Sat, Jul 31, 2021
A business in Chiayi County has reported 11 cases of COVID-19, with their source of infection possibly from northern Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. At its daily news briefing, the center reported 21 new local cases — nine in Chiayi, seven in Taipei, four in New Taipei City and one in Kaohsiung, with no new fatalities. Among them, 18 cases have known sources of infection, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The nine cases in Chiayi have been determined to be part of a cluster at a workplace, which has accumulated 11 cases, including two relatives of employees, he said. Among the cases, two had traveled to northern Taiwan, he added. While there are not many employees at the business, which Chen did not identify, the virus might have been developing at the site for quite a while, he said. Seventy-eight people related to the cluster have received virus testing, including 10 who tested positive, while 11 people are awaiting tests, he added. According to local media reports, the cluster is linked to a factory in Shueishang Township (水上). Hospital and Social Welfare Organizations Administration Commission Director Wang Pi-sheng (王必勝), who is deputy head of the CECC’s medical response division, yesterday met with Chiayi County Commissioner Weng Chang-liang (翁章梁) to discuss plans to curb the cluster, Chen said. Due to the new cases, the county government yesterday reinstated a ban on restaurant dine-in services and public events until Friday next week. It previously lifted the restriction after a nationwide COVID-19 alert was lowered to level 2 on Tuesday. The Chiayi City Government followed suit in reimposing the ban on dine-in services and public events. Asked if Chiayi County’s cluster might be related to Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) cluster, as one infected employee reportedly lived there until two weeks ago, Taipei
Governments around the world are racing to head off a surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, with US President Joe Biden offering new incentives to vaccine holdouts and Israel authorizing booster shots, as Japan yesterday extended a state of emergency. The WHO on Thursday warned that the highly transmissible strain of the virus, first detected in India, could unleash a “fourth wave” of cases in its Eastern Mediterranean zone — an area stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. Those countries are especially at risk because vaccination rates are low — only 5.5 percent of the region’s population has been fully vaccinated. In nations where vaccines are more available, public officials are sounding the alarm. “People are dying — and will die — who don’t have to die,” Biden said in a speech on his administration’s new initiatives aimed at curbing the spread. “If you’re out there and unvaccinated, you don’t have to die.” He said that all federal government workers would be asked to reveal their vaccination status — and those without the jab would have to wear masks in the workplace and submit to COVID-19 tests. Biden also said he would ask the Pentagon to consider making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for active duty military personnel, and asked state and local governments to offer US$100 to holdouts who get the shot. “If incentives help us beat this virus, I believe we should use them. We all benefit if we can get more people vaccinated,” Biden said. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that those older than 60 would be offered a third dose of a vaccine — a booster shot available from tomorrow. “I call on all elderly people who have already been vaccinated to receive this additional dose,” Bennett said. “Protect yourselves.” “The decision was based on considerable research and analysis, as well
UNFORTUNATE REPEAT: The 19-year-old Taiwanese player’s loss was the second time that his Kiev-born opponent had denied Taiwan an Olympic bronze medal Taiwan’s Lin Yun-ju (林昀儒) yesterday failed in his bid to claim a bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, as the 19-year-old rising star lost a nail-biting men’s singles bronze medal match 4-3 to Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov. It was history repeating itself, after Ovtcharov once again denied Taiwan its first ever Olympic table tennis medal in men’s singles. The teenage table tennis sensation had his chances in the best-of-seven bronze medal match, garnering four match points in a dramatic sixth game, but the Kiev-born German saved all of them and blunted another rally in the final game for a 13-11, 9-11, 6-11, 11-4, 4-11, 15-13, 11-7 triumph in 66 minutes. Taiwan’s previous best finish in Olympic men’s singles had been nine years earlier in London, when Chuang Chih-yuan (莊智淵) lost a six-game heartbreaker in the bronze medal match to Ovtcharov, 14-12 in the final game. Lin had a better chance to break the dry spell, but he lamented his inability to convert any of his four match points. “I didn’t feel especially nervous, but I know I didn’t play some of those points right,” Lin said. The “Silent Assassin,” as he is known because of his calm under pressure, struggled out of the gate in the final game, falling behind 9-3. “By that point, the momentum had shifted to my opponent, and all I could do was try to catch up one point at a time,” he said. He rallied for four straight points to pull within 9-7, but Ovtcharov closed out the match when Lin hit a backhand into the net. “All I can do now is go home and figure out how to get better,” Lin said. His coach Chiang Peng-lung (蔣澎龍) said that Lin was outstanding in his first Olympic appearance, in which the world No. 6 teenager nearly defeated world No. 1 Fan Zhendong (樊振東)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday restored a key military deal with the US, boosting US President Joe Biden’s efforts to counter