Mon, Apr 12, 2021
The Baishatun Matsu Pilgrimage, one of the largest annual religious processions in Taiwan, was to set off from Miaoli County’s Baishatun (白沙屯) last night. The procession of the sea goddess Matsu (媽祖) is being organized by the Gong Tian Temple (拱天宮). President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited the temple in the afternoon to dedicate a plaque and take part in a ritual to move the deities from their seats in the temple to prepare them for the procession. Tsai said she prayed to Matsu to bring relief from the current water shortage. She was accompanied by central and local government officials including Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) and Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌), as well as former minister of culture Cheng Li-chiun (鄭麗君). About 78,000 people have signed up to participate in this year’s procession, which is to travel 400km to Chao Tian Temple (朝天宮) in Yunlin County’s Beigang (北港) and back. A record 55,000 people participated in last year’s event, the organizers said. Gong Tian Temple late on Thursday began pre-procession rituals by raising a banner to announce the start of this year’s pilgrimage. Worshipers have since flocked to the temple, bringing offerings of food and praying for a smooth journey. The banner was to be carried at the front of the procession, which was scheduled to set off at 11:40pm yesterday. The pilgrimage is officially recognized as the longest in Taiwan and is also known for its unplanned route, which is determined by the way in which Matsu’s palanquin moves or tilts during the procession. Only the date of arrival at the Yunlin temple and the return date to Miaoli are fixed, having been decided by Matsu during a ritual held before the Lunar New Year. Otherwise, the procession makes sudden turns and stops that are interpreted as reflecting the deity’s intentions, according to the Ministry
DECLINE: The nation saw negative net migration in the first quarter, when 2.48 million people left Taiwan, an increase of 2.04 percent from last year, data showed Taiwan’s population continued to decline in the first quarter of this year, as the nation’s deaths outnumbered births by more than 12,000, data compiled by the Ministry of the Interior showed. The number of deaths was 47,626, while the number of births was 34,917 during the period, the data showed. The number of births fell by 5,497, or 13.6 percent, from a year earlier, while the number of deaths increased by 659, or 1.4 percent, the data showed. Taiwan’s population declined for the first time last year, with 165,249 births and 173,156 deaths, earlier data showed. Among the 34,917 births in the first quarter of this year, 18,031 were boys and 16,886 were girls, while the crude birthrate was 6.01 per 1,000, the latest data showed. In January, the number of monthly births dropped below 10,000 for the first time in the nation’s history, with 9,601 babies born, while 11,497 were born in February and 13,819 last month. Taiwan also reported negative net migration in the first three months of this year, the data showed. A total of 2.25 million people immigrated, down 7.34 percent annually, while 2.48 million emigrated, up 2.04 percent year-on-year. As of the end of last month, the total population stood at 23,525,623, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier, or a loss of 194.2 people on average per day. Academics have attributed the declining number of births to a lower number of marriages, the ministry said. In the first quarter, 28,755 couples got married, down 13.25 percent from the same period last year, ministry data showed. At the same time, the number of divorces also fell by 6.92 percent to 11,691 from a year earlier, the data showed.
A strong earthquake on Indonesia’s main island of Java killed at least eight people, including a woman whose motorcycle was hit by falling rocks, and damaged more than 1,300 buildings, officials said yesterday. It did not trigger a tsunami. The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck off the island’s southern coast at 2pm on Saturday. It was centered 45km south of Sumberpucung town in East Java province, at a depth of 82km. Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday ordered swift rescue and relief efforts to help the victims. Two shelters for the displaced have been set up in the town of Lumajang. All of the casualties were reported in 15 districts and cities in East Java. “I have ordered ... immediate emergency response to search and find victims under the rubble and to treat the wounded,” Widodo said in broadcast remarks. Most industrial areas in East Java are located on the northern side of the island. Rahmat Triyono, who heads the earthquake and tsunami center at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, said the undersea quake did not have the potential to cause a tsunami. Still, he urged people to stay away from slopes of soil or rocks that have the potential to form a landslide. The quake caused falling rocks to kill a woman on a motorcycle and badly injured her husband in East Java’s Lumajang District, Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Raditya Jati said. About 1,189 homes and 150 public facilities, including schools, hospitals and government offices, were damaged, he said. Rescuers retrieved four bodies from the rubble in Lumajang’s Kali Uling village. Three people were also confirmed killed by the quake in Malang District. Television reports showed people running in panic from malls and buildings in several cities in East Java province. This was the second deadly disaster to hit Indonesia last week, after Tropical
A security guard was wounded in a bomb blast outside a military-owned bank in Myanmar’s second-biggest city yesterday morning, as the civilian death toll from the junta’s brutal crackdown on dissent topped more than 700 at the weekend. The country has been in turmoil since the military removed Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1. Myawaddy Bank’s biggest branch in Mandalay was targeted yesterday morning and a security guard was injured in the explosion, local media reported. The bank is one of scores of military-controlled businesses that have faced boycott pressure since the coup, with many customers demanding to withdraw their savings. There has been heavy bloodletting in the past few days. On Saturday, a local monitoring group said security forces gunned down and killed 82 anti-coup protesters the previous day in the city of Bago, 65km northeast of Yangon. The UN office in Myanmar late on Saturday wrote on Twitter that it was following the bloodshed in Bago, where it said medical treatment had been denied to the injured. Overall, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has verified 701 civilian deaths since the putsch. The junta has a far lower number: 248, a spokesman said on Friday. Despite the bloodshed, protesters continued to rally in parts of the country. University students and their professors marched through the streets of Mandalay and the city of Meiktila yesterday morning, according to local media. Some carried stems of Eugenia flowers — a symbol of victory. In Yangon, protesters carried a banner that read: “We will get victory, we will win.” Protesters there, as well as in the city of Monywa, took to writing political messages on leaves, including “We must win,” and calling for UN intervention to prevent further bloodshed. Across the country people have been urged to participate in a torchlight protest in their neighborhoods after sunset last night. Unrest also erupted on
The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, would take place next week, Buckingham Palace said on Saturday, announcing a stripped-back ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, and a return for Prince Harry, but not his wife, Meghan Markle. The announcement came as the couple’s eldest son, heir to the throne Prince Charles, 72, paid a heartfelt tribute to his “dear Papa,” and said he and the royal family missed him “enormously.” “My dear Papa was a very special person who I think above all else would have been amazed by the reaction and the touching things that have been said about him, and from that point of view we are, my family, deeply grateful for all that,” he added. “It will sustain us in this particular loss and at this particularly sad time.” The Duke of Edinburgh — the 94-year-old queen’s husband of 73 years — died peacefully on Friday just two months short of his 100th birthday, triggering eight days of national mourning. Royal officials said his funeral, which is to be televised, would take place at 2pm on Saturday in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, west of London. It is to be preceded by a national minute’s silence. Government guidelines restrict mourners to just 30 people and close attention has been paid to the pared-down guest list for the funeral, particularly whether the duke’s grandson Harry would attend. Palace officials confirmed he would, but his American wife, Meghan, who is pregnant with their second child, had been advised against traveling from the US on medical grounds. The couple, who quit frontline royal duties last year, have launched a series of broadsides against the royals, including accusing them of racism and of failing to treat Meghan’s mental health. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would also not be attending the funeral because of COVID-19 restrictions, Downing Street
