Sun, Jan 17, 2021
The government is stepping up efforts to persuade European countries to start bilateral investment agreement (BIA) talks with Taiwan, as the conditions are ripe, Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中) said yesterday. Most foreign investment in Taiwan comes from the EU, while new member states in central and eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, have expressed a keen interest in investing in the nation, said Deng, the Cabinet’s chief representative for trade negotiations. Over the past few years, Taiwanese events promoting smart city infrastructure have attracted many European visitors, showing that bilateral trade ties are improving, he said. Taiwan’s global visibility is at its apex after the nation won global accolades for its effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which presents an opportunity for the nation to garner the support of EU members, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, to start BIA talks, Deng said. The European Parliament has passed resolutions to support Taiwan’s bid to join the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with the EU, he said. Given the good foundations as well as the needs proposed by businesses, it is high time that both sides commence BIA negotiations, he said. However, as the EU is often slow in making major decisions due to the need to reach a consensus among member states, the government has to work harder to garner support from each member state, he said. Commenting on Taiwan-US talks over a bilateral trade agreement, another high-level Cabinet official said that there had not been enough time to deal with certain issues, echoing outgoing US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s remarks. Lighthizer, who is to depart next week, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Monday rejected criticism that he did not start talks with Taiwan because he wanted to protect Washington’s “phase one” trade deal with
HONG KONG ARRESTS: Washington condemns Beijing’s actions to erode Hong Kong’s freedoms and democratic processes, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said The US on Friday imposed sanctions on six officials, including Hong Kong’s sole representative to China’s top lawmaking body, over mass arrests of pro-democracy advocates in the territory. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in the latest of a slew of sanctions imposed in the final days of his term, and following political violence in Washington, called the crackdown in Hong Kong “appalling.” “We condemn PRC actions that erode Hong Kong’s freedoms and democratic processes, and will continue to use all tools at our disposable to hold those responsible to account,” Pompeo said in a statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China. Among those hit by sanctions was Tam Yiu-Chung (譚耀宗), the Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee, and You Quan (尤權), the vice chairman of the Chinese government group that handles policy for Hong Kong and Macau. Three Hong Kong security officials were also hit by the sanctions, which restrict any US transactions with them. China last year imposed a draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong after widespread and sometimes violent protests that sought to preserve the territory’s separate freedoms. The US earlier imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥), who later acknowledged that she has had to rely on cash and can no longer hold a bank account. Pompeo earlier threatened US action after the rounding up on Wednesday last week of more than 50 people in Hong Kong, including a US lawyer, John Clancey, who worked for a law firm known for taking up human rights cases. Hong Kong yesterday hit back at the US, slamming the sanctions as “insane, shameless and despicable.” The Hong Kong government in a statement expressed “utmost anger” and denounced the “coercive measures,” which it said were Washington’s latest attempt to intervene in China’s internal affairs and obstruct the territory’s effort
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has asked former Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz to help repair US-China relations that have plunged to their lowest level in decades amid a trade dispute and tension over technology and security. A letter from Xi to Schultz reported on Friday by the official Xinhua news agency was a rare direct communication from China’s leader to a foreign business figure. Schultz had opened Starbucks’ first outlet in China in 1999 and is a frequent visitor. Xi wrote to Schultz “to encourage him and Starbucks to continue to play an active role in promoting Chinese-US economic and trade cooperation and the development of bilateral relations,” Xinhua reported. In a statement issued on the same day, Schultz did not directly address Xi’s request to help repair relations, but said it was “a great honor” to receive the letter from China’s president. Schultz said Xi was replying to a letter Schultz recently sent him along with a Chinese-language edition of his book, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America. Xinhua reported that Schultz congratulated Xi on “the completion of a well-off society” under his leadership. Schultz did not release a copy of his letter to Xi, but he said that he shared his respect for the Chinese people and culture. In his statement, Schultz said that he has formed many close relationships with Starbucks employees in China, which is Starbucks’ biggest market outside the US. It has 4,700 stores and 58,000 employees in nearly 190 Chinese cities. “I truly believe Starbucks best days are ahead in China and that the values of creativity, compassion, community and hard work will guide the company toward an even greater business and community contribution, while continuing to build common ground for cooperation between our two countries,” Schultz said in his statement. Starbucks
With the closure of China’s Confucius Institutes in the US, it is time for Taiwan to fill the Mandarin teaching gap and share “a different version of history” with US students, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen told the Chinese Language Symposium to Support the US-Taiwan Education Initiative in Taipei yesterday. “We have all read news stories about the closing of many of the PRC’s [People’s Republic of China] Confucius Institutes in the US. Now is the time for Taiwan to step forward and help fill this gap — not only to teach Mandarin and learn English, but to more fully tell Taiwan’s story to their American students,” Christensen said in Mandarin. The US Department of State in August last year designated the Confucius Institute US Center as a Chinese “foreign mission” for multifaceted propaganda efforts. After Taiwan and the US last month signed a memorandum of understanding on international education cooperation, both sides have agreed to expand existing programs, including the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant Program, Christensen said. Wishing good luck to about 60 program participants who are to teach Mandarin in the US, he told them they play a crucial role in teaching young Americans a language spoken by 1.3 billion native speakers around the world and have the opportunity to tell a different version of history than the one taught at Confucius Institutes. ‘CIVIC AMBASSADORS’ Encouraging Taiwanese instructors to serve as “civic ambassadors” and make more friends, National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Secretary-General Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said the government attaches great importance to the program, and the council since May last year has been coordinating inter-agency efforts to make plans to promote Mandarin teaching in the US and Europe. Many senior US researchers on Chinese affairs had learned Mandarin in Taiwan during or after China’s Cultural Revolution, Department of North American
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday said that there were COVID-19-like illnesses among staff at a Chinese virology institute in autumn 2019, casting further blame on Beijing as health experts arrived in the country to probe the COVID-19 pandemic’s origins. The top US diplomat in a statement urged the WHO team that landed on Thursday in Wuhan, where COVID-19 was first detected, to “press the government of China” on the “new information.” “The United States government has reason to believe that several researchers inside the [Wuhan Institute of Virology] became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses,” Pompeo said. He said this contradicted reports that none of the staff at the institute had contracted COVID-19 or related viruses. “Beijing continues today to withhold vital information that scientists need to protect the world from this deadly virus, and the next one,” Pompeo said. COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019 and has since billowed out across the world, killing more than 2 million people so far, infecting tens of millions and eviscerating the global economy. The WHO has said establishing the pathway of the virus from animals to humans is essential to preventing future outbreaks. The outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump has consistently blamed China for COVID-19, which has killed 392,000 people in the US, with the president routinely calling it the “China virus.” In related news, India yesterday began one of the world’s biggest coronavirus vaccine programs, a colossal and complex task compounded by safety worries, shaky infrastructure and public skepticism. The world’s second-most populous nation hopes to inoculate about 300 million of its 1.3 billion people by July — a number equal to almost the entire US population. Health workers, people over 50 and those deemed
