Men’s unwillingness to use parasols could be a reason they experience heat illnesses more often than women, a health expert said on Sunday, as temperatures soared across the nation. Pauling Chu (朱柏齡), head of the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Heatstroke at Tri-Service General Hospital in Taipei, said that one reason more men are sent to emergency rooms for heatstroke than women is that most of the people who work outdoors are men. Another possible reason is that while women often use umbrellas during summer, men are more likely to wear wide-brimmed hats to protect against the sun, he said. While parasols are like “mobile gazebos” that can keep the user in the shade, wearing a wide-brimmed hat tends to leave a person’s body exposed to the sun, he said. Chu said he conducted an experiment over the weekend by walking outside from 9:30am to 10am. He found that when he was using an umbrella, he barely sweat, but when he was not using it, he perspired profusely, he said. Only about one in every 20 men on the street uses an umbrella, Chu said, citing his personal observations. While some men might feel that holding an umbrella diminishes their masculinity, or think that only women use them, parasols are just a tool, he said, adding that people should not make gender distinctions. Citing his personal experience, he encouraged men to use umbrellas to fight the summer heat, saying that doing so can make a difference of at least 5°C in apparent temperature. Two years ago, in response to the extreme heat, the Japanese government began promoting the use of umbrellas among men, he said, adding that he hoped the Taiwanese government would follow suit. In the first 10 days of this month, 190 people were sent to emergency rooms for loss of consciousness caused by heat injuries,
Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) face on Saturday appeared whiter than usual because he used color-correcting cream after mistaking it for sunscreen lotion, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧) said on Sunday. The premier was speaking at a surfing activity, which was held as part of a festival in New Taipei City’s Jinshan District (金山) to promote local tourism, when he drew people’s attention with his uncanny white face. Su Chiao-hui, who is the premier’s daughter, said that her younger sister buys their parents’ skin products, and Su Tseng-chang grabbed the color-correcting cream when leaving home on Saturday, mistaking it for sunscreen lotion. Due to a tight schedule, Su Tseng-chang could only apply the cream in the car on the way to the event and could not check his face in the mirror, she said, adding that he inadvertently scared onlookers as he got out of the vehicle. In related news, the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday provided tips on selecting sunscreen products. The most important thing is to choose the right sun protection factor (SPF), the agency said on its Facebook page, adding that generally, SPF15 products can be used during regular daily routines, but SPF30 products or above are recommended for outdoor activities. People should apply the product 15 to 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun, it added. People who are prone to sunburns or have skin diseases are recommended to use SPF30 products or above for all activities, it said. While some sunscreen products are advertised as being waterproof or sweatproof, it is unlikely that they will remain water-resistant over long periods, so consumers should read the product description carefully before buying them, and reapply it after getting into the water, it said.
COMPENSATION: Two of the bus firm’s buildings at the Western Bus Terminal were demolished in 2016 as part of the city’s West District Gateway Project
The Taipei High Administrative Court has ordered the Taipei City Government to compensate Kuo-Kuang Motor Transportation Co for tearing down its Western Bus Terminal near Taipei Railway Station in 2016. Two of Kuo-Kuang’s buildings at the terminal were demolished in November 2016 and turned into the public Taipei Travel Plaza in 2017 as part of the city’s West District Gateway Project. After the city refused to compensate the company and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications dismissed the bus operator’s appeal, it filed an administrative proceeding against the city. The city government originally allocated about NT$52 million (US$1.76 million) to pay the company, which the Taipei City Council approved, but the city’s Department of Legal Affairs said there was no legal basis to compensate Kuo-Kuang. The court on June 30 ruled in favor of the bus company, saying that the city government has to pay it NT$32.3 million. Asked about the ruling, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said that an ad hoc task force would deal with the matter, adding that the contract was not signed by him. Regarding the fairness of the ruling, he said: “No matter if it is fair or not, once the ruling is decided, we have to make a decision on whether we want to appeal it or how we can settle it if we decide not to appeal.”
