E-payment discount to end
The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp board yesterday approved a proposal to cancel a 20 percent discount for tickets purchased using electronic payment cards. The Taipei City Government approved the plan last month, and needs to give it the final approval after the board’s decision. Instead of the discount policy, the company is to introduce a loyalty reward program, which would offer cash rebates when a rider swipes their card at an MRT gate, it said. Passengers riding the MRT 11 to 20 times per month would receive a 10 percent rebate in the following month, and an increase of 5 percent for every additional 10 rides, the company said, adding that those who ride 51 times or more per month would receive a rebate of 30 percent. The new policy is to take effect on Feb. 1, it said.
Experts arrive in Wuhan
Two Taiwanese health experts have arrived in Wuhan, China, to learn more about a pneumonia outbreak that has left one person dead and infected more than three dozen, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday. The experts arrived in the city late on Sunday and are expected to stay there for two days under the guidance of local health officials, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. As of Sunday, 41 cases had been confirmed in the city, seven of whom were in a critical condition, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WHO has designated the novel coronavirus as 2019-nCoV and has urged all countries to improve public awareness and adopt self-protection measures against it.
Couriers mull labor action
Foodpanda couriers are mulling whether to go on strike on Thursday to protest the company’s decision to cut delivery fees. Several social media posts by the couriers expressed displeasure over the company’s announcement on Friday last week that the delivery fee per trip would be reduced from NT$70 to NT$60 from Thursday. The couriers expressed anger that the food delivery platform made the decision without consulting them, with some urging coworkers online not to take orders on Thursday in protest. Foodpanda on Sunday said the rate change aims to offer its couriers a more stable income, as they would be able to deliver more orders per hour. It would continue to engage in dialogue with its couriers to discern their views on the changes, the company said. Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) supported a strike, saying that Foodpanda cannot unilaterally change the contract.
Minister mum on career
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday refused to disclose his next career move following the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) victory in Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections. Lin was credited for helping DPP legislative candidates’ campaigns in Taichung, where he served as mayor from 2014 to 2018. The most notable result was winning two seats in the city previously held by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates — three-term lawmaker Sheng Chih-hwei (沈智慧) and two-term lawmaker Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恆) — for the DPP’s candidate, Zhuang Ching-cheng (莊競程), and Taiwan Statebuilding Party challenger Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) respectively. The victories caused local Chinese-language media to speculate that Lin might again run for Taichung mayor in 2022.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority