Sat, Apr 04, 2020
People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday added that the government would fine those who do not wear masks on public transportation after being asked to, citing the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法). Service personnel at Taiwan Railways Administration and High-Speed Rail stations from Tuesday have been directing people to convenience stores to buy masks if they do not have one, said Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), who is also deputy head of the center. Fines on local buses and MRT systems would be handled by local governments, while those on nationwide systems would be managed by the transportation ministry, Chen Tsung-yen said. The center would ask the transportation ministry to negotiate with local governments over which party is to be responsible for fines issued on buses that operate across municipalities, he said. Later yesterday, the Taipei City Government said in a news release that it would follow the center’s instruction to implement the policy immediately. Meanwhile, the CECC yesterday reported nine additional cases of COVID-19 — seven imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s total to 348. The imported cases, five women and two men, are all Taiwanese who had traveled to Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Thailand, the UK or the US before returning to Taiwan
STIMULUS FUNDS: Companies that report weak sales can apply for the financial aid, while subsidies for a one-time injection of working capital would also be available The Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday said that it would subsidize up to 40 percent of workers’ salaries for businesses that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded by a NT$39.6 billion (US$1.31 billion) budget — part of a newly expanded NT$1.05 trillion economic stimulus package approved by the Executive Yuan on Thursday — the ministry plans to assist companies with employee wages to help prevent job cuts. Companies facing an annual drop in sales of at least 50 percent for two consecutive months can apply for the financial aid, which would cover up to 40 percent of their employees’ monthly salaries for a maximum of three months, the ministry said. The ministry said that it would also subsidize a one-time injection of working capital for such firms, based on their number of employees, and hand out a 30 percent discount on utility rates. The financial aid comes on top of another plan launched last week, which includes a 5 to 10 percent discount on utility rates for companies with at least a 15 percent decline in revenue on an annual basis. The ministry said that it is also offering to defer rent for one to three years with no interest for companies operating production sites in the nation’s industrial parks and export processing zones. While the ministry has aimed to shelter local industries from a global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic, its approach toward boosting consumer spending has been relatively timid. Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) on Thursday announced that a budget for coupons, which are to be issued by the end of the month and would be valid for up to three months, had been increased to NT$11 billion. Capped at NT$1,000 per person per month, the coupons would mainly be redeemable when using mobile payment systems and consist of a
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We thank the people of Taiwan for their generous support and collaboration as we continue our fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” it said in a retweet of a Reuters report on the donations, adding the hashtag “FreeAndOpenIndoPacific.” Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that the Vatican, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, was among the recipients. Taiwan’s embassy in the Holy See would help distribute the masks to members of the clergy, including the Camillian order, with which Catholic Father Giuseppe Didone, who is based in Yilan County, is affiliated, Ou said. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yeh Yu-lan (葉毓蘭) on Thursday accused the government of using the masks for lavish diplomacy instead of helping people in urgent need. Didone had previously asked Taiwan for help. The nation thanks the Catholic Church and its clergy for their dedication and service in Taiwan, and the ministry will help deliver the medical supplies collected by domestic Catholic groups, Ou said, adding that lawmakers should understand the facts before commenting. Separately, Palauan Representative to the UN Ngedikes Olai Uludong thanked Taiwan, saying that it is the only country that has helped Palau amid the pandemic. “Palau has been asking the global community for help and NO one responded except Taiwan! Thank you
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has soared past 1 million and fatalities have topped 50,000 as the US reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far. Despite more than half the planet living in some form of lockdown, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly and claim lives, with the US, Spain and Britain all seeing their worst days yet. The US now accounts for about one-quarter of all known infections around the globe. About 6,000 people have died in the US outbreak, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,100 of them on Thursday. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents to cover their faces when outside and US Vice President Mike Pence said there would be a recommendation on the use of masks by the general public in the next few days. Europe has been at the center of the crisis for weeks, but there have been signs that the epidemic could be approaching its peak there. Spain and Britain saw record numbers of new deaths in a 24-hour period — 950 and 569 respectively. Italy and Spain together account for almost half of the global death toll, but experts have said that the number of new infections in both countries is continuing to slow. “The data show the curve has stabilized” and the epidemic has entered a “slowdown” phase, Spanish Minister of Health Salvador Illa said. The virus has chiefly affected elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions, but recent cases of deaths among teenagers and even of a six-week-old have highlighted the dangers for people of all ages. “The very notion that ‘COVID-19 only affects older people’ is factually wrong,” WHO regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said on Thursday. Severe cases have been reported among teens and young adults, with some requiring intensive care and
The UN General Assembly on Thursday approved a resolution calling for “international cooperation” and “multilateralism” in the fight against COVID-19, in the first text to come out of the international body since the pandemic began. The resolution, approved by consensus, also said there was “the need for full respect for human rights” and that “there is no place for any form of discrimination, racism and xenophobia in the response to the pandemic.” Russia was unsuccessful in opposing the resolution with its own text, which was supported by four other countries. The UN resolution emphasizes the central role of the body in the global health and economic crisis. It was submitted by Switzerland, Indonesia, Singapore, Norway, Liechtenstein and Ghana, and adopted by 188 of the 193 states that make up the body, diplomats said. The Russian text — which also discussed cooperation, but included an implicit demand for a general lifting of international sanctions, seen as a brake on efforts to fight the virus — was supported by the Central African Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Unlike the UN Security Council, resolutions adopted by the General Assembly are not binding. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the novel coronavirus is “the most challenging crisis we have faced since the Second World War.” Just last week, as the pandemic spread around the world, killing thousands and infecting many more, Guterres warned that unless the world came together to fight the virus, millions of people could die. On March 23, he called for an “immediate global ceasefire” to protect vulnerable civilians in conflict zones from the ravages of the pandemic. Few countries have heeded his appeal. “Unfortunately, hostilities have gone unabated,” said Laetitia Courtois, the UN representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross. On the council, which has been silent since the start of the pandemic, the five permanent members — the
