Snow falls on Yushan
The nation’s highest peak, Yushan (玉山), yesterday received its first snowfall this winter, with the arrival of northeasterly winds which brought abundant moisture, the Central Weather Bureau said. The temperature on Yushan dropped to about 0°C yesterday morning, before rain and snow began to fall at 11:25am, followed by sleet and more snow at noon, the bureau said.
New Year schedule unveiled
The Taipei MRT system is to run continuously for 42 hours from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1 to provide a travel option for people celebrating the New Year, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said on Thursday. The MRT is to start operating at 6am on New Year’s Eve and continue until midnight on New Year’s Day, with the exception of Xiaobitan and Xinbeitou MRT stations, the company said. In addition, from 5pm on Dec. 31, all trains running on the Red Line from Tamsui and Beitou are to continue to Xiangshan MRT Station, as it is a popular spot for viewing the Taipei 101 New Year fireworks. Bicycles are to be allowed on the MRT from 10am to 4pm on Dec. 31, while YouBike bicycle rental services are to be suspended in control areas near Taipei City Hall after 5pm, the company said. Services on the Maokong Gondola are also to be extended for New Year’s Eve, with the last carriage departing at 2am on Jan. 1.
Pan video goes viral
A video of Pingtung County Commissioner Pan Men-an (潘孟安) eating a banana taken from a bunch of bananas taped to a wall with duct tape has gone viral on social media. The Democratic Progressive Party politician was copying a similar stunt that swept international media last week, when David Datuna ate a banana displayed at Miami’s Art Basel that had just been sold by Perrotin, an international art gallery, for US$120,000. In the video the commissioner said that his bunch of bananas grown in Pingtung was bigger and more impressive than the Miami version, and that it was also a valuable piece of art. Pan took a banana from the bunch and ate it, saying: “Not only can they be admired [as a work of art], they are also delicious.” The video posted on Thursday had garnered more than 500 comments and been shared by more than 600 users on Facebook.
China’s allure waning
China remained the No. 1 destination for Taiwanese heading overseas to work last year, although the number dropped to its lowest level since 2008, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said. Last year, 404,000 Taiwanese were working in China (including Hong Kong and Macau), accounting for 54.9 percent of all Taiwanese working overseas, government data showed. The number is the lowest since 2008 and marks the fifth consecutive annual fall, the agency said. The previous year, 405,000 Taiwanese were working in China. The agency attributed the continued decline to the US-China trade dispute, which compelled many Taiwanese firms based in China to return to avoid punitive US tariffs. The cost of running a business in China has significantly increased over the past several years due to gradual salary increases and stricter environmental protection laws, the agency said. Overall, 737,000 Taiwanese were working overseas last year, an increase of 1,000 from the previous year, it said. The second-largest destination was Southeast Asian nations (112,000, or 15.2 percent), followed by the US (95,000, or 12.9 percent), it added.
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