‘IMPORTANT PARTNER’: The new guidelines aim to encourage US engagement with Taiwan, which reflects a deepening relationship, the US Department of State said The US Department of State on Friday issued new guidelines governing US officials’ interactions with their Taiwanese counterparts, a move welcomed by Taipei as turning a new page in bilateral relations. Shortly before leaving office, then-US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Jan. 9 announced the cancelation of previous contact guidelines, which he said were “self-imposed restrictions” that attempted to appease the Chinese Communist Party regime in Beijing. However, the status of the guidelines has been unclear since US President Joe Biden entered the White House. Asked about the issue during a legislative session on Thursday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said the adjustments could be significant. The department on Friday said it had issued the new guidelines to “encourage US government engagement with Taiwan that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship.” The guidelines “liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan, consistent with our unofficial relations, and provide clarity throughout the executive branch on effective implementation of our ‘one China’ policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three Joint Communiques, and the ‘six assurances,’” it said in a news release. “The guidance underscores Taiwan is a vibrant democracy, and an important security and economic partner that is also a force for good in the international community,” it said. “The new guidelines have been issued following a review as set forth in the Taiwan Assurance Act.” The Taiwan Assurance Act, signed into law by then-US president Donald Trump in December last year, requires the US Department of State to review the contact guidelines, in addition to supporting normalized sales of arms to Taiwan and Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations. The department did not publish the entire content of the new guidelines, and the American Institute in Taiwan said it has no details to offer beyond the department’s statement at the moment. The new guidelines,
APPOINTMENT NEEDED: Officials need to discuss the timing, cost and vaccine locations, and would reveal the details next week at the soonest, Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said it plans to release 10,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for people to get vaccinated at their own expense. It also said that 10 local government heads would be vaccinated tomorrow. There would be eligibility requirements for people to get vaccinated out-of-pocket, such as a need to travel abroad to study, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC. Chen made the announcement on the sidelines the Asia-Pacific Social Innovation Summit. The center is planning to release part of the AstraZeneca vaccines in its stock for people to get vaccinated at their own expense, but the timing, cost, vaccination locations and other details need to be further discussed, he said, adding that an official announcement would be made next week at the soonest. “Our goal is to release 10,000 doses... Our current plan is for them [people] to get vaccinated at hospitals where the vaccine is being offered now,” Chen said when asked how many doses would be made available and where. Asked if Taiwanese businesspeople in China could apply to get vaccinated at their own expense, Chen said: “The quarantine rules in China are relatively tight, so getting vaccinated or not does not matter too much, but if they express such a demand, we would consider including them.” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesperson, said people would need to make an appointment to get vaccinated so that hospitals can make arrangements in advance, as each multidose vial of the AstraZeneca vaccine contains 10 doses. As eligibility for government-funded vaccines is to be expanded to include second and third priority groups tomorrow, Chuang said: “We have received information that 10 local government heads will get vaccinated on Monday [tomorrow], so the center wants to express its gratitude
TEMPERED EXPECTATIONS: Although analysts welcomed the updated guidance from Washington, Taipei should push back on ‘unnecessary’ restrictions, they said New US guidelines expanding official contacts with Taiwan might be a positive step, but Taipei should still try to break down limits on bilateral interactions that stem from Washington’s “one China” policy, foreign affairs analysts said on Saturday. On Friday, the US Department of State announced that it had issued new guidelines to “liberalize” government contacts with Taiwan, which it said were designed to “encourage engagement ... that reflects our deepening unofficial relationship.” Although not made public, the guidelines would reportedly allow US officials to meet with their Taiwanese counterparts in US federal buildings and at Taiwanese representative offices in the US, but prohibit them from attending celebrations of Double Ten National Day and other Taiwanese holidays. While these measures constitute “a big difference” from the past, when meetings between US and Taiwanese officials were often informal and low-key, the US’ “one China” policy remains unchanged, said Yen Chen-shen (嚴震生), an adjunct researcher at National Chengchi University’s Institute of International Relations. Easing limits on official contacts with Taiwan would bolster US President Joe Biden’s position in negotiations with China, Yen said. Meanwhile, Taiwan must judge the new guidelines based on whether they lead to more high-level contact with the US, or whether they allow US officials to attend events at Taiwan’s Twin Oaks estate in Washington, he said, referring to the former residence of Taiwanese ambassadors to the US, which is now used for official functions. Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that regardless of the guidelines, Taiwan must continue to push back against “unnecessary” restrictions on interactions with the US, which stem from the US’ “one China” policy. The move by the US does highlight Taiwan’s increasingly important role, from a political, military and economic standpoint, in the US’ strategic approach to China and the Asia-Pacific region, he said. Michael Kau (高英茂), who was
The Republic of China (ROC) has always supported democracy and freedom, and maintaining friendly US relations is the consensus of Taiwanese, former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said yesterday in response to new US guidelines on interactions with Taiwanese officials. Chu made the remarks on the sidelines of the annual Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage in Changhua County in response to media queries on whether he considered himself “pro-US” after the US Department of State on Friday announced new rules that “liberalize guidance on contacts with Taiwan.” As the ROC has always supported democracy and freedom, “being pro-US or supportive of all democratic and free nations is what we must do,” Chu said, citing as an example EU nations and the UK. “This is not me playing this [pro-US] card. It is the consensus of the nation.” Besides the ability to uphold democracy and freedom, the KMT hopes for peace across the Taiwan Strait, Chu said, calling it the “biggest proposition” of the party, which he led from January 2015 to January 2016. Asked whether he would run for KMT chairman in the July party election, Chu said that when it came to politics, it is not necessary to occupy certain positions, “but to really do things well.” Separately yesterday, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and Sean Lien (連勝文), vice chairman of the KMT-affiliated National Policy Foundation, attended an ROC Military Academy alumni event in Taoyuan. Asked by reporters whether he thought Han running for KMT chairman would threaten his chances of re-election, Chiang said: “I have not thought so much” about the prospect. When asked who he would support in the KMT chairperson race, Lien said: “I support myself.” Asked whether that meant he would run for the position, Lien added: “I support myself in continuing to fight for the