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the special budget is to be paid for by increasing national debt by NT$100 billion in the current fiscal year and NT$50 billion in the next, Chu said. The NT$700 billion in loans, double what was originally planned, is to be provided by the central bank and state-owned banks, as well as Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政), he said. Overall, the package is to make up about 5.4 percent of this year’s nominal GDP, he said. As a proactive measure to prevent the unemployment rate from soaring, the government is to inject NT$81.6 billion to help about 1.92 million people, or 16.6 percent of the nation’s working population, keep their jobs, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) said. That includes NT$39.6 billion in wage subsidies that the Ministry of Economic Affairs would give to about 660,000 people in the manufacturing and service industries, as well as NT$8.4 billion that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is to give to about 140,000 people in the tourism and transportation industries, Kung said. The transportation ministry plans to give the nation’s approximately 92,000 taxi and 16,000 tour bus drivers NT$10,000 per month for three months, while the economic ministry would issue a monthly subsidy of NT$10,000 to about 1
Scientists on Wednesday offered more evidence that COVID-19 is spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms and the US government issued new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a carrier. A study by researchers in Singapore became the latest to estimate that about 10 percent of new infections might be sparked by people who carry the virus, but have not experienced its flu-like symptoms. In response to that study and others, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed how it defined the risk of infection. The agency’s new guidance targeted people who have no symptoms, but were exposed to others with known or suspected infections. It essentially says that anyone might be a carrier, regardless of any symptoms. The findings increase the challenges of containment measures, the researchers wrote, but added that the magnitude of the effects depends on the extent and duration of transmissibility while a patient is pre-symptomatic, which has so far not been clearly established. The findings complicate efforts to gain control of the pandemic and reinforce the importance of “social distancing” and other measures designed to stop the spread, experts said. “You have to really be proactive about reducing contacts between people who seem perfectly healthy,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin who has studied coronavirus transmission in different countries. The newest research was published online on Wednesday by the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It focused on 243 cases of coronavirus reported in Singapore from mid-January through the middle of last month, including 157 infections among people who had not traveled recently. Scientists found that so-called pre-symptomatic people triggered infections in seven disease clusters, accounting for about 6 percent of the locally acquired cases. One of those infections was particularly striking. A 52-year-old woman’s infection
ADAPTING TO TRENDS: As the populace ages and as there is a shortage of drivers of large vehicles, the ministry said it would raise the age limit before the end of this year Planned amendments to traffic and transportation laws would relax regulations on older drivers and push back age restrictions on tour bus drivers, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said yesterday. An aging population and policies that raise the retirement age, along with driver shortage issues, all point to the need for raising the age limit for large vehicle drivers, the ministry said. Amendments to Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則) and the Road Traffic Security Rules (道路交通安全規則) would likely take place in the second half of this year, it said. The age of large vehicle drivers cannot exceed 65, but there are 3,369 large vehicle drivers nationwide who are 64 years old, meaning that without changes, the driver shortage that bus companies and tour agencies are already experiencing would worsen, the ministry said. The ministry said that due to the inherent risks associated with driving large vehicles there must be stringent physical exams, as well as other measures to protect passengers. In its planned rule revision, qualified drivers older than 65 cannot have hypertension, and drivers who have been diagnosed with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, coronary artery disease, epilepsy, stroke, vertigo or myasthenia gravis must provide proof that they can control those conditions, the ministry said. Older drivers must be physically and mentally capable of handling day-to-day affairs and cannot be chronically intoxicated or addicted to substances, the ministry said, adding that all older drivers must undergo annual physicals and would not receive their license until they pass. In addition, these drivers would be restricted to operating vehicles between 6am and 6pm, and can only drive a maximum of eight hours per day, stopping for 30 minutes every three hours, the ministry said. If the rest periods must be broken up, every rest period should be at least 15 minutes, it added. The drivers must have 10 hours of consecutive rest across
EARLY DETECTION KEY: A doctor said that a common lung cancer often shows no symptoms in the early stages and recommends that smokers be checked for it A woman in her 50s who does not smoke was diagnosed with lung cancer after inhaling secondhand smoke from her husband and son, a doctor said on Thursday, urging people to be mindful of the dangers of secondhand smoke. Asia University Hospital doctor Liu Po-yi (劉柏毅) said a woman, surnamed Lee (李), was diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma after she sought treatment following two weeks of excessive coughing. For more than 30 years, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Taiwan, with lung cancer claiming the most lives over the past decade, Liu said, citing data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Clinical statistics show that people with lung adenocarcinoma are predominantly non-smokers, and the average age of patients is decreasing, Liu added. Early stages of lung adenocarcinoma show no obvious signs and symptoms, and when they exhibit symptoms — such as continuous coughing, coughing up blood, chest tightness or pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, weight loss, and extreme fatigue — it is usually at the third or fourth stage and might already be untreatable by surgery, Liu said. However, thanks to medical advances, low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) has become an effective tool in identifying early lung adenocarcinoma, as it can detect slight pulmonary abnormities, which if found early can be cured through minimally invasive surgery, he said. Compared with conventional computed tomography scans, LDCT scans for lung cancer use six, or even 10 times less radiation, depending on the size of the patient, and no contrast medium is required, making it an ideal option for patients with kidney problems, he said. People aged 55 or older, with a smoking history of 10 years, and who smoke a packet of cigarettes per day must be on high alert for lung cancer, he said, adding that Lee’s husband and son, who used to smoke heavily, have
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she went missing in 2014, Chen said. An autopsy of the partially decomposed body showed broken bones in the neck area, which police believe to be the cause of death and has led them to suspect she was murdered, Chen said. As the body was stuffed into the container and presumably carried to the site, police said that they suspect at least two people were involved. In a separate matter, a man was found dead in a rural area of Miaoli County’s Houlong District (後龍) yesterday, police said, adding that he was apparently electrocuted by a power line. The man, identified as a 44-year-old surnamed Lu (呂), was killed the day before when he allegedly tried to steal the metal wire to sell, Miaoli police said. They said they found tools he might have used to remove the wire nearby, including a ladder latched on a power pole, as well as wire cutters, a hammer and metal chains for scaling the pole. Lu’s hands had electrocution marks and his skull was broken, likely from landing on his head after falling, police said.
