MND defends frigate sale
US arms sales to Taiwan play an important role in Taiwan’s defense due to the military threat from China, Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesperson Major General David Lo (羅紹和) said yesterday in response to protests by China against a US bill for the sale of military frigates to Taiwan. In line with the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) and the “six assurances,” US arms sales to Taiwan help maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, Lo said. The goal of the weapons procurement is to bolster Taiwan’s self-defense capabilities, not to engage in a military buildup race against China, he said. Luo said Beijing has not renounced the use of force against Taiwan, adding that US arms sales to Taiwan are important and necessary. China on Sunday urged the US to block the bill, saying that arms sales to Taiwan interfere with China’s internal affairs and that China is firmly opposed to the bill. China’s protest came after the US Senate approved a bill last week authorizing the sale of four Perry-class frigates to Taiwan, a transfer expected to enhance Taiwan’s defensive capability by replacing its aging fleet of Knox-class frigates.
Smoking rate falls
The smoking rate for adults in Taiwan dropped to 18 percent last year — the lowest level since 1990 — Health Promotion Administration Director-General Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said yesterday. The smoking rate for adults in 1990 was 32.5 percent, Chiou said, attributing the drop in ensuing years to measures taken by the government to encourage smokers to quit tobacco usage since the enforcement of the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法) in 1997. Over the past two decades, regulations have been revised to make them tighter on smoking in public places, while tobacco taxes have been raised as part of the efforts to discourage people from smoking, Chiou said. Anti-smoking campaigns on college campuses have borne fruit, the administration said, citing official statistics that show the smoking rate among high-school students dropped from 14.1 percent in 2012 to 11.9 percent last year. The peak was at 15.2 percent in 2005, the data showed. The statistics also showed that the smoking rate among junior-high school students stood at 5.2 percent last year, lower than the 6.7 percent recorded the previous year. The highest level of 8 percent was registered in 2010.
Property sales to hit low
Real-estate transactions in Taipei and neighboring New Taipei City could fall to their lowest point in 23 years amid lingering concerns that the government plans to come up with measures to cap the local property market, Yung Ching Realty Group (永慶房屋) said yesterday. Yung Ching, one of Taiwan’s largest property sales agencies, said that the Nov. 29 elections served as an significant influence in cautious sentiment amid perceived political uncertainty. According to Yung Ching’s statistics, transactions of homes, shops and offices in Taipei for the first 11 months of the year fell 19.6 percent from a year earlier to end at 28,968 units. In New Taipei City, transactions of residential and commercial properties for the 11-month period dropped 24.6 percent from a year ago to 54,974 units, the data showed. Huang Shu-wei (黃舒衛), manager of Yung Ching’s market research center, said that based on sales data for the 11 months, real-estate transactions might reach a total of just 32,000 units in Taipei and 60,000 units in New Taipei City, the lowest levels since 2001.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General