Thu, Jun 17, 2021
Starting tomorrow, people in the top three priority groups can be inoculated with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. Vaccination with the Moderna shot has been opened to the top three groups, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, adding that 73,200 doses have been set aside. Of the 150,000 doses in the first Moderna shipment to Taiwan, about 75,000 doses limited to frontline workers, or the first priority group, were on Wednesday last week distributed to local governments. As of yesterday, 37,505 people had gotten a Modern shot, CECC data showed. Of the 73,200 doses, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) would receive 10,000, while the remaining doses would be distributed to cover those in the three groups who have yet to be vaccinated — about 40 percent nationwide, but more than 50 percent in Taipei and New Taipei City, he said. The MOTC would use its doses to vaccinate designated groups of people in the second and third priority groups: 5,000 doses for crew members and aircraft maintenance workers employed by seven domestic commercial airlines, and 5,000 for frontline workers at airports and national borders, the center said. The risk of infection remains high, including the risk of exposure to COVID-19 variants at points of entry into Taiwan, Chen said, emphasizing the importance of vaccinating these workers. Asked if other Moderna shipments would soon arrive — as half of the first shipment has been set aside by the center as people’s second dose — Chen called it an “astute” question, saying that “of course preparations have been made.” More than 140,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were administered on Monday — after the AstraZeneca shot was opened nationwide to the top six priority groups — which was “speedy administration” for the first day,
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 167 cases of domestic COVID-19 infection and 18 deaths. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the local cases were 85 males and 82 females, from younger than five to older than 90, who began experiencing symptoms between June 1 and Tuesday. New Taipei City had the highest number of cases at 65, followed by Taipei with 50 cases, Miaoli County with 21, Taoyuan with 14, Hualien County with eight, Hsinchu County with five, Keelung with two, and Taichung and Kaohsiung with one each. In the 52 cases reported outside of Taipei and New Taipei City, the infection sources of 48 cases have been identified, while four remain unclear, Chen said at the CECC’s daily news briefing. The 18 deaths are nine men and nine women who were in their 30s to 90s and had underlying health conditions, CECC data showed. “The local COVID-19 situation is trending downward,” Chen said. While the situation is stabilizing in Taipei and New Taipei City, it is important to quickly identify and isolate close contacts of infected people as soon as possible through precision contact tracing, he said. Expanded testing is also necessary to find asymptomatic carriers, he said, urging people identified as close contacts of confirmed cases to cooperate and undergo COVID-19 testing to protect themselves, their family and the community. Asked about the possibility of lowering the nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert to level 2, or even “level 2.5” as some public health experts have suggested, to revive parts of the economy, Chen said that the CECC “humbly listens to all advice,” but the COVID-19 situation is “just stabilizing, not slowing down” and case counts could quickly spike if caution is not observed. Whether to loosen restrictions must be planned carefully, as reopening parts of the economy
GOOD FRIEND: Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib said he has urged Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, diplomatic and health officials to organize vaccine deliveries for Taiwan The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib for urging the Czech government to help Taiwan with COVID-19 vaccine supplies, after Hrib, known for his defiance of Beijing, on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that he was sorry to witness the latest developments of the outbreak in Taiwan. “I am appalled that politics is obstructing the delivery of vaccines to Taiwan. Prague supports Taiwan and our sister city Taipei!” he wrote. While the Czech Republic as recently as March was recording more than 15,000 cases a day and the whole nation was locked down, it has brought the pandemic under control, with its citizens now looking forward to enjoying the summer, the mayor said in a video accompanying his Twitter post. The Czech Republic was once the nation hit hardest by the pandemic in Europe. Despite having recorded 1,665,526 confirmed cases and 30,254 deaths, the nation with a population of 10.7 million has administered more than 6 million doses of vaccine, data from Reuters showed. “Vaccination is the main way to get the epidemic under control,” Hrib said, adding that he has urged Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, health and diplomatic officials to organize vaccine deliveries for Taiwan. Hrib has visited Taiwan several times, most recently in August last year when he came as part of a delegation led by Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil. In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) thanked Hrib for his heartwarming message. After Japan and the US donated vaccines to Taiwan at difficult times, other international friends like the Prague mayor have also voiced support for Taiwan and the ministry expresses its sincere thanks for these precious friendships, Ou said in a statement yesterday. “Virtue never stands alone: It is bound to have neighbors,” and Taiwan would continue to work with partners across the globe to fight the
CHINESE AGRESSION: Since the US and Japan endorsed ‘peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait’ in an April statement, many global bodies have backed the phrase A joint statement by the EU and the US on Tuesday underscored the “importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” while China sent a different message, as 28 of its warplanes entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Since US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said in a joint statement in April: “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” the phrase has been endorsed in statements by the US and South Korea, the European Council and Japan, the G7 leaders and foreign ministers, and Japan and Australia. Following their summit in Brussels on Tuesday, European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Biden adopted a seven-page statement marking a “renewed transatlantic partnership.” It was the first EU-US summit since 2014 and the first visit by a US president to the EU institutions since 2017, the European Council said. The leaders pledged to help each other support democracy around the world, tackle disinformation and protect the human rights of all people, but also said that they should be able to work with China in certain areas. “We intend to closely consult and cooperate on the full range of issues in the framework of our respective similar multifaceted approaches to China, which include elements of cooperation, competition and systemic rivalry,” the statement read. “We intend to continue coordinating on our shared concerns, including ongoing human rights violations in Xinjiang and Tibet,” it said. “We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-strait issues,” it added. “We intend to work together with our partners for a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive, based on the rule of law and democratic values, and will contribute to the security and sustainable development of the region,” it