Students interested in traveling across the nation by rail this summer can take advantage of the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) 10-day pass, which is to be available for purchase starting tomorrow. The TR-Summer Pass, which provides unlimited commuter train access nationwide, would be available for students to purchase for NT$900 from tomorrow to Sept. 15 at all TRA railway stations, the agency said. To buy the pass, students must present a valid student identification card, it said. The pass, which is activated on the day of purchase, does not permit access to Puyuma Express, Taroko Express, cruise train service and charter train services, it added. Hsu Min-chieh (許民杰), business section chief in the TRA’s transportation department, said the pass would be a bargain for students seeking to travel during the summer break. Without the pass, a one-way ticket from Taipei to Kaohsiung, or from Taipei to Taitung, would only cost about NT$800, while the South Link Line, which connects Pingtung and Taitung, would be about NT$300, he said. Without the pass, a student traveling around the nation would have to spend more than NT$2,000, he said. The agency also encouraged students to consider using their Triple Stimulus Vouchers to pay for the pass. Foreign students can also purchase the pass by presenting their passports and local or international student identification, Hsu said. Additional reporting by CNA
The General Association of Chinese Culture yesterday released the latest short film in its documentary series The Soul of the Craftsman (匠人魂), featuring miniaturist Hank Cheng (鄭鴻展). Creating miniature models is “therapeutic,” Cheng told a news conference in Taipei, where the film premiered. With his painstaking eye for detail, people who have seen photographs of his creations have often asked whether they are “real” or “fake,” he said. When he was in junior-high school, Cheng was diagnosed with congenital amblyopia, or lazy eye, the association said. He wanted to attend art school, and despite experiencing multiple setbacks in his schooling years, “the paintbrush in his hand never stopped,” it said. With the support of his family, Cheng traveled to Japan to study illustration and became the first foreigner at his school in 50 years to win the president’s prize with his graduation project, it said. Cheng began making miniature models in 2015 and has since completed more than 40 works, according to the documentary. His models span from a scale of 1:6 to a scale of 1:2,500, it says. In the film, Cheng says although he does not know how much longer his eyes would allow him to create miniatures, he intends to continue doing so until he loses his sight. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store’s Xinyi Place A11 branch in Taipei is exhibiting a selection of Cheng’s works until Wednesday next week. Produced by the association, The Soul of the Craftsman debuted in August 2017 in an effort to highlight local artisans from all walks of life. The film on Cheng is the 23rd installment in the series. Chen Chung-hsin (陳忠信), a qipao maker in Taipei’s Dadaocheng (大稻埕) area, and Hsieh Sen-shan (謝森山), an artist in Taoyuan who specializes in painting movie posters, are some of the artisans featured in the series. The documentary shorts are typically three to five minutes
Taiwan is the second-safest country in the world, after Qatar, according to visitors to an online database, who voted on 133 countries and territories worldwide. In online database Numbeo’s Crime Index by Country 2020 Mid-Year survey, Taiwan scored 84.74 out of 100 for safety. That score put Taiwan in second place, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 84.55 and Georgia with 79.50. The top ranked country, Qatar, had a safety score of 88.10. Numbeo said that the results were based on surveys of visitors to its Web site who were asked to rate the safety and overall level of crime in the 133 countries and territories listed. The crime levels in each country were scored by subtracting the safety score from the total 100 points. Taiwan’s crime level score was 15.26. Numbeo rates a crime level as very low if the score is below 20; low if the score is between 20 and 40; moderate if it is between 40 and 60; high if it is between 60 and 80; and very high if it is more than 80. The three countries with the highest crime scores in the survey were Venezuela with 84.36, Papua New Guinea with 80.04 and South Africa with 77.29. The online survey is held biannually. In the first survey this year, Qatar and Taiwan also ranked first and second respectively for safety.