‘HIGH IMPACT’: The potential for a conflict over Taiwan was raised from ‘Tier 2’ in previous years, joining the ranks of potential US disputes with Iran and North Korea The New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Thursday listed a possible conflict between the US and China over Taiwan as a top-tier concern for the first time in its annual Preventive Priorities Survey. The report assessed the likelihood and effects of 30 potential conflicts that could break out over the next year based on responses from 550 US government officials, foreign policy experts and academics. Those conflicts are classified into one of three tiers, and the possibility of “intensifying political and economic pressure from China against Taiwan, leading to a severe crisis with the United States,” was classified as a “Tier 1” risk for the first time. A US-China conflict over Taiwan was listed as a “Tier 2” risk in 2019 and last year, but was moved up based on its potentially “high impact” on US interests and the moderate likelihood of it occurring, the report said. A high impact on US interests refers to a contingency that directly threatens the US, a defense treaty ally or a vital strategic interest, and is thus likely to trigger a major US military response, based on the council’s definitions. A “moderate” likelihood means that there is some chance of an event happening. By contrast, the possibility of “an armed confrontation in the South China Sea involving China and the United States over freedom of navigation and disputed territorial claims” was downgraded from a Tier 1 to a Tier 2 risk, as it was judged to have a low likelihood of occurring in the coming year. In addition to a crisis over Taiwan, the council also ranked as Tier 1 contingencies the heightening of military tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program, and an armed confrontation between Iran and the US or one of its allies over Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy
TALL ORDER: The incoming US administration plans to tackle economic troubles and COVID-19, while the US Senate goes ahead with the impeachment of Trump US President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled plans for fighting COVID-19 and injecting US$1.9 trillion into a battered US economy, but already his ambitious first 100-days agenda is overshadowed by the looming US Senate trial of his soon-to-be predecessor Donald Trump. Biden promised “a new chapter” for the nation on the day after Trump became the first US president to be impeached twice, as the incoming president sought to seize the narrative in a prime-time address and encourage Americans to look forward again. “We will come back,” he said in a speech from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “We didn’t get into all this overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight, and we can’t do it as a separated and divided nation,” he said. “The only way we can do it is to come together, to come together as fellow Americans.” With his Democrats narrowly controlling both houses of the US Congress, Biden, 78, has a shot at passing what would be the third massive COVID-19 pandemic aid package. However, what he is less keen to talk about is the impending trial of Trump, something that would potentially introduce a nightmarish mix of scheduling complications and political drama into an already tense Senate. In his 25-minute televised speech, Biden made no mention of Trump, impeachment or the deadly violence that nearly overwhelmed Washington last week. Instead he addressed “the twin crises of a pandemic and this sinking economy,” a challenge exceeding even that which faced him as vice president to former US president Barack Obama when they assumed office following the 2008 financial crisis. The pandemic continues to hit new peaks, the COVID-19 vaccination program is stumbling and there are fears that the economic recovery from last year’s cratering could backslide. His proposal, dubbed the “American Rescue Plan,” would include a host of measures aimed at revitalizing the
FROM FIVE COUNTRIES: Seven who tested positive had recently entered Taiwan and were quarantined or practicing self-health management, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported one domestic and seven imported cases of COVID-19, involving people arriving from the Philippines, Indonesia, the US, South Africa and Russia. At an impromptu press conference at 10pm, the CECC said in its testing of another 452 workers at a hospital in northern Taiwan where two domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases involving a doctor and a nurse were reported earlier this week, one tested positive. Two cases are workers from the Philippines in their 20s who arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 24 last year and presented negative test reports taken within three days of boarding their flight to Taiwan, the CECC said. They were tested on Wednesday last week before the end of their mandatory quarantine, and the results returned negative, the center said. However, they were tested again on Thursday during their mandatory self-health management periods, and the results returned positive, it said. Another COVID-19 case imported from the Philippines is a man in his 40s who arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 30 to work on a fishing boat, the center said. He was tested on Thursday during his quarantine, and the result returned positive yesterday, it said. A Russian man in his 50s, who arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday last week for work was tested on Wednesday, and the result returned positive yesterday, the CECC said. The man had presented a negative test report upon arrival, but developed an abnormal sense of smell during his quarantine at a hotel, where he was given a test, the CECC said. An Indonesian worker in his 20s who arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 27 also presented a negative test report upon arrival and was tested on Monday after his mandatory quarantine, the center said. His result, which returned on Wednesday, was inconclusive, it said. He was tested again on Thursday, and the
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is planning to initiate a public-private partnership to develop antibody treatments against COVID-19, the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) said on Friday. Antibody treatments, to be administered to people infected with COVID-19 and healthy individuals to provide short-term immunity, are a vital stopgap treatment until vaccines become widely available, NHRI vice president Sytwu Huey-kang (司徒惠康) said. The institute, Academia Sinica, National Taiwan University Hospital and Chang Gung Medical Foundation last year began developing COVID-19 antibody treatments, but their efforts have largely been uncoordinated, Sytwu said. To expedite the process, the CECC’s research division is planning to set up a platform to increase cooperation between the institutions, and promote the development of antibody treatments by local drug manufacturers, he said. The treatments are based on the injection of antibodies that attach themselves to a specific virus, which prevents the virus from attacking cells, Sytwu said, adding that the treatment aims to limit the progression of an infection. Many antibody treatments, such as the drug administered to US President Donald Trump last year, use a cocktail of multiple antibodies that target different parts of a virus, increasing their overall efficacy, he said. Because antibody treatments can provide up to two months of immunity to a certain virus, they could also be administered to healthy people who are at risk of infection, for example those who need to travel abroad, before a COVID-19 vaccination is widely available, Sytwu said. The treatments are also extremely safe and could be combined with a vaccination to offer better protection to people with a history of allergic reactions to vaccinations, he said.