Digital sex crime is so pervasive in South Korea that the fear of it is affecting the quality of life for women and girls, with many victims saying that they had considered suicide or leaving the country, a human rights watchdog said yesterday. South Korea has become the global epicenter of the spycam — tiny, hidden cameras used to film victims naked, urinating or having sex. Other cases have involved intimate photographs being leaked without permission, or sex abuse, such as rapes, captured on camera and the videos shared online. Victims are often traumatized further and become “immersed in the abuse” by encounters with police and other justice officials, and by the expectation that they should gather evidence and monitor the Internet for new appearances of images of themselves, US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report. “Digital sex crimes have become so common, and so feared, in South Korea that they are affecting the quality of life of all women and girls,” Heather Barr, the report’s author, said in a statement. “Women and girls told us they avoided using public toilets and felt anxious about hidden cameras in public and even in their homes. An alarming number of survivors of digital sex crimes said they had considered suicide.” The report, based on 38 interviews and an online survey, said that sex crime prosecutions involving illegal filming rose 11-fold from 2008 to 2017, data released by the Korean Institute of Criminology showed. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has called for police to investigate the growing number of sexual abuse claims, including recently among members of the military. Last year, police broke up an online network that lured dozens of women and girls into what authorities have called “virtual enslavement” by blackmailing them into sending increasingly degrading and sometimes violent sexual imagery of themselves. HRW said that the
DISTRIBUTION: High-risk areas — Taipei and New Taipei City — and the outlying islands are to receive extra doses of the vaccine, the center said Given the high uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among people aged 75 or older, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that it would distribute another 394,800 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine tomorrow, which would boost the coverage rate for this age group to 53 percent. About 688,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were sent to local governments on Friday to administer to the top six priority groups, including people aged 75 and older. Local governments yesterday started the mass vaccination program, and have adopted different strategies to facilitate the process, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. Some cities and counties adopted a “Umi-machi style” of vaccine administration, with elderly vaccine recipients going to a designated venue and remaining seated while a team of medical professional move around the room to administer the shots one by one. The vaccination pace is much faster, as there are more vaccination sites, Chen said. That is why the CECC has decided to distribute another batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier so local governments can make the necessary arrangements as soon as possible, he added. “The previous batch of vaccines is expected to cover 27 percent of those aged 75 or older. The next batch would raise the coverage rate to 53 percent,” Chen said. High-risk areas — Taipei and New Taipei City — are to receive an extra 10 percent of doses, while medium-high risk areas — Taoyuan, Taichung, Keelung, and Miaoli and Changhua counties — are to receive an additional 5 percent, he said. Outlying islands are also to receive extra doses: Penghu County, 3,000 doses; Lienchiang and Kinmen counties, 2,000 doses each; Pingtung County, which includes Siaoliouciou Island (小琉球), 1,000 doses; and Taitung County, which includes Green Island (綠島) and Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), 1,000 doses, he said. Most
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 132 cases of locally transmitted COVID-19, and eight deaths. The center has reported fewer than 200 cases for three consecutive days, and the number of cases yesterday was the lowest since a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert was issued on May 19. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said the local cases are 62 males and 70 females, from younger than five to older than 80, who experienced an onset of symptoms between June 1 and Monday. New Taipei City had the largest number of cases at 65, followed by Taipei with 26; Miaoli County with 18; Taoyuan with 12; Keelung with three; Taichung, Tainan and Hualien County with two each; and Changhua and Chiayi counties with one each, he said. Of the 41 cases reported outside of Taipei and New Taipei City, the infection sources of 33 cases have been identified, while six remain unclear and two are under investigation, Chen said. The eight deaths are three men and five women, who were in their 50s to 90s and had underlying health conditions, CECC data showed. The CECC’s Miaoli command center planned to conduct tests yesterday and today among about 1,400 foreign workers at six factories in Jhunan Township (竹南), who have a higher risk of infection, Chen said. The CECC is expecting a testing positivity rate of 10 to 15 percent, which would translate into about 150 to 200 people testing positive, he said. However, the public need not worry as the workers have already been isolated for seven to 10 days, so the risk of the virus spreading into local communities is low, he said. Of the 11,722 confirmed cases reported from May 11 to Sunday, more than half — 6,188 people, or 52.8 percent — have been released from isolation
AT RISK: The commission’s list, which the CECC must still approve, includes 2,174 broadcast media journalists, but does not include online and print media journalists The National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it has submitted a list of more than 2,000 broadcast media journalists to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) to be included among those prioritized for vaccination, adding that the center would decide whether they should be vaccinated. The list, which was mainly provided by the Satellite Television Broadcast Association, includes 2,174 broadcast media journalists from radio services, and terrestrial and cable television stations. It does not include online and print media journalists, as the commission only regulates broadcast media. “We have handed the list to the CECC, which is to make a final decision on this matter,” said commission Vice Chairman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗), who also serves as the commission’s spokesman. The list also includes journalists from CTi News, which no longer broadcasts on cable television after its license expired on Dec. 11 last year, Wong said. “We have noticed that journalists from CTi News are still working side-by-side with other TV news journalists, so they should be on the proposed list for vaccination,” Wong said. “We care about the safety of journalists in the broadcasting media and do not have any agenda regarding who should or should not be vaccinated.” The high risk of broadcast media journalists contracting the virus came under scrutiny after a Next TV photojournalist was found dead on Monday last week in a restroom at the company’s headquarters in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖). He tested positive for COVID-19 in a postmortem polymerase chain reaction test. In other news, the NCC yesterday approved proposals from eight cable system operators to move CTS News and Info to channel 52. CTi News previously broadcast on channel 52, but its license renewal application was rejected by the commission on Nov. 18 last year. The spot was left vacant after CTi News’ license expired. Of
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) has proposed that retail stores at railway stations be allowed to pay half their rent and royalties to weather challenges caused by a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert. Ridership on railway services has declined dramatically as people have been encouraged to stay at home as much as possible under the alert. This has hurt retail stores and restaurants at railway stations, which depended heavily on business generated by foot traffic. Some lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Finance Committee on Tuesday seconded a motion asking the TRA to consider reducing the rent and other expenses for retail stores at railway stations. TRA Director-General Du Wei (杜微) on Tuesday afternoon inspected the Taipei and Nangang railway stations, and spoke with some managers of retail stores and restaurants who are trying to generate more revenue by working with food delivery services or giving discounts to people ordering takeout. They told him that their revenues over the past four weeks only accounted for 10 to 30 percent of revenues prior to the level 3 alert, the TRA said, adding that some of the stores have temporarily suspended operations. “While the agency did not receive any relief funds from the government this time, we will follow the motion proposed by lawmakers to help businesses weather this difficult time,” Du said. The agency’s proposal says that businesses at railway stations would only be required to pay half their rent and royalties from May 15 to Aug. 31, while the rent from this month through August can be paid in September. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications must approve the proposal before it can be implemented.