‘EXPLOITING KAOHSIUNG PAIN’: The office said that if the KMT has new evidence to prove donations were wrongly used, it should hand it over and let the courts rule
The office of former Presidential Office secretary-general Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday accused the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of exploiting the pain of Kaohsiung residents for political gain after the party called on the Control Yuan to investigate the former Kaohsiung mayor to clarify her role in alleged misuse of funds by the Kaohsiung City Government. Before the controversy over the donations for people affected by the 2014 Kaohsiung gas explosions is resolved, Chen, who was Kaohsiung mayor from 2006 to 2018, should remove herself from the Control Yuan nomination process, the KMT said. With the terms of the current Control Yuan members expiring on July 31, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has nominated Chen to head the branch. The Legislative Yuan is to vote on Tsai’s nominations on Friday. If Chen’s nomination is approved by the Legislative Yuan, she would also become chairwoman of the National Human Rights Commission, which is to be officially established on Aug. 1. The KMT caucus yesterday criticized increased security measures, including barricades, outside the Legislative Yuan in Taipei ahead of Friday’s vote. KMT legislative caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said that in his three terms as a legislator he has never seen this level of security. KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said that the situation outside the Legislative Yuan made it seem like martial law had been imposed. Chen’s office said in a statement that investigations conducted by former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu’s (韓國瑜) administration and Control Yuan members nominated by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had not found any evidence of illegality. If the KMT believes that it has new evidence to prove the donations were used illegally, it should give it to prosecutors and let the judiciary “distinguish right from wrong,” the statement said. The office accused KMT representatives of exploiting Kaohsiung’s pain, saying that they have “repeatedly poured salt on
The New Power Party (NPP) yesterday expressed regret after questions it posed to President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) nominees for the Control Yuan went unanswered. The legislature is expected to vote on Friday on whether to approve the nominations. The NPP said it had sent questions to the nominees via the Presidential Office and sought a reply by Thursday last week, but as of yesterday it still had not received a response. “Does the Democratic Progressive Party [DPP] feel no obligation to respond given that it has a legislative majority?” NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) asked. The NPP would see how the nominees respond to questions on Friday before deciding whether to back their appointments, Chiu said. Some who have been nominated for a second time had answered questions prior to their first appointment, but not this time, NPP Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said. One of the questions asked the nominees if they believe that Control Yuan members should be able to investigate cases that have already been decided by the courts, while another asked if they support the abolition of the Control Yuan or a reduction in the number of its members, Chen said. The NPP hopes that the nominees, if appointed, would tackle the issue of illegal factories on farmland and hills, Chen said, adding that such factories should be dismantled and government bodies in charge of the issue strictly supervised. In a case involving improperly issued mining permits for Asia Cement Corp, the Control Yuan failed to take action against officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Hualien County’s Sioulin Township (秀林) Office, despite accusations against them. Meanwhile, the legislature yesterday invited academics to speak at a public hearing on the nominees, including former grand justice Hsu Yu-hsiu (許玉秀), who was recommended by the NPP; professor Lin Chao-chun (林超駿), who was recommended by the Taiwan
‘DIFFERENT SYSTEM’: Huang Di-ying said that Chinese society is based on the ‘rule of man,’ so its officials can breach contracts, tear them up or arbitrarily fire Taiwanese
Taiwanese academics should be aware of the risks of working in China, where they might encounter problems, including a lack of academic freedom, lawyer Huang Di-ying (黃帝穎) said yesterday, adding that they might face accusations back home of being a spy for Beijing. “Academic freedom is a fundamental principle when working at a university. It is protected by Taiwan’s Constitution, but is suppressed in China,” said Huang, who is a member of non-governmental organization Taiwan Forever Association. “Professors at Chinese universities can only do research by pandering to the needs of Chinese officials and politicians. If not, they could ‘disappear’ or end up in prison.” Unlike Taiwan, where the rule of law prevails, Chinese society is based on the “rule of man,” so it can “violate contracts, tear them up or fire you arbitrarily,” he said. “Taiwan’s and China’s mindsets and political systems are very different. So when Taiwanese