Liu Yao-tzu (劉耀祖), one of three Taiwanese to be honored with Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun last year, was yesterday presented with the medal by Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Kaohsiung office director Eji Kato. Yesterday was also the 20th anniversary of the foundation of the Dr Ikegami Ichiro Memorial Library which Liu manages. The library in Pingtung County’s Jhutian Township (竹田) opened its doors on Jan. 16, 2001, the 90th birthday of Ikegami, who from 1943 to 1945 served as director of a Japanese military hospital in the township. It currently holds a collection of nearly 20,000 books, mostly in Japanese. Aside from establishing and managing the library, the 90 year-old Liu also organizes many events to promote cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Japan. Not only has he donated his lifetime collection of Japanese books to the library, Liu has also established close ties with universities and high schools in Pingtung, and provides materials and space for exhibitions. Liu’s contributions to the promotion of the Japanese language in Taiwan has had a lasting influence, the Pintung government said. Eji said that the library and Liu’s dedication to exchanges between the nations has contributed to their close ties and the knowledge of Japan in Taiwan. The Order of the Rising Sun is given to foreigners who have demonstrated dedication to promoting and fostering ties with Japan, the foundation said. Among the 141 people who were in November last year announced as recipients, three are Taiwanese, it added. The order honors the past, present and future, Liu said, adding that it was a great honor to receive it on behalf of all those who have made the memorial library possible.
Residents in Taoyuan’s Jhongli District (中壢) yesterday voted to recall Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taoyuan City Councilor Wang Hao-yu (王浩宇). Taoyuan City Election Commission data showed that 84,582 people voted in favor of the recall, while 7,128 voted against it. Voter turnout was 28 percent, it showed. The votes of at least 25 percent of eligible voters — 81,940 people — and the largest share of votes in favor of a recall are required for a recall motion to pass, according to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Wang, 32, was first elected as city councilor in 2014, with the second-highest votes among all candidates for Jhongli. He at the time represented the Green Party Taiwan. He was in 2018 re-elected with the third-highest number of votes. In January last year, he left the Green Party and a month later joined the DPP. Hope Media executive officer Tang Ping-jung (唐平榮), a Jhongli resident who proposed the recall campaign said that Wang did not work for the benefit of his constituency. The campaign was supported by local Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) members. Wang pushed his own opinions on public issues, instead of listening to those who he was elected to represent, Tang said after the vote, celebrating with KMT and TPP members at the headquarters of the campaign. It is the first time that a city councilor in one of Taiwan’s six special municipalities is recalled, he said. DPP spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said that despite the vote being a local issue, “the KMT threw its whole weight behind it.” “The campaign was aimed to sow division among Taiwanese. This does not bode well for the nation’s democracy, and most people did not like to see this,” she said. The KMT in a statement congratulated the “people of Jhongli for sending a strong signal.” “It was
EXPERIMENTAL YIELD: The ingredients for a festive meal came from a local farming project where environmental innovations are tested Representatives of Taiwan and the Vatican on Friday celebrated the first harvest from a new indoor farming facility, which the two sides said would showcase the role of technology in developing more sustainable agriculture. Ambassador to the Holy See Matthew Lee (李世明) toured the farm on the grounds of the Opera Nazionale Per Le Citta’ Dei Ragazzi, Italian for “City of Youth,” a Catholic foundation that provides educational opportunities and career training to young immigrants and refugees. The foundation, which is located on a 60-hectare complex in southwestern Rome, has over the past few years served as a testing ground for many of the Vatican’s environmental initiatives. The project was inspired by Pope Francis’ second encyclical letter, Laudato Si, in which he calls for a decisive global response to the threats of environmental damage and climate change, Lee said. In the spirit of the pontiff’s appeal, Taiwan leveraged its strengths in precision agriculture technologies, and sent a team of agronomists and engineers to help the foundation launch the farm in only three months, Lee said. “We hope this facility will serve as an example to promote the concept of smart agriculture more broadly in Italy,” he said. Foundation chairman Vincenzo Cappannini said that Taiwan’s commitment to the project was particularly meaningful given the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the obstacles it has created for international exchanges. Lin Chun-hui (林峻輝), an agriculture expert from Taoyuan’s YesHealth iFarm who helped design the farm, said that in spite of the difficulties — such as mandatory quarantines and the language barrier — the project was worth the effort. To celebrate its first harvest, the foundation invited Taiwanese representatives and volunteers at the project to an Italian meal prepared with herbs and vegetables grown on the farm. YesHealth is a leader in vertical farming, a method of
CULTURAL EXPECTATIONS: Taiwan Men’s Association social worker Liu Hsin-wei said many men grew up thinking that society expects them to face problems alone While male survivors of sexual assault have become more willing to go public, many have difficulty asking for help or speaking out about their experiences, Taiwan Men’s Association social worker Liu Hsin-wei (劉信緯) said. Many men were brought up to think that society expects them to face their problems independently, Liu said, adding that “many sexual assault survivors are only willing to talk about their experience after many years have passed.” There were 7,581 reports of sexual assault from January to October last year, up 16.28 percent from 2019, Ministry of Health and Welfare data showed. Of those assaults, 1,462 involved male survivors, up nearly 30 percent from 2019 — an historic high for that period, the data showed. Of the male survivors, 52 were boys aged six or younger, up 73 percent from 2019, the data showed. People’s misconceptions about sexual assault often bring more pain to survivors, such as the common misconception that men who experience an erection or ejaculation during an assault must have “wanted or enjoyed the assault,” said Liu, who has worked with 20 male survivors of sexual assault. Many people equate a survivor’s physiological response with his willingness to engage sexually, causing survivors to feel a sense of blame or shame for not being strong enough to stop an assault, he said. Even when male survivors attempt to speak out about an assault, people might question their masculinity or their manhood, which can cause survivors to further doubt themselves, Liu added. Other misconceptions include that sexual assault only occurs to men or boys who are attracted to the same sex or gender, or that a survivor’s sexual orientation can be changed by being assaulted, he said. Liu said that he has worked with men who were sexually assaulted by a woman in a position of power or authority, so sexual orientation is not