The number of fatal traffic crashes on freeways, or A1-type accidents, as well as casualties in such incidents, rose by more than 50 percent from January to last month, the Freeway Bureau said on Tuesday. Twenty-nine accidents that occurred in the past five months led to deaths immediately or within 24 hours, a 55 percent increase from the same period last year, bureau data showed. Thirty people were killed and 20 injured, up 56 percent and 52.6 percent respectively, the bureau said. About 62 percent of the A1-type accidents were caused by people changing lanes without using their turn signals or not paying attention to road situations ahead, the bureau said, adding that approximately 45 percent of the crashes occurred from 10pm to 6am. Eighteen of the A1-type accidents were caused by sedan vehicles, it added. The data showed that drivers had failed to fasten their seat belts in 10 of the A1-type accidents, the bureau said. People were driving faster than the freeway speed limit in 13 of the incidents, it said. “Among the 10 accidents in which drivers did not fasten their seat belts, seven of them were driving above the speed limit. This shows that drivers who do not buckle up are likely to speed as well,” the bureau said. Eight of the 29 A1-type accidents also involved driver fatigue, it said, adding that this shows some drivers embark on trips without first getting enough rest. “Given the severity of the [COVID-19] pandemic in the nation, we encourage people to reduce road trips as much as possible. However, if travel is unavoidable, drivers should make sure that they get enough rest before hitting the road, fasten their seat belt, operate within the speed limit and watch the road ahead,” the bureau said. Drivers who do not fasten their seat belts when driving
The Aviation Police Bureau on Tuesday reprimanded and transferred an inspection officer for disparaging his position, after he wrote that working for the bureau was like “living in retirement.” In a statement for a correspondence school, security and inspection officer Chen Yi-lun (陳以倫) said that in his seven years working at the bureau he had not handled any cases or issued a single ticket. “Every day is living in retirement,” even leaving time to study for the Central Police University entrance exam, he said. Chen earlier this month passed the exam to enter the university’s graduate program for public security, but has yet to enroll, the bureau said. After passing, he wrote a statement about his study experience for the correspondence school to post online, it said. The content only speaks to Chen’s personal experience and is inconsistent with the hard work undertaken by the many officers who stop firearms, drugs and diseases at the border, the bureau said. Chen was also reportedly among the first cohort of aviation police to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The note generated anger among his fellow officers, who called the description unrealistic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic halted international travel, officers said they would inspect about 40,000 travelers every day on average. Sometimes they would be too busy to even use the toilet, they added. Yet there are also some officers who goof around and do not take the job seriously, they said. Slacking off is one thing, but flaunting it when others are working hard is unbearable, they added. Since Chen’s statement has affected the bureau’s reputation, he has been issued a minor demerit and transferred, bureau Chief Inspector Huang Hui-sheng (黃惠生) said. The bureau said that it calls on all of its officers to secure the nation’s borders to the best of their ability, whether they are responsible for inspections, security or detecting illicit contraband. It vowed
SECURITY BREACH: If a hacker gains control of an employee’s personal device, it could be used to access company or government systems People working from home must be mindful of digital security, as hackers could exploit weaknesses in personal computers to gain access to work systems, experts said on Sunday. Taiwan is internationally known as a frequent target of cyberattacks, said Tzeng Yi-suo (曾怡碩), director of the Institute for National Defense and Security Research’s Division of Cybersecurity and Decisionmaking Simulation. While the nation fights a domestic COVID-19 outbreak, it would continue to face such threats, Tzeng said. However, hackers might turn their sights to different targets than usual, such as vaccine manufacturers and hospitals, he said. Financial and medical institutions are a long way ahead of the curve when it comes to cybersecurity, preceding even governments in pre-empting attacks, he said. Ever since CPC Corp, Taiwan and Formosa Petrochemical Corp were hit by a ransomware attack in May last year, the government has invested more in securing digital systems at state-run enterprises, security expert Chang Kuang-hung (張光宏) said. The issue is that the law has not kept up with industry needs and the national budget still falls short of what is needed, said Chang, who has created security infrastructure for the government, military and financial institutions. With more people working from home during a COVID-19 alert, Chang fears the creation of more security vulnerabilities. If a hacker gains access to an employee’s personal device, it could then be used as a “springboard” into internal government or company systems, voiding their security infrastructure, Chang said. Employees should therefore upgrade the security on their personal devices, or employers could restrict access to home computers, he added. Chang said he recently worked on a government case in which everyone was working from different offices. Information sent between the team members was encrypted and subject to two-factor authentication, while complete files were only accessible in the main office, ensuring hackers could not interfere, Chang said.