academics receive wages and payments from China, people might question their actions and motives once they return to Taiwan,” he said. “Or they might be perceived as working to infiltrate [the nation] or develop a Chinese spy network, which could become a heavy burden.” The warning came following a Taipei District Court ruling against Chen Lung-fei (陳龍飛), a university lecturer who accepted a teaching job at the business school of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, in 2015, but whose contract was not renewed after three years. At the time, representatives from the university would come to Taiwan offering academics annual salaries of NT$2 million (US$67,604 at the current exchange rate) and a free apartment. Sun Yat-sen University said that it recruited 42 Taiwanese academics with doctorates. Chen, 55, said he went to China after signing a three-year contract to teach business. When his contract was not renewed, he returned to Taiwan, but has encountered difficulty finding work
The police chiefs in Kaohsiung and Tainan were removed from their posts yesterday following violence in the two cities. “The public expects to have safe conditions and security in their everyday lives, which is the duty of police officers,” the National Police Agency (NPA) said in a statement after it announced that Kaohsiung police chief Lee Yung-kuei (李永癸) and Tainan police chief Chou Yu-wei (周幼偉) had been removed from their posts. “Police chiefs have to lead their forces to monitor potential trouble and criminal behavior,” the agency said. “They must take preventive measures, and have the determination to crack down hard on gangsters and nightclub proprietors who contravene the law and undermine public safety.” Earlier yesterday at an NPA event in Taipei, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) praised police officers’ efforts to help Taiwan contain COVID-19, but expressed concern over violent crime in central and southern Taiwan. “We are not pleased at all to see these serious crimes taking place,” Su said. “President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is worried and I am also dismayed by them.” “I have warned that when mass brawls occur at nightclubs, police chiefs must bear responsibility,” he said. “We must not have fighting on the streets. It is so bad that someone has been killed,” Su said, an apparent reference to a stabbing on Friday outside the Miramar Dance Hall in Kaohsiung. “News reports on violence and fighting have tarnished the image of the police,” he said. “Local police should have a good handle on public security and potential trouble, while nightclub proprietors seemed quite audacious and have no fear of the police.” “Therefore, it is time to take strong action and for police chiefs to crack down on crime,” he said.
People must remain vigilant over information warfare launched by China, including cyberattacks and the malicious spread of misinformation, an Institute for National Defense and Security Research official said on Sunday. Information warfare launched by Beijing against Taiwan aims to undermine the public’s confidence in the nation’s democratic system, Division of Cyber Warfare and Information Security head Tseng Yi-shuo (曾怡碩) said. China deploys warplanes and vessels to circle Taiwan in attempts to intimidate Taiwanese, Tseng said. According to the Executive Yuan’s Department of Cyber Security, Taiwan is targeted by an average of 30 million cyberattacks per month, with more than half of them suspected to have originated in China. The spread of disinformation is a form of information warfare that has troubled Taiwan in the past few years, said Puma Shen (沈伯洋), an assistant professor at National Taipei University’s Graduate School of Criminology. While false news reports and content farms created by China’s cyberarmy tend to have little effect due to their low quality, “moles” in Taiwan who cooperate with China to spread misinformation — such as public affairs agencies, politicians and local influencers — pose a much bigger threat, Shen said. Words and sentences written by “local collaborators” are consistent with styles Taiwanese are used to, making it harder to judge the source of the information, as well as its validity, he said, adding that this model of collaboration is most commonly seen in the run-up to elections. Cognitive warfare is another form of information warfare, but China’s cognitive warfare has had little effect, considering election outcomes in Taiwan, Tseng said, adding that compared with US society, rifts among Taiwanese have not widened significantly. Cognitive warfare aims to influence the perceptions of a target audience and create a mainstream narrative that favors a type of candidate, he said. Although Taiwanese are on the alert for Chinese threats because of