China and bolster ties with allies in the Asia-Pacific region. Duterte retracted last year’s termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, Philippine Secretary of Defense Delfin Lorenzana said at a joint briefing with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The two nations can continue military exercises following the decision, Austin said. Duterte kept the pact due to the “clarity” of the US’ position to fulfill obligations under the Mutual Defense Treaty, Philippine government spokesman Harry Roque said in a separate statement. “The Philippines, however, will continue to engage other countries for partnerships,” Roque said. The decision to keep the military deal “restores some certainty” in the Philippines’ defense relations with the US, and “will be helpful in at least deterring Beijing from escalatory moves” in the South China Sea, said Collin Koh, a research fellow at a research fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. “However, I don’t see such a move necessarily dealing a blow to the Philippines’ ties with China,” Koh said, adding that Manila would continue to see ties with Beijing as essential to secure vaccines and investments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Duterte and Austin met on Thursday and agreed that there is room to strengthen ties, as the US defense chief vowed a deeper role in Asia amid lingering tension in the South China Sea. They had an “open and frank” discussion on the status and future direction of US-Philippines engagement, a statement from Duterte’s office said. “They agreed that the alliance can be further strengthened through enhanced communication and greater cooperation, particularly in the areas of pandemic response, combating transnational crimes, including the war on illegal drugs, maritime domain awareness, the rule of law and trade and investments,” said the statement that
A Hong Kong court yesterday sentenced the first person convicted under Beijing-drafted national security legislation to nine years in prison, a ruling that illustrates the high stakes facing dozens of pro-democracy advocates awaiting similar trials. Tong Ying-kit (唐英杰), a waiter, faced as long as life in prison after being found guilty of incitement to secession and engaging in terrorist activities earlier this week. The convictions stem from an incident last year when Tong drove a motorcycle carrying a flag with the banned slogan “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times” into a group of police officers, injuring three. Tong was given 6.5 years for the secession charge and another eight years for the terrorism offense, served concurrently in part for a total of nine years, a panel of High Court judges ruled. “The punishment must have as its aim a general deterrent effect on the community as a whole, as well as a specific deterrent effect on the individual in question,” the judges — Anthea Pang (彭寶琴), Esther Toh (杜麗冰) and Wilson Chan (陳嘉信) — wrote in their opinion. The ruling came the same day police arrested a man who allegedly was booing China’s national anthem at a Hong Kong shopping mall during the live broadcast of an Olympic gold medal ceremony. Tong’s lawyer, Clive Grossman, said his client would appeal both the conviction and the sentence. The government welcomed the guilty verdict and would study the sentencing to consider its next steps, Hong Kong Secretary for Security Chris Tang (鄧炳強) told reporters after the ruling. Prosecutors in Hong Kong can appeal a sentence that a court hands down to seek a longer one. The US criticized the conduct of the trial, which it said “ensured an unjust outcome.” In a written statement, a US Department of State spokesman said that the US was deeply concerned that Chinese officials were
NO ‘ONE CHINA’ LIE: The appropriations act passed the US House of Representatives with a vote of 217-212, but still needs Senate approval and the president’s signature The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a foreign assistance spending bill with an amendment forbidding that funds be used to create, procure or display maps depicting Taiwan as part of the People’s Republic of China. The amendment was introduced by five Republican representatives — Tom Tiffany, Steve Chabot, Scott Perry, Kat Cammack and Mike Gallagher — and passed unanimously in a bundle with a dozen other amendments. “This is a common sense measure,” Tiffany said, speaking on the House floor on Wednesday. “As we all know, Taiwan has never been part of communist China. The Taiwanese people elect their own leaders, raise their own armed forces, conduct their own foreign policy and maintain their own international trade agreements.” “By every measure, Taiwan is a sovereign, democratic and independent country,” he said. “Any claims to the contrary are simply false.” Tiffany told his colleagues that the US should abandon its dishonest “one China” policy, which acknowledges “Beijing’s bogus argument that Taiwan is part of Communist China.” While this amendment cannot achieve that goal, it would “at least require honest maps that stop perpetuating the ‘one China’ lie,” he added. The full spending bill, titled “Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2022,” passed with a 217-212 vote. The bill next heads to the US Senate and, if approved, would be sent to US President Joe Biden to be signed into law. In other news, a US Navy destroyer on Wednesday transited the Taiwan Strait, the seventh time a US battleship has navigated the waterway separating Taiwan and China since Biden took office on Jan. 20. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Benfold conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit on Wednesday through international waters in accordance with international law. The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to