Nearly half of the public — 49.9 percent — are worried that domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines would not be able to attain international certification, a survey released yesterday by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) showed. The survey found that 40.7 percent said they were not worried that would be the case, while 9.4 percent gave no response. The survey also asked respondents to select the top three brands of COVID-19 vaccine they would most like to receive. The most popular option was the Moderna vaccine with 493 votes, followed by the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccine with 489 votes, the AstraZeneca vaccine with 321 votes, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with 315 votes, the results showed. The domestic vaccine being developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp was fifth with 222 votes, the survey showed. Sixty-six percent of respondents agreed that “if the government cannot obtain foreign vaccines quickly, it should allow local governments or private companies to obtain vaccines,” while 27.9 percent disagreed and 6.2 percent gave no response, the survey showed. It showed that 65.1 percent of respondents agreed that the government should promote universal screening for COVID-19 to prevent it from continuing to spread in communities, while 26.1 percent disagreed and 8.8 percent gave no response. The government delaying adopting universal screening has led to many unreported cases of infection, the KMT said. Although President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has been pushing for domestic COVID-19 vaccines, there is a risk that they would not be able to obtain international certification, it said. The government has “clearly been unfair” in its allocation of vaccines, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) said at the online news conference. With a bigger population and more confirmed cases of COVID-19, Taichung should not receive fewer vaccine doses than Kaohsiung, she said, calling for an explanation from the Central Epidemic Command Center. The center
Rigorous procedures for clinical testing and scientific evaluation are in place for the domestic COVID-19 vaccine developed by Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp, and opposition parties should stop their disinformation and smear campaigns against it, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) said yesterday. Ker is leading negotiations at an extraordinary session of the legislature this week as lawmakers look to approve a relief package to boost government spending on industries affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. “Taiwan has seen a declining trend of new infections in recent days, but we still cannot relax about the situation, and we urge the opposition parties to stop their disinformation and false accusations about domestic vaccine production and efforts to obtain doses from abroad,” Ker said. “In this troubled time, the whole of society must unite to work on the common goals needed to pull us out of this situation. This is what all our citizens want to see,” he said. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and other opposition parties had been casting aspersions and stirring up controversy about the domestic vaccines. “Although it is the duty of opposition parties to check on and scrutinize the ruling party, they are speculating and conjecturing to vilify domestic vaccine production based on false accusations. This has undermined efforts to unite society and it is not helping in the fight against the outbreak,” he added. The Food and Drug Administration has given a clear directive, that to be granted emergency use authorization, a domestic vaccine must meet all the requirements of a 10-step procedure, Ker said. None of the 10 steps can be curtailed or bypassed, while the administration would uphold the professionalism of the medical scientists verifying the clinical test results, and evaluate every step of the procedure to gain the public’s confidence, he said. Referring to an announcement by Japanese Minister of
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday reiterated his call for the government to suspend the implementation of higher summer electricity rates. Chiang on Facebook on June 1 — the first day the summer rates went into effect — urged the government to hold off on charging the higher prices as long as the level 3 COVID-19 alert remained in place. He cited an increased burden on household expenses as people were working and studying from home, adding that the government should consider lowering the costs of COVID-19 prevention for families. The suspension would allow people to practice COVID-19 prevention at home with peace of mind and serve as “a good first step” in offering economic relief, he added. His proposal for a suspension of summer electricity rates, which he made on behalf of the KMT, has also been supported by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative caucus, Chiang told an online meeting of the party’s Central Standing Committee yesterday. “I call on the government to stop stalling,” Chiang said. “It is really not that difficult to suspend summer electricity prices.” The DPP legislative caucus on Monday said that it would ask the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) not to calculate household electricity fees based on the summer rates this month. The circumstances this year are unprecedented, as most people are following the guidance to stay at home as much as possible, the DPP caucus said. The ministry on Monday said that it would ask Taipower to assess the benefits of the proposal, as well as the likely effect it would have on overall power supply. The nation in February 1989 adopted seasonal electricity rates “to reflect the difference in the cost of electricity ... so as to encourage energy conservation,” according to Taipower’s Web site. Additional reporting by CNA
‘STRATEGIC INTIMIDATION’: A senior Taiwanese official said that China was sending a message to the US as a carrier group sailed through the Bashi Channel Beijing does not tolerate foreign forces intervening in issues involving Taiwan and has to make strong responses to such acts of “collusion,” the Chinese government said yesterday after Taipei reported the largest incursion to date of Chinese aircraft. Twenty-eight Chinese aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday, the government said. The incident came after G7 leaders on Sunday issued a joint statement scolding China for a series of issues, and underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, comments China condemned as “slander.” Asked at a news conference whether the military activity was related to the G7 statement, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said it was the Taiwanese government that was to blame for tensions. Beijing believes that Taipei is working with foreign nations to seek formal independence. “We will never tolerate attempts to seek independence or wanton intervention in the Taiwan issue by foreign forces, so we need to make a strong response to these acts of collusion,” Ma said. Taipei has complained of repeated missions by Chinese aircraft near Taiwan, concentrated in the southwest of its air defense zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). However, this time not only did the Chinese aircraft fly in an area close to the Pratas Islands, but the bombers and some of the fighters flew around the southern part of Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said. The flyby happened on the same day that the US Navy said a carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan had entered the disputed South China Sea. “The Ronald Reagan Strike group did not interact with any Chinese military aircraft,” Carrier Strike Group 5 spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Joe Keiley said in an e-mailed statement responding to questions on whether the Chinese aircraft had approached the group. “During
