Sun, Sep 26, 2021
Former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) was yesterday elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman in a four-way race that included outgoing chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). Chu, 60, garnered 85,164 votes, or 45 percent of the 187,998 KMT members who cast ballots. Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中) trailed behind with 60,632 votes, followed by Chiang with 35,090 votes and former Changhua County commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源) with 5,133 votes. Voter turnout was 50.71 percent. This will be Chu’s second time heading the party. He was elected KMT chairman in an unopposed by-election in January 2015 and resigned in January 2016 following the party’s losses in the presidential and legislative elections. In his victory speech yesterday, Chu said his election would be the start of the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) worries. “The KMT will unite in an unprecedented manner, and we will fight for the pan-blue camp’s decisive victory,” he said. “We will fight for people’s rights and resist the DPP’s overbearing and aggressive behavior.” Asked by reporters what his approach would be to relations with China, Chu said the Taiwan-China relationship is “very important,” and that he would strive to open all channels of communication with China. Chu also reiterated his intention to open a KMT representative office in the US. Chu added he would travel across Taiwan to gather feedback on ways to improve the party from his supporters and detractors alike. He would seek to restore confidence in the KMT and encourage involvement of young people in the party’s improvement, he said. Following the election results yesterday evening, Chiang at the KMT headquarters in Taipei led party officials in resigning en masse and tasked KMT caucus secretary-general Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀) with handling the handover of the party leadership to Chu. Chiang said that despite his personal loss in the election, he felt the results to
Two Canadians detained in China on spying charges were released from prison and flown out of the country on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, just after Huawei Technologies Co (華為) chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) reached a deal with the US Department of Justice over fraud charges and flew to China. The frenetic chain of events involving the global powers brought an abrupt end to legal and geopolitical wrangling that for the past three years has roiled relations between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa. The three-way deal enabled China and Canada to each bring home their own detained citizens, while the US wrapped up a criminal case against a prominent tech executive that for months had been mired in an extradition fight. The first activity came on Friday afternoon when Meng, 49, the daughter of the company’s founder, reached an agreement with US federal prosecutors that called for fraud charges against her to be dismissed next year and allowed for her to return to China immediately. As part of the deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business dealings with Iran. About an hour after Meng’s plane left Canada for China, Trudeau revealed that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were also on their way home. The men were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a US extradition request. Many countries labeled China’s action “hostage diplomacy.” “These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace, and we are all inspired by that,” Trudeau said. News of Meng’s pending return was a top item on the Chinese Internet and on state broadcaster Chinese Central Television’s midday news report, with no mention made of the release of Kovrig and
A fifth shipment of COVID-19 vaccines donated by Japan arrived in Taiwan yesterday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, as it reported no new local infections or deaths, but five imported cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the batch of 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at noon. “Japan has gifted a total of 3,904,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to us,” he said, adding that the center is grateful to the Japanese government and public for helping increase vaccination coverage in Taiwan. The batch comprises doses with expiration dates of Nov. 26 and Nov. 30, he added. On Friday, 259,781 vaccine doses were administered, bringing the nation’s first-dose coverage rate to 51.49 percent, Chen said. As of Friday, 12,075,243 people had received a first dose of a vaccine, and 2,067,218 had received two doses, CECC data showed. Asked whether the CECC would allow further combinations for mix-and-match vaccinations — with first and second doses of different brands — Chen said that the center promotes the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as the first dose and the AstraZeneca or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as the second dose. Expanding the mix-and-match approach would only be considered if the vaccine supply makes it necessary, he said. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman, said Taiwan’s 10th round of vaccinations would focus on first-dose vaccinations with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the ninth priority group who are younger than 40 and members of the general public aged 64 or younger would likely be eligible, but the exact age limits would be announced once the number of available doses has been confirmed, Chuang said. The AstraZeneca vaccine doses that arrived yesterday would be administered mainly as second doses to people who had
BROAD AGENDA: Leaders of the Quad said they stand for freedom of navigation and overflight, and laid out plans to combat COVID-19 and limit carbon emissions US President Joe Biden and the leaders of Australia, India and Japan promised on Friday to work together for a stable, open and democratic Indo-Pacific in a veiled dig at China during their first in-person summit together. In Biden’s latest effort to cement US leadership in the face of a rising China, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) agreed to move ahead on a joint plan to provide COVID-19 vaccines across Asia, launched a new climate initiative and said the four nations would begin holding annual summits. Without any explicit mention of China, the leaders of the four democracies in a joint statement said they were committed to “promoting the free, open, rules-based order, rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion.” “We stand for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values and territorial integrity of states,” the statement said. “Free and open” has become code for expressing worry about swelling Chinese economic, diplomatic and military presence — including threats to vital international sea lanes. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, speaking as the talks opened, said that the four “liberal democracies” were working to build a “strong, stable and prosperous region.” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the summit showed the four nations’ “common vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — whose own track record on minority rights has been controversial at home — hailed the Quad’s “shared democratic values.” While the leaders carefully avoided public mention of China, Suga voiced “strong concern” during the talks about Beijing’s assertiveness at sea, its trampling of Hong Kong’s special status and its mass incarceration of the Uighur minority, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Tomoyuki Yoshida said. Biden, who often talks about democracies needing to prove their capability in an age of powerful autocracies in Russia
Germany and France said they and other EU countries have nominated Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia for a second term as director-general of the WHO. This marks the first time that a candidate for the top job at the UN health agency has not been nominated by their home country. Tedros has been in the global spotlight over the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 19 months — an epochal crisis that eclipsed all else throughout his term, which began in 2017. The election for the next WHO director-general, which carries a five-year term, takes place at the agency’s next annual assembly meeting in May next year. Tedros has run afoul of the Ethiopian government of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed over his outspokenness about killings and other human rights abuses in his home region of Tigray. Tedros was formerly a top official in the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, once a dominant member of a coalition running Ethiopia, but now designated by the national government as a terrorist group. Tedros also served as health and foreign minister in the previous Ethiopian government. The diplomatic missions of France and Germany to UN institutions in Geneva, Switzerland, announced their support for Tedros on their Twitter feeds after a deadline for candidacies for the director-general post expired on Thursday. On its Web site, the WHO has said it does not plan to announce the full list of candidates until November, but some diplomatic officials have suggested that he might not have any competition. A diplomatic official in Geneva, speaking on condition of anonymity, said 15 other EU members joined in nominating Tedros. Macharia Kamau, principal secretary for the foreign affairs ministry in Ethiopia’s neighbor Kenya, said on Twitter that his country backs Tedros — the first African to head the WHO.
