MOFA still working on plan
The 64th session of the UN General Assembly convened yesterday, but the Taiwanese government, which had decided not to seek membership this year, has not yet finalized proposals for what it said it would pitch as part of “the country’s meaningful participation in the international body.” Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) told reporters yesterday at a media gathering that the proposals would be finalized “within one week.” Asked about local media reports that the ministry had already identified a number of UN agencies, such as the International Civil Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in which Taiwan would seek meaningful participation, Yang said: “It’s not entirely correct.” He said the ministry was still in the process of identifying which agencies would bring the most benefit to Taiwanese.
Quake alert invented
A professor at National Taiwan University on Monday presented a small earthquake early warning system device that can alert people at least 10 seconds before seismic waves reach them. “An earthquake warning issued as early as possible can buy some time,” said Wu Yih-min (吳逸民), an associate professor at the Department of Geosciences. The device, which is about one-third the size of a notebook computer, can be hung on walls or incorporated into elevator systems, he said. Wu said the device could give a warning 10 to 30 seconds before an earthquake strikes, stop the elevator and allow passengers to exit. The device is based on the principle that vertical seismic waves, known as P waves, are 1.73 times faster and less violent than horizontal waves, known as S waves. However, there are certain correlations between P waves and S waves, and Wu designed an algorithm to analyze initial P waves to identify information about earthquakes.
Unpaid leave figures drop
The number of workers forced to take unpaid leave has dropped dramatically to just below 50,000, an indication that the country’s production slowdown could be nearing an end. The Council of Labor Affairs said yesterday that since Aug. 31, when 58,983 people were put on unpaid leave by 614 companies, the number has decreased by more than 20 percent to 46,377 workers on unpaid leave at 552 companies by the middle of this month. The number of employees on unpaid leave peaked at 238,975 in March, about seven times as much as the latest figure.
Taiwan to host safety meet
The annual conference of the International Transportation Safety Association (ITSA) will be held in Taiwan from May 9 to May 12, the Aviation Safety Council said. It will mark the first time that Taiwan has hosted the meeting on improving global transportation safety since it joined the organization nine years ago, the council said. Formed by the independent investigation boards of the US, Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands, ITSA was formally established in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, in 1993. Its mission is to improve transport safety in each member country by learning from the experiences of others. ITSA is composed of 14 independent investigation boards from various countries, with Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council becoming a full member in 2000 and taking part in the association’s annual conference for the first time in 2001.
Officials near fishing deal
Taiwan hopes to sign an agreement with China to rein in illegal fishing by Chinese vessels, which use dynamite and poison to boost their catch, an official from Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency said. “Top officials from the two sides have reached a tentative consensus on the agreement,” Fisheries Agency Director-General Chen Tien-shou (陳添壽) said. Li Jianhua (李健華), the head of China’s Bureau of Fisheries, visited Taiwan last week to discuss an agreement that would cover protection of maritime resources, Chen said, adding that the agreement was likely to be signed next year. Taiwan coast guard ships have frequently repelled Chinese boats fishing illegally with dynamite and poison, depleting fish stocks in waters near Taiwan.
Spider lily saved
The Taroko National Park Headquarters said it has succeeded in saving a critically endangered flower, the golden spider lily, in the renowned park. The perennial, nicknamed dragon-claw by locals for the shape of its blossom, is considered “the flower of Taroko Gorge” as the deep marble gorge is one of the few places its eye-catching golden blooms can be seen, the headquarters said. The plant is also found on the north coast and in Kenting National Park, but only in small numbers, the officials said. The lily, which has the scientific name Lycoris aurea, has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, inferring that its global population will have fallen by 80 percent in 10 years, or three generations, based on actual or potential damage by human activity, the officials said, adding that they began efforts to recover the plant numbers on the Buluowan Terrace in 2001.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,