SHOCK TO SYSTEM: The Health Promotion Administration said people should not spend more than 15 minutes in hot water, as it could trigger a heart attack or stroke The public should be cautious when visiting hot springs or taking hot baths in chilly weather, the Health Promotion Administration said on Friday. Administration officials said that hot springs are more popular during cold weather, while adding that care must be taken. People at hot springs should not spend more than 15 minutes in the water and should rise slowly, as blood vessels in hot water expand, causing a drop in blood pressure, which could cause them to faint if they climb out of the water too quickly, the officials said. People should frequently hydrate before and after they spend time in hot springs, they added. Those with diabetes, hypertension or hyperlipidemia should be especially careful about the temperature of the water, they said. People should not go in water that exceeds 40°C, or rapidly switch between hot and cold water, which causes blood vessels to suddenly expand and contract, possibly inducing a heart attack or stroke, the officials said. People with diabetes can easily be burned, as they are often less sensitive to temperatures due to damaged sensory nerves, they said. Soaking in hot springs after a meal should be avoided, as alcohol and spicy foods combined with the hot temperature can increase the heart rate, sometimes leading to a heart attack or stroke, they said. People should seek their doctor’s advice before visiting a hot spring and should never go to a hot spring alone, they added. The Central Weather Bureau yesterday said that chilly weather is expected throughout Taiwan today and tomorrow, with nighttime temperatures falling considerably from daytime temperatures. In related news, Da Chien General Hospital vice dean Tsai Chien-tsung (蔡建宗) on Friday said that Miaoli’s Da Chien General Hospital and Wei Kung Hospital admitted 12 people for carbon monoxide poisoning over the past 15 days. The people were given hyperbaric oxygen therapy and have recovered, the
The husband and wife owners of Rixun Inc were yesterday taken into custody for allegedly using company products to defraud more than 2,400 investors nationwide of more than NT$6 billion (US$210.67 million). After being questioned by the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office, Hsu Hsien-ming (徐明賢) and his Japanese wife, Mitsuko Azuchi, were detained. They were among 17 people summoned by authorities on Thursday. The couple, along with an accountant and the company’s executives, could be charged with fraud, illegal fundraising and breaches of the Banking Act (銀行法), prosecutors said, adding that they allegedly used multi-level marketing, like a Ponzi scheme, to defraud investors. An investigation showed that Rixun, established in 2013 with a core of 12 executives and accountants, conducted investment seminars throughout Taiwan to promote its video phone and its “Freely” tablet computer. People were allegedly persuaded to invest NT$147,000 in a set of six video phones or “Freely” tablets, which Rixun would rent out to users, while the investors were promised NT$6,000 per month and a “guaranteed profit” of 15 percent for the first three years, prosecutors said. Each investor was allegedly encouraged to sign up their family members and friends as lower-level members in the scheme, with a signing bonus of NT$14,000 for each new member and other bonuses for product promotion, they said. Raids of Rixun’s headquarters and the couple’s residence on Thursday uncovered records for more than 2,400 members, while prosecutors said that the scheme brought in NT$6.3 billion in illicit profits. Victims of the scheme filed complaints with local authorities to get their investment money back, with some saying that they realized it was a fraud after they received the promised NT$6,000 for a few months, but then nothing after that. The couple registered several other companies in Taiwan, such as T-Voice Co (Japan) Taiwan branch, which they promoted as having the latest
New Taipei City authorities last week broke into a home in the city’s Yonghe District (永和) to take emergency custody of a 12-year-old boy who had been kept out of school and isolated from society. The boy, who has lived with his father since the age of two, has never attended school and has been isolated from the outside world, New Taipei City Social Welfare Department Commissioner Chang Ching-li (張錦麗) said on Friday. The child’s physical well-being is a real concern, as he only weighs 19kg, is 1.1m tall and only has 12 teeth, Chang said. Five years ago, the authorities wrote to the father, when the boy did not start attending elementary school, but he ignored the communication, Chang said. Social services became involved in November 2019 and shortly thereafter sought the assistance of local prosecutors and the police. The father often took trips abroad and owned a number of residences, but police tracked him down in October last year and ordered him to report to the local prosecutors’ office, the department said. However, after meeting with prosecutors, the father changed his son’s household registration to Pingtung County in an effort to hide from the New Taipei City authorities. Learning that the tactic was a ruse, the authorities on Tuesday located the child in an apartment in Yonghe. CITY STEPS IN When police officers broke into the apartment, the child was alone, sitting on a sofa covered with a thin quilt, despite the cold temperature. The residence had an unpleasant odor and was poorly maintained, Chang said. A determination was made that the boy’s care and living conditions were detrimental to his physiological development and he was promptly taken into custody, he added. The father did not agree with the department’s determination and on Wednesday petitioned the local court for the boy’s return. Media reports quoted the father as saying that he
Jane Eyre readily admits that while working as a hairdresser in Melbourne more than 20 years ago “I probably drank more gin and tonic,” but a flair for coaxing top-notch wines from storied Burgundy vines has propelled her into the French wine firmament. “There’s nothing like making your own wine,” Eyre said while inspecting a glass of Savigny-les-Beaune premier cru aux Vergelesses, one of a half-dozen of her recent reds. French peers believe there is nothing quite like her wines: This month Eyre became the first Australian, and the first woman, to win the Negociant of the Year award by the Revue du Vin de France (RVF), an insider’s guide to France’s finest bottles. The prestigious title recognizes the talent of a particular brand of winemaker — independent players who do not own vineyards, but buy grapes from others to make their own. While the term translates as “merchant,” it has a distinctive meaning in Burgundy, where it is effectively a license to buy grapes or bulk wine for production and resale, although often they end up as underwhelming, low-price tipples. For Eyre, who grew up in Gippsland, Victoria, on Australia’s southeast coast — where she now also makes a wine she imports to France — it was the easiest way to chase a dream sparked by a conversation she had while cutting a client’s hair. Soon afterward, she quit her job and headed to France in 1998, where she helped with the harvest at the family-owned Domaine Chevrot, eventually working at other houses in Burgundy, as well as in the Mosel region in Germany, while also obtaining a winemaking degree back home. A few years later, she landed at a vineyard owned by New Orleans native Chris Newman, becoming his assistant while also making her own wines on the side. “I started with nothing. A friend lent
