Electronic visas launched
An electronic visa application system was launched yesterday that is to be available to citizens of 27 countries during the first stage of the system’s implementation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The facility is aimed at promoting tourism by streamlining visa application procedures, the ministry said. In the first stage, travelers from the designated countries would only be allowed to apply for electronic visas for the purposes of business travel, tourism, short visits to relatives and participation in international conferences, it said. The 27 nations include Turkey, Macedonia and Brunei and 21 of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies (excluding the Holy See), the ministry said, adding that the other three countries on the list are Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which offer Taiwan visa-waiver treatment.
Taoyuan touts festival
A national lantern competition being held as part of this year’s Taiwan Lantern Festival has drawn more than 800 entries, according to the Taoyuan City Government. The festival is to take place in the plaza in front of Taoyuan high-speed railway station from Feb. 22 to March 6. Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said this would be the first time in its 27-year history that the Taiwan Lantern Festival is to take place in Taoyuan. He said the festival would feature six main areas: the Smart Technology Lantern Area, the Fairytale Kingdom Lantern Area, the Taoyuan Story Lantern Corridor, the Diverse Exchange Lantern Area, the New Peach Blossom Spring Lantern Area and the Religious Prayer Lantern Area. The festival is traditionally held around the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar, or 14 days after the Lunar New Year.
‘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
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
PROTECTION LACKING: DPP Legislator Lai Pin-yu said that currently, victims cannot legally force online platforms to remove sexual videos or imagery of them A bill to prevent the nonconsensual distribution of imagery or videos of sexual acts between adults on Friday passed a first reading and has been forwarded to a Legislative Yuan committee to be discussed. The bill was jointly proposed by 18 Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators. It seeks to promote gender equality, uphold righteous and moral social conduct and to protect the privacy of individuals, all of which would help prevent incidents similar to South Korea’s “Nth Room” case, the proposal said. The Nth Room involves a criminal investigation into the distribution of sexually exploitative videos via the Telegram app from 2018 to