SETTING A MISSION: Pointing to a TRA project to offer subway-like services despite infrastructure limits, the organization said the agency needs a clear path forward A nonprofit organization dedicated to the nation’s railway development on Saturday urged the government to clearly state its plans to reform the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA). The Cabinet has signaled its intention to reform the 73-year-old TRA following the derailment of Taroko Express No. 408 on April 2, which killed 49 people, but its vision for the agency has been vague, the Society of Railway and National Planning said in a statement. The TRA has over the past 20 years boasted of the ways it would expand services, but that has only meant that it essentially operates as a different entity from the one it intends to be, the group said. It pointed to a TRA project to transform part of its services into an “urban subway” by building more stations and adding more frequent lines in metropolitan areas, the organization said. The program has received mostly negative feedback due to the limited potential to upgrade TRA infrastructure, including the lack of trains needed for intensive subway-like operations, it said. There are also concerns over the management and scheduling of fast, long-distance trains and slower, local trains operating on limited track space, which could result in more delays, it added. The government must outline which acts and regulations would be amended or created to transform the TRA, the group said. It must first decide whether a new TRA should be covered by the Company Act (公司法) or the Administrative Act of State-owned Enterprises (國營事業管理法), or continue operating under the Statute of Organization for Taiwan Railroad Administration Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (交通部臺灣鐵路管理局組織條例), it said. Only when the rules are identified can there be a sustainable structure under which employment, salaries and other administrative issues can be finalized, it added. A successful transformation of the TRA depends on consensus between labor and management, the organization said. The group’s statement follows
Authorities have extended a travel ban and other restrictions on a suspected Chinese intelligence officer and his wife, who were charged with money laundering and breaches of the National Security Act (國家安全法), the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said on Friday. Xiang Xin (向心) and his wife, Kung Ching (龔青), were on Thursday last week charged with breaching the Money Laundering Control Act (洗錢防制法) in a case related to self-professed Chinese spy William Wang Liqiang (王立強). Restrictions barring the couple from leaving the country, which expire today, were extended for another eight months, as an investigation continues into allegations that they established a spy network in Taiwan. Xiang and Kung were stopped at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Nov. 24, 2019, while allegedly attempting to flee the country, one day after Australian media aired interviews with Wang. Wang told reporters that he had conducted espionage in Taiwan and that Xiang was a spy for China, directing espionage activities, intelligence gathering and covert operations in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The couple had registered China Innovation Investment Ltd (中國創新投資) in Taipei, with Xiang as executive director and Kung as acting director, prosecutors said, adding that they invested in real estate, purchasing three luxury condominium units in Taipei’s Xinyi District (信義). Wang told Australian media that the firm was a shell company, “whose founding mission was to infiltrate Hong Kong, but was later tasked with influencing elections in Taiwan.” Over the past decade, the couple had illegally transferred about NT$740 million (US$26.02 million at the current exchange rate), mainly from the Shanghai-based Guotai Investment Holding Group (國太投資), prosecutors said. In 2018, a Shanghai court sentenced Guotai Investment executives to prison for terms ranging from 12 years to life after they were found guilty of earning 40 billion yuan (US$6.1 billion at the current exchange rate) from illegal investment schemes. The business was
NUMBERS RISE: While reporting another imported case, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang said that the man who died was in his 60s and had a chronic disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday confirmed one death from COVID-19, bringing the total to 11 since the outbreak began, and one new imported case. The person, who died on Friday, was a Taiwanese in his 60s with a chronic illness, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), the CECC’s spokesman, told a news conference. The man, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 24, about five days after showing symptoms, was one of the 21 people who contracted the disease in a cluster infection at Taoyuan General Hospital, Chuang said. His condition deteriorated after he was admitted to the hospital, Chuang said, adding that he was put on a respirator and an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine. Eventually, his condition improved and he was removed from isolation on Feb. 22 after he was deemed to no longer be infectious, but he remained at the hospital to be treated for other diseases, Chuang said. He was taken off the ECMO machine on March 17, but began experiencing shortness of breath, low blood pressure and serious arrhythmia on Thursday, Chuang said, adding that he died the next day from pneumonia complicated by septic shock. One imported case from the US was also reported yesterday. The case is a Taiwanese in her 20s, who returned home on April 3 with a negative COVID-19 test report issued within three days of her flight, Chuang said, adding that she reported having no symptoms upon arrival. However, while in home quarantine, she developed a cough, a runny nose and nasal congestion, diarrhea and a partial loss of smell, and she was confirmed as having COVID-19 yesterday after being tested on April 9, Chuang said. He said that 18 people who came in contact with her on her flight have been identified. Three of them
RELIABLE: The station, with its highly accurate data, has overcome the challenge of determining pollutant sources, which had previously plagued EPA officials An air quality monitoring station at National Central University (NCU) has become an index station for NASA’s regional measurements due to the accuracy of its data, the university said yesterday. The station uses micropulse lidar to determine the source of air pollutants, by measuring changes in wave forms when they are bounced back by atmospheric particulate matter, the university said. Chang Shuenn-chin (張順欽), director-general of the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) Department of Environmental Monitoring and Information Management, said the station has overcome the challenge of determining pollutant sources, which had plagued EPA officials before. “Although ground-level sensors can tell you about the special characteristics of pollutants in a particular area, they cannot tell you the direction particles fall in or how they disperse,” he said. The EPA started using micropulse lidar technology from NASA in 2002, when it began long-term monitoring of particle dispersal. The data it collected allowed it to analyze air pollution patterns and concentrations, and to gain a more accurate understanding of air quality changes, Chang said. The micropulse lidar system can gather readings from as high as 30km in the atmosphere, at a vertical resolution of 75m, and gathers information 24 hours a day, he said. “If the wave forms of backscattered electrons it detects are irregular, it has likely detected elements from the Earth’s crust, for example from a sandstorm,” he said. “Globular wave forms likely indicate pollutants produced by high-temperature combustion,” he said. NASA has collected atmospheric data in this manner since 2000 through the US federated Micro-Pulse Lidar Network (MPLNET), university assistant professor Wang Sheng-hsiang (王聖翔) said. The network collects data from around the world, and is able to analyze the environmental effect of smog and sandstorms in China, as well as from the slash-and-burn agricultural practices employed in Indochina, he said. MPLNET comprises
Environmentalist Huang Huan-chang (黃煥彰) was on Friday presented with the Lifetime Environmental Protection Award at this year’s Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations Convention in Taipei. In response, Huang urged people to show concern about the pollution of farmland and fish ponds, adding that inaction would only harm their own bodies. It is of utmost importance for the government to update its waste disposal legislation, especially in light of government policies promoting high-tech industrial development, he said. Loopholes in existing legislation mean company owners who illegally dispose of waste often receive small fines or little punishment, and some even get away scot-free, he said. In addition to that, the government has not invested in handling waste matter generated by the high-tech sector, so the problems presented by pollution are very real, Huang said. There are about 200 sites where illegal waste is disposed every year, but only 8 percent of those sites are cleaned up, he said. Huang said that without action, such disposal sites would grow and eventually affect agriculture and fish ponds, which would then evolve into a food safety issue. Speaking of his experiences, Huang said that over the past 20-odd years his efforts to protect the environment have not always gone smoothly, adding that he has been threatened over the telephone and was even followed by gang members. Some of his friends have become estranged because they believed falsehoods created to alienate them, Huang said, adding that he was even locked in a room by a plant owner when he visited to gauge the extent of pollution produced by the plant facility. Despite everything, Huang pledged to continue his work to protect the environment.