CLOSE COOPERATION: A House of Representatives bill suggests inviting Taiwan’s navy to participate in the world’s largest international maritime military exercises The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed its annual defense policy bill, which includes provisions recommending that Taiwan be included in next year’s Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) and enhanced cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The House approved the US$777.9 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 in a 316-113 vote. The 1,390-page bill includes three major provisions related to Taiwan under sections 1243, 1247 and 1248. Section 1248 recommends that the US invite Taiwan’s navy to participate in next year’s RIMPAC. Taiwan has never been invited to participate in the event, which is the world’s largest international maritime military exercise, hosted every two years by the US Pacific Fleet near Hawaii. RIMPAC started in 1971 as an annual exercise to foster relationships between the US and its allies, and protect trade and sea lines in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Section 1243 calls for a report, to be issued no later than Feb. 15, on the feasibility of enhancing cooperation between Taiwan and the US National Guard. The provision requires an evaluation of bolstering cooperation on a range of activities, including disaster and emergency response, cyberdefense and communication security, military medicine, cultural and educational exchanges, and training Taiwan’s military reserve. Section 1247 reiterates the importance of the US’ Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances” as the foundation of ties between Taipei and Washington. The provision calls for practical training and military exercises with Taiwan; exchanges between Taiwanese and US defense officials at the strategic, policy and functional levels, especially for the purposes of enhancing cooperation on defense planning; improving the interoperability of the Taiwanese and US militaries; and improving Taiwan’s reserve force. Additional sections request reports on military and security developments involving China, the expansion of Chinese influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Beijing’s attempts to
Taiwan is willing to partner with members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) and can play an important role in addressing key issues that the group hopes to tackle, Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said on Thursday. The Quad was to hold its first in-person summit yesterday. The issues — climate change, COVID-19, the restructuring of supply chains and regional security — are Taiwanese interests, Hsiao told India’s Tv9 Telugu, which identified her as “Taiwan ambassador” to the US. Taiwan seeks to establish partnerships with Quad member states, and other like-minded nations in the region, to address these issues, she added. Taiwan and India have many common interests on which they could collaborate, such as technology and manufacturing, she said. They could also work together on vaccine manufacturing, as India has demonstrated its resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic with its robust vaccine production, she said. Asked about Taiwan’s “secret” to resisting China, Hsiao said that Taiwan just wants to survive and that its democracy had been hard-won with many sacrifices. Taiwan has created a strong economy backed by legal institutions, and has also performed well in technology and other sectors, she said. Taiwanese love freedom, and want to survive and defend that freedom, she said, adding that it is not looking for a fight, but wants to freely interact with other nations. US-Taiwan relations are “rock solid”, and both nations share similar values and interests, such as democracy and liberty, as well as the safety and economic prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, Hsiao said. Bilateral ties have improved greatly over the past few years, as the nations collaborate on economic and security issues and support democracy, she said.
‘RESPONSIBLE MEMBER’: Taiwan’s democratic principles and trustworthy role in world affairs would play a role in determining membership in the CPTPP, a US official said Taiwan’s strong “democratic values” would be a factor in the evaluation of the nation’s application to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the US Department of State said on Friday. In an online news briefing with the New York Foreign Press Center, State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Taiwan has proved itself to be a responsible member of the WTO. In addition to its track record at the trade body, “Taiwan’s strong embrace of democratic values would factor in the CPTPP’s parties’ evaluation of Taiwan as a potential candidate for accession,” he said. However, the US would have no say in the decision on Taiwan’s bid, as the US is not a member of the bloc, Price said. The decision is to be made by the bloc’s 11 member states, he said. Price made the comments when asked about the US’ response to separate membership bids by Taiwan on Wednesday and China on Thursday last week. Taiwan filed its application to join the CPTPP under the name “the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.” Taiwan’s representative office in New Zealand, the bloc’s depositary nation, submitted the application to the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The country is also responsible for forwarding Taiwan’s documents to the other member states. Ahead of Taiwan’s and China’s bids, the UK applied to join the block in February. China has said that it strongly opposes Taiwan’s membership bid, while CPTPP member Japan has expressed support, saying that the bloc would be open to applications by independent customs territories. The CPTPP was launched in March 2018 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. It went into effect at the end of that year, after more than half of the countries had ratified the pact. It replaced its
The Executive Yuan is ready to propose amendments to the country’s patent, trademark and copyright laws to compete with China in the race to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a source said yesterday. After nine other laws have been amended to pave the way for joining the CPTPP, the Cabinet plans to pass proposed amendments to the Patent Act (專利法), the Trademark Act (商標法) and the Copyright Act (著作權法) so they can be sent to the Legislative Yuan for final approval, an Executive Yuan official said on condition of anonymity, adding that Cabinet officials and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus members plan to meet in the coming days with the goal of passing the amendments in the current legislative session. Timing is crucial in bringing Taiwan’s regulations in line with the trade group’s standards if the country wishes to join the partnership, the official added. The regulatory changes would give Taiwan a significant advantage over China in meeting the trade group’s requirements, they said. Officials are considering amendments to the Patent Act that would allow a pharmaceutical company to sue for infringements during the evaluation and approval period for a new drug, the source said. This change would provide better protection to new intellectual property in medicine, they said. However, changing the act is considered the most challenging of the projects, as domestic drugmakers view it as potentially biased in favor of large international firms, the official said. A government attempt to push for patent reforms was defeated when some DPP lawmakers sided with domestically based pharmaceutical companies, resulting in the bill being withdrawn before the current legislative session, they said. Amendments to copyright laws would allow prosecutors to take certain infringement cases to court without a complaint being filed, the official said. This would allow the justice system to indict and punish copyright violators, but
‘TENSE ATMOSPHERE’: Those present at the book launch recalled fears at the founding meeting, while celebrating photographer Chiu Wan-hsing’s tribute to the party Senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) members gathered in Taipei yesterday to launch a book on the party’s early history. The launch of photographer Chiu Wan-hsing’s (邱萬興) Taiwan’s Defiant Years: The Rise of the DPP 1986-1987 (台灣關鍵年代 : 民進黨的誕生 1986-1987) was part of a series of activities to mark the 35th anniversary of the party’s founding on Sept. 28, 1986, at the Grand Hotel Taipei. “We must never forget the DPP’s original spirit and the party’s founding principles. Taiwanese have much expectation for the DPP, and we must remember this responsibility,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who is the DPP’s chairperson, said in her keynote address. Chiu has for years been associated with the DPP, donating many photographs, early DPP publications and election pamphlets to the party for the establishment of a museum celebrating the the DPP’s history. Several DPP founding members attended the event, including Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃), former Taipei county commissioner You Ching (尤清) and former DPP chairman Yao Chia-wen (姚嘉文). Those who were present at the DPP’s founding event recalled the tense atmosphere as many feared that then-president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國), who was also the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman at the time, might order security forces to crack down on the newly founded party. There were rumors that opposition leaders would be arrested, they said. You Ching said that he made calls to foreign news organizations upon arriving home from the event. It was urgent to announce the party’s founding to the world, he said, adding that it was crucial that foreign media reported the event. In the party’s early days, DPP members lobbied foreign governments to support Taiwan’s push for democracy and recognize the atrocities committed by the KMT during the waning Martial Law era, he said. The events led to then-Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham’s trip to Taiwan to interview Chiang on Oct.
