Ma meets congresswoman
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) met US Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a California Democrat, yesterday at the Presidential Office and described good Taiwan-US relations as something Taiwanese were looking forward to seeing. Since assuming office, Ma said, he has done his best to “rebuild” mutual trust between Taiwan and the US, adding that ties have rapidly improved despite minor incidents such as the dispute surrounding restrictions on US beef imports. Ma expressed his appreciation to Sanchez, a member of the Committee on Armed Services in the House of Representatives, for US approval of two military sales to Taiwan over the past two years, which he said underscored the friendship between Taiwanese and Americans. Ma also called for strengthened security cooperation between the two sides and a resumption of two-way talks over a long-delayed trade and investment framework agreement. He also urged the US to grant visa-waiver privileges to Taiwan.
Group marks Parkinson’s Day
A group of about 300 people with Parkinson’s disease went on an outing in Nantou County yesterday to mark World Parkinson’s Day. The participants, some of whom are confined to a wheelchair, gathered at Chung Hsing New Village for a walk despite their challenged mobility, while others went cycling. Tseng Kuo-hsiu (曾國修), a 47-year-old who has suffered from the disease for 19 years, said he began cycling as a form of exercise two years ago. Cycling is a well-suited exercise for people with Parkinson’s disease because it helps strengthen muscles as well as increasing physical strength and willpower, he said.
Water mostly sufficient
Taiwan Water Corp (Taiwater) said yesterday that aside from the Kaohsiung area, the country’s water reserves were sufficient to meet demand until the end of June. Hu Nan-jer (胡南澤), vice president of Taiwater, said that although water in major reservoirs in northern and central parts of the country had reached normal levels, the south continued to face shortages. He said the company had undertaken measures to increase supplies in the Kaohsiung area, such as drilling new wells, tapping more underground water sources and deepening and dredging reservoirs. If drought conditions persist in the south, contingency measures would be put in place under the supervision of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, he said.
Changhua farmers protest
Oyster farmers protested in Taipei yesterday against industrial facilities near their farms, which they said have seriously threatened their operations. Lin Lien-tsung (林連宗), secretary-general of the Fangyuan Anti-Pollution Association in Changhua County, said an investigative report by Ted Smith, founder of the US’ Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, found that the wastewater released by panel makers in Changhua was highly poisonous. The 1,000 hectare oyster farms in Yungxing (永興), Wanggong (王功) and Hanbao (漢寶) townships will be highly polluted and even disappear in several years if wastewater from the Central Taiwan Science Park continues to be released into the sea through the townships, Lin said. The farmers also called on the government to immediately call off several industrial development projects in the coastal area, including the Guoguang petrochemical complex, the FPG naphtha cracker in Yunlin and the Central Taiwan Science Park’s sub-projects.
‘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
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
PROTECTION LACKING: DPP Legislator Lai Pin-yu said that currently, victims cannot legally force online platforms to remove sexual videos or imagery of them A bill to prevent the nonconsensual distribution of imagery or videos of sexual acts between adults on Friday passed a first reading and has been forwarded to a Legislative Yuan committee to be discussed. The bill was jointly proposed by 18 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators. It seeks to promote gender equality, uphold righteous and moral social conduct and to protect the privacy of individuals, all of which would help prevent incidents similar to South Korea’s “Nth Room” case, the proposal said. The Nth Room involves a criminal investigation into the distribution of sexually exploitative videos via the Telegram app from 2018 to