Bureau issues rain warning
Residents in the southeast of the nation and on the outlying Green Island (綠島) and Lanyu (蘭嶼) — also known as Orchid Island — should be on high alert for heavy rainfall caused by Tropical Storm Bebinca, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Daren Township (達仁) in Taitung County had seen 201mm of rainfall between midnight and 10:30am yesterday, with more rain expected in the area over the course of the day, forecasters said. Greater Kaohsiung and Pingtung County could expect 130mm of rain, the bureau said, warning of flooding, falling rocks and high waves. As Tropical Storm Bebinca is likely to bring in southwestern winds over the next few days, central and southern Taiwan could also face downpours and thunderstorms, the bureau added.
Canada warning issued
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday issued an “orange” travel alert for several areas in Alberta, Canada, after days of torrential rainfall triggered serious flooding there. The ministry urged Taiwanese to avoid unnecessary travel to Calgary, the largest city in Alberta Province, and the mountain resorts of Banff and Canmore. Ministry spokesperson Anna Kao (高安) cited information sent by overseas representative offices saying that only a few Taiwanese tourists had been in Canmore hotels because the highway was closed. In the ministry’s four-color-coded travel advisory system, an “orange” alert is the second-highest level. In case of emergency, the ministry urged Taiwanese to call the 24-hour emergency line on 1-604-377-8730, or the emergency liaison center at 886-800-085-095 for assistance.
Lychee farmers get boost
The nation is to begin exporting lychees to Australia next year as part of efforts to expand the overseas market for the fruit, a Council of Agriculture officials said, adding that they have had some very positive responses after 10 years of promotional efforts. Australian experts came to Taiwan earlier this month for on-the-ground inspections and such exports are “very likely” to be allowed by the next harvest season, the council said. The fruit is harvested mainly in June. Taiwan currently exports lychees to China, Canada, Japan and Malaysia, with a total annual average of about 1,000 tonnes shipped, the council said. In addition to lychee exports, Taiwan and Australia are also planning further exchanges through mutual visits and workshops for farmers, the council said. To ensure a year-round supply of new tropical fruit varieties to meet domestic and international demand, the two countries are also discussing the possibility of further technical cooperation, it added.
Ma gets clean bill of health
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday completed his annual physical checkup at Taipei Wanfang Hospital, where two colorectal polyps were found that appeared to be benign. The hospital is conducting a biopsy on the polyps, and is to present the results in three or four days. According to Taipei Wanfang Hospital president Lee Fei-peng (李飛鵬), Ma’s overall health is very good, with most of the checkup results similar to last year. Ma’s physical checkup lasted about nine hours and Lee said the presiden’s eyesight is better than average though he has a slight cataract. Ma’s heart and vital capacity are in great shape thanks to his habit of running, but he has suffered some joint issues, he added.
RULES TIGHTENED: Passengers arriving from Sydney and Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19, while passengers arriving from Seattle all tested negative Seventeen of the 217 passengers who arrived on long-haul at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning tested positive for COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the positivity rate was higher than expected. Yesterday was the first day that the government enforced stricter health guidelines for the testing of passengers arriving on long-haul flights. They must undergo a polymerase chain reaction test immediately after arriving at the nation’s international airports. Those who test positive are sent directly to hospitals to avoid spreading the virus to people working in and around the airports and at quarantine hotels. Victor Wang (王必勝),
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
‘CHAOS’: Victor Wang, the CECC’s on-site commander at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, said testing of arrivals has sped up in time to meet holiday demand For now, people are not banned from eating and drinking on trains, despite the rise in locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. “On Sunday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the nation would remain on a level 2 COVID-19 alert until at least Jan. 24. So we will follow the center’s disease prevention guidelines for passengers on public transport systems,” Wang said. However, bus and train depots have been asked to disinfect facilities more frequently, he said. The center’s new