Even the nation’s tallest mountain has not been spared from a water shortage, with the Yushan National Park Administration Office yesterday providing three tips on how to conserve water as stores dry up. Millions visit the park every year, many of whom stay in one of its 16 lodges and use the rainwater collected in their storage tanks, which hikers often jokingly call “lifesaving water.” However, as the worst shortage in decades continues to ravage central Taiwan, the water supply at Paiyun Lodge (排雲山莊) — the only accommodation on the popular main peak hike — has already dried up, the office said. The lodge is now using a diesel generator to pump in water from the upper reaches of the Nanzihsian River (楠梓仙溪), it said. The Central Gold Mine Cabin (中央金礦山屋) also has no water left, and is similarly pumping in water from the nearby Laonong River (荖濃溪), it added. All of the park’s other lodges are running dangerously low on water, highlighting the urgent need to conserve what is left, the office said, proposing three tips for hikers. First, it recommended consuming 30ml of water per 1kg of body weight daily, which would work out to 1.8 liters for a person weighing 60kg. As hiking is a strenuous activity, the office also suggested preparing at least double the recommended amount of water to ensure there is enough for the entire trip. Second, people should pack food that requires little water and little energy to prepare, it said. Third, hikers should be sure to familiarize themselves with the status of water sources along their route, the office said. If the route goes through an area without a water source, people should add a stop to their itinerary in advance to reduce the risk of any issues, the office added. Last, the office asked everyone to work together to conserve water to
National Taiwan University (NTU) Children’s Hospital yesterday released a picture book designed to help children overcome their fears by depicting the hospital as a fantastical world to explore. The book, titled National Taiwan University Children’s Hospital Wimmelbook (台大兒童醫院多多書), was created by the NTU Children’s Health Foundation in collaboration with publisher Aeroship and illustrator Sun Hsin-yu (孫心瑜), the first Taiwanese to win an award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. A wimmelbook is a fully illustrated book without words that employs full-spread drawings with abundant detail meant for a child to explore and make their own discoveries. Many children feel uncomfortable in hospitals as most have never experienced them before, said Frank Lu (呂立), director of the hospital’s pediatric pulmonary and critical care medicine division and convener of the foundation’s child-friendly healthcare project. “Getting an ultrasound or EEG [electroencephalogram] does not hurt, but as they are unfamiliar with it, children feel afraid,” he said. The wimmelbook could help familiarize children with hospitals and medical procedures to better prepare them for when they visit a real hospital, he said. Many children with terminal illnesses wonder why they are different from their peers and cannot do the same things, Lu said, adding that they sometimes even develop depression. However, through the book’s characters, children can see a reflection of themselves, he said. They can better understand that “treatment is a ritual to promote health, not a scary word,” Lu added. NTU Children’s Hospital continues to be a pioneer of child-friendly medicine, Lu said. From spatial design and expressive art therapy, to counseling and calming techniques, the hospital keeps seeking positive ways to help sick children, he said. Sun said this was her first time working with a hospital. When coming up with characters and choosing colors, she said she tried especially hard to appeal to children, and hopes that the book will help kids develop
AGAINST CHILDHOOD ILLNESS: The vaccine would be introduced in Taiwan first, where 1 million doses would be supplied starting as soon as next year, the firm said Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s (高端疫苗) phase 3 clinical trials for an enterovirus 71 vaccine completed the immunogenicity data “unblinding” on Saturday, with the results meeting Taiwan’s regulatory standard, the company said yesterday. The vaccine has a high efficacy against the virus, which can cause hand, foot and mouth disease, Medigen said in a Taiwan Stock Exchange filing. The trial results showed that antibody levels one month, six months and one year after two vaccine shots were higher than health authorities’ requirements, the company said. “The unblinded data showed the vaccine’s neutralizing antibody assay has qualified the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval mechanism, and Medigen plans to file new drug applications for the vaccine after completing the clinical trial reports,” it said. The phase 3 trials — conducted in Taiwan and Vietnam with 3,000 participants — evaluated the efficacy, safety, immunogenicity, cross protection and lot-to-lot consistency of the vaccine used for children under six years old. The vaccine aims to reduce the risk posed by the virus, which causes one of the most prevalent infectious diseases in Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia, Medigen chief executive officer Charles Chen (陳燦堅) told a news conference at the Taipei Exchange yesterday. The company plans to apply for local approval at the end of this quarter or early next quarter, Chen said, adding that he hopes that the vaccine would be regularly administered starting next year. Medigen plans to produce 1 million doses annually for the domestic market, where the drug would be introduced first, Chen said. For the Vietnamese market, 3 million to 5 million doses would be produced, as the virus is more widespread there, he said.
