Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday said he would rather not attend the Double Ten National Day flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office Building to avoid public scrutiny and speculation arising from the unavoidable exchange of pleasantries between him and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), as well as the presidential candidates.
“If I attend the national day ceremony, the first thing people will be talking about is whether I shook hands with Ma,” Ko said, alluding to Ma’s handshake, which has been jokingly dubbed by netizens as a “death-grip.”
Netizens have described shaking hands with Ma as bringing bad luck, citing a number of famous athletes who lost crucial games following a handshake with the president.
“Then they will discuss whether I smiled more to [Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate] Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) or [Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate] Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱),” Ko said on the sidelines of an event to promote biodiversity and green spaces within the city. “It really bothers me. I might as well hold my own ceremony at Taipei City Hall.”
Taipei Department of Civil Affairs Commissioner Lan Shih-tsung (藍世聰) said the venue for the city’s national day flag-raising ceremony would also be used for a fair to welcome “new residents” — foreign spouses and their children — that the mayor is scheduled to attend, adding that the event would be held within budgetary constraints.
In other news, Ko yesterday brushed aside criticism that the city had been wasteful — reportedly spending more than NT$228 million (US$6.9 million) — to move some if its offices, saying the relocation plan was proposed in June after the Xinyi District Administration Center, which houses some offices of the city’s Department of Health and Department of Social Affairs, was determined to be a sea-sand building.
The relocation is to also involve some Department of Cultural Affairs and Department of Education employees stationed outside city hall, with a total of 256 employees at the four agencies scheduled to be moved back to the Taipei City Government building.
To accommodate the increased staff, Ko said he asked four of his close aides to move into a reception area in his office to allow for more efficient space utilization.
FAMILY FEUD: Weng Jen-hsien, who was convicted of killing six people in 2016, was the second prisoner to be executed since President Tsai Ing-wen took office A death row inmate was executed on Wednesday, less than a year after he was convicted of killing six people by setting fire to his home. Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said that he signed the order and the death sentence was carried out on Wednesday afternoon in New Taipei City. The Supreme Court on July 10 last year sentenced 53-year-old Weng Jen-hsien (翁仁賢) to death after he was convicted of killing his parents, niece, nephew and nephew’s wife and his parents’ caregivers. Weng set fire to his home in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) on Feb. 7, 2016, after a family feud
At a campground in Nantou County, a team of women are using ropes to shimmy up a towering seven-story tall Chinaberry tree, fighting their fear of heights and reconnecting with nature. Tree climbing remains somewhat niche in Taiwan, but a growing number of women are embracing the challenge thanks to the island’s first international certified female climber arborist. Sylvia Hsu (許芢涵), 26, said she was inspired to set up her own women-only tree climbing classes after seeing the popularity of similar gatherings in Europe. “A women-only camp is a more relaxed environment,” she said. “I was hooked on trees after my first climb...
Police in Kaohsiung are investigating a possible murder after a woman’s body was found in a plastic container on Thursday. The bucket was found by a person operating an excavator on a construction site at a private lot next to the Ciaotou Sugar Refinery Station (橋頭糖廠站) on the Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit system. Police investigator Chen Jen-cheng (陳仁正) yesterday said police had reviewed missing person reports and have narrowed the identity of the victim down to about 20 possible people. Physical evidence suggested she might have been a Fongshan District (鳳山) woman surnamed Lin (林), who was about 60 years old when she
IN PRINCIPLE: The Central Epidemic Command Center began yesterday to ban visits to hospitalized patients, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 10 new COVID-19 cases — eight imported and two locally transmitted — bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 339. The imported cases involved six men and two women, all Taiwanese, who had traveled to Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Indonesia, countries in Latin America, the UK or the US before arriving back in Taiwan between March 6 and Tuesday, center data showed. Among them, patient No. 338 was part of a tour group that traveled to Austria and the Czech Republic, and has resulted in an infection cluster of five cases,