GAINING SPEED: On 1922.gov.tw, 5.52% have opted to get the AstraZeneca shot, 39.11% Moderna and 1.3% Medigen, the Central Epidemic Command Center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported 16 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and no deaths, while saying that 30.97 percent of the population has been vaccinated. Of the local cases, 13 were male and three female with an onset of symptoms reported between Sunday and Wednesday, it said. New Taipei City recorded seven cases, while Taipei had five, Kaohsiung had two, and Taoyuan and Chiayi City had one each, the center said. Fourteen of the local cases had known sources of infection, while two had unclear links with confirmed cases, it said. One of two new imported cases is a Taiwanese man in his 30s who returned from the US on Tuesday, the center said. The other is a Taiwanese man in his 70s who had lived in Cambodia for an extended period, the center added. The new cases bring the nation’s total to 15,637 — 14,158 of which are locally transmitted infections reported since May 15, when the country first recorded more than 100 COVID-19 cases in a single day. To date, 787 people have died of COVID-19 in Taiwan, including 775 since May 15. “The nation’s overall COVID-19 situation continues to head in a more-controlled direction,” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, told a daily news briefing in Taipei. As of Wednesday, 7,588,692 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in the nation — 7,273,091 first doses and 315,601 second doses, CECC data showed. Of the population, 30.97 percent have been vaccinated, or 32.31 doses administered per 100 people, Chen said. As of 5pm yesterday, 9,890,412 people had registered their intent to be inoculated against COVID-19 on the national online booking system, the center said. On 1922.gov.tw, 5.52 percent had opted to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine — one of three options now available, along with the Moderna vaccine and the vaccine manufactured by
CAUSED BY STRESS: Many men in the age group with the highest overweight rate of 66.6 percent are initially unaware that they are gaining weight, the doctor said The percentage of Taiwanese men who are overweight is rising due to lifestyle changes, a researcher said on Thursday. The share of overweight Taiwanese has steadily increased since 2016, reaching 47.9 percent of adults in 2019, Health Promotion Administration data showed. The data showed that 66.6 percent of Taiwanese men aged 35 to 44 are overweight or obese, making it the demographic with the largest share of overweight or obese people. The share of overweight or obese women in the same age group is 30 percentage points lower, the data showed. For women, the age group with the highest share of overweight or obese people is that of 65 or older, with 58.8 percent, it showed. The agency classifies people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30 as overweight, and those with a BMI of above 30 as obese. To calculate a person’s BMI, their weight in kilograms is divided by the square of their height in meters. Starting this year, the agency’s annual health statistics report compiles overweight and obesity data in four-year periods. For the previous period, from 2013 to 2016, the agency found that 45.4 percent of Taiwanese were overweight or obese. Lu Chia-wen (盧佳文), a doctor in National Taiwan University Hospital’s family medicine department, said that the high share of overweight or obese men aged 35 to 44 might be due to many men of that age group experiencing major changes in their life, for example when they start working in more demanding jobs or start a family. “These changes lead to added stress at work and at home, which might lead to changed eating habits and less time for physical activities,” Lu said. “Men of that age group also experience slower metabolism, which might lead to them gaining weight.” Many men are not aware of that process and only realize that
‘GREEN CITY’ ORDINANCE: The amendment, scheduled to take effect next year, follows trial runs of cup return systems at major convenience stores in the city The Taoyuan City Council on Tuesday amended an ordinance to require shops over a certain size to provide reusable cups. The regulation is scheduled to take effect in July next year. The amendment to Taoyuan’s “low-carbon green city development” ordinance marks the first time a local government has directly regulated the use of disposable containers. As the amendment includes a penalty provision, the council must send it to the Executive Yuan for approval, which is likely to be granted in September. The Taoyuan Department of Environmental Protection must also hold discussions with convenience store and restaurant operators to determine implementation guidelines before the rule can take effect. About 1.8 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year in Taiwan, more than 450 million of which come from convenience stores, department Director Lu Li-te (呂理德) said. This significant amount has a serious negative effect on the environment and depletes valuable resources, Lu said. Taoyuan in April began trialing a cup return system with 7-Eleven and FamilyMart, which lend consumers reusable cups that can be returned at collection points throughout the city, he said, adding that results have been promising. The ordinance would apply to Taiwan’s four major convenience store chains, fast food restaurants and drink shops over a certain size, Lu said. It also proposes incentives to encourage the use of reusable containers, he said, adding that the ordinance aims to gradually reduce the proportion of single-use containers with the goal of eventually achieving plastic-free sustainable consumption. Another new provision requires waste collectors to tell the department from whom they are about to collect waste and compels them to affix trackers to their vehicles.