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: A record 13 issues raised by the foreign trade group in last year’s white paper have been resolved, and progress has been made in 23 others The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taiwan yesterday lauded the government for resolving a record number of issues in its annual position paper and said it looks forward to further collaborations to enhance Taiwan’s business environment. A total of 13 issues in last year’s white paper have been fully resolved, the best performance in the publication’s 25-year history, the chamber said, adding that it would highlight the achievement in its upcoming edition. The foreign trade group, with more than 1,000 members from more than 500 firms, is to unveil its position paper for this year on Wednesday next week. The resolved issues include permitting securities investment trust funds to invest in contingent convertible bonds and allowing marketing materials to be reviewed by an independent department, it said. The chamber also praised the Financial Supervisory Commission for easing rules on loan-loss reserve and guarantee reserve requirements for foreign banks’ branches in Taiwan, and allowing foreign institutional investors to invest in exchange-traded funds. In addition, AmCham thanked regulators for responding positively to its plea to remove phrases from legal revisions that might have a negative effect on business mergers and acquisitions. That so many of the financial sector’s issues were put to rest demonstrates a strong willingness on the part of the Financial Supervisory Commission, the National Development Council and the central bank to work constructively with industry stakeholders, the chamber said. The chamber further welcomed progress on its push for greater flexibility on renewable energy requirements for major industrial users. Draft regulations introduced by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2019 required such users to buy or generate renewable energy equal to at least 10 percent of their chartered capacity within five years. However, the draft failed to take into account power generated by renewable energy facilities already existing in Taiwan. Due to the advocacy of AmCham members and
With the US opening up to travel, demand in Taiwan for US-bound flights has soared, pushing up ticket prices to most destinations in North America, tourism sources said. Fares for destinations in the US have risen dramatically since the middle of last month, and the trend is expected to continue in the coming months, as California on Tuesday lifted most social distancing and capacity limits put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, ezTravel Co (易遊網) said in a statement yesterday. The travel agency forecast that the number of tickets sold this month is likely to be double or triple the number sold last month, with tickets to San Francisco and Los Angeles in greatest demand. To meet that demand, major carriers have increased their Taiwan-US flights, it said. Since Monday last week, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) has been operating daily flights between Taoyuan and Los Angeles, up from three per week previously. From July 1 to July 18, flights to Seattle, Washington, are to be increased to four per week, from two per week this month, while one more flight per week is to be added for travel to San Francisco and Vancouver, Canada, it said. Round-trip fares for EVA flights to Los Angeles departing later this month or early next month are more than NT$70,000 for economy class, NT$90,000 for premium economy and more than NT$220,000 for business class, according to ezTravel’s Web site. All of those fares are at least 50 percent higher than the prices offered by EVA prior to the pandemic. China Airlines Ltd (中華航空), which on April 29 significantly cut back its flights after several of its pilots came down with COVID-19, has also said it would add flights to Los Angeles on Tuesday and Thursday next week and on June 29, and two more
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Listed firms are required to disclose data that are critical to evaluating how they address environmental, social and corporate governance issues Starting next year, listed firms would be required to disclose their power and water consumption, as well as waste management, so investors can evaluate their environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said on Tuesday. The commission last year encouraged listed companies to volunteer the information, but not many did, so it has made it mandatory for all listed firms to disclose the data from next year, Securities and Futures Bureau Deputy Director-General Tsai Li-ling (蔡麗玲) told a videoconference. The commission would revise the format of the appendixes of listed companies’ annual reports by the end of this year, and public companies must include the data in their appendixes from next year, Tsai said, adding that companies are required to release the reports seven days before their annual shareholders’ meetings. The revised format has not been finalized, but three key gauges would be included — carbon emissions, water use and waste management — as they indicate how companies address vital environmental issues, Tsai said. Given the mandatory disclosure, companies are expected to step up efforts to address climate change, as investors would be able to compare data, the commission said. Companies also have to disclose the number of workplace accidents and injuries, and female workers as a percentage of total employees and management to help investors understand how they deal with social issues such as labor safety and gender equality, she said. “Overall, we need public companies to be more specific when they introduce their ESG performance,” the commission said. The FSC would also tighten requirements for information disclosure of ESG-themed funds, as some securities investment and trust companies have issued such funds without detailed information of their portfolios or investment strategies, Tsai said. The new rules would be announced by the end of next month, she said, adding that the FSC would
On Tuesday, Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib expressed his support for Taiwan on Twitter amid an outbreak of COVID-19 in the nation. In a reference clearly targeted at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Hrib wrote: “I am appalled that politics is obstructing the delivery of vaccines to Taiwan. Prague supports Taiwan and our sister city Taipei.” Hrib is known to be friendly toward Taiwan, as are some other Czech politicians, including Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil, who declared “I am a Taiwanese” in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Sept. 1 last year. For that, he was threatened by Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅), and even though Wang, at the time visiting Europe, was subsequently asked to avoid such behavior, there was little pushback from European leaders. On Wednesday last week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) attended a forum organized by the European Values Center for Security Policy in Prague, prompting a complaint from the Chinese embassy in Prague. Czech lawmaker Jakub Janda, the center’s executive director, responded curtly to the complaint on Twitter: “We do not care about your opinion on our event, you will not dictate who our friends & guest are. Taiwan is our ally.” These are small indications that the worm is turning. If politicians, such as Taiwan’s friends in Prague, are showing their growing distaste for the CCP’s bullying and domineering ways, then so, at long last, are those on the bigger stage of major international forums such as the G7 summit that concluded on Sunday. In the summit’s joint communique, the US and European participants delivered a historic rebuke of China and — significantly — mentioned Taiwan, the first time G7 leaders have done so. Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co in international supply chains,
The Housing Movement and Tsuei Ma Ma Foundation for Housing and Community Services non-governmental organizations recently invited legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party and opposition parties to a news conference where they called on the government to offer “rent assistance.” The groups called for inclusion of rent reductions, assistance or subsidies for social housing, in the “Stimulus 4.0” relief package. It is worth exploring how to take advantage of emergency rental assistance to take stock and identify the plight of disadvantaged households, so that this short-term emergency assistance can be used to make more effective long-term improvements in the living environments of disadvantaged families, and to give full play to the overall effectiveness of epidemic prevention in households. Above all, it is important to recognize the plight of disadvantaged households, not only in terms of financial ability: Other issues include small living spaces, and poor-quality, unsafe and sometimes even illegal construction. Faced with the seriousness of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the government is asking people to stay home as much as possible, but many disadvantaged families, single people and students are sharing kitchen, bath and living spaces by renting rooms and suites, so it is questionable whether they would be contributing to the nation’s disease prevention effort by staying home. Before the outbreak, these people, living in small, poorly ventilated and poorly lit homes, did not usually spend a lot of time there during the day, but now they have to, as part of the disease prevention effort. This could have a serious effect on their physical and mental health, especially on children and young people. The question is: What can be done to improve their situation? At present, government assistance to disadvantaged households is mainly focused on providing rent or tax relief for three categories of social housing in the broad sense: a small