Vulcan Energy Resources Ltd soared in Sydney after the mining company published a study suggesting it is one step closer to providing Europe’s auto industry with a key ingredient for electric vehicle (EV) batteries. Vulcan on Friday jumped 29 percent, to the highest value since the shares started trading in 2018, after releasing a pre-feasibility study saying that its German lithium resources are the biggest in Europe. The Australian start-up said that it can produce battery-grade lithium without emitting carbon dioxide, and do so more efficiently than its rivals. Its strategy involves extracting lithium using a geothermal power plant in southern Germany. The method is similar to what Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc is researching in California’s Salton Sea. The study values Vulcan’s lithium resources near Offenburg at 2.8 billion euros (US$3.4 billion) before taxes. The project could extract enough for 1 million electric vehicle batteries per year and start production in 2024, the company said. Vulcan hopes to benefit from rising demand for lithium in Europe, which is trying to build up a local battery manufacturing industry to reduce dependency on Asian suppliers. Electric vehicles have become a focal point in the region, with governments bolstering subsidies to help automakers recover from the pandemic and comply with stricter emissions standards. While fully electric vehicles drive emissions-free, the production of batteries has been criticized for its carbon footprint. Mining lithium from rocks is energy intensive, and extracting it from dried lake beds, as is often done in South America, drains local water reserves. Vulcan said that its process is more environmentally friendly because its feedstock — hot salar brine — provides not only lithium, but also heat to generate renewable energy, reducing the method’s overall carbon footprint. Friday’s gain values the firm at A$564 million (US$433.7 million). Stringent environmental rules and local opposition have complicated the setup of
Norway’s oil and gas reserves have made it one of the world’s wealthiest countries, but its dreams for deep-sea discovery now center on something different. This time, Oslo is looking for a leading role in mining copper, zinc and other metals found on the seabed and in hot demand in green technologies. The country could license companies for deep-sea mining as early as 2023, the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy said, potentially placing it among the first countries to harvest seabed metals for electric vehicle batteries, wind turbines and solar farms. However, that could also place it on the front line of a controversy over the environmental risks posed by exploiting the world’s unexplored seabeds. Norway on Tuesday announced it was starting preparations for an environmental impact study needed to open areas of its seabed mineral exploration and production. The move follows three years of expeditions on which Norway has found deep-sea deposits containing copper, zinc, cobalt, gold and silver, said the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, which conducted the work. There could be up to 21.7 million tonnes of copper — more than the world’s copper output in 2019 — and 22.7 million tonnes of zinc on the Norwegian continental shelf, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researchers have estimated. However, mean estimates are far lower, at 6.9 million and 7.1 million tonnes, respectively. “Copper mining inside Norway’s jurisdiction will probably never replace extraction onshore, but ... it can be an important contributor in meeting future global demand,” NTNU associate professor Steinar Loeve Ellefmo said. “Deep-sea mining might also change the geopolitical climate,” he said. The metals have been found in polymetallic sulphides, or “black smokers,” which are formed when sea water reaches magma, heats up and is flushed back to the seabed carrying dissolved metals and sulfur. The expeditions have also discovered high concentrations of lithium and the rare
Reuters in a report on Tuesday cited two Chinese sources as saying that the arrests of 53 democracy advocates in Hong Kong on Jan. 6 were part of an intensifying drive coordinated by Beijing to stifle any challenge to Chinese rule in the territory and that more actions were likely, including targeting district councilors. It did not take long for the prediction to come true, as Hong Kong police on Thursday arrested 11 people suspected of helping the 12 people who tried to flee to Taiwan by sea in August last year. The 11 arrested under the National Security Law included District Councilor Daniel Wong Kwok-tung (黃國桐), a lawyer who provided legal assistance to hundreds of people arrested during the 2019 protests. On the same day, the Hong Kong Broadband Network said that to comply with the national security legislation, it had blocked a pro-democracy Web site, confirming media reports that police had, without going through the court system, ordered telecoms to restrict access to HKChronicles. However, another disturbing development that appeared to receive little attention — at least outside of the territory or the UK — was the announcement that the Hong Kong government hired a well-known Queen’s Counsel barrister, David Perry, to represent the prosecution in the trial of nine of the most prominent of those 53 people arrested. The nine — who include tycoon Jimmy Lai (黎智英), Hong Kong Democracy Party founder Martin Lee (李柱銘), Labor Party vice chairman and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions general secretary Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人), and former legislators Albert Ho (何俊仁) and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄) — are scheduled to go on trial on Feb. 16 for disregarding police orders by turning an approved assembly inside Victoria Park on Aug. 18, 2019, into a march that was not permitted. The territory’s Court of First Instance on
The media have in the past few months frequently covered the destruction of rural landscapes due to ground-based photovoltaic systems development. The images on the news were truly shocking, and the possible ecological impact is even more worrying. It is obvious that the government’s policy regarding renewable energy development must be adjusted significantly. From a policy planning perspective, there is no problem with incentivizing the development of renewable energy generation, and the government’s focus on photovoltaics and wind energy is reasonable, considering Taiwan’s natural environment. The problem lies deeper, in the details of the policy and its implementation. At the early stages of policy planning, errors might have occurred due to an insufficient understanding of the situation, which might cause projects to fail. It is only natural that policies must be reviewed and changed, and concerning photovoltaics, there are several points that should be improved. First, the ratio between solar panels installed on the ground and on rooftops should be adjusted. The initial policy goal was to establish a total photovoltaic capacity of 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2025, with ground installations accounting for 17GW and rooftop installations for 3GW. However, the goal for rooftop installations was reached quickly, and the ratio was adjusted to 14GW for ground installations and 6GW for rooftops, with ample potential for further development. First, factory and residential rooftop units account for only a small share of rooftop solar panels, and there is also a lot of potential for more installations on public building rooftops, even though those were in the past few years strongly promoted by the policy. Second, compared with ground installations, rooftop solar panels have several benefits and should have been promoted more strongly. For example, in Taiwan’s sunny and rainy climate, solar panels on rooftops can also provide heat insulation and reduce the risk of rainwater leakage.