Paraguay, Belize, and Saint Kitts and Nevis, three of the 15 UN members that have official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, voiced support at the UN General Assembly on Friday for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN. In a video played at the 76th session of the General Assembly in New York, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said that universality is a basic principle of the UN, and based on that principle, “we support the inclusion of Taiwan within the United Nations system.” Taiwan lost its UN seat in 1971, when most countries shifted recognition to Beijing. Belizian Prime Minister John Briceno on Friday attended the UN meeting in person to say that the UN’s multilateral system must be inclusive to harness the capacity of all countries to cement international cooperation where it is most needed. Briceno said Belize’s partnership with Taiwan has been based on their common democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law, and his country has benefited significantly from its ties with Taiwan. Briceno said that Taiwan has provided valuable assistance in providing medical supplies and financial support to help his country handle the COVID-19 pandemic. “Belize calls for Taiwan’s inclusion in the United Nations and its specialized agencies,” Briceno said, adding that it would “further enhance global cooperation.” Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris renewed his country’s call for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN community. In a video played in the UN session, Harris praised Taiwan’s achievements and successes, saying his country strongly believes that Taiwan has an important role to play in international development strategies. “Taiwan has demonstrated that it can be a true partner in health, and we have seen its exemplary response to the pandemic,” Harris said. “My country looks forward to Taiwan being included in the UN system and its meetings, mechanisms and activities,” he added. Friday was the fourth
A Supreme Administrative Court judge has been impeached for failing to recuse himself from a case in which a company owned by a business acquaintance of his was the plaintiff in a contract dispute against the government. The Control Yuan said its members voted nine to two on Sept. 14 to impeach Judge Cheng Shiao-kang (鄭小康), who had presided over the case brought by businessman Wong Maw-jang’s (翁茂鍾) company I-Hwa Industrial Co in 2008. In a statement, the Control Yuan said that Cheng should have recused himself from the trial because he had been socializing with Wong and had accepted gifts from him before the company filed a lawsuit in response to being accused of breaching a government contract. The relationship between Cheng and Wong was discovered during a Judicial Yuan investigation into corruption allegations against Shih Mu-chin (石木欽), a former head of what is now the Disciplinary Court, and into Shih’s relationship with Wong, the statement said. Investigators learned that Cheng had dined with Wong at least three times before the judge was assigned to the I-Hwa case, and he had accepted four shirts as gifts, the Control Yuan said. Following the Judicial Yuan investigation of Shih, the findings on Cheng’s involvement with Wong were provided in April to the government watchdog, the statement said. The impeachment case will next be sent to the Disciplinary Court, which in June began hearing Shih’s trial. Under Taiwanese law, Cheng cannot apply for retirement before his impeachment case is heard in the Disciplinary Court, which could decide to either issue a warning or fire him, if he is found to have contravened the rules of conduct.