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb... As I learn more about trees, the more I appreciate them.” Many of those attending the course were once novices terrified of the prospect of climbing up 30m tall trees. “I threw up the first time I climbed to 10m... It wasn’t pretty, and everyone underneath screamed and scattered away,” Chen Yun-hsin, a documentary filmmaker, recalled. “I got used to it and went even higher. I feel a tree is like a living being, it protects me even when a wind is blowing,” she added. Tree climbing tends to fall into two categories. Arborists — also known as tree surgeons — who maintain trees for a living, and those that climb simply for fun. Recreational climbing has been growing in popularity worldwide since US arborist Peter Jenkins began promoting it in 1983, using techniques and tools from his profession and also borrowing from cavers and rock climbers. Tree Climbers International, the organization he founded, now has more than 700 member instructors listed around the world teaching tree climbing. The hobby side ranges from kids being pulled up on ropes to adrenaline-filled speed climbing competitions. Both the professional and amateur communities were often something of a macho sport, but slowly that is changing. Boel Hammerstrand, a Swedish national, started a
A plaque from a now-defunct elementary school has sparked a dispute in Penhghu County between residents of Yuanbei Township (員貝) and a junior-high school in Magong City (馬公). The plaque, originally from Yuanbei Elementary School, is on display at Wenguang Junior High School, but Yuanbei residents want it returned to the township. Wenguang said the plaque was found in 2006 on a beach on Yuanbei Island by the school’s then-principal Yang Chi-ching (楊啟清), when visiting the island during a beach cleaning event. Yang said at the time that the school hoped to pass on the spirit conveyed by the plaque to all of its attending students. Its inscription reads: “To know etiquette, to be just, to remain principled and incorruptible, and to know right from wrong.” However, Yuanbei residents dispute that narrative. “It had been sitting in a school classroom since 1995, we don’t understand how it turned up on the beach in 2006,” Yuanbei Village Warden Chen Tian-jui (陳天瑞) said on Sunday. Although Yuanbei Elementary School was decommissioned in 1995, it remains a fond memory for many Yuanbei residents and the village hoped to retain the plaque — something hundreds of Yuanbei school students remembered — as a memento of the school, Chen said. Wenguang dean Yang Chyong-yi (仰瓊宜) said that the plaque has already become a part of Wenguang’s history and the school would not return it. Founded in 1998, Wenguang is the youngest of the county’s schools and yet, it has two school plaques, etched with different mottos.
DUE DILIGENCE: The Consumer Protection Committee said that people should fact-check suspect ads and information related to COVID-19 to avoid becoming a ‘covidiot’ The Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee on Thursday warned people not to fall for dubious advertisements amid the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. As fears of the pandemic spread nationwide, there has been a surge in online advertisements for bargain medical supplies, such as masks, disinfectants and forehead thermometers, but people are often at a loss as to their trustworthiness, the committee said. These advertisements often come with slogans that almost seem too good to be true, such as “pay upon delivery,” “seven-day hassle-free return,” “zero negative feedback,” “24-hour online customer service” or “almost sold out,” as well as claims that the products have passed certifications, it said. When people encounter such advertisements, they should first check whether the telephone number and address provided by the seller is real, the committee said, adding that if the company information cannot be verified, the advertisement is most likely fraudulent. People who fall for the advertisements often receive substandard products or nothing at all, and the Internet Protocol addresses of these “sellers” are often overseas, it said. Most fraudulent advertisements seek to exploit humanity’s two greatest weaknesses: greed and fear, it added. Other fraud schemes have also taken on themes inspired by the pandemic, such as asking people to wire money into accounts purportedly for a “disease prevention fund” established by the government. People have reported receiving text messages to claim masks they ordered that contain phishing links or that include instructions on how to use an automated teller machine to change their bank account settings to fix an unsuccessful payment for an order of masks, the committee said. The US Federal Trade Commission has received 78,234 reports of false refunds for trips canceled due to the pandemic, online shopping fraud, text message fraud and scam rings claiming to be the US government, which have made up
UTILIZING BIG DATA: The program aims to be a step toward using technology to combat the pandemic, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee said The Ministry of Science and Technology on Thursday announced that it would be accepting applications for projects that would help COVID-19 prevention efforts, find a cure or otherwise benefit the public as a whole. Approved projects would be able to utilize the computational powers of the National Center for High Performance Computing, the ministry said, adding that projects whose results would be immediately applicable would be prioritized. Projects to investigate the genetic evolution of viruses, protein analysis, data mining or image recognition could all apply, it said. Projects that would produce results beneficial to the public, such as maps for masks, maps for medical-grade isopropyl alcohol and other information on necessary goods would also be accepted, it added. Aside from the center’s supercomputer, storage facilities and virtual servers being made available, the center said that it would also make available data sets that have been collected by the government’s big data analysis tools. The data sets contain information across different fields — government management, scientific research, linguistic data, medical and security, it said. All academic medical theses, global COVID-19 imagery, and National Health Insurance data on mask provision and storage would be made available to the successful applicants, it added. Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said the program aims to be a step toward using technology to combat the coronavirus pandemic. National Applied Research Laboratories president Wang Yeong-her (王永和) said that the center, which is key to supporting domestic development of biomedicine and other advances, is a welcome addition to the nation’s disease prevention efforts. The ministry is accepting applications until June 30, although it is possible the program would be extended, it said.