Since assuming office in 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has on multiple occasions strongly advocated a data security and national security policy. With all of the world’s major powers having adopted cyberwarfare strategies, there can be no question that data security and national security are inextricably linked. Last year, several of Taiwan’s state-run companies and many mid-sized and large manufacturers fell victim to ransomware attacks of varying severity, which in some cases resulted in the temporary suspension of business operations or large ransom payouts, laying bare the intimate connection between data security and economic security. A nation’s defensive capability against cyberattacks can be termed “national data security power.” The government’s data security and national security policies should focus primarily on upgrading that power. A nation’s data security power is almost entirely determined by the quality and quantity of its data security specialists, and the latter is closely related to the extent to which it possesses a flourishing data security industry. If a nation wishes to elevate its data security power, it must first cultivate a pool of data security talent that can help develop the sector. In the past few years, the government has been attempting to do just this. Taiwan now has a community of respected “white hat” hackers who regularly participate in the world-famous Capture the Flag competition, organized by DEF CON, an international convention for hackers and computer security professionals in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taiwanese teams frequently rank among the best in the annual competition. Some of Taiwan’s white hat hackers have established their own data security companies and are doing good business. Meanwhile, white hat hacker social media groups are popping up all over the place, which means that the pool of data security talent in Taiwan is likely to grow. Do these achievements mean that Taiwan has already built up formidable data
DOUBLE VISION: The men’s duo of Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin downed the South Korean pairing of Choi Sol-gyu and Seo Seung-jae to secure their place in the final Taiwan’s Tai Tzu-ying yesterday easily defeated Mia Blichfeldt in her women’s singles match to advance to the finals of the Yonex Thailand Open in Bangkok, while Chou Tien-chen crashed out of the tournament. Tai quickly ousted world No. 18 Blicheldt, of Denmark, in 34 minutes, winning 21-8, 23-21. The world No. 1 today must overcome Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who took down An Se-young of South Korea yesterday 21-18, 21-16. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s Chou fell to Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long after a tough 66 minutes of play. While Chou, the world No. 2, bested Ng in the first set, the world No. 8 managed to pull through two more sets, winning 17-21, 21-18, 21-15. Today, Ng faces the winner of yesterday’s final match between Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen. In the men’s doubles, Taiwan’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin took three sets and 54 minutes to beat the South Korean pairing of Choi Sol-gyu and Seo Seung-jae 15-21, 21-14, 21-14 in the semi-finals. In today’s final, Yang and Wang face Malaysia’s world No. 14 duo of Goh V. Shem and Tan Wee Kiong. They previously overcame the 2016 Rio Games silver medalists in South Korea in 2019 at the Gawngiu Korea Masters. Goh and Tan yesterday downed Indonesia’s Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin in just 29 minutes, beating them 21-19, 21-10.
The deciding fourth Test between Australia and India in Brisbane yesterday hung in the balance after a massive thunderstorm caused play to be abandoned following the tea break on the second day. The Gabba was saturated during the storm, which began during the tea break, and while the ground drained quickly, the umpires decided the outfield was too wet to allow play to continue. India would resume today at 62 for two, 307 runs behind Australia’s first innings total of 369, with Cheteshwar Pujara on eight alongside skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who was on two. Australia had earlier claimed the vital wicket of Rohit Sharma 20 minutes before tea to seize the momentum. Sharma had been in full flow, striking 44 stylish runs from 74 deliveries with six boundaries. With the score on 60 for the loss of opener Shubman Gill (7), Sharma threw his wicket away when he charged off-spinner Nathan Lyon, only managing to sky a ball to Mitchell Starc at deep mid-on. The Australian off-spinner is playing his 100th Test match and is closing in on 400 wickets — Sharma was his 397th. “I had a couple of plans for Rohit,” Lyon said. “Obviously he’s a world-class player, so I just wanted to make sure I was bowling my best ball, and not try to worry too much about what the batters are doing,” he added. He said the wicket was different from a normal Gabba strip. “It is a lot drier than it usually is,” Lyon said. “It was probably more like a day three wicket [on day one] and there’s a nice crack outside the off-stump,” he said. “I’m trying to aim at that and hopefully bring in both edges and see how we go.” When T. Natarajan bowled Josh Hazlewood to end the innings, the inexperienced Indian attack had completed an impressive comeback on a hot and
Fickle winds produced farcical scenes yesterday on day two of the America’s Cup challenger series in Auckland, as the so-called “flying” yachts spent almost as much time in the water as above it. “I’m not sure today is a really accurate read because it’s so puffy, it’s shifty,” British sailing legend Ben Ainslie said after his Ineos Team UK maintained their perfect start to the Prada Cup series with a third straight win. The series would determine which of the 23m yachts — which fly above the water balanced on hi-tech foil arms — would challenge defending champion Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup in March. Ineos lost so much time falling off its foils in its duel with American Magic that it was in a race against the clock on the final leg, reaching the finish line with less than two minutes to spare before the 45-minute cutoff point. American Magic finished with only one second remaining, which was an improvement on its performance in the day’s other race when it failed to finish against Italian entry Luna Rossa. Ainslie said it was “intense” sailing “trying to keep the boat up on the foil because every maneuver you knew that if you come off the foil that might be the end of the race.” American Magic helmsman Dean Barker described the racing conditions as “a lottery.” “You question why you want to do that as part of the event, but it is what it is. Swings and roundabouts and it obviously didn’t go that well for us,” he said. After three races each, Ineos has three wins, Luna Rossa one and American Magic nil. The Prada Cup runs until Feb. 22, beginning with a series of round-robins. The winner proceeds to the final, while the other two challengers face off in a seven-race semi-final. The final begins on Feb.