Taiwanese contract manufacturers of golf equipment reported revenue increases for last month and the first quarter, as the number of golfers continues to increase worldwide amid the COVID-19 pandemic, driving orders. The total rounds of golf played in the US, the world’s largest market for the sport, climbed 13.9 percent last year amid the increasing popularity of sports that allow social distancing, market research specialist Golf Datatech said in January. The trend also boosted golf equipment sales 10.1 percent last year from 2019, Golf Datatech said, adding that new product lineup by major golf brands provided strong momentum to the supply chain companies. Revenue at Fu Sheng Precision Co Ltd (復盛應用), a leading producer of golf club heads, last month grew 51.24 percent year-on-year and 26.95 percent month-on-month to NT$1.96 billion (US$68.9 million), the company said in a statement on Thursday. First-quarter revenue was NT$5.83 billion, up 61.08 percent year-on-year and 17.58 percent quarter-on-quarter, it said. Capital Investment Management Corp (群益投顧) said in a note on Friday that Fu Sheng’s results were in line with its expectations and attributed the growth to a gradual buildup of orders from golf brand clients. To diversify production locations and raise flexibility, Fu Sheng is building a new factory in Vietnam, Capital said, adding that the share of its shipments from the country might rise to above 50 percent. “Fu Sheng’s Vietnamese factories are nearing capacity. Due to US-China trade tensions, some US clients hope that their orders will not be produced in China, driving up demand for increased production capacity in Vietnam,” Capital said. Data provided by consulting firm National Golf Foundation suggest that at least 3 million beginners took up golfing in the US last year, up from 2.5 million beginners in 2019. The rise in players would bolster demand in the near term, analysts said. O-Ta Precision Industry Co Ltd (大田精密),
HIGH BASE: Issuance was higher than in the first quarters of 2015 to 2019, with TSMC being the biggest issuer, the Taipei Exchange said Corporate bond issuance slowed down last quarter, with the combined issuance amount falling 44 percent year-on-year to NT$82.84 billion (US$2.91 billion), Taipei Exchange data showed. That included NT$71.1 billion in regular bonds, down 49 percent from NT$138.28 billion a year earlier, and NT$11.74 billion in convertible bonds, up from NT$9.2 billion, the data showed. The overall decline was due to a high comparison base last year, when many local companies rushed to issue bonds in the second half of March after the central bank cut interest rates, the exchange said. However, bond issuance last quarter was higher than in the first quarters of 2015 to 2019, due to the low interest rate environment, the exchange said. Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank’s (台北富邦銀行) five-year NT$1 billion bonds issued in January had the lowest coupon rate of 0.4 percent in the first quarter, which was slightly higher than last year’s lowest coupon rate of 0.36 percent for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) NT$1.9 billion bonds, the data showed. TSMC was the biggest bond issuer in the first quarter, with issuance totaling NT$21.1 billion, followed by Yuanta Commercial Bank (元大銀行) and its parent company Yuanta Financial Holding Co (元大金控), which each issued NT$5 billion in bonds, the data showed. No green bond was issued in the first quarter, compared with four bond issuances totaling NT$7 billion a year earlier. The Financial Supervisory Commission on Thursday said that four companies had applied to issue green bonds, adding that the first of the bonds might be issued later this month.
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) plans to more strictly supervise foreign-registered Taiwanese companies listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) and the Taipei Exchange after several “KY companies” caused heavy investor losses and damaged confidence in the local markets due to fake accounts and other financial problems. From Pharmally International Holding Co and TOPBI International Holdings Ltd to Enterex International Ltd, VHQ Media Holdings Ltd and Kayee International Group Co Ltd, KY companies have made the headlines over the past few months, affecting as many as 42,100 investors and prompting the financial authorities and certified public accountants (CPAs) to examine their business operations and financial disclosures with greater caution. To improve KY companies’ corporate governance, the FSC would raise the required number of Taiwanese on their boards and require that independent directors supervise their implementation of internal controls, capital loans and endorsements, a report to the legislature’s Finance Committee said last month. To enhance transparency, the commission urged KY companies to hold more conference calls and advised them to have the chairperson or an independent director personally participate in the calls. From the second quarter, the financial statements of KY companies must be audited, the report said, highlighting key audit items to be inspected. After a KY company is listed, the financial authorities would extend the compliance period for the equity underwriters from two years to three. The FSC advised underwriters to gain a fuller understanding of the firms’ business operations and fund management. The report said that the TWSE and Taipei Exchange must collect more credit information from KY companies and promptly comprehend when information might affect their financial situation so that investors can be better protected. In 2008, the government encouraged overseas Taiwanese businesses to seek a primary listing on the TWSE or the Taipei Exchange to expand the equity markets’ scale, promote their
In September 2013, the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) quietly released an internal document entitled, “Coursebook on the Military Geography of the Taiwan Strait.” This sensitive, “military-use-only” coursebook explains why it is strategically vital that China “reunify” (annex) Taiwan. It then methodically analyzes various locations of interest to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) war planners. The coursebook highlights one future battlefield in particular: Fulong Beach, in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District, which it describes as “3,000 meters long, flat, and straight,” and located at “the head of Taiwan.” A black and white picture of Fulong’s sandy coastline occupies the lion’s share of the next page. The book has numerous aerial photos of Taiwan’s ports, cities, and river deltas. But this is the only potential invasion beach readers have the chance to admire. In fact, it’s the largest single image in the entire book. Yet for all the attention lavished on Fulong Beach, the PLA coursebook overlooks something critical. At the north end of the beach, lurking just outside the picture, is Taiwan’s 4th Nuclear Power Plant. Today, this massive seaside complex of white and red block structures sits idle. In 2014, construction was put on hold due to safety concerns. The plant’s future remains suspended in limbo, but a referendum this coming summer might finally seal its fate. Yet if it seems unlikely that Taiwan’s 4th Nuclear Power Plant will be splitting atoms on a future invasion day, the same cannot be said of its brother facility. The PLA coursebook also draws attention to a potential invasion beach in New Taipei City’s Jinshan District: Xialiao Beach. Located next to Yehliu Geopark, a tourist hotspot known for its otherworldly rock formations, Xialiao Beach plays host to Taiwan’s 2nd Nuclear Power Plant, an active facility with two powerful reactors. According to Rene Vienet, an