Officials from Taiwan and the US on Tuesday attended a virtual forum on sharing the successful “Taiwan Model” of containing COVID-19 and on reinstating Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. “High-level officials representing the American Institute in Taiwan [AIT], the US Department of State, the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office and the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened for a virtual forum on expanding Taiwan’s participation on the global stage,” the US Department of State said in a news release. The AIT in a separate release said that the discussion “focused on creating forums to share the internationally lauded ‘Taiwan Model’ on fighting the pandemic with other countries.” Participants also discussed efforts to reinstate Taiwan’s observer status at the WHA, and ways for closer coordination between Taiwan and the WHO, it said. “Countries around the world can benefit from better understanding the Taiwan Model, as well as the generous contributions and impressive expertise Taiwan — a vibrant democracy and force for good — brings to the global community,” it said. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kelly Hsieh (謝武樵) and Representative to the US Stanley Kao (高碩泰) led the Taiwanese delegation, including officials from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, at the forum held in Taipei and Washington, the foreign ministry said. The US’ attendees included AIT Washington Office Managing Director John Norris, AIT Director Brent Christensen, Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Pam Pryor and US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Atul Keshap, it said. The number of senior officials attending showed that both sides valued the forum, as well as close Taiwan-US ties, it said, thanking the administration of US President Donald Trump and the US Congress for continuing to support Taiwan’s participation in
Taiwanese sports are to return next weekend, with the baseball and soccer leagues starting their new seasons, although there are to be restrictions for spectators and protective measures due to COVID-19. The Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) season was originally scheduled to begin on March 14, then pushed back to March 28, before settling on next Saturday. “To conform with the government’s mandate limiting crowds at outdoor events, we will strictly limit the total number of people at each league game at fewer than 200,” CPBL secretary-general Feng Shen-hsieng (馮勝賢) said. “This figure will include the players, coaches, team employees, ballpark workers, league officials and members of the media.” Bans are also in place on fans gathering outside ballparks and seeking players’ autographs, while reporters must adhere to “social distancing” regulations during post-game interviews and other restrictive measures, he said. Baseball fans are being urged to watch the games on TV or use online streaming, Feng said. “These restrictions are needed to deal with the coronavirus situation. After consultations with government officials and health authorities, we have implemented measures to protect the players, referees and other personnel,” he said. The Rakuten Monkeys are to host the Brothers Baseball Club at the Taoyuan International Stadium next Saturday in a traditional matchup of the championship finalists from last season. All four teams are in action the following day, with the Monkeys taking on the Fubon Guardians in Taoyuan and the Uni-President Lions visiting the Brothers Baseball Club in Taichung, all behind closed doors, Feng said. The nation’s top soccer leagues also begin next weekend, with three matches in the women’s Taiwan Mulan Football League at Taipei Municipal Stadium next Saturday. The men’s Taiwan Football Premier League season begins with four matches the following day. Similar to the baseball, there is to be a ban on spectators at all the matches to
NO ILL EFFECT: Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the spread of COVID-19 was still relatively mild in Taiwan, housing brokers said Housing transactions in the six special municipalities totaled 19,824 units last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, brokers said, citing government data. Last month’s data mainly reflected deals made in February, when the pinch of the COVID-19 pandemic was not yet evident, they said. Taoyuan posted the largest improvement, with housing transactions soaring 36.6 percent year-on-year to 3,676 units, local government data showed. Taiwan Realty Co (台灣房屋) attributed the pickup to the completion of two presale residential projects in the municipality. Houses in Taoyuan have increasingly gained in popularity in the past few year years due to relatively affordable home prices and improving infrastructures, such as the Asian Silicon Valley project, the Taoyuan Aerotropolis (桃園航空城) and the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access MRT, Taiwan Realty research manager Chen Ping-chen (陳炳辰) said. That helped boost Taoyuan’s population by 200,000 in the past five years to 2.25 million, the broker said, adding that the trend fueled real demand and asset allocation needs. Taipei reported a 20.8 percent increase in housing deals from a year earlier to 2,483, also aided by transfers of newly completed projects in Nangang District (南港), Chen said. Zhongshan District (中山) was another hot spot, he said. Transactions in New Taipei City rose 5.1 percent to 4,849 and surged 18.7 percent to 3,826 in Taichung, data from the local governments showed. However, southern Taiwan put up a weak showing, with transactions dropping 4.9 percent in Tainan and plunging 18.9 percent to 3,088 in Kaohsiung, official tallies showed. Evertrust Rehouse Co (永慶房屋) spokesman Jay Hsieh (謝志傑) attributed the fall in Kaohsiung to a higher base last year, when a new residential complex was completed. The spread of COVID-19 in February was relatively mild in Taiwan and abroad, except for China and South Korea, but its impact might start to emerge going forward, analysts said. The virus has since
Himax Technologies Inc (奇景光電), a fabless supplier of driver ICs for displays and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors, yesterday reported stronger-than-expected gross margins and net profit for last quarter. The NASDAQ-listed company reported earnings per American depositary share of US$0.019, beating its February forecast of a loss of US$0.005 to US$0.018, it said in a statement. That is the second straight quarter that Himax posted a profit. Gross margin climbed 2.1 percentage points — better than its forecast of 1 to 2 percentage points — to 22.7 percent last quarter, from 20.6 percent in the fourth quarter last year, the statement showed. “The company has decided to publish financial results for the January-to-March quarter immediately after it concluded due to the current volatility across global markets as COVID-19 continues to spread,” Himax chief executive Jordan Wu (吳炳昌) said in the statement. “Himax will continue to work closely with clients and suppliers to lower the pressure that the pandemic might exert on the company’s performance,” Wu said, adding that it has taken strict precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of employees and business partners. The company is to publish its complete financial statements and business outlook next month. First-quarter revenue increased 5.5 percent sequentially to US$184.6 million, in line with its forecast of an increase of 1 to 10 percent. That was also a better-than-expected seasonal performance, as revenue usually declines by 10 percent during the off-season, it said. Himax in February said that first-quarter revenue from small-sized display driver ICs for mobile phones and vehicles would grow between 10 and 20 percent sequentially due to market share gains. That was despite some downward adjustments from customers, mainly from certain China-based clients making small-sized display drivers and CMOS image sensors as they were still scrambling to restore operations, the company said. Small-sized display driver ICs for smartphones