A female 4X4 enthusiast is blazing a trail in Qatar’s traditionally male sport of off-roading and in a rare move has also become a dune driving safety marshal. “As soon as my tires touched the sand, I fell in love with the desert,” said Marcelle Visser, a South African living in Qatar, as her Land Cruiser bounded across the rolling sandscape. In Qatar, gender separation in social settings remains common in many areas of life, so the appointment of a woman as one of a handful of experts at a prestigious desert club has caused a stir. Men and women gather separately for prayers and most celebrations, and, historically, it was the men who would gather and make camps in the desert as well as off-road together — hugely popular pastimes in Qatar. “When you start off with this, you think it’s a men’s sport. This was keeping me away in the beginning,” Visser said. However, Khaled Shash, the chief safety marshal of Qatar’s Dune Rider Club, a group bringing together those with a passion for the desert and 4X4 vehicles, sought to nurture Visser’s enthusiasm. “The minute I saw how Marcelle is passionate about off-roading in general, I decided to focus with her. It was a plan to make her a marshal,” he said. Marshals take responsibility for the safety of group members on desert drives, training participants in off-road driving techniques and assisting those in distress. More than 4,300 accidents have been reported in Qatar’s most popular off-roading area in the past five years, Qatari Ministry of the Interior data show. Over the winter desert season, authorities have carried out a media blitz with television coverage of safety and recovery initiatives, driver education roadshows and warning billboards dotted around desert areas. Dune Riders, like most other clubs, hosts regular workshops for newcomers to promote safety. At one workshop, Shash,
RECORD INFECTIONS: Hospitals in the Brazilian city of Manaus have reached breaking point, while coffins at a crematorium in Germany had to be stacked three high The global death toll from COVID-19 passed 2 million on Friday, with the WHO urging mass vaccinations as the pandemic progresses at a record rate. By Friday evening, at least 2,000,066 people worldwide had been confirmed dead of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) tally. The grim milestone came as US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer said shipments of its vaccines would slow for a period late this month — a blow to fledgling campaigns to immunize people against the virus. The WHO on Friday called for a worldwide acceleration in vaccine rollouts — as well as a ramp-up in efforts to study the sequencing of the virus, to tackle troubling new strains emerging around the world. “I want to see vaccination under way in every country in the next 100 days so that health workers and those at high risk are protected first,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland. His call came as infections snowballed, with 724,000 new cases recorded on average per day globally over the past week, according to AFP’s tally — a record 10 percent increase on a week earlier. While countries from Spain to Lebanon have announced record caseloads, the surge has been most marked in Latin America and the Caribbean, where confirmed cases leapt 26 percent this week. In Europe, which has suffered more than 650,000 COVID-19 deaths, there are concerns that delays to the Pfizer jabs could further slow a vaccine rollout that has already faced heavy criticism. Pfizer, which jointly developed its vaccine with German company BioNTech, said EU countries could expect delayed deliveries in the coming weeks due to works at its plant in Belgium. It promised that there would be “a significant increase” in shipments in March, and
‘GREATER FREEDOM’: Lu Siwei represented one of the 12 Hong Kongers arrested at sea, and lost his license for making comments that had a ‘negative impact on society’ A Chinese lawyer who represented a Hong Kong pro-democracy advocate was stripped of his license amid efforts by Beijing to crush opposition to its tighter control over the territory. Lu Siwei (盧思位), who represented one of 12 Hong Kong advocates who tried to flee to Taiwan, had his license revoked by the Sichuan Provincial Department of Justice in a formal notice given on Friday. Ten of the 12 activists caught at sea in August last year were last month sentenced by a court in Shenzhen to prison terms ranging from seven months to three years for illegally crossing the border and organizing illegal border crossings. They are part of an exodus of Hong Kong residents following Beijing’s imposition of a tough National Security Law they say is destroying the territory’s Western-style civil liberties. Since the law was introduced in response to anti-government protests that began in 2019, dozens of pro-democracy advocates have been arrested or detained. The law has been denounced by European nations, the US and others. Beijing has said the legislation allows Hong Kong to “enjoy more social stability, economic development and greater freedom.” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) called the 12 advocates “elements attempting to separate Hong Kong from China.” Beijing, which requires lawyers to swear an oath of loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party, has tightened control over the profession. Other lawyers have been stripped of their licenses for representing defendants in politically sensitive cases. Some have been imprisoned. In a notice last week, the Chengdu office of the Sichuan Department of Justice said Lu had contravened laws on professional legal conduct. It accused him of making comments online that had a “negative impact on society.” Also last week, Ren Quanniu (任全牛), another lawyer for one of the 12 advocates, was notified by the Zhengzhou office of the Henan
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client would avoid extradition. “It’s certainly a good decision at this stage, but we still can’t call it a success,” he said, adding that the Supreme Court has required that the lower court ask China to explain the nature of the sentence his client faces. He said that Li was unlikely to get a fair trial in China and could be sentenced to life in prison or even death due to his membership of Falun Gong, a religious group that has been banned by Chinese authorities. Kitajgrodzki has said that his client is also being targeted for quitting the Chinese Communist Party. The charges leveled by China stem from a 2011-2012 business deal, the lawyer said. He also said that it was about this time that Li, whose family made bed linens, moved to Sweden and subsequently gained citizenship there. The Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a Wednesday said in a statement to parliament that it had been “actively working” on the case and voiced concerns, saying that “human rights violations in China are extensive and appear to be on the rise.” Regardless of any court ruling on the matter, under Polish law the minister of justice has the final say on extradition requests. Kitajgrodzki said his client
