■ Petroleum \nInsurgents attack oil depot \nInsurgents attacked pipelines and a petrol storage depot in three different parts of Iraq, setting fires that blazed for hours and lost millions of liters of oil, officials and media reported yesterday as the country confronts a critical fuel shortage. Rebels firing RPG rockets hit storage tanks in southern Baghdad on Saturday, creating fires that burned about 10 million liters of gasoline, said Issam Jihad, a spokesman for the Oil Ministry. He said Iraqi police were investigating the attack. Also Saturday, a pipeline exploded in the al-Mashahda area 25km north of Baghdad, in what Jihad called "an act of sabotage." "The explosion led to the destruction of [part of] the pipeline and to the leakage of vast quantities of oil products," Jihad said. He said he had no immediate information about another reported attack on oil pipelines in northern Iraq. \n■ Automobiles \nSsangyong deal endorsed \nCreditors of Ssangyong Motors have endorsed a Chinese firm as preferred bidder to take over the South Korean corporation, which specializes in sports utility and recreational vehicles, reports said Sunday. In a vote last week, 90 percent of the creditors confirmed China National Bluestar Group as a favored bidder for Ssangyong, Yonhap news agency said. Chohung Bank, a key creditor, will hold a ceremony Monday to sign a memorandum of understanding allowing Bluestar to launch a three-week due diligence study on Ssangyong, it said. The vote was not affected by news reports that Shanghai Automotive Industry was the only Chinese firm cleared for the deal, Yonhap said. Bluestar has denied it lacks Beijing's approval for the deal. \n■ Public Relations \nBanks, insurers top hate list \nBanks and insurance companies top a consumer hate list for the first time, the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) reported yesterday. They were the target of 1,915 complaints between January and last month, edging out timeshare companies, which received 1,228 blasts and motor vehicle shops with 1,027. Renovation companies were the recipients of 963 complaints and 710 were aimed at electrical and electronics shops, according to the list in The Sunday Times. Complaints about banks and insurance companies started mounting about three years ago and peaked this year, said CASE. "Banks are becoming more aggressive," CASE executive director Seah Seng Choon was quoted as saying.
The number of people from Hong Kong applying for residency in Taiwan last year rose 41 percent from a year earlier to 5,858, National Immigration Agency statistics showed. The statistics also showed that 600 applications were filed by Hong Kong residents in the first quarter of this year — three times the number filed in the same period last year — with applicants apparently not deterred by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just one day after it was reported that the Chinese government plans to enact new national security laws in Hong Kong, inquiries regarding immigration to Taiwan grew 10-fold, a Hong Kong-based immigration
‘BEGINNING OF THE END’: Democracy advocate Joshua Wong urged Hong Kongers to stand up and fight, and let the Chinese government know that they will not cave Hong Kong protesters yesterday battled with riot police in busy downtown areas, showing their opposition toward China’s dramatic move to crack down on dissent in the biggest demonstration since the coronavirus swept through the territory in January. Police deployed a water cannon and fired tear gas in the Causeway Bay shopping area after hundreds of protesters had gathered to oppose new national security legislation from China. Police warned the crowd they were taking part in an illegal gathering, and later said in a statement that “rioters threw umbrellas, water bottles and other objects at them.” At least 120 people were arrested,
‘TAIWAN IS SAFE’: As there have been no new local cases for 42 days, people should feel free to travel around the nation — as long as they follow disease prevention rules No new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday and only 20 of the people hospitalized after testing positive are still being treated in hospitals, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in Pingtung County’s Kenting (墾丁) as he promoted a “new disease prevention lifestyle” for the nation. As yesterday was the 42nd consecutive day with no new domestic cases, and experts consider 28 consecutive days with no domestic case — the span of two incubation periods — a sign that a community is relatively safe, Taiwan is safe, said Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC),
SMOOTHER TRANSIT: Japan Airlines reportedly planned to land the flight at Haneda Airport, but changed it to Narita for direct flights to Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Japan for allowing 94 Taiwanese on a chartered plane evacuating others stranded in Russia, where COVID-19 cases are rising and many international flights have been canceled. Ninety-four Taiwanese exchange students and expats, as well as two Russian spouses, arrived at Narita International Airport in Japan yesterday morning on a charter flight operated by Japan Airlines, before taking a transfer flight to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport last night, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said. As of press time last night, Russia had reported more than 362,000 cases of COVID-19, including more than 3,800 deaths. The government had