Alleged Heavenly Way Alliance senior member Wang Hsin (王鑫), who is suspected of being involved in several killings, was on Thursday detained during raids on the gang and released on NT$2 million (US$71,515) bail yesterday. Wang, 67, and five alleged associates would be charged with breaching the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例) and related offenses, Criminal Investigation Bureau officials said. Bureau files showed that Wang was in the 1970s allegedly involved in the US-based Wah Ching gang and later allegedly cofounded the Heavenly Way Alliance’s US chapter. At the time, Wang allegedly dealt firearms and other weapons used in violent crimes, the officials said. He and other key figures of the US chapter returned to Taiwan in the 1990s or 2000s, where they allegedly continued their criminal activities, the officials said. He is suspected of having paid contract killers for the assassinations of senior members of rival gangs, they said, citing other alleged gang members who described Wang as a “godfather” figure. Despite the suspicion, law enforcement agencies for many years had no solid evidence of his involvement, they said. On Friday, police raided a mansion in a mountainous area of New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店), where they detained Wang and his girlfriend, surnamed Lin (林), the officials said, adding that other alleged associates were detained in related raids in Taipei and New Taipei City, including a person surnamed Lee (李), who is allegedly Wang’s driver. Six people were taken to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning and released on bail yesterday, the officials said, adding that the six are banned from leaving the country. The charges would be related to the 2013 shooting of businessman Lee Shi-jen (李世仁) in central Taipei, last year’s shooting of Internet fitness celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢) and two killings of alleged gang members, the officials said. Wang is also suspected to
The government on Thursday banned the importation of pork products from the Dominican Republic, citing reports of an outbreak of African swine fever in the Caribbean country. People arriving from the Dominican Republic would be fined NT$200,000 if they are found to have pork or pork-based items on them, the Council of Agriculture’s African swine fever disaster response center said, adding that nonresidents who contravene the ban and are unable to pay the fine would be refused entry. The US Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of African swine fever based on samples from pigs in the Dominican Republic, the center said. It is the first outbreak of the disease in the Caribbean region in the past few years, it said, adding that cases have more recently been reported in Asia, Europe and Africa. Taiwan, which has a significant hog farming industry, has been on high alert over African swine fever and has banned the importation of pork from areas in Africa where outbreaks occur frequently. However, the virus has been found in imported products such as mooncakes, which often contain pork from unknown sources, the center said, adding that mooncakes containing the virus have been seized from incoming travelers. Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Sept. 21 this year. African swine fever, albeit not known to be harmful to humans, has a high fatality rate for pigs. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease.