Taiwan is not truly doing enough to make an impact in the world today. Although it gives substantial aid to a number of countries — primarily its allies, by way of economic, agricultural, business, educational, health and other foreign aid — and it has made an impact with its distribution of health supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic — again principally to allies, and a few other Western nations — this country is not doing enough politically “on the ground” to really get democracy and liberal policies moving around the world. The government made an announcement “backing democracy” in troubled Myanmar, but that is not enough — it is only words. Taiwan needs to do more. Western countries have launched sanctions against the military government in Myanmar, but do not count on Taiwan doing that soon, as the nation is too obsessed with making money abroad to in any way disenable business and economic connections, no matter how authoritarian or dictatorial a given country might be. What Taiwan needs to do is actually enter into foreign relations and true diplomacy through actions such as sanctions against governments abusing human rights; active recognition of progressive, reformist states around the world and governments embarking on real change and development (as the US did with African and Middle Eastern countries during the Arab Spring); acceptance of more migrants and, most importantly, refugees and other displaced persons (more than just accepting those leaving Hong Kong, which is not a truly international move); active support of disaster aid (Taiwan has been fairly good here); support of positive UN actions (which Taiwan has in part done, but again mainly by way of words only); real support of racial justice anywhere in the world (and for that matter also at home); actual participation in supranational integration; and true peacemaking (launching a
FIFTY YEARS ON: ‘Don’t be afraid of competition, we can compete peacefully,’ said Yao Zhenxu, a Chinese player who was there when ‘ping-pong diplomacy’ began It was 50 years ago, but Zhang Xielin remembers vividly how a shaggy-haired US table tennis player stepped onto the Chinese team’s bus, a chance encounter which would shape history. It was the world championships in Nagoya, Japan, and Glenn Cowan mistakenly hopped in with Zhang and his teammates — an awkward moment because the US and China were then deeply at odds. “We were on the bus and were talking and laughing,” said Zhang, now 80. “But when we realized that an American had come onto the bus, we fell silent.” The Chinese triple world champion Zhuang Zedong eventually came forward and famously broke the ice, giving Cowan a silk embroidery as a souvenir from China. They did not know it at the time, but it was the spark for China and the US to begin normalizing relations, in what became known as “ping-pong diplomacy.” Zhang, a doubles world champion and later China’s coach, said: “Mr Zhuang understood that there was a difference between the US people and the US government, and that we should be nice to US people, so he took the initiative to chat with Glenn.” Photographers captured Zhuang and a 19-year-old Cowan shaking hands and smiling. “The newspaper came out the next day and it seemed that China and the US were about to have a relationship,” Zhang said. Days later, on April 10, 1971, the US team became the first Americans to step foot in China for nearly 25 years when they were invited to play friendly matches in the country. The thaw saw then-US president Richard Nixon visit China in February 1972 and a Chinese table tennis squad visit the US. In 1979 formal relations were established between the two countries. During the Americans’ groundbreaking trip, Yao Zhenxu played Cowan — who died in 2004. Yao still remembered the score — he won 21-12, 21-14
Rachael Blackmore, 31, on Saturday became the first female jockey to win the Grand National, coming home clear on Minella Times and bringing to mind other female trailblazers in sports. BILLIE JEAN KING Widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Billie Jean King was one of the founding members of the Women’s Tennis Association, won 12 singles titles at the Grand Slams and reached world No. 1. However, not everyone was convinced by the appeal of women’s tennis. Bobby Riggs had won Wimbledon in 1939 and by 1973, even though he was 55, was convinced he could defeat any woman. As a result, Riggs took on King in the “Battle of the Sexes” staged at the Houston Astrodome in front of 30,000 spectators and a television audience estimated at 90 million worldwide. King, 29, won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match. It would ruin the women’s tour and affect all women’s self-esteem,” King said. “To beat a 55-year-old guy was no thrill for me. The thrill was exposing a lot of new people to tennis.” FALLON SHERROCK “The Queen of the Palace” made history when she won two matches to reach the last 32 of the world darts championship last year. Sherrock, now 26, became the first woman to win at the tournament with a first-round victory over Ted Evetts, before delighting the Alexandra Palace crowd with a shock 3-1 win against Austrian 11th seed Mensur Suljovic. Despite a last-32 loss to Chris Dobey, Sherrock went on to break new ground again with an appearance as a “Challenger” in the Premier League, securing a draw with Glen Durrant. She has failed in two bids to secure a Professional Darts Corp Tour card, a feat that was achieved by four-time women’s world champion Lisa Ashton. DANICA PATRICK Motor
Four days after beating Liverpool in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, Real Madrid on Saturday defeated Barcelona 2-1 in El Clasico to return to the top of the table in La Liga. “We have to enjoy what we’ve been doing. We got two very good results and it wasn’t easy,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “Being in the lead won’t change anything for us. We have to keep working hard.” Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos scored first-half goals to give Madrid their sixth consecutive win in all competitions. “It was a very important victory for us,” Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez said after the Barcelona match. “It’s always special to win a game in El Clasico, and even more when we are so close together at the top in the fight for the title. You could say today was a final, but there is still a lot left in the league.” Barcelona got on the board in the second half with a goal by Oscar Mingueza. They nearly equalized with a shot from young substitute Ilaix Moriba that struck the crossbar in the final play of the match. “We tried until the end, but it wasn’t possible. We almost had it in that final play,” Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto said. “We depended on our own results had we won, but now we need to hope that our rivals stumble. We will keep fighting until the very end.” This was the first time that Madrid have taken the league lead since the early rounds of the competition — at one stage, they trailed Atletico by 11 points. The result ended Barcelona’s six-match winning streak in the league. They had won nine consecutive away matches in the competition. It was an even start at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano in Madrid, but the hosts opened the scoring in
David Havili yesterday saved the Canterbury Crusaders with a drop goal a minute into extra-time to give the Super Rugby Aotearoa leaders a 30-27 win over the Wellington Hurricanes. The Hurricanes, bottom of the table, led 27-20 in Wellington in the third quarter and threatened to inflict a second consecutive loss on the Crusaders, who last week fell to the Otago Highlanders. By the end of regulation time, the defending champions had leveled the score at 27-all, bringing the golden-point rule into play for the second time in New Zealand, and a minute after the restart Havili slotted the match-winning drop goal. Two early George Bridge tries had the Crusaders ahead 14-3 before the Hurricanes overcame handling issues and made inroads with direct running. It was tied 17-17 at halftime and the Hurricanes hit the front early in the second half, despite being down to 14 men when Ngani Laumape was in the sin bin — but they were unable to hang on. “We had to dig deep. We just had to hold the ball and be patient,” Crusaders captain Scott Barrett said. “Everyone in this competition is gunning for each other and there’s positions up for grabs in the finals — and the next few games are not going to get much easier.” However, the hard-fought victory came at a cost, with All Blacks Josh Goodhue and Joe Moody, who was playing his centenary game for the Crusaders, leaving the field injured in the first quarter. The Hurricanes had their moments when Ardie Savea and Dane Coles were on the field, despite losing a costly six lineouts, but when they were substituted in the second spell, the Crusaders woke up. They had started strongly with Bridge’s two tries, before Laumape scored for the Hurricanes to start a flurry of points around the half-hour mark. The Crusaders won a
