Tropical storm forecast
A tropical depression that formed in the South China Sea yesterday could develop into a tropical storm, the Central Weather Bureau said. A tropical disturbance strengthened into a tropical depression at about 8am yesterday about 980km southwest of Oluanpi, the southernmost tip of Taiwan. It was moving west-northwest toward China’s Hainan Province and Vietnam at about 10kph, the bureau said, adding that it was not likely to have a direct impact on Taiwan. Another tropical disturbance southeast of the Philippines is likely to develop into a tropical depression today and strengthen into a storm next week, bringing rain to Taiwan, the bureau said.
Zeng wins Kaohsiung vote
Zeng Li-yan (曾麗燕) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was yesterday confirmed as Kaohsiung City Council speaker, replacing Hsu Kun-yuan (許崑源), who died after falling to his death in early June. Zeng was confirmed in a 35-27 vote, beating Chang Sheng-fu (張勝富) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Zeng said that the position comes with a big responsibility and she vowed to do her best. The KMT holds 31 seats on the council, while the DPP has 25. The remaining seats are held by smaller parties such as the People First Party and New Power Party. Hsu, 63, a seven-term Kaohsiung city councilor and two-term speaker, died after falling from his 17th-floor residence on June 6. Police are still investigating the incident. It remains unclear if Hsu’s death was associated with a successful recall vote against former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), which concluded hours before he died.
Taichung has most winners
Most of the winning tickets in the Power Lottery since 2014 have been sold in Taichung, Taiwan Lottery Co said. Over the past six years, 30 tickets have won the Power Lottery jackpot and nine were sold in Taichung, with total prize money of NT$9.14 billion (US$309.8 million at the current exchange rate), the company said. New Taipei City was in second place, with five tickets winning jackpots totaling NT$1.561 billion, while Tainan was third with four tickets winning jackpots totaling NT$3.594 billion, it said. There are 10 cities and counties where a winning ticket for the Power Lottery jackpot has not been sold in the past six years — Hsinchu city and county; Chiayi city and county; and Nantou, Pingtung, Taitung, Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang counties, the company said.
English teacher quota hiked
The Ministry of Education said that it plans to hire 300 English teachers per year on a contract basis, up from 80 per year, under a six-year foreign English teacher recruitment project. The ministry said that it has commissioned National Experimental High School in the Hsinchu Science Park to give guidance to schools interested in recruiting foreign English teachers and to meet with their students to gain an understanding of their needs. Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said that the ministry plans to do more than just turn Taiwan into a bilingual nation and that it would increase its annual budget 10-fold to NT$2 billion next year. The renewed push for bilingual education was outlined in the Blueprint for Developing Taiwan into a Bilingual Nation by 2030, which was approved by the Executive Yuan in 2018. It tasks the ministry with improving the English proficiency of Taiwanese to make the nation more competitive.
Proposed legislation in the US outlines three conditions in which Washington would be authorized to protect Taiwan were China to invade, a report said yesterday. US Representative Ted Yoho this month said he would introduce a Taiwan Invasion Prevention Act, which would authorize US military force if China were to invade Taiwan-controlled areas, including its outlying islands. According to a version of the bill obtained by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times), the bill lists three conditions in which a US president would be authorized to use military force to protect Taiwan: If China uses military force
Two new commuter trains are scheduled to be launched in January next year, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The acquisition of EMU-900 commuter train cars is part of the railway operator’s plan to replace 589 train cars that have been in operation for more than three decades. The agency has also placed orders to buy 600 intercity train cars. The first batch of 20 EMU-900 cars is to be delivered to the nation in September, although delivery might be delayed until October due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said. The batch would be formed into two trains of 10
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
MEDICINAL HERB: The FRIL protein extracted from hyacinth beans helped laboratory mice survive H1N1 infection and effectively neutralized the coronavirus A protein isolated from hyacinth beans, a medicinal herb known for centuries, has been found to restrict the activities of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses in laboratory experiments, a team of Academia Sinica researchers said yesterday. The beans’ curative effect is documented in the 16th-century Chinese medicine classic Compendium of Materia Medica (本草綱目) and they are also a food source in some countries, the Genomics Research Center’s Chemical Biology Division Director Alex Ma (馬徹) told a news conference in Taipei. Center senior research specialist Jan Jia-tsrong (詹家琮) experimented with up to 500 medicinal herbs to see if they could restrict influenza viruses and