COSTLY TECH FAILURE: More than 25,000 files for nearly 8,000 students from 81 schools were lost when system administrators updated a server, the Ministry of Education said The academic records of 7,854 high-school students have been lost due to a hard-drive failure, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. The records were being stored at National Chi Nan University, which was commissioned by the ministry’s K-12 Education Administration to host a computer server of student portfolios that universities could access to evaluate their applications. Under a program introduced in 2019 for high-school students starting that year, students are to create portfolios to be used for university applications, which include their grades, extracurricular activities and other information related to their character and achievements. System administrators discovered that files were missing when rebooting the system, the ministry said, adding that 25,210 files for 7,854 students from 81 schools were lost. On Sept. 5, the university began moving the files into a centralized system to meet government information-security regulations, which require bottom-up management of protected information, the ministry said. “The files were moved to a virtual machine in the university’s new server room. On Wednesday, the system had to be restarted due to an update, which is when the problem was discovered,” it said. K-12 Education Administration official Chang Yung-chieh (張永傑) said the issue appears to have affected only students who uploaded their information to the system between Sept. 5 and Wednesday. Information uploaded prior to Sept. 5 has been backed up, he added. The administration had already contacted the system’s software developer for assistance with file recovery, he said, adding that the developer had also contacted the affected students’ schools to inform them. Students with their own copies of the missing files should re-upload them as soon as possible, he said. “We have already checked all of the systems to ensure there are no more errors in the settings that would cause a repeat of the incident,” he said. “We are also requiring that the system be monitored by two
GETTING PHYSICAL: With Taiwan quickly becoming an aging society, the city aims to keep older residents fit and fight dementia with fitness centers, the mayor said The Taipei City Government is creating health and sports centers to improve the health of older residents, and would run a six-month pilot program to test the concept, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Friday. Ko discussed the program at the City Forum of Health Promotion for Seniors, where he was invited to speak with men’s badminton doubles Olympic gold medalists Lee Yang (李洋) and Wang Chi-lin (王齊麟), as well as Kinmen County Commissioner Yang Cheng-wu (楊鎮浯). Citing a 2019 survey, Ko said that 24.3 percent of Taipei’s senior residents have multiple chronic conditions, 63.7 percent live in apartments without elevators and 11.2 percent have health conditions that limit their daily activity. Helping people maintain their health into old age and preventing or delaying the onset of dementia are important issues that need to be addressed, Ko said. Taiwan’s population is aging rapidly, he said, adding that in his first year as mayor in 2014, only 14 percent of Taipei residents were 65 or older, but that figure has since increased to 19.62 percent and is predicted to exceed 20 percent by the end of this year. People might face issues adapting to a fast-aging society, such as the possibility of working after the age of 65, he said. Japan and South Korea have a higher percentage of people older than 65 still in the workforce than Taiwan, he added. An aging and health research center was created at the University of Taipei following a suggestion by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Chen Chung-wen (陳重文), Ko said. The city government plans to set up three levels of senior health and sports centers throughout the city, he said. Level A would include all-round health and sports centers, with one such center to be established in Xinyi District (信義) by the end of the month, he said. Level B
STANDARDS MET: The court ruled that a transgender woman met the qualifications to change her gender in her household registration without undergoing surgery The Taipei High Administrative Court on Thursday ruled in favor of a transgender woman in mandating that a household registration office in Taoyuan process her request to be registered as female. The plaintiff, surnamed Chiang (江), filed with the Dasi Household Registration Office in October 2019 to change her registered gender from male to female, but the office denied the request. It cited a Ministry of the Interior notice that said that Chiang failed to meet two prerequisites to change her gender: be diagnosed by two psychiatrists as identifying with the gender to which they wish to change and undergo surgery to remove genitalia of their birth gender. Chiang had not undergone such surgery, the office said. However, the court said that Chiang provided a diagnosis from two psychiatrists that she identified as female, which demonstrates that she is cognizant and understands her choice, adding that her decision should be upheld and protected by law. The court ruling said that in accordance with previous Council of Grand Justices interpretations, the rights of personality, health, privacy and body are all protected by the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the law must uphold the dignity of all people, and afford them the rights to determine their gender and the freedom to develop their character and personality, the court said. The ministry’s notice contravened the Constitution, as a person’s gender should not be made immutable because of the genitalia they are born with, and they should be allowed to decide their gender, the court said. Citing the death of Yeh Yung-chih (葉永鋕) as a precedent, the court said that the government should not stop at measures to direct social attention toward the issue or the establishment of gender equality legislation, but should instead offer constitutional protection of every person’s freedom to decide their gender. Yeh, a high-school senior who had been bullied by
A research team at National Chung Hsing University has developed a substance inspired by frog skin to prevent biofouling on ships and offshore equipment. By observing how frog skin prevented algae from growing, the team developed a material to stop microbes, barnacles and mussels from growing on ships, which not only make the vessels appear dirty, but can cause structural damage, said materials science and engineering associate professor Hsueh Han-yu (薛涵宇), who led the team. The research is to be published next month in an issue of Advanced Functional Materials, with doctoral student Chen Ting-lun (陳亭綸) as the paper’s first author. If not regularly scraped off, barnacles and mussels can slow ships and increase fuel consumption, Hsueh said, adding that ships can carry barnacles, mussels and algae native to one region to other parts of the world, which could destabilize local ecosystems. Some biofouling substances can damage precision electronic equipment if they seep inside a ship, he said. The team came up with the biofilm after observing frogs endemic to Taiwan, he said. Observing frog skin magnified 30,000 times, the team saw that there were dots and grooves on the skin that helped store a lubricant, which frogs secrete on their skin, he said. The team determined that frogs were unaffected by algae or other biofouling substances in the water because of these microscopic orifices that store a lubricant that kept the substances off their skin, Hsueh said. Using polymeric synthesis technology, the team created a film with microscopic wrinkles and injected silicone into tiny artificially created holes simulating the frogs’ skin, he said. When tested with different kinds of algae in fresh water and seawater, the team found that the film offered effective, long-term prevention of biofouling substances adhering to it, Hsueh said. With Taiwan’s humid, subtropical environment, freshwater lakes are prone to algae growth, he said. The team would
