Former president stable
Former president Lee Teng-hui’s (李登輝) condition has stabilized after he suffered a brain hemorrhage, but he is still in intensive care for further observation, an attending physician at Taipei Veterans General Hospital said yesterday. Lee’s health was the same as the previous day, and it was still hard to predict whether he would be discharged from the hospital next week as originally expected, said Chan Wan-leong (陳雲亮), a physician in the cardiology department. Lee, 95, was rushed to the hospital after falling at home and hitting his head on the floor at about noon on Thursday. He injured his right eye and had a nose bleed. Minor bleeding was on Friday detected in his brain. Lee has been taking anticoagulant drugs for cardiovascular disease for a long time, Chan said, explaining that these could conflict with treatment for the bleeding.
Palau visa-free deal in effect
Reciprocal visa-free entry for citizens of Taiwan and Palau began yesterday, with visitors from the nation’s Pacific ally getting visa-free stays of up to 90 days in Taiwan and vice versa, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday. The reciprocal visa-free privileges were granted based on the principles of equality and mutual benefit, the ministry said in a statement. Travelers from the two countries must have a passport that is valid for at least six months to take advantage of the deal, it said. Taiwan has made similar agreements with Nauru, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific and several Latin American and Caribbean allies.
A-mei to count down to 2019
Pop diva A-mei, also known as Chang Hui-mei (張惠妹), is to help Taipei count down the last few seconds of the year at the Taipei New Year’s Eve Countdown Party, the city’s Department of Information and Tourism said. Taiwan hip-hop trio MJ116 and South Korean girl group EXID are also to perform at the event, which has been celebrated annually since 1995. The performances will be accompanied by the traditional Taipei 101 fireworks when the clock strikes midnight and a light show using the T-Pad LED lighting system on the building’s north side measuring 100.8m by 168m. Last year’s LED light show featured images of A-mei. Department head Chen Su-yu (陳思宇) said that the celebrations, which are to begin at 7pm on Dec. 31, would also incorporate e-sports to promote Taipei internationally.
Cat protectors try new tack
The Leopard Cat Association of Taiwan has begun a fund raising campaign to cat-proof 100 chicken coops in Miaoli County. There are fewer than 500 leopard cats in Taiwan and between 20 and 50 cats are killed every year by chicken farmers, who hunt, trap or bait them, the association said, citing a questionnaire it distributed in Miaoli’s Tongsiao Township (通霄). Leopard cats are predators and will kill chickens should they find an accessible enclosure, said foundation president Chen Mei-ting (陳美汀). Building chicken coops that protect against the cats is the best option for resolving the problem without harming the cats, she said, adding that previously, conservationists would pay chicken farmers for each chicken killed by leopard cats. The funds raised are also to be used for a public information campaign to convince farmers not to use poison or wound-inflicting traps, she said.
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