New Taipei City is on Friday next week to promulgate a citywide ban on e-cigarette use in venues where smoking is prohibited, city officials said on Thursday, adding that the ban would take effect two days after promulgation. The ordinance, which would also ban the production of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, has been approved by the Executive Yuan, the New Taipei City Department of Health said. Businesses that breach the ordinance would be fined up to NT$100,000 and have their license revoked, it said. Businesses that sell the prohibited items or their components to minors would face additional fines of up to NT$50,000, it added. Nicotine inhaled through e-cigarettes is addictive and harmful to people’s health, New Taipei City Department of Health Director Chen Ran-chou (陳潤秋) said. From 2018 to last year, the share of Taiwanese adults who used e-cigarettes increased almost threefold, from 0.6 percent to 1.7 percent, she said. Authorities recorded 208 cases of minors using e-cigarettes from January last year to last month, she added. Fines for e-cigarette use in the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法), from NT$1,000 to NT$3,000, are insufficient and several people who appealed their fines in court have had them repealed, she said. The ordinance would close loopholes in the law, she said, adding that it would also prohibit advertising for and the importation of the items. People who are found to use e-cigarettes in areas where smoking is banned would be fined up to NT$10,000, she said. Smokers who want to quit should seek help from specialists or call the 0800-636-363 hotline, she said.
JAPANESE THANKS: Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the former president was Taiwan’s father of democracy and should be thanked for his achievements President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday led an entourage of top-ranking government officials to pay their respects to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who passed away one year ago at the age of 97. “We look back at Taiwan’s winding path to democracy tread by forerunners and treasure the free air that we enjoy,” Tsai wrote on Facebook after leading the group to Lee’s grave at the Wuzhi Mountain Military Cemetery in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止). “Every era brings new challenges as we continue deepening Taiwan’s democracy,” she wrote. “What lies ahead of us is deepening Taiwan’s democracy, bringing [the country] to the world and defending democratic values with friends in the international community.” “We will travel on the path of Taiwan’s democracy with determination,” she wrote. Vice President William Lai (賴清德) wrote on Facebook that on the trip to the cemetery, he had reminisced about his meetings with Lee in Tainan. Lee never hesitated to share his thoughts and spoke many times about the importance of humility, equanimity and the ability to endure in life and politics, Lai wrote. Lee would be moved and gladdened by the performance of Taiwanese athletes at the Tokyo Olympics and the acknowledgment of the national team by television anchors in Japan, he wrote. “Lee’s spirit will be forever with us after the departure of his body and we thank him for creating a diverse, democratic and vital Taiwan,” he wrote. “Lee bound his life to the nation’s destiny. He brought immense wisdom and courage to bear at a crucial moment in Taiwanese history that contributed to the nation’s smooth transition to democracy.” “We hope to usher an era of pride and happiness for Taiwanese on the foundation Lee laid down, for the country to obtain more dignity and self-respect,” he added. Separately, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Japan’s de facto embassy in
VACCINE DISPARITY? An official said that the government’s vaccination system is deceptive, as 3.86m people have booked Moderna jabs, but only 700,000 are in stock Most Taiwanese would support a universal cash relief program amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday, urging the government to listen to the people. The KMT has been calling on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to issue cash to every Taiwanese amid nationwide restrictions after an outbreak began in May. It said that its survey results support the proposal. The survey showed that 66.1 percent of respondents hope that the government would distribute cash, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei. The results showed that 53.4 percent of DPP supporters and 68.1 percent of non-partisan respondents back the proposal, Wang said. The DPP administration has been sluggish in implementing relief measures, showing that it is indifferent and apathetic to people’s suffering amid the pandemic, she said. People desperately need cash relief, but the government has been slow to meet their expectation, showing that it has been distanced from the public, KMT Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said. The government last year spent NT$48.7 billion (US$1.74 billion) on its Triple Stimulus Vouchers program, including NT$2.3 billion on administration, money that could have been given to the people, Hung said. The unemployment rate has reached 4.8 percent, a 10-year high, and the outbreak has affected the work situation of nearly 1 million people, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) said, asking whether the government’s relief measures have answered their needs. Wang Hong-wei said that the government’s online COVID-19 vaccination booking system is deceptive. While 3.86 million people have booked Moderna vaccine shots, the government has fewer than 700,000 Moderna doses in stock, she said. About 2.85 million people have received an initial Moderna jab, but there is doubt about whether there will be enough for them all to receive a second dose of the same brand, she