It is famous for its roundabouts and statues of concrete cows, but the English town of Milton Keynes now has another claim to fame — a trundling army of shopping delivery robots. The six-wheeled automated vehicles, launched three years ago, barely get a second glance as they ply the residential streets, about 80km north of London. The number of robots has grown to 200 in Milton Keynes and nearby Northampton, which introduced the service last year, with plans for as many as 500 to be in action in five more places across the country. According to the robots’ operators, the squat white machines came into their own when the UK locked down last year as COVID-19 hit the country. “Everyone was so in need of contactless delivery during the pandemic,” Starship Technologies head of UK operations Andrew Curtis said. The US company, which has quadrupled its deliveries in the UK, now makes 1,000 deliveries a day. “Demand hasn’t dropped off,” Curtis said, adding that as stay-at-home restrictions were lifted, users became more willing to try the technology. The company has signed a new agreement with longstanding partner the Co-op Group’s chain of supermarkets, to provide 300 new robots by the end of the year and triple deliveries. In front of one of the retailer’s shops in Milton Keynes, which was the first to use the delivery machines in 2018, a dozen robots are ready and waiting. With their antenna topped with an orange flag to aid visibility, they look almost like a queue of empty bumper cars. STARSHIP TROOPERS An employee emerges from the shop and places the newest order inside one of the robots — a small bag containing raspberries, yoghurt and a bouquet of flowers. With its lid locked, the droid immediately dashes out onto the pavement. It turns and moves forward to cross the road before stopping,
Surrounded by barbed wire and an electric fence, marijuana plants flourish under the bright sun on a farm in a mountainous area outside Rio de Janeiro. Yet this farm has nothing to do with drug trafficking. It belongs to a pioneering Brazilian nongovernmental organization (NGO) engaged in the production of medical cannabis to help people with seizures. Margarete Brito, a lawyer by training, first started growing cannabis several years ago to relieve the seizures of her daughter, Sofia, now 12, who has epilepsy. After seeing her condition improve, Brito decided to help other people, too. So she founded the Medical Cannabis Research and Patient Support Association (APEPI), which produces artisanal therapeutic oils made from cannabis to help people with conditions similar to her daughter’s. That work has required a lot of effort, as growing marijuana remains illegal in Brazil. “If we follow the letter of the law, nothing authorizes us to do that,” Brito said. However, she and her husband, Marcos Langenbach, were able to obtain an unprecedented judicial authorization to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes in 2016. Today, their farm — about two hours by car from the Brazilian capital — has 2,000 plants growing there to help people with severe autism, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Despite initial suspicion and pushback from some, Brito said the endeavor enjoys support in Brazil. “We have real social legitimacy. That’s what protects us,” Brito said. On a recent visit to the farm, agricultural engineer Diogo Fonseca made his way among marijuana plants growing in large black pots and marked with the names of their different varieties: Purple Wreck, Schanti, Doctor, Harle Tsu, Solar and CBG. These plants are used to produce therapeutic oils that meet the needs of each patient, depending on whether they require a higher or lower dose of cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic substance with a relaxing effect. Using a pocket microscope,
Every morning, Sam Josti logged on from her home in the US to teach children halfway around the world, just one of thousands of foreign-language tutors giving Chinese students a rare window into Western culture. However, tutors like Massachusetts-based Josti have taken a sharp financial hit after Beijing’s harsh crackdown on extracurricular classes pulled the blinds down over the outside world for Chinese students. Foreign-language teaching firms had long tapped into a vast demand for English in China, where armies of parents are eager to get their children ahead in a cutthroat education system in which a single exam can determine a life’s trajectory. That came to a crashing halt last month when Beijing announced education reforms that banned tutoring firms from hiring overseas teachers. The rules — which also forced tutoring platforms to turn their businesses non-profit and barred some classes during weekends and holidays — are framed by Beijing as necessary to alleviate stress on overworked students and reduce education costs. Critics say they are also cutting off Chinese children from outside influences, as an increasingly nationalistic Beijing moves to reassert socialist ideology in the country’s classrooms. “I understand wanting to take pressure off parents ... but not why it’s been so sudden and harsh,” said 44-year-old Josti, a former elementary-school teacher who switched to full-time online tutoring in 2017. “We were bridging the gap between the two countries, and it seems to have stopped before we could finish it,” she said. “On a personal level, it’s heartbreaking.” Cindy Mi (米雯娟), founder of online learning platform VIPKid, told Chinese state TV in March that her company had 800,000 Chinese students, in what she called an online “global classroom.” However, just a few months later, VIPKid announced it would no longer sell English classes with tutors based overseas — the core of its business model — because of
Newly elected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) should try to reconnect the party with Taiwanese society, or the KMT might never leave behind its role as an ineffective opposition. The party’s chairperson election had been neglected by most Taiwanese until one of the four candidates, Sun Yat-sen School president Chang Ya-chung (張亞中), drew unprecedented attention with his vehement rhetoric during a televised debate on Sept. 9, appealing to far-right deep-blue supporters. A TVBS poll conducted in the days after the debate showed that Chang had taken the lead from the more centrist Chu, a former New Taipei City mayor who led the party from 2015 to 2016, while incumbent KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) had only 12.8 percent support. Chu’s return to the chairmanship raises the question of whether he can give the KMT a new direction after Chiang’s leadership proved ineffective. Ahead of the vote, Chiang said in a radio interview on Friday that the KMT chairman would have to work on a host of urgent tasks, including stabilizing the party, gearing up for four referendums in December, next year’s local elections and the 2024 presidential election. While former Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) did not publicly lobby for any of the four candidates, his shadow fell over their campaigns. Chiang told the interviewer that he had spoken to Han by telephone, quoting him as saying that he did not favor any of the candidates. The statement was directed at Chu, who had often been seen with former Han aides on the campaign trail and had said that he was also in contact with Han. Although Han was defeated by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in last year’s presidential election and recalled by Kaohsiung voters a few months later, many KMT members still seem impressed by his ability to rally hundreds of thousands
Since its movie theater debut earlier this month, the new Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has grossed more than US$307 million worldwide, the biggest-earning opening during the COVID-19 pandemic after Marvel’s Black Widow. The film also topped box offices in Taiwan and Hong Kong, although it has so far failed to gain approval for distribution in China, and could even be banned for featuring an “insulting” character. Chinese social media users have said that the character of Xu Wenwu (徐文武), played by Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung (梁朝偉), is mainly based on the character the Mandarin (滿大人) in Marvel’s comic books, and that the Mandarin is based on Fu Manchu, a character in Sax Rohmer’s 1913 book The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. They say that Fu Manchu is an expression of the racial stereotype of a “yellow peril,” which is allegedly deeply rooted in Hollywood. Thay also attack Leung, whose role in the movie is that of a crafty Chinese gangster, saying that he is willing to sell his integrity to rid himself of the epithet “king of bad movies.” However, the reason for China’s extremely picky attitude toward the film arouses curiosity. China has become the world’s largest movie market after the US, and Hollywood cannot afford to ignore it. It is reinforcing references to Chinese culture in movies to connect with the country’s massive audience, as can be seen in Doctor Strange, Mulan and most recently Shang-Chi. The trend seems irreversible. Perhaps Chinese are so intimidated by the huge success of Hollywood films in their country that they are attempting to declare their cultural sovereignty based on “bloodline.” Some even mock the looks of lead actors and actresses of Asian descent in Hollywood, saying that their narrow eyes or their eyebrows with highly raised tips are