Coming to power in January, the administration of US President Joe Biden inherited from that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, several domestic and foreign policy challenges, including deplorable economic conditions, unpredictable US foreign policy and others. However, ties with Taiwan reached a new height under Trump. While other countries expect a shift in US foreign policy, Taiwan hopes to intensify cooperation with Washington under the Biden administration. This hope was bolstered by the presence of Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) at Biden’s inauguration. Subsequently, the US announced that it would ease decades-old restrictions on official engagements with Taiwan. The Biden administration has said that the US’ support for Taiwan is rock solid and called for a more formal commitment to protecting the nation’s independent identity. A visit by three US senators to Taiwan and the announcement that the US would give Taiwan 750,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have indicated continuity in the US’ approach toward Taiwan. At the same time, Washington’s decision to bolster the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy also assumes high significance for Taiwan, especially when China’s assertive posturing against the nation has significantly increased. In this context, there is a larger question facing the US about its commitment to providing a security net to Taiwan in the case of an attack by China. While some strategy experts say that the US’ strategic ambiguity is good for Taiwan, as it allows the US to continue building up pressure on China, others believe that Washington should openly support Taiwan vis-a-vis Beijing. Whatever might be the compulsion for the US to pursue the policy of strategic ambiguity about protecting Taiwan’s independence, the fact remains that an existential crisis of Taiwan could not be seen as a minor or isolated regional development. The disappearance of Taiwan as an independent nation would not
‘IMPORTANT START’: France had two goals disallowed after offside rulings, while Germany’s Ilkay Gundogan in the first half was wayward with his attempt on goal Mats Hummels’ return to the Germany national team on Tuesday went better for France than it did for his country. The experienced defender was recalled by Germany coach Joachim Low for the UEFA Euro 2020 for his leadership qualities, but he scored an own-goal to give France a 1-0 victory. “It was a struggle between titans,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. Hummels was attempting to stop Lucas Hernandez’s cross from reaching France forward Kylian Mbappe when he diverted the ball into his own net with his shin in the 20th minute. “I can’t fault him,” Low said. “It’s just bad luck. The ball in was fast. Maybe we should have attacked the throw in quicker, but it was hard for Mats to clear the ball.” There were chances at both ends, but France looked more likely to score, while Germany squandered opportunities. Ilkay Gundogan should have scored in the first half, but could not direct his shot on target. France had two goals called back for offside in the second half. Mbappe sent a curling shot inside the far post midway through the half and then set up Karim Benzema for another late in the match. Benzema was playing in his first competitive game for France since a World Cup quarter-final loss to Germany in 2014. Mbappe also had a penalty appeal waved off in between the offside goals — Hummels had timed his tackle perfectly when the 22-year-old Frenchman would have been through on goal. Germany had never previously lost an opening game in the group stage at the Euros. Low started with the same lineup from the 7-1 rout of Latvia in Germany’s final warm-up game, but his team had no answer to Paul Pogba, who disrupted the team’s buildup play. “It was important to start with a win. We were playing Germany, they really riled us, but we wanted this
Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday set the record for most career goals at the Euros. The Portugal great scored from the penalty spot in the 87th minute and then added another in injury-time to give the defending champions a 3-0 victory over Hungary. On the fifth day of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, this was the first match played in a full stadium. The 67,215-capacity Puskas Arena was packed with mostly Hungarian fans and they made their presence known throughout the match. Hungary is the only one of the 10 countries hosting matches at the tournament to allow full crowds. That gave Ronaldo plenty of witnesses to history. The Juventus forward was playing in his fifth European Championship, dating back to Euro 2004. He entered this year’s edition even with Michel Platini at nine goals. The 36-year-old Ronaldo also became the only player to score at five consecutive Euros. Ronaldo scored his first goal after Rafa Silva was fouled by Willi Orban in the area and the referee whistled for a penalty. Ronaldo, who had missed an easy chance near the end of the first half, shot to the right of goal and got his record. The second came when he combined with Silva in front of goal and then skipped around Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi before rolling the ball into an empty net with his left foot. Portugal defender Raphael Guerreiro scored the opening goal three minutes before Ronaldo’s first with a shot that deflected off a defender and wrong-footed Gulacsi.
At least two people were hospitalized on Tuesday after a Greenpeace protester crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at UEFA Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables atthe Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute. However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened. The pilot was arrested soon after landing. A Munich police spokesman told reporters that at least two people sustained head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are.” The police spokesman said that the pilot appeared to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges.” “Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk,” he said. UEFA also slammed the botched stunt. “This inconsiderate act — which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending — caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” it said in a statement. The stunt was a protest against German automaker Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the tournament, Greenpeace wrote on Twitter. Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused. “This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” it wrote on Greenpeace’s official German Twitter account. “We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured.” “Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent. Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan,” it wrote.
Kevin Durant on Tuesday finished with 49 points while playing every minute of the game as the Brooklyn Nets rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-108 in Game 5 of their NBA playoff series. Durant also had 17 rebounds and 10 assists as the Nets seized a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series. He took over in the second half for the Nets, who were behind by double digits for most of the game and by 17 with seven minutes to go in the third quarter. The Nets then went on a 17-5 run and Durant sealed it with a clutch three-pointer and four key free throws in the final two minutes. Durant played all 48 minutes, shot 16-of-23 from the floor and finished just shy of his playoff career high of 50 points. “I wasn’t planning on playing every minute, but I told my coach that I felt good and let me ride it out,” Durant said. Nets coach Steve Nash said this will go down as one of Durant’s “signature” games. “He played the entire game and he barely missed,” Nash said. “It is ridiculous what he is able to do. To do it on a night like this when we are down bodies and we are wounded. This is what makes him one of the all-time greats. This is a signature performance.” “He is the best player in the world right now,” Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “We got to beat him as a team. We got to keep doing our jobs and hopefully he is going to miss,” he added. Antetokounmpo had 34 points and 12 rebounds, while Khris Middleton added 25 points for the Bucks.
