New satellites pending
The launch date for FORMOSAT-5, a remote-sensing satellite, is scheduled for 2014, while 12 meteorological satellites under the FORMOSAT-7 program are scheduled to be launched in 2015 and 2017, the Hsinchu-based National Space Organization (NSO) said yesterday. The satellites under the FORMOSAT-7 program, a joint venture between Taiwan and the US, will be launched at two different times because of limited staff and testing facilities, the NSO said. NSO deputy director-general Yu Shiann-jeng (余憲政) said that because the organization was currently carrying out the FORMOSAT-5 program, it is unable to test the 12 FORMOSAT-7 satellites. Six of the meteorological satellites under the FORMOSAT-7 program, designed to gather weather data in low-latitude regions, will be launched in 2015, while six other high--latitude meteorological satellites will be launched in 2017, Yu said. A satellite designed and manufactured in Taiwan will also be launched in 2017, he said, adding that Taiwan would benefit from more accurate weather information once the FORMOSAT-7 satellites were in orbit.
Tamsui sees mercury drop
New Taipei City’s (新北市) Tamsui District (淡水) reported a low of 8.6oC early yesterday after a cold spell that hit the country on Friday brought temperatures down nationwide, the Central Weather Bureau said. Temperatures were estimated to fall to between 10oC and 12oC last night. Although the impact of the cold front was forecast to weaken today, the bureau said temperatures would not show obvious signs of improvement because cloud cover would remain thick in the north and there would be moist air in the east. The bureau said daytime temperatures could return to between 20oC and 22oC in central and southern Taiwan today.
Education initiative to begin
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) and World Vision Taiwan announced an initiative that will begin on Sunday to raise money to help impoverished children and youth in Taiwan pay their school fees. Donation boxes will be set up at THSR stations and donation envelopes will be available on trains until March 5. This year, when the first fundraiser was held, more than NT$23 million (US$759,000) was donated to the charity, helping more than 7,200 children and young people attend school, World Vision Taiwan president Tu Ming-han (杜明翰) said. “The weather might be cold today, but the hearts of many are warm in this love-filled Christmas holiday,” he said.
Alishan stamps issued
State-run Chunghwa Post Co issued a commemorative sheet of postage stamps yesterday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Alishan Forest Railway. The stamps, in NT$5 and NT$25 denominations, feature the narrow-gauge mountain railway and the trains that run on it, and were designed by railway expert Su Chao-hsu (蘇昭旭) and railway enthusiast Tseng Kai-chih (曾凱智). The last time Chunghwa Post issued commemorative stamps for the Alishan railway was in 1992. Meanwhile, a documentary and book on the development of the railway were unveiled at a ceremony held at Pei-men Station in Chiayi City as part of the railway’s centenary celebrations. Chiayi Forest District Office said it took two years to complete the book and documentary and the process included conducting field studies, collecting historical photographs and raw data and interviewing elderly residents.
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