Within the span of a generation, a new super-rich class emerges from a society in which millions of rural migrants toiled away in factories for a pittance. Bribery becomes the most common mode of influence in politics. Opportunists speculate recklessly in land and real estate. Financial risks simmer as local governments borrow to finance railways and other large infrastructure projects. All of this is happening in the world’s most promising emerging market and rising global power. No, this is not a description of contemporary China, but rather of the US during the Gilded Age, from about 1870 to 1900. This formative period of capitalism in the US is remembered as “Gilded” rather than “Golden” because beneath the veneer of rapid industrialization and economic growth, many problems festered. Public backlash against the Gilded Age triggered wide-ranging economic and social reforms that ushered in a progressive era from about the 1890s to the 1920s. This domestic revolution, along with imperial acquisitions abroad, paved the way for the US’ rise as the superpower of the last century. China is passing through a similar, though certainly not identical, phase. After coming to power in 2012 during the country’s own “Gilded Age,” Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) now presides over a country that is far wealthier than the one ruled by his predecessors. However, Xi must confront a host of problems that come with a middle-income, crony-capitalist economy, not least corruption. As he warned in his maiden speech to the Chinese politburo in 2012, corruption “will inevitably doom the party and the state.” Over the past few decades, China’s economy has soared alongside a particular type of venality — elite exchanges of power and wealth, or what I term “access money.” Beginning in the 2000s, embezzlement and petty extortion fell as the government built up
TWO TRIES: A Codie Taylor break led to a Will Jordan try, to which South Africa replied through Sbu Nkosi following a George Bridge mistake under a high ball A late Jordie Barrett penalty yesterday saw New Zealand clinch the Rugby Championship with an “ugly” 19-17 victory over South Africa in the 100th Test between the teams. In a tough game with a high error count in Townsville, the All Blacks led 13-11 at halftime and both sides traded penalties through the second period until Barrett landed the killer blow from 43m with two minutes remaining. It gave the unbeaten All Blacks an unassailable lead in the Rugby Championship with one round remaining. “If ever you’re going to take an ugly win, we’ll take that,” All Blacks coach Ian Foster said. “Clearly it was going to be a big arm wrestle. We tried to break it open, but couldn’t. It wasn’t pretty but I loved the attitude at the end.” The powerful Springboks pack won a remarkable 13 turnovers, only to see the ball kicked away most of the time. Foster said that the All Blacks needed to get better at handling that style of play. “It’s one thing to dismiss it as boring, which a lot of people do, but it’s ruthless and clinical, and they are very good at it,” he said. “We ran out of time in many situations and that put our skill-set under pressure, so there’s a real learning curve for us.” The showdown had been a long time in the making — 100 years since two of the world’s great rivals first faced off and two years since they clashed at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. The world champion Springboks went into the game on the back of stinging criticism from coach Jacques Nienaber, who demanded improvement after back-to-back losses to Australia. He declared himself satisfied with the response as the boot of Handre Pollard had them in sight of victory before Barrett stepped up to seal the outcome. “The game
For once, Robert Lewandowski did not score a goal, as the Poland star’s club-record scoring streak for Bayern Munich ended at 19 consecutive games on Friday when he failed to get a goal their 3-1 win against SpVgg Greuther Furth in the Bundesliga. Lewandowski, who hit the crossbar in the 40th minute, also missed out on equaling Gerd Muller’s record of scoring in 16 Bundesliga games in a row. Lewandowski’s 19-game run includes matches in the league, DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League going back to a 3-3 draw against DSC Arminia Bielefeld on Feb. 15. Furth, who had not won any of their opening five Bundesliga games since promotion, made a reasonable start, but were caught cold when Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Canadian international Alphonso Davies set off on a counterattack down the left wing and his cross took a kind deflection for Muller to dispatch the ball in off the right post from outside the penalty area. Joshua Kimmich’s second goal for Bayern in the 31st minute was similar, this time Leroy Sane providing the cross. Furth’s defenders allowed the Bayern players too much space — although not enough for Lewandowski. The home team were given a lifeline in the 48th minute when Benjamin Pavard was sent off for a bad challenge on midfielder Julian Green, who would have been through on goal. However, Bayern still had enough offensive power to extend their lead in the 68th minute, when Sebastian Griesbeck scored an own-goal under pressure from Lewandowski, who looked disappointed not to have netted himself. Cedric Itten got a consolation goal for Furth in the 87th minute. Bayern consolidated top spot after taking the league lead with a 7-0 rout of another promoted team, VfL Bochum, last weekend. “We’re happy with how it’s going, but we mustn’t lose touch — it’s about always taking
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp on Friday demanded “some kind of solution” to prevent another club versus country row over COVID-19 quarantine rules for qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup. Eight Brazilian Premier League players — including Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker and midfielder Fabinho — were called-up by Brazil coach Tite for the next round of qualifiers for next year’s global tournament. Premier League clubs refused to release players earlier this month for matches in countries on the British government’s “red” list, because of a 10-day quarantine rule facing returning travelers. In response, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and three other national associations asked FIFA to bar the players from club duty for five days before withdrawing their request a day before the next round of Premier League fixtures. “There must be a solution, because we cannot just leave it like this and say it’s not a problem,” Klopp said. “Yes it is a problem.” “I know the relevant people are working on this, but there’s nothing decided yet, at least as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “We have a problem when the Brazilians are allowed, or when they go, to the next internationals” next month. “We have a 12.30[pm] kick-off at Watford [on Oct. 16],” he said. “The game in Brazil is on Friday night [on Oct. 15], so obviously nobody has thought about that yet.” “I just don’t know how you can do these kind of things where nobody reacts on the schedule,” he said. “We have two problems. One is the schedule, it was always a problem.” “TV and other guys, the Premier League, say: ‘OK, that’s how it is, they have to play, let’s have a look how they can sort that,’” he said. “Another thing, it’s not good for the players or the clubs as well and I hope the government comes up
The Russian Grand Prix’s final practice session was canceled yesterday after torrential rain soaked the Sochi circuit. Qualifying for today’s 15th round of the Formula One season was now “the priority,” race director Michael Masi said. “As we can see already this morning, the weather has gone up and down like a yoyo and the intensity of the rain has started increasing with some thunder already joining us.” The qualifying sessions were ongoing at press time last night. “From what we’ve seen from the forecast, we will have this level of rain to 1.30[pm] to 2pm local time and then decreasing. Priority ... is Formula One qualifying,” Masi said. A Formula 3 race scheduled for yesterday was run on Friday in anticipation of the bad weather. A Formula 2 sprint race, scheduled for yesterday, was postponed, with F1’s official Twitter account posting a video of lightning cracking above the rain-washed track and the caption: “WHOA!” “So far, today brings lots of rain. Let’s see how the day will go,” championship leader Max Verstappen wrote on Twitter alongside a photograph of the Dutch driver holding a Red Bull umbrella. On a track where they have won every race since 2014, Mercedes dominated free practice on Friday, with Finn Valtteri Bottas ahead of seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen has a five-point championship lead over Hamilton, but the Dutchman is to start at the back of the grid today after his team opted to put a new engine in his car.