NEW APPROACH NEEDED? The royals, despite seeing themselves as above politics, are under tremendous pressure to urge parliament to reconvene, an expert said Malaysia’s royal leaders were to meet yesterday amid growing public anger over the Malaysian government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic during a state of emergency that has left democracy suspended for a year. The meeting, to be chaired by Malaysian King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at 2:30pm, comes as daily COVID-19 infections averaged about 5,800 in the past seven days, nearly double than when Malaysia declared emergency rule in January. “The issue now is whether the emergency, which is set to end Aug. 1, should be continued,” Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, the head of the ruling United Malays National Organization’s youth wing, wrote on Facebook on Monday. “What’s the use of an emergency if it’s not helping the people?” Malaysia’s move to declare a state of emergency was the first in more than half a century. It allowed embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to suspend parliament and enact emergency laws without legislative approval, with the aim of bringing the outbreak under control. That also meant no snap polls could be called during that period. The king might be contemplating doing two things, said Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “Number one is whether to convene parliamentary sitting, even if emergency is ongoing, and number two is a more fundamental question, whether to extend the emergency beyond the first of August.” Malaysia on Friday extended a nationwide lockdown by another two weeks as the number of COVID-19 cases remained high. Only essential sectors may operate, while movement is limited to a 10km radius. The measures could kill off the country’s manufacturing sector, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said on Saturday. The rulers are unlikely to make major political decisions, said James Chin, a professor at the University of Tasmania. “The royals want to be seen as above politics, so
When COVID-19 arrived in India, few places looked as vulnerable as Mumbai. However, a year on, South Asia’s most crowded city has surprised many by tackling a vicious second wave of the virus with considerable success. Gaurav Awasthi even traveled hundreds of kilometers from his home on the outskirts of Delhi to get his ailing wife a hospital bed there, paying an ambulance more than US$1,000 to drive 24 hours straight. “I cannot ever repay my debt to this city,” the 29-year-old said, recounting an ordeal that saw him spend five days fruitlessly searching for a bed across several cities, including Delhi. “I don’t know if my wife would be alive today if it weren’t for Mumbai’s health facilities.” The bodies began turning up early in India’s financial capital during the first wave of infections last year — a man collapsing on a busy road, a rickshaw driver slumped over the wheel — in a grim echo of the 1918 flu pandemic. By May last year, Abhignya Patra was working 18-hour days at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital. “It was non-stop,” the 27-year-old anesthesiologist said. Patients’ relatives described distressing scenes inside packed wards, with one man saying that he had to change his sick mother’s diapers himself because staff were too overworked. A video shot inside the hospital, widely shared on social media, showed corpses wrapped in black plastic left on beds in a ward where patients were being treated. Every night, a city hotline fielded thousands of calls from desperate residents, many with no chance of getting admitted to a public hospital: Mumbai had just 80 ambulances and 425 intensive care units for a population of 20 million. Something had to change fast, said Iqbal Chahal, a no-nonsense bureaucrat who took over as Mumbai’s municipal commissioner in May last year. New field hospitals added thousands of beds, private facilities
People from the Huinchiri community in Peru’s Cusco Region are rebuilding a 500-year-old Incan bridge, using traditional weaving techniques to literally string a crossing together spanning the Apurimac River far below. The Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge had been in use for more than 500 years to connect communities divided by the river, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it fell into disrepair and collapsed in March. Members of the affected communities, such as the Huinchiri, decided to rebuild the 30m long bridge in the traditional Incan style: by weaving it. Teams of workers, starting from both sides of the ravine and balancing on giant main ropes that had been stretched over the river, worked toward the center, putting in place smaller ropes as barriers between handrail ropes and the walkway’s floor. “Last year, because of the pandemic, it wasn’t strengthened... That is why at the beginning of this year, the bridge fell,” Cusco Governor Jean Paul Benavente said. “It is like an answer to the pandemic itself. From the depths of the Peruvian Andean identity, this bridge is strung up across the Apurimac basin, and we can tell the world that we are coming out if this little by little,” he said. In 2013, UNESCO recognized the skills and traditions associated with the reconstruction of the bridge as cultural heritage. Peru is rich in ancient treasure. It has hundreds of sites that date back thousands of years and span dozens of cultures, including the ancient Incan empire that was in power when Spanish troops arrived in the early 1500s. “This is history — more than 500 years of a paradox in time. The Q’eswachaka, this Incan living bridge, is really an expression and cultural manifestation,” Benavente said. The bridge “connects villages, but ... also connects traditions and connects culture,” he said.
Kimiko Hirata has spent nearly half her life fighting to wean Japan off its dependence on coal, and now isn’t the time to slow down, the award-winning activist warns. “I’m hopeful, but we have no time to waste,” said Hirata, the international director of Japan’s Kiko Network NGO. “Our future will be gone if we don’t act now,” she said. It’s a message that Hirata, 50, has long worked to drive home in the world’s third-largest economy, which upped its reliance on coal after the 2011 Fukushima disaster took its nuclear plants offline. On Tuesday, the soft-spoken activist was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work, particularly on blocking new coal-fired power plants in Japan. The country’s 140 coal plants generate nearly a third of its electricity, second only to liquid natural gas-fired plants. A signatory to the Paris climate deal, Japan was the sixth-biggest contributor to global greenhouse emissions in 2017, and last year the government set a new 2050 goal for carbon neutrality. That significantly firmed up Tokyo’s climate commitments and was a “major step forward,” Hirata said. It comes after years of efforts by the Kiko Network — kiko is Japanese for climate. The Goldman prize awarders said the Kiko Network’s “sophisticated, multi-pronged, national anti-coal campaign,” launched in 2011, helped block a third of 50 new coal projects. The work Hirata spearheaded prevented “the emission of 42 million tons of CO2 per year,” they added. ‘HIT BY LIGHTNING’ Hirata is modest about her achievements, citing efforts at a local level, and warning more is needed. “I think (our work) helped put the brakes on to a certain extent,” she said at her office in Tokyo. “But there are more coal plants than before, so in the broader sense we still face challenges and haven’t won a victory yet.” Despite having devoted her adult life to tackling climate