DEVELOPING TALENT: The electronics contractor is looking to recruit people to work in core tech fields and emerging industries like electric cars and robotics Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, has launched a recruitment drive, offering a monthly salary of no less than NT$45,000 (US$1,485) to university graduates. For those with a master’s degree, the starting pay would be NT$52,000 per month at the minimum, while doctorate degree holders would receive at least NT$60,000 a month, Hon Hai said a statement issued early this week. The latest recruitment drive is aimed at attracting talent in core technology fields — artificial intelligence, semiconductors and next-generation mobile communications — and emerging industries — electric vehicles, digital healthcare and robotics, the company said. The company will offer comprehensive training in technology, management and general knowledge to help its new employees build successful careers, it said. For example, all new recruits would be trained to become future middle management staff, it said. Interested people can apply via its Web site and interviews of selected applicants will be conducted online, it said. Hon Hai has been working to expand into software development and to integrate that with its hardware manufacturing proficiency. In related news, with the global economy reeling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, two foreign brokerages have cut their target prices for Hon Hai, which assembles iPhones. A Hong Kong-based securities house said the pandemic could force Apple Inc to postpone the launch of its new iPhones amid the economic uncertainty, which has slowed demand for tech gadgets. If Apple does not release its next-generation iPhones in September as it usually does, Hon Hai’s shipments are likely to drop in the second half of the year, the brokerage said in a research note. It therefore downgraded its rating on Hon Hai from “buy” to “hold,” and lowered its target price from NT$100 to NT$75, it said. Apple accounts for about 40 percent of Hon
In times of crisis, the public looks to government leaders for guidance, reassurance and action, but it is crucial that people can trust them. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted — sometimes brutally — the disparities in leadership ability worldwide, with some nations or territories fortunate to have competent, if not exceptional, officials, while others are burdened with politicians who have dithered or even sought to settle scores with their critics and further quash dissent. The actions of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s (林鄭月娥) administration this year remain a prime example of failing leadership, from its unwillingness to take early action to restrict travel from China to its “business as usual” approach in arresting critics over alleged actions during last year’s pro-democracy protests. Its inability to serve the best interests of the public it governs has been demonstrated by measures large and small. At a time when the territory is faced, like many places, with a shortage of protective gear for medical personnel — to the point where it is exploring ways to reuse hospital workers’ N95 respirators — as well as the threat of a looming food shortage after authorities in Shenzhen, China, moved to restrict truck deliveries across the border by imposing new health checks on drivers, Lam’s government is preoccupied with keeping its masters in Beijing happy by chipping away at Hong Kongers’ basic rights and freedoms. On Thursday, Hong Kong Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau (邱騰華) accused Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) of breaching the “one China” principle after one of its reporters on Saturday last week asked WHO Assistant Director-General Bruce Aylward whether the WHO would accept Taiwan as a member. Yau said that RTHK’s action had breached its charter as a public service broadcaster, an accusation that the station has denied. Also on Thursday, the
The “Wuhan pneumonia” outbreak has become a pandemic, but many countries have yet to come to grips with the worsening severity of this medical crisis. Historian Robert Peckham has studied how the ecology of deadly diseases has changed from the late 19th century until today and, in his 2016 book titled Epidemics in Modern Asia highlights the intrinsic link between global connectivity and emerging infections. The frequency of outbreaks — from SARS in 2003 to swine flu in 2009 and today’s COVID-19 — and their rapid rate of transmission owe much to globalization. Better and cheaper transportation and communications technology have empowered international aviation, shipping and railroad networks, contributing to mobility — both people and commodities — and popularizing tourism. Yet, the institutional drivers and mechanisms propelling globalization have made the world “flat” — to borrow from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman — and spread the pandemic in a short period. In reaping the material benefits of globalization, people often overlook the invisible risk of emerging infections, which can spread across continents, affecting people in vulnerable conditions and destabilizing economies worldwide. Many nations have invoked the vocabulary of war to characterize their struggle against the coronavirus, the archenemy of humankind. As the first epicenter of the pandemic, China mobilized all of its medical and bureaucratic resources to confront what President Xi Jinping (習近平) called a “people’s war” against COVID-19, echoing mass health movements and social programs of the Mao Zedong (毛澤東) era. The mighty Chinese Communist Party state relied on its longstanding system of urban and rural neighborhood surveillance to restrict mobility. Local party cadres and police officers set up roadblocks on major roads and at public squares, guarding the entrances to government offices, medical facilities, schools and apartment buildings. These officials continually checked temperatures, disinfected residences and stopped outsiders from entering their territory. This combination