Swimmers and pool owners yesterday appealed to the government for guidelines to reopen aquatic centers, as restrictions amid COVID-19 alerts are threatening the swimming pool industry and training regimens. At a news conference hosted by Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) lawmakers, pool owners said that on Tuesday they would lodge a formal petition with the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Pools have been closed since a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert was imposed on May 19, they said, adding that despite the government on Tuesday lowering the alert to level 2 and lifting some restrictions, pools were not given any leeway. Support for the petition shows that many pool owners are on the brink of financial ruin, said Lin Kuei-ku (林歸谷), who initiated the petition. We would love to give the government more time to look into possible measures, but we cannot wait more than one week, Lin said. Swimmer Hsu Han-peng (許涵棚) and a coach, Huang Chiao-le (黃巧樂), said that they hoped to return to training. Swimmers must train in the water — weight training is not enough, they said. TPP Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) said that “water-resistant” masks should be developed for swimmers, as well as other measures to shield them after they exit the pool. TPP Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) said that if pools are not allowed to reopen in the summer — when they make most of their money — there might be mass closures of such facilities nationwide. The government’s haste to show support for sports by congratulating athletes at at the Tokyo Olympics is undercut by their lack of attention to domestic athletes, TPP Legislator Anne Kao (高虹安) said. Tainan’s team are considering not attending the National Games, as their swimmers could not train for the event, Kao said. Suitable relaxation of regulations, as adopted at the Tokyo Olympics, should be referenced so that athletes’ training
Ordinances that require performers to pass tests before they can receive permits are unconstitutional, the Council of Grand Justices said yesterday in Constitutional Interpretation No. 806. A street performer surnamed Chen (陳) in 2014 was issued five demerit points and banned from reapplying for a performers’ permit for a year after the Taipei City Government ruled that the number of people watching a performance of his had exceeded the maximum for the area he had applied to use, a breach of the now-defunct Regulations for Taipei Street Performers’ Performances. Chen appealed the ruling and asked the council for an interpretation. People are at liberty to choose their own profession and express themselves artistically, which has been infringed upon by city and county government demands that street performers pass a test before they obtain performance permits, Constitutional Interpretation No. 806 says. Such regulations do not truly benefit the public, it says. While local governments should not be allowed to review the content of a street performer’s act, they can review the time, location, methods and other aspects apart from the performance, the council said. For example, a local government cannot mandate that a street performer refrain from baring their body during a performance, but they can limit them to times and places where they would not affect children and other passers-by, it said. A local government must tender a draft ordinance that is approved by its council if it wishes to regulate performance times and locations, the Council of Grand Justices said. There are still several counties and cities that have regulations requiring permits and it is expected that they will review and amend them as soon as possible, it said.
REOPENING: Domestic demand dipped last quarter due to COVID-19 restrictions, but should fare better from this month as disease prevention measures are relaxed Taiwan’s economy last quarter expanded 7.47 percent from a year earlier, 0.54 percentage points faster than last month’s official forecast, thanks to stronger-than-expected exports, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday. “The domestic COVID-19 outbreak wreaked havoc with service-oriented sectors, but did not affect the manufacturing industry, which continued to benefit from the stay-at-home economy and gradual reopenings in the US and Europe,” Wu Pei-shuan (吳佩璇), an official at the agency’s national income section, told an online news conference. Exports surged 37.35 percent year-on-year from April to June on the back of robust demand for electronics used in smartphones, laptops, TVs and vehicles, as well as artificial intelligence and Internet-of-Things applications. Outbound shipments of plastic, chemical and base metal products also spiked more than 40 percent as customers around the world rebuilt inventory, DGBAS said. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted schools, companies and government agencies to speed up digital transformation, thereby bolstering the selling prices of electronic components and contributing to supply crunches and shipping chaos, it said. Imports soared 36.38 percent, driven by agricultural and industrial price hikes and avid purchases of capital equipment and consumer goods, the agency’s report showed. Altogether, external demand contributed 5.19 percentage points to last quarter’s GDP, Wu said. For the first half of the year, the economy grew 8.19 percent, meriting an upward revision next month, when the statistics agency updates its economic forecast. The official declined to speculate. Domestically, private consumption shrank 0.55 percent, weighed down by a soft lockdown as the government on May 19 imposed a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert to curb the outbreak, the DGBAS said. However, retail sales increased 2.29 percent year-on-year as e-commerce flourished, while physical stores and businesses were hit hard, Wu said. Securities trading also thrived, with daily turnover growing more than twofold, she added. Still, private consumption dragged GDP growth