‘BUILDING UP TRUST’: This is the first time since 1949 that no incumbent chancellor is seeking re-election and no political party was expected to get 30 percent of support Germany’s closely fought election today is to set the direction of the EU’s most populous country after 16 years under German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose party is scrambling to avoid defeat by its center-left rivals after a roller-coaster campaign. The environmentalist Greens are also eyeing at least a share of power. About 60.4 million people in the nation of 83 million are eligible to elect the new parliament, which decides who will be the next head of government. Recent polls point to a neck-and-neck race between Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democrats, with the latter marginally ahead. The polls show the Greens, making their first bid for the chancellorship, in third place after a campaign in which all three have held the lead. The Social Democrats’ candidate, German Minister of Finance and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has seen his personal ratings climb amid error-strewn campaigns by his rivals, the CDU’s Armin Laschet and the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock. Merkel, who remains personally popular after steering Germany through a string of crises, announced in 2018 that she would not go for a fifth term. That set up the first election since West Germany’s initial vote in 1949 in which there is no incumbent chancellor seeking re-election. Voters appear underwhelmed by the choices. Whoever finishes first is expected to get a historically low share of the vote, with polls showing no party expected to get 30 percent support. The lowest score so far for a winning party is the CDU’s 31 percent in 1949, which also is the bloc’s worst showing to date. Such an outcome would likely trigger lengthy haggling on a new governing coalition, with whichever party finishes first best-placed — but not guaranteed — to have its candidate succeed Merkel. A first-place finish for the Social Democrats, who provided three of Germany’s
‘HAS NOT CHANGED’: Former ABC executive Shelly Ross said Chris Cuomo squeezed her buttock at a party, and asked whether he apologized only because he was caught A television executive who accused Chris Cuomo of groping her at a party 16 years ago said the CNN anchor needs a public education about sexual harassment and if he did that, “he’d be a hero instead of a cad.” Former ABC executive Shelley Ross said on Friday that she is concerned that Cuomo’s reaction to her story and his role advising his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, indicates that he has learned little about harassment and what it does to women. “I don’t want to see anybody lose their job,” Ross told The Associated Press. “I want to see people learn and to make the news business a better place and the workplace a better place.” Her story represented another embarrassment for the host of Cuomo Prime Time, generally the network’s top-rated show. He has been criticized for his role advising his brother, Andrew Cuomo, who resigned as New York governor last month over allegations of sexual harassment from multiple women. Chris Cuomo did not address the matter on his show on Friday night. Ross said in an opinion piece in The New York Times on Friday that Chris Cuomo had greeted her at a going-away party in 2005 with a bear hug “while lowering one hand to firmly grab and squeeze the cheek of my buttock.” Ross said Chris Cuomo told her: “I can do this now that you’re no longer my boss,” and she responded: “No you can’t,” pushing him off while stepping back to reveal her husband, who saw the whole thing. In an interview, Ross called it an attempt to diminish and belittle a female executive in front of her staff. Chris Cuomo sent an apologetic e-mail to Ross shortly afterward saying that he was “ashamed.” Asked for comment, Chris Cuomo told the Times: “As Shelley acknowledges, our interaction was not sexual
Iceland yesterday voted in an election that could see its unprecedented left-right coalition lose its majority, despite bringing four years of stability after a decade of crises. With the political landscape more splintered than ever, the process of forming a new coalition could be more complicated than in the past. Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, whose Left-Green Movement had never led a government before, was seeking a second mandate, but the large number of parties could get in her way. Opinion polls suggested that a record nine parties out of 10 were expected to win seats in the Althing, Iceland’s almost 1,100-year-old parliament. That makes it particularly tricky to predict which parties could end up forming a coalition. “It is challenging for the politicians, but I think for democracy it is better to have everyone at the table,” Thorsteinn Thorvaldsson, a 54-year-old voter, told reporters on the eve of the election. “When I was younger it was simpler, there were four parties, now we have 10, but it is interesting,” he said. With 33 of 63 seats, the outgoing coalition is a mix of the conservative Independence Party, the center-right Progressive Party and the Left-Green Movement. Some opinion polls suggested the coalition would manage to secure a very narrow majority, but others said it would fail. “Because there are so many parties, I think there will be a lot of different opportunities to form a government,” Jakobsdottir told reporters in an interview this week. While she is broadly popular, her party was hovering at about 10-12 percent in the polls and risked losing several seats. During her four-year term, Jakobsdottir has introduced a progressive income tax system, increased the social housing budget and extended parental leave for both parents. She has also been hailed for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, with just 33 deaths in the country of 370,000. However,
Sept 27 to Oct 3 When an apparition appeared in a vision telling Easter Lee (李幫助) to build a seminary, she said she would only do so if three conditions were met — conditions that were nearly impossible to meet for a woman born in 1909 to a modest family with 22 children. Still bitter about nearly having to give up her schooling for her younger brother, the ambitious 18-year-old wanted to cancel her arranged marriage, attend seminary school abroad and become Taiwan’s first female pastor. Lee accomplished all three before she turned 40, reaching the final milestone in March 1949 at Kaohsiung’s Qianjin Presbyterian Church (前金長老教會), which she had helped establish three years earlier. In 1953, she fulfilled her promise by founding today’s Tao-sheng Theological Seminary (道生神學院). Through the school’s institutions, she sought to advance women’s education and rights, while she also tackled social problems such as the often-abusive foster daughter system. After moving the seminary to Taipei, she started her quest to build 100 churches with the launch of the Yuanping Dawson Presbyterian Church (延平教會) in 1957. She founded seven more Tao-sheng affiliated churches during the 1970s. Lee’s mission was cut short in 1989 by a stroke that left her bedridden for the last eight years of her life. She died in 1997, but her family donated her savings to help her fulfill one more goal by opening the Dao Sheng Assisted Living Facility in 2011 on the seminary grounds. RELIGIOUS TRAINING Lee was born to a Buddhist fishing family in today’s Shezidao (社子島) area. Her mother contracted tetanus when she was pregnant with Lee, and sought treatment at the nearby Mackay Clinic in Tamsui where she was introduced to Christianity. After recovering, she attended Canadian missionary William Gauld’s sermons and eventually the entire family converted to the religion before Lee’s birth. Per
