More cold, more rain
The Central Weather Bureau said yesterday that another cold front is approaching Taiwan, which will likely lower the mercury to about 8oC in northern and central areas from today. The bureau said the cold front would last until Thursday, bringing overnight lows of 8oC to areas north of Tainan, the northeastern coast and the outlying islands of Kinmen and Matsu. Temperatures are expected to pick up on Thursday. The cold front is also expected to bring more rain through the week to northern and northeastern parts of Taiwan.
Hung Chi-te in car crash
Entertainer Hung Chi-te (洪其德) apologized yesterday to the family of a 59-year-old woman killed in a car accident. Police said the accident took place in Kenting at 12:15am yesterday, when Hung's car collided with the motorcycle Lu A-chao (盧阿昭) was riding. Hung said he had had a few whiskeys with a friend in Pingtung County on Sunday night and regretted what he did. He was released on NT$100,000 bail after being questioned by police, who said Hung's blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit. Last year, Hung tearfully apologized on TV for using drugs. He has recently opened a steamed dumpling restaurant with entertainer Jung Hsiung (戎祥) in Hengchun (恆春), Pingtung County.
Watchdog eyes legislature
The Citizen Congress Watch (CCW), a private watchdog that oversees the legislature, will pay close attention to the new legislature, in which the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-led "pan-blue" camp holds a three-quarter majority, the group's head said yesterday. CCW chairman Ku Chung-hua (顧忠華) said the watchdog would evaluate the performance of legislators "based on their attendance records and speeches during the legislative session that began on Feb. 1." The watchdog will also request the right to observe committee meetings relating to the rights of citizens, hold a forum in the middle of this month to prepare a white paper on parliamentary reform and organize a parade on March 15 demanding greater legislative transparency and openness, Ku said. Former legislator Joanna Lei (雷倩) said the watchdog should use three tools to supervise the legislature: the Legislative Yuan's Gazette, the property declarations of public servants and the Lobbying Act.
COA issues reminder
The Council of Agriculture is urging Taiwanese who are planning to travel abroad not to bring back prohibited goods, adding that sniffer dogs had been deployed at airports and harbors to safeguard the nation's environment. The council's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine said about a dozen dogs, mostly beagles, were on duty at major gateways around the country, inspecting baggage around the clock, especially for travelers returning from Southeast Asian countries, Hong Kong and Macau. A bureau official said many migrant workers from Southeast Asia return to Taiwan after a visit to their native countries during the Lunar New Year vacation, bringing with them hometown specialties, such as tropical fruits, spices, seeds and plants, which may carry viruses. "All banned goods will be destroyed," the official said. To protect the environment against foreign species and contagious diseases, the official said that travelers carrying contraband goods could face prosecution and jail.
PILLAGING PENGHU: A 7,539-tonne Chinese ship found mining sand in the Formosa Banks area was escorted by several CGA ships to a Kaohsiung harbor The Coast Guard Administration (CGA) yesterday announced that it had dispatched ships to intercept Chinese dredging vessels operating in the nation’s territorial waters near Penghu and detained 10 crew members, who were transported to Kaohsiung. A coast guard patrol discovered more than 20 dredging vessels in an area known as the Formosa Banks, 46 nautical miles (85km) southwest of Penghu County’s Cimei islet (七美) at about 5am on Wednesday. The agency responded by dispatching two patrol boats, the 3,000-tonne Kaohsiung and the 500-tonne Penghu, along with two frigates, to intercept the Chinese vessels, while an airborne observation unit was used to monitor
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
CAUTION: The CECC would first observe how the nation fares after easing domestic restrictions and wait for the pandemic to further subside before making its next move The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that relaxing domestic restrictions and border controls simultaneously might complicate efforts to reopen the nation, amid discussions about Taiwan’s exclusion by other countries in their first lists of tourists. The center hopes for there to be a period of observation following the easing of domestic restrictions, before it decides what to do next, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. Chen was responding to a question about the reasoning behind the central government’s decision not to allow foreign students into the
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would