UPGRADE: Windows 11 should support hardware demand, but a parts and material supply crunch poses a risk, co-CEO S.Y. Hsu told shareholders Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) expects robust demand for its products in the second half of this year as the back-to-office trend is sparking a wave of upgrades to accommodate Microsoft Corp’s new operating system, a top official said yesterday. “Orders are not a problem,” co-CEO S.Y. Hsu (許先越) told shareholders during an annual general meeting. “The largest uncertainty comes from the supply of parts and materials.” Asustek shareholders approved a proposal to distribute a cash dividend of NT$26 per common share, implying a payout ratio of 72.7 percent based on the company’s earnings per share of NT$35.76 last year. The company’s net profit surged 119 percent year-on-year to NT$26.65 billion (US$952.9 million) last year. Revenue rose 17 percent annually to NT$412.8 billion last year. For the second half of the year, Hsu said that demand for Asustek products is strong, especially for high-end gaming computer series and peripherals, based on orders on hand. Chromebooks targeting the e-learning market in the US are back to normal levels of inventory, while gaming computer inventory is relatively low, indicating stronger momentum. Average notebook computer inventory is higher than that of gaming computers, but remains below normal levels. A shortage of key components is a challenge for Asustek, he said. “The parts problem remains severe this year,” Hsu said. “We’ve already called upon internal research and development resources to tackle the issue. Although the problem has not been not solved, we believe we’ll do better this year than last year.” Hsu said he expects the return to offices to bring a wave of office machine upgrades. “While analysts vary, many think once the pandemic subsides, most businesses will want their workers to go back to the office,” Hsu said, “This, along with Microsoft’s new Windows 11 operating system, will trigger a wave of office PC updates as older machines will not be
Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank (台北富邦銀行) yesterday launched a new overseas unit in Sydney, Australia, in a bid to gain further momentum in markets targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy. Although it is not a branch, but a sales office, it can provide Australian and Taiwanese companies operating in the country with its analysis of market conditions and through its connections with other Taipei Fubon Bank branches, the bank said. The newly launched unit would not only help existing clients in Australia receive funding or improve financial flexibility, but also offer consulting services for companies that are interested in expanding into Australia, it said. It would also collaborate with financial agencies in Australia to provide services to its clients, it added. The unit is the fourth Taipei Fubon Bank operation to be set up in a country targeted by the New Southbound Policy, after the establishment of branches or offices in Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia since 2008, company data showed. Taipei Fubon Bank said it is optimistic about its prospects as the Australian economy, the 13th-largest in the world, was among few with “AAA” sovereign credit ratings by Moody’s, Fitch and S&P Global Ratings, the bank said in a statement. Australia’s GDP grew 1.8 percent annually in the first quarter and had recovered to the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level, the bank added. Overall, the bank believes that New Southbound Policy countries would see strong business momentum this year after being beaten by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, aided by rising vaccination coverage and the easing of pandemic measures, it said. “Our three branches in Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong and Hanoi saw double-digit growth rates in deposits and loans in the first six months of the year, while deposits in our Singapore branch expanded 70 percent annually,” it said. “That signaled an economic recovery,” it said. With the addition
A video report published on the Focus Taiwan Web site on Tuesday highlighted the efforts of volunteers in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華) who are working with the area’s homeless people. The video, which focused on the work of the nonprofit groups Homeless Taiwan and Do You a Flavor, said that a COVID-19 outbreak that started in May left the homeless in Wanhua — where one-third of the cases occurred — “even worse off than they already were.” Before the outbreak, many homeless people could find work, but the closure of businesses due to pandemic restrictions has left them unable to work, the video said. Volunteer groups have been providing the homeless with whatever work they can, and some local businesses have supplied spaces for storage of donated goods. A writer who often focuses on Wanhua District was cited as saying that he immediately sought donations and funding for the homeless as soon as the outbreak happened. The writer said that volunteers are an important source of help for the homeless due to the rapport they have established from working with them in the community over the years. The government must ensure that volunteer groups are sufficiently funded so that they can continue to help the homeless and keep communities safe. However, one problem to overcome is that homeless people are often suspicious of government officials, who often lack the affinity with the community that volunteers possess. Two police officers were attacked by a knife-wielding homeless man in Taipei in May after they approached him and asked him to wear a mask. Many homeless people see the police or other authority figures as a threat, which might lead to confrontations. Had volunteers approached the same man, they might have been able to convince him to wear a mask and avoid a