In 1939, the Academy of Motion Pictures published its first “players directory,” which grouped actors into categories such as “leading women” and “comediennes,” but set aside separate sections for “colored” and “oriental” performers. The Academy removed the segregated categories a few years later, but many of the actors of color weren’t integrated into other sections. They were eliminated. These racist directories are on display at the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, which celebrates some of the most important film-makers in history while also attempting to confront head-on the dark legacy of exclusion and discrimination in the industry. The hope is to tell a much more complicated, and accurate, story of Hollywood through the years. “As the Academy, we want to recognize our own complicity,” said Dara Jaffe, an assistant curator, on a recent tour before the official opening on Wednesday next week. She pointed to a display on Anna May Wong, the lone Chinese-American movie star in the 1920s, who was denied leading roles. Nearby, the gallery features original casting notes on Al Pacino and youthful Polaroids of Christian Bale and Joaquin Phoenix from early auditions. The messy and costly journey leading to the opening of the Academy Museum has run parallel to the rapid changes in Hollywood sparked by #OscarsSoWhite, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter and other movements pushing for inclusion in entertainment. The result, after many delayed launches and leadership shakeups and much pandemic upheaval is a museum that is refreshingly critical of Hollywood’s failings — even if there are limits to the extent an institution affiliated with the Academy can address the reality of ongoing exclusion and the role the Oscars play in perpetuating problems. “We’re celebrating moviemaking, but we’re also having hard conversations about components of our history that are less proud,” says Bill Kramer, the museum’s
It’s not often I glimpse something from a bus that, in a second or less, convinces me to press the stop-request button earlier than planned. But just after crossing into Taichung’s Shihgang District (石岡) from Fongyuan District (豐原), we passed a building that was so distinctive I didn’t care if I’d end up with a long walk under the hot sun. I’d never seen a fire station quite like it. The greater part was gray and somewhat bland, but to those familiar with Taiwan’s various architectural styles, the endearing cream-yellow entrance way screamed, “colonial-era public building.” My hunch turned out to be right. What’s officially called Shihgang Branch of the Second Emergency and Rescue Corps, Taichung City Government Fire Bureau (台中市政府消防局第二大隊石岡分隊), dates from 1941, just four years before Japan’s 50-year domination of Taiwan ended. The station, at 1171 Fongshih Road (豐勢路), has been recognized as a historic building by the city government. Seriously damaged 22 years ago by the 921 Earthquake, it was repaired and refurbished at a cost of NT$8 million. ISHIOKA BARN After snapping some photos of the fire station, I returned to the route I’d sketched out the previous day. Leaving the main road, I quickly found a better-known relic from the colonial period — Ishioka Barn (石岡穀倉) at 160 Jhongsiao Street (忠孝街). Ishioka is the Japanese pronunciation of Shihgang. The barn’s interior isn’t currently open to the public; this could change if pandemic countermeasures are relaxed. The exterior, however, deserves a proper look. Built in 1942 as a rice mill and warehouse, it’s as tall as a modern three-story town house, with a considerably larger footprint. That a building made almost entirely of wood (Chinese fir, to be specific) and bamboo has survived everything Taiwan throws at man-made structures — typhoons, earthquakes and termites — for nearly eight decades is impressive. From the
In yet another case of reliance on satellite navigation leading to trouble, a 28-year-old man surnamed Lai from Miaoli County drove his girlfriend to the Lushan hot spring resort area in Nantou County’s Renai Township during the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend. On Tuesday the couple decided to drive to Hehuanshan’s Wuling area to watch the sunrise. According to the police, the couple started out by taking the normal route of Provincial Highway 14 in the direction of Chunyang and Wushe, then turning onto Provincial Highway 14A and passing Cingjing Farm toward Hehuanshan. However, Lai was hooked up to a GPS navigation system and it directed him on a different route: toward a remote mountainous area populated by local village communities. The couple ended up driving onto the Tunyuan industrial road on the border between Jingying and Duda villages. The long winding road was covered with weeds and was only wide enough to take a single sedan car, making it impossible for Lai to turn around. As Lai continued driving on, the road became increasingly narrow and eventually the car sank into boggy ground. Unable to move the car, the couple became alarmed and called the police for assistance. Pingjing Police Station Chief Chang Chien-feng and police officer Liang Ti-wei responded to the call for help and were able to ascertain the precise location of the stranded car. A tow truck arrived but was unable to operate due to the narrowness of the track. The police finally called for assistance from Jingying community members, who used a four-wheel drive vehicle to extract the stricken car, bringing the couple’s nightmarish ordeal to a close. Renai Township Police Precinct reminds members of the public that satellite navigation is for reference only, and advises them to quickly turn around, ask a local for directions or call the
A: All these rollers and spatulas, the printing ink and all types of plate engraving tools give a real feeling of traditional techniques. B: I know what you mean. When it comes to drawing, designing and composition, we now do all of this on the computer. Who still does things the traditional way? A: So why do you insist on doing things by hand? B: I guess I’m a bit old school, ha ha. And I like the feeling I get from handmade things. Things mass-produced by machine just don’t have the same feel. A: Now, that I understand. That’s why handmade dumplings always taste so much nicer than factory-made ones! A: 看到這些滾筒、刮刀、油墨，和各式各樣的版畫雕刻工具，覺得好「復古」喔！ B: 我知道你的意思。說到繪圖、設計、版面構成，我們現在都用電腦做，有誰還在土法煉鋼啊？ A: 那你為什麼堅持手工呢？ B: 可能我是比較老派的人吧，哈哈。而且我喜歡手做的溫度，那是機械複製沒辦法比擬的。 A: 這個我了解。這就是為什麼手工水餃比用機器做的水餃要好吃得多！ (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.
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