The annual live-fire Han Kuang military exercises started yesterday with a simulated attack by China to test the combat readiness of Taiwan’s reserve forces. Reservists were instructed to report by 8am to sites across Taiwan, while some auto repair plants, shipyards and aircraft hangars were temporarily commandeered. In response to the simulated attack by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Taiwanese fighter jets, which are usually deployed on the west coast of Taiwan proper, flew to Chiashan Air Base in Hualien County, which would help avoid a direct hit by Chinese missiles or bombardment. As part of the drill, troops responded to simulated air raids, warships conducted naval maneuvers and armored vehicles were moved into culverts and under bridges, where they were covered with multispectral camouflage nets. This year’s exercises focus on three main areas, starting with a test of the armed forces’ ability to repel the enemy in the first wave of an attack. The other two areas, which are to be tested over the next few days, aim to defeat the enemy in littoral zones and neutralize remaining enemy forces on beaches and other landing areas. One of the highlights of this year’s exercises is the participation for the first time of the combined arms battalions, which were established in September last year and comprise infantry and cavalry units, snipers, liaison officers from the three branches of the military, and drone and missile operators. With the ability to operate independently during battle, the battalions are to take part in anti-landing drills in the last stage of the exercises to test their combat readiness and their commanders’ skills in leading troops from different military branches. The exercises also include the test-firing of a torpedo from a Chien Lung-class attack submarine and a simulated rescue of government leaders taken hostage by invading forces. Computer-simulated war games are to be held
Nearly 90,000 orders for physical Triple Stimulus Vouchers through Chunghwa Post’s online system had been made within six hours of the launch of the service yesterday, the company said. As of Friday last week, 10.35 million people had either ordered physical copies of the government-issued vouchers at convenience stores or linked the vouchers to their credit cards or electronic payment accounts. Chunghwa Post estimated that a large percentage of the remaining 13.62 million people would claim their vouchers from post offices nationwide. In addition to using limiting purchase times according to national ID number and opening branches on Saturday this week and next week to help prevent crowds, Chunghwa Post on Sunday announced that it would allow people to order vouchers from 9am yesterday. They can do so through Chunghwa Post’s Web site or by calling 0800-700-199 to avoid long wait times at branches, it said. While people who called the hotline said that the lines were often busy, those ordering vouchers online said that they finished ordering in less than five minutes. Chunghwa Post’s system accepted more than 10,000 advance orders for vouchers within just 20 minutes of its launch and by 10:30am, orders had reached 34,800, company statistics showed. As of 6pm yesterday, the online system had processed 121,000 requests, it said. People who want to order vouchers can visit the Web site and click on the icon that reads: “I want to order Triple Stimulus Vouchers” in Chinese (我要預約振興三倍券) or visit https://bit.ly/2WdCvHL, it said. Those ordering vouchers for fewer than five people should click on the icon that reads “Sporadic Orders” (零星預約), while those placing orders for more than five people should use “Bulk Orders” (大宗預約), it said, adding that a collection post office can be selected and a pickup appointment arranged. People who order vouchers online can start claiming them on Monday next week, Chunghwa Post
TOP TEN: Last year, more than 390,000 people sought treatment for kidney disease, including more than 90,000 who were on dialysis, which the NHIA said was a record
Chronic kidney disease last year was Taiwan’s costliest disease, with the National Health Insurance system paying NT$53.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) in fees related to it, the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) said. The top five costliest diseases funded by the system last year also includes type 2 diabetes (NT$30.8 billion), gingivitis and periodontal disease (NT$18 billion), tooth decay (NT$16.4 billion), and primary hypertension (NT$14 billion), NHIA data showed. Rounding out the top 10 are anti-tumor treatments in hospitals (NT$13.4 billion), including radiotherapy and chemotherapy; respiratory failure (NT$12.5 billion); chronic ischemic heart disease (NT$12.2 billion); schizophrenia (NT$1.15 billion); and malignant tumor of the bronchi or lung (NT$11 billion). More than 397,000 people last year sought treatment for chronic kidney diseases, including more than 92,000 people who received dialysis treatment, marking a record high, the data showed. National Taiwan University Hospital nephrologist Chiang Chih-kang (姜至剛) yesterday said that Taiwan has one of the highest prevalence and incidence rates of kidney disease in the world, and the incidence rate in people aged 65 or older is increasing. Kidney function declines with age in almost everyone by an average of 1 percent per year after the age of 40, so a person’s kidney function could have declined by 40 percent by the time they are in their 80s or 90s, he said. However, Chiang said that many risk factors cause kidney function to decline faster, including diabetes, drug use or long-term exposure to air pollutants. About 46 percent of people who are on dialysis have diabetes, usually with poor glycemic control, he said, adding that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have long been regarded as dangerous for people who have chronic kidney disease. Heavy metal substances or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in particulate matter can also damage kidneys when inhaled, he said. NHIA data showed that the highest average medical fee per person was for respiratory
