Giammattei visits Taiwan
Guatemalan president-elect Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei yesterday arrived in Taiwan for a five-day visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. Giammattei, who takes office in January, was elected in August. His visit with key members of his planned Cabinet demonstrates his support for the Taiwan-Guatemala friendship, the ministry said in a statement. Giammattei is to attend a banquet hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), meet with Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and visit government agencies, including the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Central America Trade Office and National Taiwan University Hospital, it said. He would also visit the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, MiTAC Information Technology Corp and Kavalan Whiskey Distillery in Yilan, it added. Taiwan and Guatemala have long cooperated in a wide range of areas, including basic infrastructure, public health, education and agriculture, and would continue to strengthen their friendship, it said. Guatemala is one of Taiwan’s four diplomatic allies in Central America.
Storms to miss nation
Two Pacific storms — Typhoon Neoguri and Severe Tropical Storm Bualoi — are expected to move toward Japan and are not expected to directly affect Taiwan, the Central Weather Bureau said. As of 8am yesterday, Typhoon Neoguri was 760km east-northeast of Taiwan’s southernmost tip, Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), moving at 16kph in a north-northeasterly direction, it said. The typhoon is expected to weaken after reaching Japanese waters, the bureau said. Severe Tropical Storm Bualoi was 3,480km east-southeast of Oluanpi as of 8am, moving at 18kph in a west-northwesterly direction.
US visa waiver extended
The government has received confirmation that the nation would remain part of the US visa waiver program, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday. The confirmation came on Tuesday last week in a letter from the American Institute in Taiwan, which the ministry said demonstrates the success of the two nations’ efforts to strengthen law enforcement cooperation. The ministry did not explain what led to the confirmation, but the US typically conducts periodic inspections to ensure that program members are following its protocols. The program allows residents of 38 member countries to travel to the US for tourism or business for periods of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa, according to the US Department of State.
Passengers escape bus fire
Forty-one people on a tour bus near the Alishan (阿里山) scenic area in Chiayi County were safe after a fire broke out on the vehicle yesterday afternoon, the Chiayi County Fire Department said. The tour bus was passing through a tunnel at the 34.6km mark on Provincial Highway No. 18 at about 2pm when the vehicle caught fire, it said. All 41 people on the bus, including the driver, escaped unharmed, it added. The fire was promptly extinguished by firefighters, the department said. An initial probe showed that the fire was caused by a flat tire, investigators said. The Chiayi Motor Vehicles Office said it would launch an investigation to see whether the flat tire was caused by an accident or the age of the vehicle or tire, before deciding whether to fine the tour bus company.
Athletes scheduled to compete in the Tokyo Olympics are to continue to receive government resources and training, even though the Games have been postponed until next year, the Sports Administration said yesterday. The government supports the decision to delay the Games, Sports Administration Director-General Kao Chun-hsung (高俊雄) said, adding that it must have been a difficult decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Tokyo Organizing committee. The Sports Administration has created a contingency plan in response to the postponement, Kao said. First, it would work with the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee to adjust the timetable for selecting the
FOSSIL CLUES: The bushfires resulted from a positive Indian Ocean dipole event, when the region east of the ocean becomes drier, professor Shen Chuan-chou said The bushfires that swept through Australia last year were connected to a phenomenon known as the Indian Ocean dipole (IOD), which is expected to become more frequent due to climate change, a geologist studying coral fossils said yesterday. National Taiwan University Department of Geosciences professor Shen Chuan-chou (沈川洲) since 2001 has been working with Australian and US researchers to study climate systems in the Indian Ocean. Led by Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences professor Nerilie Abram, the team published a paper on IOD in the journal Nature on March 9. The bushfires resulted from a positive IOD event, when the
Senior judges yesterday met to discuss the constitutionality of a law that makes adultery a criminal offense, before being ordered by Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力) to set a date for a constitutional interpretation within the next month. The judges met to discuss Article 239 of the Criminal Code on offenses against marriage and family, after 18 judges had called for a constitutional interpretation of the issue. Taipei District Court Judge Lin Meng-huang (林孟皇) said that while he had previously tried adultery cases and never questioned the law, his feelings changed when trying a case last year involving baseball star Wang
Instead of hating the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), help change it, KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said, as he urged young people to join efforts to reform the party. As the nation marked Youth Day on Sunday, Chiang said in a Facebook post that he wanted to remind people that “the KMT used to be very young.” Now, when people think of the KMT, they equate it with older people, he wrote. “Even if [the KMT] is a 100-year-old party, it must maintain a young mentality, and understand what young people want and what they want the KMT to do,” Chiang wrote.