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.
OVERHAUL NEEDED: The government should improve its agricultural processing capabilities and expand to new markets to limit its reliance on China, an expert said China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples was “unsurprising,” and Taiwan should have years ago altered its produce export strategies and target customers, experts said. China on Friday abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan, saying that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful biological entities” on the fruit. Calling it an “unfriendly” move, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said that 99.79 percent of the pineapples sent to China since last year have met China’s import standards. Chiao Chun (焦鈞), the author of Fruits and Politics — A Recollection of Cross-strait Agricultural Interaction Over the Past Decade (水果政治學：兩岸農業交流十年回顧與展望), said that China’s announcement is clearly targeting
The Council of Agriculture yesterday signed a Taiwan-Australia Agricultural Cooperation Implementation clause to open a new export market for the nation’s pineapple crop. The clause is an addition to existing cooperation measures, it said. China on Friday last week abruptly announced that it would suspend pineapple imports from Taiwan starting on Monday, on grounds that it had on multiple occasions discovered “harmful organisms” in shipments of the fruit. The public and private sectors have since joined hands to purchase the local fruit to help the nation’s pineapple farmers. Canberra has requested that all pineapples for export to Australia have their crown buds removed,
DECADES OF INFLUENCE: Over the past 20 years, China has made inroads with Aborigines, funding political campaigns and trips, a legislator said Lawmakers have called on the National Security Bureau to investigate claims of pervasive Chinese influence among Aboriginal communities. Legislators pointed to a surge in communist propaganda and Chinese-funded projects over the past few years, which they say are aimed at infiltrating and buying political influence among Aboriginal communities. “China has for decades carried out wide-ranging ‘united front’ tactics and propaganda campaigns targeting Aborigines,” said Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩), a member of the Puyuma community in Taitung County. “Now, they are influencing elections for local councilors and village chiefs, offering money for candidates to mount their campaigns, and to
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last