RARE ADMISSION: A top Chinese expert was the first to publicly address the efficacy of the nation’s vaccines as it aims to inoculate 40 percent of its population by June China is considering mixing different COVID-19 vaccines to improve the relatively low efficacy of its existing options, a top health expert told a conference in Chengdu on Saturday. Authorities have to “consider ways to solve the issue that efficacy rates of existing vaccines are not high,” Chinese media outlet The Paper reported, citing Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Gao Fu (高福). His comments mark the first time a top Chinese expert has publicly alluded to the relatively low efficacy of the country’s vaccines, as China forges ahead in its mass vaccination campaign and exports its jabs around the world. China has administered about 161 million doses since vaccinations began last year — most people require two shots — and aims to fully inoculate 40 percent of its 1.4 billion population by June. Many have been slow to sign up for jabs, with life largely back to normal within China’s borders and domestic outbreaks under control. Gao has said that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is vaccination, and said in a state media interview that China aims to vaccinate 70 to 80 percent of its population between the end of this year and the middle of next year. An option to overcome the efficacy problem is to alternate the use of vaccine doses that tap different technologies, Gao said at the conference. This is an option that health experts outside China are studying as well. Experts should not dismiss the use of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines just because there are already several coronavirus jabs in the country, The Paper cited Gao as saying. None of China’s jabs conditionally approved for the market are mRNA vaccines, but products that use the technology include those by US pharma giant Pfizer and German start-up BioNTech, as well as by Moderna. China has four conditionally approved vaccines,
The COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa can “break through” Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine to some extent, a real-world data study released on Saturday found, although its prevalence in the country is low and the research has not been peer reviewed. The study in Israel compared almost 400 people who had tested positive for COVID-19, 14 days or more after they received one or two doses of the vaccine, against the same number of unvaccinated people with the disease. It matched age and gender, among other characteristics. The South African variant, B.1.351, was found to make up about 1 percent of all the COVID-19 cases across all the people studied, the study by Israel’s largest healthcare provider Clalit and Tel Aviv University said. However, among patients who had received two doses of the vaccine, the variant’s prevalence rate was eight times higher than among those who were unvaccinated — 5.4 percent versus 0.7 percent. This suggests the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, compared with the original COVID-19 virus and a variant first identified in the UK that has come to comprise nearly all COVID-19 cases in Israel, the researchers said. “We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group. This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine’s protection,” Tel Aviv University professor Adi Stern said. However, the researchers cautioned that the study only had a small sample size of people infected with the South African variant because of its rarity in Israel. They also said that the research was not intended to deduce overall vaccine effectiveness against any variant, as it only looked at people who had already tested positive for COVID-19, not at overall infection rates. Pfizer and BioNTech could not be
ONGOING TROUBLES: The incident follows an explosion at the plant last year, and came amid talks in Vienna with leaders over a new nuclear deal Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility yesterday experienced a problem involving its electrical distribution grid just hours after starting up new advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich uranium, state TV reported. It was the latest incident to strike one of Tehran’s most secure sites amid negotiations over the tattered atomic accord with world powers. State TV quoted Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi announcing the incident. “Kamalvandi said fortunately the incident has not caused any human damage or contamination,” a state TV anchorwoman said. “The cause of the incident is under investigation.” The word state television used in its report attributed to Kamalvandi in Farsi also can be used for “accident.” The organization, the civilian arm of its nuclear program, later published a statement using the same wording as the TV report, without elaborating. Natanz was affected by a mysterious explosion in July last year that authorities later described as sabotage. Israel, Iran’s regional archenemy, has been suspected of carrying out an attack there, as well as launching other assaults, as world powers negotiate with Tehran in Vienna over a nuclear deal. Iran also blamed Israel for the killing of a scientist who began the country’s military nuclear program decades earlier. Israel has not claimed any of the attacks, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly described Iran as the major threat faced by his country in the past few weeks. Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Iran announced it had launched a chain of 164 IR-6 centrifuges at the plant, injecting them with the uranium gas and beginning their rapid spinning. Officials also began testing the IR-9 centrifuge, which they say can enrich uranium 50 times faster than Iran’s first-generation centrifuges, the IR-1. A 2015 nuclear deal limited Iran to using only IR-1s for enrichment. Since former US president Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018,
In Normal Accidents, Charles Perrow’s classic analysis of technological systems and the accidents they foster, Perrow observes that “when we have interactive systems that are tightly coupled, it is ‘normal’ for them to have this kind of accident, even though it is infrequent.” Such accidents are an “inherent property” of technological systems, and we have them because our industrial society is full of tightly coupled, interactive systems with great potential for catastrophe. Here in Taiwan the omnipresence of tightly coupled systems — systems in which a failure in one leads to failure in another — operating in an atmosphere of intense production pressures and a lax safety culture has caused me to reflect often on Perrow’s insights. Everywhere you look, you see normal accidents. ACCIDENTS ALL TOO COMMON Last week there was yet another catastrophic train accident, predictably attributed to some operator (in this case, of the truck), predictably seized upon by the Chinese Nationalist Party to criticize the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, predictably causing outrage that will predictably re-focus on the next inevitable normal accident. Only the pain of the dead and injured, rippling across the tightly-knit communities of the east coast, will linger. Two systems, the road and the train, usually separated, interacted thanks to some minor neglect by the truck’s driver. With the tight coupling on the train line between trains leaving every 20-30 minutes a train was bound to come along. Additional safety features, such as a simple fence of concrete blocks along the road and/or rail line, had long been neglected. The 2018 train accident near Sinma (新馬) Train Station in Yilan County, which killed 18 (including 8 in one family) and injured over 180, was the catalyst for some reforms, including the creation of a Taiwan Transportation Safety Board out of the old Aviation Safety Council. The