Jan. 18 to Jan. 24 Viewers couldn’t believe their eyes when the Taipei First Girls’ Senior High School marching band appeared on television in 1981. None of the girls were sporting the government-mandated hairstyle for female secondary school students, which forbade their hair from going past their neck. Some even had perms. The students had been invited to perform in the US, which the government saw as an important affair since the US had severed official ties two years earlier. The idea was that sending a group of girls with the same permitted hairstyle would appear contradictory to the “free and democratic” values of the US as well as the image Taiwan was trying to promote, to distinguish it from Communist China. It caused quite a stir, and newspapers ran editorials wondering if other students would begin to wear their hair long, and even if such restrictions were necessary. Responding to the voices of the students, Guting Girls’ Junior High School (古亭女中) was the first to repeal the restrictions, but the Ministry of Education forced them to reinstate it. It wasn’t until Jan. 20, 1987, that the government officially removed its restrictions on hairstyles for all secondary school students. However, almost all schools continued to impose their own rules on students’ hair, and punished them for violations. THE QUEUE QUESTION Government control over citizen hairstyles had long been a form of social control. The Manchu-style queue, for example, was a symbol of submission to the Qing Empire. Cheng Ke-shuang (鄭克塽), the grandson of Ming Dynasty loyalist Koxinga, was forced to adopt the hairstyle in 1683 when the Qing vanquished his Tainan-based Kingdom of Tungning (東寧), and when peasant Chu Yi-kuei (朱一貴), led a revolt against the Qing in 1721, his men cut off their queues. When the Qing ceded Taiwan to Japan in
A new section of Taipei City bike path will open soon along the southern bank of Jingmei River (景美溪). Discovery of this missing link by members of Skeleton Crew, a Taipei-based group of cyclists that grew out of off-season training by dragon boat racers, reignited debate about how many kilometers of bike path there now are in Taipei. Their guesstimates ranged from 60 to almost 400 kilometers, though calculations used different criteria and definitions. Some said “Taipei means Taipei City,” others that this would be silly since it was too easy to cross unknowingly into New Taipei City, Keelung City or even Taoyuan County. Yet others raised the problem of non-contiguous sections, such as short lengths along the north coast or that along Daiyujue River (逮魚崛溪) in New Taipei City’s Pinglin District (坪林), which, passing blossoming banks and echoing with birdsong, is often touted as the area’s nicest ride. This led to debate about the relative aesthetic merits of various rides, and best places to stop for snacks, meals and beverages. Map apps were downloaded, estimates revised but, ultimately, it was decided there was only one way to measure the entire network: the Skeleton Crew would cycle a route along all the rivers in and around the Taipei area that was contiguous and never doubled back on itself. Normally the Skeleton Crew wouldn’t consider riding riverside bike paths on weekends when they teem with other cyclists, many on rentals and YouBikes, often in large groups chatting or veering randomly and stopping suddenly, never imagining there might be 100 kilograms of lycra-and-steel hurtling behind them at 30kph. And so it should be, because the riverside bike paths are a wonderful way for non-cyclists to get a safe taste of this healthy, economic, convenient, non-climate-change-gas-emitting means of transportation. After all, one of the key
Decapitated and eviscerated, the two frogs lay on their backs in a clear broth. Noticing that other diners didn’t hesitate to pile toothpick-thin bones and bits of mottled skin on their tables, I set to work with chopsticks and spoon. I was winding up a day trip to Beigang (北港), the religious capital of Yunlin County, when I strolled east onto Minjhu Road (民主路) from Wenhua Road (文化路) and came across this eatery. I’d gone to the intersection to see an obelisk that honors the man regarded as Beigang’s founding father. The Yan Si-ci Pioneering of Taiwan Monument (顏思齊開拓台灣紀念碑) celebrates the arrival in 1621 — or possibly 1622 or 1624 — of Yan Si-ci (顏思齊), a Chinese trader who’d been living in Japan. Some say he left Japan because he took part in an unsuccessful uprising against the shogunate. Others think that changes to the business environment forced him to seek pastures new. Whatever Yan’s motives, the 13-ship convoy he led dropped anchor here. His followers unloaded their supplies, and did their best to establish themselves in a place that the local Aboriginal people called Ponkan. The new arrivals recorded this toponym as Bengang (笨港, literally “stupid harbor”). It wasn’t until well into the 19th century that this odd place name was replaced by the insult-free Beigang (“north harbor”). CHAOTIAN TEMPLE I’d begun the day at the house of worship that gives Beigang its cultural and spiritual significance. Chaotian Temple (朝天宮), founded in 1694, is a key center of the Matsu cult. The pious come from all over southern and central Taiwan to pray to the sea goddess. However, because of a falling out between the leaders of Chaotian Temple and those in charge at Dajia Jenn Lann Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮), the famous annual multi-day pilgrimage that honors Matsu each spring no longer passes through
During the recent cold snap, temperatures at the 2,216m-above-sea-level Alishan Forest Recreation Area have plummeted to as low as minus 1 degree Celsius. Former Siang Lin Primary School principal Huang Yuan-ming on Tuesday published several photographs on the “Alishan.fans“ Facebook page . Although there has not yet been any snowfall in the area, due to insufficient atmospheric moisture, there are still red leaves on the maple trees. The red leaves are complemented by a sea of clouds surrounding snow-capped Yushan in the distance, creating a picturesque wintertime vista. During sunrise and sunset, the sun’s golden rays wash over the snow-covered slopes of Yushan, creating a “gold dust” effect. In his Facebook post, Huang writes that the timing of snowfall in the Alishan area varies from year to year, and he draws a distinction between the first snowfall of the season and permanent snow cover. The best time to view the sunrise is when there is a thick blanket of permanent snow cover, writes Huang, but he notes that not much snow has accumulated on Yushan this year, and after a few days of sunshine it will have completely vanished. Huang says that the last time snow fell on Alishan was in late January 2016. He says that when snow does fall it usually happens between late January and the Lunar New Year, when Alishan’s climate is at its coldest and there is more moisture in the air. Although there are no snow scenes at Alishan at present, Huang notes that the weather is good and advises that if people want to catch a glimpse of the “gold dust“ effect on Yushan’s snow-covered slopes, now is the best time to do so. (Liberty Times, translated by Edward Jones) 阿里山森林遊樂區海拔兩千兩百一十六公尺，最近寒流報到，氣溫最低達零下一度。 前阿里山鄉香林國小主任黃源明周二在臉書「漫步在雲端的阿里山」網頁表示，因水氣不足，未能飄雪，然而阿里山還有些許紅楓，搭配雲海、玉山積雪，在日出、日落時分，金黃色陽光灑在玉山積雪上，形成金粉雪坡美景，是阿里山冬季限定景色。 黃源明貼文指出，每年玉山降雪時間不盡相同，初雪是一回事、積雪又是一回事；對阿里山來說，玉山積雪是觀日出的加分賣點。「這次玉山的積雪並不多，在日照之下，沒幾天就會消失殆盡。」 黃源明表示，阿里山上次飄雪是二○一六年一月下旬，通常一月下旬到農曆春節，是阿里山氣候最冷、也較多水氣的時候，雖阿里山現在沒有雪景，但天氣不錯，如要看到玉山金粉雪坡景緻，現在是最佳時刻。 （自由時報王善嬿）
The toys we had when we were young (5/5) 我們小時候玩的玩具（五） A: And then later, when we were teenagers, we put away the toys and played with games consoles instead. B: Ah yes, simplistic game scenarios and block graphics, with low quality audio and visual effects. A: That’s right. And they came on tapes that wore out after a couple of months because we played the games every night after school. B: They’re not a fraction of the quality or sophistication of the current generation of computer games, but I used to love playing those. A: It was just the generation we were in, I guess. B: That’s right. And if you had been born into this generation, you would be staring intently at your mobile phone. Like those two over there. A: 然後我們變成青少年以後，就把玩具丟掉，開始玩遊戲機了。 B: 喔，對呀，那種遊戲場景非常簡單，圖形解析度超低，聲音和視覺效果的品質都很差。 A: 沒錯，而且這些遊戲是用錄音帶輸入，卡帶兩個月就壞了，因為我們放學回家每天晚上都在玩。 B: 它們無論是品質或是精緻度，都遠遠比不上現在的遊戲，可是我那時候好愛玩那些遊戲喔。 A: 我猜這只是因為我們是處在那個世代吧。 B: 沒錯。如果你是生在這個世代，你現在就會聚精會神地看著手機，就像那邊那兩位一樣。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
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