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages
Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers are injecting grout and rearranging pipelines under the street as part of the repairs, which would take two to three days to complete, Public Works Department Deputy Director Chan Jung-feng (詹榮鋒) said. A total of 158 people were forced to leave their homes due to structural damage to some of the surrounding buildings, and 84 people have relocated to hotels, while others are staying with relatives, New Taipei City Fire Department data showed. Although preliminary assessments concluded that the conditions of homes damaged in the collapse were within safety standards, grout injections could reinforce their foundations, Chan said. The construction company that allegedly caused the incident has admitted negligence, and is to pay a NT$90,000 fine for undermining public safety as well as residents’ expenses incurred by the damage, he said. The department said the collapse was likely related to mismanagement at the construction site. New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said he would uphold rigorous standards in assessing the safety of the affected buildings, and promised residents that the foundation of the street would provide greater stability after the repairs. “If residents are not at peace with their homes, I would not be at peace, either,” Hou said, in an effort to address residents’
The locally produced psychological horror film Detention (返校) was the biggest winner at the Taipei Film Awards on Saturday, snatching up the NT$1 million (US$33,769) grand prize and five others. The high-grossing film, adapted from a video game of the same name, also clinched awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Actress, Best Art Design, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Design. The film grossed more than NT$67.7 million at the box office in its first three days. Set in the 1960s during the White Terror era, the movie follows two high school students trapped in an empty school full of vengeful spirits, as they search for a teacher who has disappeared. The jury praised the film as unique in Taiwan’s movie history. “This movie opens new doors for filmmaking in Taiwan because the idea for the film came from a video game, but it also addresses Taiwan’s White Terror history,” jury president Wu Nien-jen (吳念真) said. “This is a direction that Taiwan can build on in the future,” Wu said. Gingle Wang (王淨) won Best Actress for her role in the film. Mo Tzu-yi (莫子儀) won Best Actor for the crime drama Dear Tenant (親愛的房客), which investigates the death of a grandmother and the tenant of her rooftop apartment. Chang Jung-chi (張榮吉) won Best Director for the basketball drama We Are Champions (下半場), which focuses on the relationship of two brothers. The film also clinched the awards for Best Cinematography, accepted by filmmaker Chen Ta-pu (陳大璞), and Outstanding Artistic Contribution, won by stunt performer Hung Shih-hao (洪?顥) and choreographer Chia Fan (賈凡). The Best Documentary award was given to Wu Hui-ling (吳蕙伶) on behalf of her elder sister Wu Yu-ying (吳郁瑩), who directed The Good Daughter (阿紫), a film about the staggering account of a Vietnamese immigrant who faces a dilemma in trying to support her disabled husband and her family
Immigration authorities yesterday said they have located an Indonesian migrant worker wanted on suspicion of identity theft whose whereabouts had been unknown since she tested positive for HIV. A specialized unit from the National Immigration Agency (NIA) found the 38-year-old pregnant woman in Taoyuan early yesterday, immigration agents said. She is expected to be transferred to the Miaoli District Prosecutors’ Office following allegations that she committed fraud by assuming the identity of another person, they said. Ching Shao-an (荊少安), head of the NIA’s specialized operation squad in Taoyuan, said the woman arrived in Taiwan to work as a caregiver in July last year, but in December left her job to join her Indonesian boyfriend, also an absconded migrant worker, who lives in Yunlin County. The woman last month discovered she was pregnant and decided to have an abortion, Ching said. When seeking an abortion at a Yunlin clinic on June 8, she allegedly used an Alien Resident Certificate and a National Health Insurance card borrowed from an Indonesian acquaintance on the pretext of helping her obtain a SIM card, the NIA’s Yunlin County Service Center said. Her abortion request was refused by the doctor on the grounds that she was already six months pregnant, the NIA said. The clinic notified Yunlin County’s Public Health Bureau after the results of a blood test showed that the woman was HIV positive, it said. However, the health bureau said that when it tried to contact the woman about the test results, it instead reached the acquaintance whose identity documents she had allegedly stolen. An investigation into the woman found that she had four Taiwanese boyfriends, bureau officials said, adding that they were concerned the virus could spread given the difficulties authorities are having in identifying the men.