Harboring an unrequited love for someone is one thing; following them, secretly taking pictures of them and visiting them at work every day is stalking. Chasing down and confronting their new boyfriend (even though he is a horrible person) in the name of justice, is stalking. There’s not really an excuse, no matter how well-intentioned one is. Such behavior features heavily in My Missing Valentine (消失的情人節), which is available on Netflix after bagging five trophies during last year’s Golden Horse awards, including best feature and best director. It’s a skillfully edited and philosophical tale with a sweet and endearing protagonist portrayed by Patty Lee (李霈瑜). But what happens to her just doesn’t feel right. An interesting device is that characters in the film each experience time differently. Lee’s character, Hsiao-chi, has been a step faster than others since birth. For example, she starts running in a race before the whistle is blown, and laughs during a movie before the punchline. The film begins with Hsiao-chi reporting to the police that she had lost a day — Valentine’s Day — with no memories of what happened. Hsiao-chi is a shy yet personable 30-year-old post office worker who has never celebrated Valentine’s Day. She is cheerful and imaginative, and her quirky mannerisms and expressions grow on the audience and eventually carry the film. Opposite Hsiao-chi is A-tai (Liu Kuan-ting, 劉冠廷), who is also shy and is always a step slower. Liu’s childlike and whimsical personality may serve to soften his otherwise creepy behavior. Of course, he’s a good person who doesn’t actually do Hsiao-chi any harm, but what’s shown is uncomfortable enough. Without revealing the plot, the story becomes increasingly disturbing after the second half, and this reviewer cringed throughout the unsettling “romantic moments.” Yes, the film is meant to be surreal
South Korea is trying to increase its future working population by making it easier for children of foreign residents to become citizens, but its plans have run into trouble in the face of rising anti-China sentiment. A measure proposed by the Ministry of Justice — first made public in April — called for easing the pathway to citizenship for children born to long-term foreign residents, by simply notifying the ministry. A presidential petition opposing the revision has gathered over 300,000 signatures. The chatroom of an online hearing held to discuss the proposal in May was overwhelmed with expletive-laced complaints by the tens of thousands of viewers. The justice ministry has said it is still taking into account public opinion and the advice of experts before submitting the proposal to the Ministry of Government Legislation. “Given the strong backlash, I would say the ministry has already lost much of the momentum to push ahead with the proposal,” said Jang Yun-mi, an attorney who specializes in issues related to children. The controversy highlights the challenges South Korea faces as it seeks to ensure a robust future population in the face of declining birthrates and rapidly aging workers, and the potential policy implications of increasingly negative views of China, its biggest trading partner. Data from last year suggests only about 3,930 people would be eligible under the rule change, but the fact that 3,725 of them were of Chinese heritage prompted much of the criticism. South Korean views have been colored by what some see as economic bullying by Beijing, its poor handling of the COVID-19 crisis, and the assertion by some Chinese that dearly held aspects of Korean food and culture, such as kimchi and the traditional hanbok dress, have roots in China. Among immigrant communities, the proposed measures are not seen as worth the backlash, said Kim Yong-phil, editor-in-chief
Why don’t we make some egg fried rice? (4/5) 我們來做蛋炒飯好了！（四） A: I forgot my protective goggles; chopping these onions is making me cry. B: Protective goggles won’t do you any good! I put on swimming goggles. When I was naughty as a kid, my parents would make me chop onions as punishment. A: That’s a pretty constructive way to punish someone. When you’re done, you have chopped onions you can eat. B: I’ve cracked an egg into a bowl and beaten it. And I’ve chopped the garlic. A: Groovy. So we’re all set. B: I’m putting some oil into the wok. I’ll wait for it to heat up, then I’ll add the garlic and onions and fry until fragrant. A: 我忘了戴護目鏡，切洋蔥切得眼淚直流。 B: 戴護目鏡也沒用吧！我都戴蛙鏡。我小時候如果頑皮搗蛋，我爸媽就會罰我切洋蔥。 A: 這種處罰方式還蠻有建設性的。處罰完了，就有切好的洋蔥可以吃了。 B: 我打了一顆蛋在碗裡，已經打散了。蒜末我也切好了。 A: 太好了，一切都準備就緒了。 B: 我把油倒進炒菜鍋，等油熱了，就把蒜和洋蔥放進去爆香。 （Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱） Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
Why don’t we make some egg fried rice? (3/5) 我們來做蛋炒飯好了！（三） A: Do we have any garlic or onions? I’ve heard that aromatics like these can boost the immune system. B: Yes, in the cabinet. Look, these are onions from Hengchun in Pingtung: I bought a big bag of them. And this garlic comes from Yunlin. It’s famous for its fragrance and bite. A: Wah, what are you like? We’re in the middle of a pandemic and there you are, traipsing around the country buying up local specialties wherever you go. B: I got these all online, sent directly from source! A: 家裡有大蒜或是洋蔥嗎？聽說這些香辛料可以增加免疫力。 B: 有，在櫃子裡。你看，這是屏東恆春的洋蔥，我買了一大袋。還有，這蒜頭是雲林出產的喲，很有名，又香又辣！ A: 哇，你是怎樣？疫情期間還全台走透透去買這些名產？ B: 這些網購都可以買得到啊！而且還是產地直送呢！ （Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱）
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Taiwan, a group of Golden Melody Awards nominees recently covered the classic Chinese hit “Hand in Hand” to offer encouragment to medical workers. The song, originally recorded by 86 singers including A-mei, was released in 2003 to boost the morale of the public during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). With the number of COVID-19 cases continuing to increase last week, Taiwanese rock band Mayday donated 66 ZOLL ventilators to 14 hospitals in Taipei and New Taipei City. Entertainer Janet Chia also launched a campaign to deliver lunch boxes to medical workers on the front line since early this month, and other artists, including Little S, Vivian Hsu and Roy Chiu, have joined the campaign. Chia has raised over NT$92m (nearly US$3.4m) to purchase 342 “high flow nasal cannulas” (HFNC) for hospitals, while Japan-based Taiwanese supermodel Lin Chi-ling has also donated six “positive pressure COVID-19 testing booths” to Taiwan. (Eddy Chang, Taipei Times) 武漢肺炎（新冠病毒，COVID-19）在台疫情嚴峻，一群金曲獎入圍者近日重新翻唱經典抗疫歌曲《手牽手》，為醫護人員加油打氣。該曲最初是由天后阿妹等八十六位歌手合唱，於二○○三年SARS（嚴重急性呼吸道症候群）爆發期間發行，藉以提振人民的士氣。 隨著確診人數近日持續上升中，台灣搖滾天團五月天也於上週，捐出六十六台呼吸器給雙北市的十四家醫院。而藝人賈永婕本月初發起活動，送便當給在第一線的醫護人員，小S、徐若瑄、邱澤等多位藝人隨後亦共襄盛舉。 同時賈永婕還募資九千兩百多萬台幣，熱心捐贈三百四十二台「高流量氧氣鼻導管全配系統」。定居在日本的第一名模林志玲，則捐贈了六座「正壓檢疫亭」以回饋台灣。 （台北時報張聖恩）
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