On Sunday, the WHO secretariat issued a statement saying: “The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO member states, not WHO staff.” The statement also mentioned that the WHO has been working closely with Taiwan on the COVID-19 pandemic through the establishment of the Taiwanese International Health Regulations Point of Contact, the Taiwanese Field Epidemiology Training Program and the participation of two Taiwanese public healthcare experts in the Global Research and Innovation Forum, organized by the global body in February. According to the WHO’s constitution, the secretariat indeed has no right to decide the membership of any country, but as the WHO is the leader of global health, it has a responsibility to take a neutral and professional stance toward Tawain to facilitate its full participation in the world body. The statement is encouraging in that the WHO distinguishes between Taiwan and China, as Taiwanese membership has nothing to do with Chinese membership. As UN Resolution 2758 and Resolution WHA25.1 state, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the only legal government of China, but they do not claim that Taiwan should be represented by the PRC under the UN system. Although the WHO secretariat is not entitled to make decisions on Taiwanese membership, it does have a responsibility to provide an opportunity for a fair discussion of this issue. In the the case of East Germany in 1968, West Germany, who was already a WHO member, used the Hallstein Doctrine to ensure that it had the exclusive right to represent the entire German nation. Consequently, when then-WHO director-general Marcolino Gomes Candau received a membership application from East Germany, he took two actions: First, he put the application on the World Health Assembly’s (WHA) agenda for discussion with the WHO constitution and related rules of procedure as a reference for all member states. Second,
WAIT AND SEE: The estimated cost of postponement started at US$2 billion and has kept rising, but the IOC has yet to say whether it would help pay for the extra expenses Postponing the Tokyo Olympics to next year would make the event more costly for all parties, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledged on Thursday, although it offered few details on what the final bill might be. Four directors of the Olympic body held a conference call three days after Tokyo’s new dates were finalized, with the Games pushed back to July 23 to Aug. 8 next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the new dates cleared up any uncertainty about the event’s future, there are still plenty of question marks as the committee begins to work with Tokyo organizers and the governing bodies of 33 sports in a huge task to amend thousands of contracts. They include agreements for 41 venues, an Olympic village of 5,000 apartments, hotels and transport, as well as the supply of goods and services. “All of this now has to be resecured for one year later,” IOC Olympic Games executive director Christophe Dubi said. “There will be costs for [Tokyo local organizers] and the IOC and Olympic family side.” The estimations for how much it will cost to postpone the Games have started at US$2 billion and gone much higher. Japanese taxpayers are expected to meet most of it, adding to their share of an official budget of US$12.6 billion. The IOC was contributing US$1.3 billion to Tokyo’s original operating budget. Asked if the Switzerland-based Olympic body would meet some of the extra costs from its own insurance policy or US$1 billion reserve fund, the official line on Thursday was that it was too early to say. It was also unclear how the payments from broadcasters would be structured. “We’re only just getting into all of this,” IOC managing director of TV and marketing Timo Lumme said. Broadcasters including the US’ National Broadcasting Corp contributed 73 percent of the IOC’s US$5.7 billion income
Wimbledon chief Richard Lewis on Thursday admitted that he feared the remainder of this year’s tennis season could be wiped out. Tennis has been in lockdown since early last month and is not scheduled to return until July 13 at the earliest following the cancelation on Wednesday of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II. The decision to axe the sport’s oldest and most prestigious Grand Slam due to the COVID-19 pandemic followed the French Open’s unilateral switch from its traditional May-to-June slot to September to October. The double body blow resulted in the entire clay-court and grass-court seasons being abandoned. “I don’t think it’s unrealistic to say that there may be no more tennis this year,” All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club chief executive Lewis said. “But I would like to think that things will settle down so that tournaments can be played sooner rather than later. Who knows what will happen?” Lewis told the Guardian that, despite his fears, he hoped that the season’s next Grand Slam, the US Open in August to September could take place. “Let’s hope the US Open and Roland Garros [rescheduled to start in Paris a week after the final of the US Open in New York] can take place,” he added. “The optimist in me — and I am often not optimistic — still hopes the American hard-court season, the big tournaments, the Masters and the Premiers, will take place: Montreal, Toronto and then Cincinnati,” he said. “But we all know that’s probably tenuous at the moment.” Earlier on Thursday, Royal Spanish Tennis Federation president Miguel Diaz said that he hoped the sport could return to the courts “in the last quarter of the year.” “I think that in the last quarter of the season we will be able to see tennis again, we don’t know if
The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) insisted it is aware that players must “share the financial burden” during the COVID-19 pandemic as a row over wage cuts for Premier League stars mounted on Thursday. British Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock called on top-flight players to take a pay cut after several clubs furloughed nonplaying staff. Premier League players should “make a contribution, take a pay cut and play their part,” Hancock said. The English season has been suspended until at least April 30 due to the pandemic and there is little chance of a return to action for some while after that. The optics of top stars, many on multimillion-dollar contracts, being fully paid during the crisis are bad for the union and the Premier League, especially with Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Norwich City all using the government’s job retention furlough scheme to save money. Pressure is mounting on players to accept wage cuts or deferrals, with talks under way between the union, the Premier League and the English Football League. The matter was yesterday to be debated again at a meeting of English soccer’s major stakeholders. The union hinted at a resolution, saying in a statement: “We fully accept that players will have to be flexible and share the financial burden of the COVID-19 outbreak in order to secure the long-term future of their own club and indeed the wider game.” “Our advice going out to players at this point reflects that expectation,” it added. AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and his Brighton & Hove Albion counterpart Graham Potter have in the past two days agreed to wage cuts, along with other senior staff at those clubs. Players and management staff at EFL Championship leaders Leeds United have agreed to defer wages. Former Tottenham striker Gary Lineker on Thursday criticized his old club for using
LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said that he is working on three scenarios for a possible return to competition, knowing that any firm timetable depends on global success in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Whan, in comments to the No Laying Up podcast posted on the LPGA Web site on Thursday, said that it has been “a busy, stressful time” trying to juggle options for the first LPGA event since Feb. 16 in Australia. “Just like any other tour you talk to, we’ve got three scenarios — a scenario that says we start playing in the next month, a scenario that says we don’t start playing until mid-July, a scenario that says we don’t start playing until mid-September,” Whan said. “Each one of those scenarios has a schedule with it. Each one of those schedules has economic repercussions that we have to deal with. Each one of those schedules have regulation adjustments and changes that we have to think through,” he added. The next scheduled LPGA event is on May 14 to 17 at Belleair, Florida, with events set for the following weeks in Williamsburg, Virginia, and Galloway, New Jersey, ahead of the US Women’s Open on June 4 to 7 in Houston, Texas. Mid-July offers the Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a pairs event on July 15 to 18 at Midland, Michigan, and no other events before four European stops in August. The year’s first scheduled major LPGA event, the ANA Inspiration, was moved to Sept. 10 to 13, with October and early November set for events in Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan. “I’m usually spending my time working on a season two or three years from now,” Whan said. “Now I’m working on the season two and three months from now.” “To be spending virtually every minute of every day working with different sponsors and different tournaments —
‘SHOW RESTRAINT’: Kismayo elder Adan Jama said that dead bodies were strewn in the battle zone and civilians were fleeing as the fighting had affected several villages At least 20 people have been killed in southern Somalia in clashes between militia from rival clans fighting over land, officials and witnesses said on Thursday. Tensions between fighters from the Owrmale and Majerten clans, which live about 30km outside the southern city of Kismayo, have been rising in recent weeks. “The fighting intensified today, and 20 people from the two sides were killed and dozen others including civilians wounded. This is a horrible situation that needs to be stopped,” local government official Abdikarin Mohamed said. “The dead bodies are strewn in the battle zone and civilians are fleeing as the fighting has affected several villages. We have been informed that 20 people died and more than that were wounded during the past three days,” Kismayo elder Adan Jama said. Somalian President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo called on both sides to show restraint and end the bloodshed. “I call on the brotherly people who are fighting in the western Kismayo to stop the bloodshed urgently and unconditionally,” the president said in a statement published by the Somali National News Agency. “It is unfortunate today that people are fighting among themselves instead of uniting to fight al-Shabaab terrorists and liberate their territories,” he added, referring to Islamist militants linked with al-Qaeda who carry out regular attacks in the country. Intra and inter-clan clashes are common in Somalia, many relating to land disputes and water resources.
As countries try to slash air pollution and step up action on climate change, many are looking at a key culprit: tailpipes. India in 2016 put into effect its first fuel-economy standards for passenger vehicles and by 2021 is expected to have lowered planet-warming carbon emissions from new vehicles by 30 percent. Mexico similarly launched pioneering regulations to cut emissions in 2014, focused on reducing pollution from its millions of vehicles. Supporting those efforts — and dozens of other cleaner air standards worldwide — is a quiet group of engineers few have heard of, but whose efforts could help decarbonize the global transport sector by the middle of the century. The Washington-based International Council on Clean Transportation — which on Thursday won a US$1.5 million prize from the Skoll Foundation — gathers and crunches data to give countries the ammunition they need to draw up effective policies, council executive director Drew Kodjak said. However, what the council might be best known for is discovering — as its engineers tried to make sense of unusually high diesel pollution levels in tests — that Volkswagen had installed an emissions “defeat device” on millions of its vehicles. The software, which let vehicles pass emissions tests and then produce vastly more nitrogen oxide pollution on the road, eventually led to a US$2.8 billion fine by a US judge in 2017, and an embarrassing admission of guilt by Volkswagen officials. “The ripple effects are still being felt,” Kodjak said, with Europe, for example, passing new regulations to rein in pollution from diesel vehicles. Besides providing data, the council also guides bureaucrats through the long and often politically arduous slog of introducing tougher policies, and links them with colleagues in other places to share expertise. Since 2013, the group has helped drive the creation of more than 20 major national rules, from China to Brazil,
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,” Reporters Without Borders said, adding that the government was “taking advantage of the coronavirus epidemic to settle scores with independent journalism.” The statement also called for the immediate release of journalists Belkacem Djir and Sofiane Merakchi. Merakchi, a correspondent for Lebanese TV channel al-Mayadeen, has been in jail since Sept. 26 last year and is accused of “concealing equipment,” and providing images of the protests to al-Jazeera and other foreign media. The reasons for Djir’s imprisonment are unknown. Last month, Algerian Minister of Justice Belkacem Zeghmati said that Djir and Merakchi were both being prosecuted for “common law acts,” without giving details. On Wednesday, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune pardoned 5,037 prisoners, but the amnesty was not extended to the dozens of supporters of the anti-government protest movement.
Nowhere are the effects of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) postwar Sinification campaign more visible than in the toponymic revisions that the regime undertook after assuming power. Taipei’s streets were renamed after Chinese cities or quintessentially Chinese values, and with the kind of self-aggrandizing flourish to which the party was partial, the process even referenced itself, Guangfu (光復) — which translates as “retrocession” — becoming a mainstay of urban nomenclature. Above all, the KMT’s top brass was memorialized: the given names of Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) and Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正) — Zhongshan (中山) and Zhongzheng (中正) — were conferred on locations islandwide. Name changes extended beyond the cityscape, as the KMT sought to exert nominal mastery by replacing age-old designations with signifiers designed to invoke a glorious, supposedly shared, past. Rechristened to commemorate Master Yangming, the soubriquet of Chiang’s favorite Ming Dynasty scholar Wang Shou-ren (王守仁), Taiwan’s northernmost national park is one example. Yangmingshan (陽明山) was known as Grass Mountain (草山) during the Qing Dynasty in reference to the silvergrass on its higher reaches. Toward the end of the Japanese era, it attained national park status as Daitonshan, a Nipponizaton of Datun (大屯), a volcanic mountain range within the reserve. Adding his name to one of the park’s peak’s (Zhongzhengshan, 中正山) for good measure, Chiang also left his mark in more tangible ways: Yangmingshan is dotted with monuments to the KMT’s efforts to transpose its muddled history to Taiwan. Repetition is among the most basic but effective propaganda techniques. Having transformed the Taihoku City Public Auditorium into Zhongshan Hall in Zhongzheng District (中正), Chiang commissioned a Zhongshan building at Yangmingshan in 1965 for the centenary of Sun Yat-sen’s birth. It is touted as unique for its location atop a sulfurous fumarole. Part of the structure comprised scrap metal from rust-resistant warships.