The Teacher Chang Foundation, a nonprofit social services organization, said that requests for assistance related to family conflicts have increased nearly 20 percent since January, compared with the same period last year. The increase in domestic violence and other conflicts appeared to be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused families to spend more time at home, the group said. Since January, the group has received 179 requests for assistance related to domestic violence, which is 28 more than it received in the first half of last year, it said. Although the foundation handled fewer social-assistance cases in the first half of the year — 8,632 compared with 9,722 last year — it conducted more home visits last year, it said, adding that it did not do home visits this year due to the pandemic. It also did not process telephone requests throughout January due to a system update, it added. The group so far this year has received 3,267 calls from people seeking information about resources, which made up the bulk of its calls, Teacher Chang said. It also received 2,590 calls from people asking how to gain more autonomy in their marriages, and 2,031 calls from people asking general questions about family relationships, it said. There were significantly more callers looking for information than last year, and most of them wanted help finding work or applying for financial assistance, as they had lost their jobs or were on unpaid leave because of the pandemic, the foundation said. Many callers were parents having trouble with their children who spent more time at home due to class cancelations, it said. A number of the domestic violence-related calls were from people directed to the group by the Taichung City Center for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Teacher Chang secretary-general Liu Su-fang (劉素芳) said. Citing an example of the cases the
‘A DIFFICULT TIME’: The KMT has assigned caucus officials to draw up plans to disrupt the vote for Control Yuan members, but the DPP said that it is prepared
With lawmakers scheduled to vote on Control Yuan member nominees on Friday, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus has battened down the hatches to prevent opposition parties from obstructing the proceedings. The terms of the current Control Yuan president and members expire at the end of this month. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has nominated former Presidential Office secretary-general and former Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) as the new Control Yuan president, who is to double as the chair of the National Human Rights Commission, pending the approval of at least half of the lawmakers in the legislature. The Legislative Yuan is scheduled to review the qualifications of Chen tomorrow and those of Control Yuan member nominees from that afternoon to Thursday. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) on Saturday reiterated that his caucus would oppose Tsai’s nominations. The KMT has said that Chen’s nomination is inappropriate, because several members of her administrative team in Kaohsiung had been impeached by the Control Yuan, and that there are still several cases being probed by the branch that are related to Chen’s terms as mayor from 2006 to 2018. The KMT caucus has resolved to put caucus officials in charge of tactics to boycott the vote, Lin said, adding that they are going through a range of strategies and that the DPP can “expect a difficult time.” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus secretary-general Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said that the DPP caucus would keep its guard up in the days leading up to the vote. The DPP caucus would work to prevent the KMT caucus storming the legislative chamber and occupying the speaker’s podium as it did at the start of the current extraordinary session, to avoid conflict, Chung said. “If we do not take precautions, the opposing side might think they stand a chance,” he said. In other developments,
The Ministry of Justice on July 1 unveiled a mandatory preview of draft amendments to the Regulations for the Execution of the Death Penalty (執行死刑規則), which would remove articles governing the use of organs from executed convicts. Although the use of organs from executed prisoners has been banned in Taiwan since the Human Organ Transplantation Act (人體器官移植條例) was amended in 2015, three articles in the regulations still contain rules that regulate the practice, the ministry said. The articles state that an inmate awaiting capital punishment who wishes to donate their organs should sign a consent form and obtain approval from their spouse or a relative within three degrees of kinship; the execution should be carried out by a shot to the head in cases of prisoners who have consented to donate organs; and the body of an executed convict should be transferred to a hospital for organ removal surgery after they are determined to be dead. Taiwan has not performed any organ transplantation from executed convicts in nine years, due to human rights and ethical concerns, the ministry said, citing as an example a controversy that erupted in 2011. That year, five prisoners were executed and three of the bodies were taken to a hospital for organ transplant surgery shortly after execution, it said. However, the incident caused an outcry from human rights groups, which said the organs might have been removed before the prisoners were legally brain dead, as the Brain Death Determination Procedure (腦死判定程序), issued in 1987 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare states that at least 16 hours of observation and two examinations are required before brain death can be declared. Recipients of the organs could also develop stress disorder after finding that the organs came from executed prisoners, it added. Another planned change to the regulations is a requirement for death row