples we now identify as “Chinese.” Merchants from Quanzhou competed in the southeast Asian textile trade, shipping cottons from India and silks from China, and their domination was so complete that in the pre-modern era commercial terms in many southeast Asian languages were either of Chinese or Indian origin. The wealthy Indian merchant community there erected a Hindu temple in Quanzhou, with Tamil merchants building temples to Shiva and Vishnu. It is worth noting that Quanzhou was so ignorant of Taiwan, just a few days sail away, that camphor was obtained from islands south of Philippines, though it existed in abundance in Taiwan. MUSLIMS OF QUANZHOU Central Asia poured immigrants into the city. Quanzhou eventually hosted an enormous Muslim population, well over a hundred thousand in its heyday when something like a million people inhabited the sprawling port. Muslim and Nestorian Christian inscriptions are known, and outside what is now Fujian city, in Jinjiang, there is a Manichean temple now reconstructed as a Buddhist temple. During the Yuan Dynasty the Mongols stationed foreign troops there, who were allied to the local Persian community. As the Yuan waned they rose against the Mongol leadership in a 10 year revolt known as the Ipsah rebellion. The immediate cause of this revolt in a city in what is now China was Muslim disapproval of the
A: Why are you so worried about the acceptance speech? B: I find any kind of public speaking really intimidating. I get paralyzed with fear standing in front of a sea of expectant faces. I can see it now: I’ll be shaking uncontrollably, my pulse will be racing and I won’t be able to stop my knees knocking. A: Think positive. Just remember to memorize your speech beforehand. B: I’ve already prepared a speech and committed it to memory, but I bet my mind will go blank if I’m ever called to actually deliver it. A: You’re overthinking it. You’re tying yourself up in knots fretting about it. B: This is just the way I am. I have butterflies in my stomach even now, just thinking about it. A: 為什麼致個感謝辭會讓你擔心成那個樣子？ B: 只要是在公開場合說話，我都會覺得很恐怖。在一大堆觀眾面前我就嚇得全身麻痺了。我現在就可以想像：我會發抖，抖得沒法控制，脈搏會跳得超快，我會沒法控制膝蓋格格發抖。 A: 樂觀一點。你只要事先背好講稿就好啦！ B: 我已經準備好講稿背起來了，可是我猜如果我真的被叫上台致辭，到時候我腦筋會一片空白。 A: 你想太多了。你越擔心就會越緊張。 B: 我就是這樣啊。現在光是用想的，我就緊張得七上八下。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
Din tao (temple parade) performances such as the “eight generals,” lion and dragon dancing and war drum corps are characteristic and unique forms of Taiwanese folk religious culture. Nantou County Councilor Tsai Ming-hsuan said during a county governance interpellation session on Nov. 11 that din tao culture such as the “eight generals” is really a similar kind of performance to Beijing opera, despite their being performed in different places — one in temples, the other in theaters. Tsai pointed out that Chiayi City has registered one local temple’s “eight generals” din tao troupe as an intangible cultural asset. He suggested that Nantou County Government departments should work togethers to cultivate din tao cultural talents and place due importance on cultural heritage. Tsai said that the county government’s Department of Civil Affairs is responsible for managing religious cultural activities, while cultural performing arts groups fall under the remit of the Cultural Affairs Bureau. However, under current arrangements the categories of performing arts group managed by the Cultural Affairs Bureau only include music, dance, modern theater, traditional opera and cultural performing arts, while din tao rituals such as the “eight generals,” which are a common sight at folk religious cultural events, do not fit in to any of these categories. As a result, nobody takes care of or assists din tao culture, leaving it to face many problems. Tsai emphasized that din tao is a kind of performing art and folk religious cultural activity. He said that it can be combined with tourism, just as Taiwanese people are sure to go and see some local traditional festivals when they go on tours to Japan. He said that we should not just focus on bad aspects such as the fights that some din tao troupes occasionally get involved in. Tsai suggested that the county
We see a frail and elderly woman in a chair, her eyes downcast. She motions for the music to be turned up, a swelling melody from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and with a little encouragement her hands begin to flutter. Then suddenly her eyes flash and she’s Odette the swan queen at the misty lakeside, arms raised. She leans forward, wrists crossed in classic swan pose; her chin lifts as if she’s commanding the stage once more, her face lost in reverie. The woman in the film is Marta Cinta Gonzalez Saldana, a former ballet dancer who died last year, the year the video was shot. But the clip has gone viral since being posted recently by Spanish organisation Musica Para Despertar (Music to Awaken), which promotes the value of music for those living with Alzheimer’s. The particular ability of music to connect with people living with even severe dementia is becoming well known. Auditory memory may be the last thing to leave us because it’s one of the first things we develop, at around 18 weeks in the womb, says Grace Meadows, program director at Music for Dementia. “They’re some of the deepest neural pathways that get laid down,” she says. Our first language, the babbling and cooing of babies and their carers, is a form of musical exchange. “That’s why it’s so deep and why we’re so responsive to it, because it’s so primal.” That remains true when people have cognitive impairments, partly because music is processed in so many different parts of the brain. If there’s something blocking its neural pathway, it finds another path. And music from formative stages in our lives tends to have the strongest hold, especially around the teenage years and 20s, the “memory bump” as it is called, when so many intense social bonds and new emotions
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