In terms of life expectancy for its citizens, in recent decades Taiwan has caught up with and overtaken a number of Western countries. According to the most recent edition of the CIA’s World Factbook, Taiwanese now live longer than Americans, Czechs and Poles. Of course, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may shake up the rankings. Taiwan’s single-payer healthcare system, set up in 1995, is one reason why people here can stay healthy for a long time. Before the postwar Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime introduced the piecemeal health-insurance schemes (covering government employees, farmers, and others) that preceded the universal system, sick people often had to bear all the costs of treatment. During the late 19th and 20th centuries, countless Taiwanese benefited from free medical services provided by Christian missionaries. The most famous of these foreign medics was George Mackay, a Canadian Presbyterian based in Tamsui (淡水), now part of New Taipei City, from 1872 until his death in 1901. Mackay, who is especially renowned for removing thousands of rotten teeth, devoted a chapter of his book From Far Formosa to medical practices in Taiwan prior to the Japanese takeover (1895-1945). In that era, anyone could claim to be a physician. “There are no authorized schools of medicine, no examinations, and no degrees. Custom is the only law, and success the only diploma,” Mackay wrote. Offering an alternative to what he called “ignorant quackery,” Mackay founded a clinic at 6 Mackay Street in Tamsui. The original single-story Fujian-style building, completed in 1879, is still standing. At normal times, it’s open to the public 11am to 6pm from Monday to Thursday and from 11am to 9pm from Friday to Sunday. (New Taipei City Government announced a 14-day “coronavirus closure” of public facilities including museums from March 20. This could be extended, so call (02) 2629-2515 before
A two-mile stretch in Delhi featuring some of India’s most iconic landmarks is to be redeveloped, angering historians and conservationists who say the move will rob the country of its heritage and valuable public space. Federal authorities last month said they would change the land use for the 86-acre area that includes Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan (the presidential palace) and the India Gate war memorial to “government use” from recreation and public facilities. Conservationists fear that the Central Vista redevelopment project will obliterate the history and character of the area, which also has among the biggest public spaces in a city of more than 20 million. “The Central Vista is significant for historical, lived and architectural heritage. Equally importantly, it is a public-use area for tourists and residents, and a green area,” said Kanchi Kohli, a senior researcher at the Center for Policy Research. “The redevelopment represents a form of ‘government sprawl’ where powerful offices appropriate urban space with little concern for planning or socio-ecological consequences,” she said in e-mailed comments. In India, as in many countries, rapid urbanization is putting greater pressure on governments to build office blocks and rail networks, which has led to the razing of old buildings and traditional markets. Cities risk losing not just their history and heritage, but also traditional knowledge which is key to promoting inclusiveness, sustainability and resilience, according to urban experts. The Central Vista project, estimated to cost 200 billion rupees ($2.6 billion) and due to be completed by 2024, envisages modern buildings replacing century-old structures that are as familiar to many Indians as the Taj Mahal. The Central Public Works Department, which is overseeing the project, said in its redevelopment proposal that the area currently suffers from inadequate space and infrastructure. The area lacks basic facilities, amenities and parking, which “leads to congestion and gives a poor public perception”,
A: I’m getting bored of eating instant noodles. B: Me too. Let’s order a food delivery to ring the changes. I could murder a steak and fries with bearnaise sauce. A: I was just dreaming about a big bowl of braised pork belly rice with a stewed egg and pickles. B: Wait a minute, isn’t there a danger that we could infect the delivery person? A: 我開始厭倦吃泡麵了。 B: 我也是。我們來點外送，換換花樣吧。我現在可以嗑掉一整塊淋上伯那西醬的牛排跟薯條。 A: 我剛剛才在幻想面前有一大碗滷肉飯，配滷蛋跟醃醬菜。 B: 等一下，我們會不會有感染送貨員的危險啊？ English 英文: Chinese 中文:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts recently announced that it has canceled Crystal Boys, a classic gay-themed stage play by Creative Society. The two shows were originally rescheduled from March 21 and 22 to April 25 and 26, but in the end anticipation turned to disappointment. The stage play is an adaptation of writer Kenneth Pai’s famous novel Crystal Boys. The story about Taipei’s gay community was serialized in the late 1970s and published in the early 1980s. The book is one of the earliest literary works dealing with LGBT issues in Taiwan, and it was adapted into a movie, a TV drama and, in 2014, a stage play. The remake of the stage play was to celebrate the novel’s 40th anniversary. Pai, a 2003 winner of the National Award for Arts, said during an interview in February that bringing the story back to the stage would hold an even greater significance after Taiwan finally legalized same-sex marriage last year. (Eddy Chang, Taipei Times) 受武漢肺炎疫情影響，高雄市的衛武營國家藝術文化中心近日宣布，取消「創作社」劇團推出的經典同志舞台劇《孽子》。兩場表演原本自三月二十一、二十二日，改期到四月二十五、二十六日，但最終期待仍化為失望。 該舞台劇改編自作家白先勇的知名小說《孽子》，是關於在台北市同志圈的故事，於一九七○年代末期連載發表，隨後並於一九八○年代初期集結成冊。它是台灣最先討論同志議題的文學作品之一，曾改編成電影、電視劇，二○一四年首次改編成舞台劇。 原本這次推出舞台劇，正好慶祝該小說出版四十週年。白先勇是二○○三年國家文藝獎得主，在二月的一場訪問中，他說在台灣去年通過同婚合法化之後，再度把小說搬上舞台更有意義。 （台北時報張聖恩〉
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