Tree removals spark protests
Environmentalists yesterday staged a protest outside the National Police Agency to protest the illegal removal of dozens of decades-old trees from parks in New Taipei City (新北市) to make room for the construction of police stations, as well as the prosecution of an environmentalist, who protested against the removals last month. Although then-Taipei County commissioner Chou Hsi-wei (周錫瑋) and then-Taipei County Police Department chief Liu Kuo-tung (林國棟) admitted at a county council meeting last year that the proper legal requirements were not completed before the removal of the trees and apologized, the police still removed a total of 48 trees to make room for six police stations. Responding to the protesters, police agency official Lu Hsin-tsai (呂新財) yesterday promised that the agency would act more cautiously in the future.
Government hands out funds
The central government disbursed a total of NT$71.8 billion (US$2.47 billion) in cash to local governments on Thursday so they could pay salaries, year-end bonuses, job performance awards and retirement pensions, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said. The move came after Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) asked the DGBAS to deliver “the most basic fairness and justice” to government officials at all levels as the nation prepares to welcome the Year of the Rabbit on Feb. 3. The DGBAS said that of the total, NT$68 billion was for regular budgets allocated to local governments for this month and next month, while NT$3.8 billion was the government’s reserve funds.
China open to CAS products
Quality agricultural and farm products with CAS certificates will now be allowed into the Chinese market because the label has been registered in Taiwan, according to a Council of Agriculture official. “Taiwanese CAS-certified food products will gain an advantage in the vast Chinese market now that approval has been obtained for sales in China,” the council’s Animal Industry Department Director Hsu Kuei-sen (許桂森) said. “Efforts will be made to expand the sales network for CAS products from Shanghai to other Chinese cities, in collaboration with local importers and distributors.” Chue Weihsiung (崔軼雄), president of a Cityshop supermarket outlet in Shanghai, said the CAS label would help increase sales of Taiwanese meat products by 25 percent at his chain stores.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among