April 12 to April 18 Hsieh Hsueh-hung (謝雪紅) stuffed her suitcase with Japanese toys and celebrity photos as she departed from Tokyo in February 1928. She knew she would be inspected by Japanese custom officials upon arrival in Shanghai, and hoped that the items would distract them from the papers hidden in her clothes. Penned with invisible ink on thin sheets, it was the charter of the Taiwanese Communist Party (台灣共產黨, TCP), which Hsieh and her companions would launch on April 15 under the directive of the Soviet-led Communist International with the support of their Chinese, Japanese and Korean counterparts. The ruse worked. The young and homesick Japanese inspector stared longingly at the photos, upon which Hsieh said, “You can have these if you want.” She was cleared immediately. The short-lived party was ill-fated from the very start. Just 10 days after its formation, the Japanese police raided its headquarters in the French Concession, arresting several members, including Hsieh, and confiscated the charter. The TCP later regrouped in Taiwan and continued their mission, but it was plagued by factionalism and government suppression. In June 1931, having finally obtained the list of members, the Japanese authorities launched a massive crackdown on the party, essentially destroying it within a few months. A total of 49 people were convicted. IMPORTANT MISSION After training for nearly two years at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East in Moscow, whose alumni include Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) and Ho Chi Minh, Hsieh and classmate Lin Mu-shun (林木順) departed for Shanghai on Nov. 13, 1927 with big plans. A month earlier, Japanese Communist Party (JCP) cofounder Sen Katayama approached Hsieh and Lin on behalf of the Communist International and tasked them with launching the TCP. Hsieh was to lead the operation with
Charles Baudelaire, whose 200th birthday yesterday was celebrated with stamp issues, new editions of his poetry and virtual events, is arguably more famous for his concept of the flaneur — an aimless stroller or ambler — than for his writing. That’s partly because reading his volumes Les Fleurs du Mal or Le Spleen de Paris requires a degree of application, but also because the idea of an individual moving through the city streets and finding aesthetic pleasure in the teeming crowds, appeals to us and continues to chime. At least, it did until spring last year, when the crowds were told to stay at home. But even in a ghost city, it’s possible to think and walk like a flaneur. Rainer Hanshe has translated several of Baudelaire’s books into English — including Belgium Stripped Bare, about the French author’s visit to Brussels just before it was struck by a cholera epidemic. He notes: “The flaneur is a figure who, while immersed in the urban throng, is simultaneously separate from it. If more empty than not, our streets are still to some degree populated, and we can engage in the form of communion that Baudelaire referred to as a mysterious intoxication.” This involves trying to get inside the heads of others — an act of ecstatic empathy that “peoples” the solitary walker’s imagination. It’s a radical idea that envisions the mind as a sponge or, perhaps, a social media channel. Baudelaire’s most memorable phrase for the flaneur was “a kaleidoscope gifted with consciousness.” Some of his ideas need updating. The flaneur might be “a prince enjoying his incognito wherever he goes,” but what about the princesses? Janet Wolff of the University of Manchester has written of the “invisible flaneuse,” of “respectable” women’s absence from public arenas in modern cities. In her 2016 book Flaneuse:
A: How’s the house-hunting going? Have you found yourself a new apartment yet? B: We’ve just started looking, but we’re not having too much luck. A: Where are you looking? B: Anywhere will do, to be honest, so long as it’s near an MRT station. I would prefer to be reasonably close to work. A: 你房子找得怎麼樣了？找到新公寓了嗎？ B: 我們才剛開始找，可是手氣不太好。 A: 你要找的是哪裡的房子啊？ B: 其實地點不拘，只要離捷運站近就可以了。我比較偏向找離我上班地點近一點的地方。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the army deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, with nearly 600 people killed in a crackdown on anti-coup protests — nearly 50 of the dead were children — and more than 2,700 arrested. The Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) — a group of MPs from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party — said on Wednesday last week that its lawyers would meet UN investigators to discuss alleged atrocities committed by the junta. “CRPH has received 180,000 items of evidence. This evidence shows widescale abuses of human rights by the military,” the group said in a statement. They include more than 540 extrajudicial executions, 10 deaths of prisoners in custody, torture, illegal detentions and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protests, the statement said. As well as breaking up protests and making arrests, the security forces have also sought to shut off news of the crisis. Internet access has been throttled, and independent media outlets raided and shut down. The military insists that it is responding proportionately to what it says are violent, armed protesters. It has defended seizing power, pointing to allegations of voting fraud in the election in November last year which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won comfortably. The growing bloodshed has prompted warnings that Myanmar could slide into broader civil conflict, particularly after 10 ethnic rebel armies came out in support of the protest movement. (AFP) 緬甸自從二月一日軍方將文職領導人翁山蘇姬趕下台以來，一直處於動蕩中，軍方鎮壓反政變抗議活動，已造成近六百人喪生──其中近五十人為兒童，逾兩千七百人被捕。 由翁山蘇姬所屬政黨之國會議員所組成的「緬甸聯邦議會代表委員會」（CRPH）上週三表示，其律師將與聯合國調查人員會面，討論軍政府被控所犯之暴行。 「緬甸聯邦議會代表委員會已收到十八萬項證據。證據表明，軍方大規模侵犯人權」，該委員會在一份聲明中表示。聲明說，這些事件包括五百四十多起非法處決、十名在押囚犯死亡、酷刑、非法拘禁，以及對和平抗議活動過度使用武力。 除了驅散抗議活動與逮捕民眾，安全部隊還試圖封鎖有關此危機情勢之消息；網路連線受到箝制，獨立媒體管道被查抄並關閉。 軍方堅稱，它是在對其所謂的暴力武裝抗議者做出適當反應，並辯稱，軍方奪取政權是由於翁山蘇姬所屬之政黨在去年十一月的選舉中，因作票而輕鬆勝選。 日益嚴重的流血事件讓人們警覺，緬甸可能會陷入範圍更廣的內戰，尤其是在十個少數民族叛軍表態支持抗議運動後。 （台北時報林俐凱編譯）
With the nation in the middle of a long period of drought, the water level at Sun Moon Lake has dropped significantly, exposing numerous objects that had been sitting at the bottom of the lake. One visitor who incautiously dropped his iPhone into the lake one year ago was recently reacquainted with his long-lost gadget as a result of the severe drought. The tourist, surnamed Chen, shared the news on the Facebook group “Baofei Commune.” Chen says he took part in a stand up paddle board activity one year ago at Sun Moon Lake. Chen says that he fell into the water many times and on one of these occasions, while his attention was averted, the iPhone that was hung around his neck fell into the lake. Chen says that after he realized he had lost his phone he felt so dejected that he had no desire to continue paddle boarding. However, one year later Chen was astounded to receive a message from the paddle boarding company informing him that his phone had been found. Chen was shocked and overjoyed, calling it a miracle. Because Chen had placed the iPhone inside a waterproof protective case, not only had the phone not been damaged by water, but, after connecting the charging cable, Chen was able to turn it on and use the device as if nothing had happened. Chen was so surprised that he decided to share the experience on Facebook. The Nantou County Sun Moon Lake Water Tourism and Recreation Development Association has confirmed Chen’s account, stating that the lake’s water level has recently fallen significantly because of the severe drought. Water has drained out of the stand up paddle boarding recreation area, which necessitated the association to rearrange the rows of kickboards and canoes moored on floating docks on the shoreside sandbanks.
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