British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace on Sunday last week visited Tokyo to meet with Japanese Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi. Wallace’s trip was far more than a simple courtesy call. The UK and Japan are clearly in the process of laying the foundations for an alliance, a development that would further complicate an already complex situation in the Indo-Pacific region. On the surface, Wallace was laying the groundwork for an HMS Queen Elizabeth-led carrier strike group’s participation in a joint military drill with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Gulf of Aden in September. More importantly though, his task was to demonstrate unity with Japan to resist China based on the two countries’ shared values and promote a military alliance between them. Why are the UK and Japan seeking to stand together and promote an alliance? First, Beijing imposing a National Security Law on Hong Kong last year signaled the end of “one country, two systems” in the territory, rendering it impossible for the UK to deliver on promises it had made to Hong Kongers when it returned the territory to China in 1997. China’s Coast Guard Law, which took effect earlier this year, allows its coast guard vessels to open fire on foreign ships, a move that threatens Japan’s interests. The effect of these two pieces of legislation strengthened the resolve of the UK and Japan to unite to resist China. Second, to maintain regional stability, and the two countries’ shared values of freedom, democracy and human rights, London and Tokyo believe that bolstering security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region conforms to their respective national interests. The “wolf warrior” diplomacy Beijing has trained on the US, Canada, Australia, France and others has given the UK and Japan cause to stand by their allies. Since World War II,
On a peaceful day in the open Pacific Ocean to the east of Taiwan, a US carrier and five accompanying warships were slowly sailing to guard the western Pacific. Another carrier battle group had just returned to its home port in San Diego. Suddenly, alarms went off as many intercontinental ballistic missiles were launched from the interior of China, flying toward Taiwan. Numerous Chinese warships, carriers, fighter jets, bombers and submarines were fast converging on the US ships. Not too long after, missiles, bombs and torpedoes were fired at the US carrier. The surprise to Americans was the number of them — several hundreds, many supersonic and hypersonic, all arriving at about the same time and from different directions. Unfortunately, the US Navy’s defense systems were overwhelmed and the US carrier was damaged badly. We all hope that such a surprise attack will never happen, but this might be the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) strategy to gain air superiority before invading Taiwan. US carriers cannot stray far from the front lines, because their fighter jets need to immediately protect its warships operating in the South China Sea, the Taiwan Strait and the East China Sea. US fighter jets flying from carriers also have a limited combat range. Chinese airplanes and missiles have advantages of quantities and nearby land bases. They will throw everything to knock out US carriers. The modern threats from a formidable Chinese military are new and have never been encountered by the US Navy. Some military experts have claimed that although US aircraft carriers are extremely large at more than 300m long and as tall as a 20-story building, Chinese hypersonic missiles would not be able to aim at them accurately because they sail at around 55kph. Such wishful claims have not been tested in battle. The US
INTO THE SEMIS: Top seed Tai Tzu-ying hit two stunning backhands in quick succession while on the floor in her quarter-final, prompting disbelieving gasps and cheers Taiwanese badminton stars Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin yesterday advanced to the gold medal match of the men’s doubles, while Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu-ying got off to a rough start in a nail-biting women’s singles quarter-final against Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, but rallied with a series of flash backhand smashes. Lee and Wang beat Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan 21-11, 21-10 in their men’s doubles semi-final to set up a shot at the gold medal against China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who had a 24-22, 21-13 win over Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik. Tai rallied from a game down to defeat Intanon 14-21, 21-18, 21-18. At one point, the Taiwanese hit two stunning backhands in quick succession while on the floor, prompting disbelieving gasps and cheers from the scant audience at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. Tai is to face Rio de Janeiro Games silver medalist P.V. Sindhu in the semi-finals after the Indian used her height advantage to smash her way to a 21-13, 22-20 victory over Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi. Earlier, Chinese world No. 2 Chen Yufei prevailed 21-18, 21-19 against South Korea’s An Se-young. “Being patient is the only way you can win in the game,” Chen said. Chen next plays her teammate He Bingjiao, who rallied to beat Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara 13-21, 21-13, 21-14. “It doesn’t matter now who wins the game tomorrow as long as we do our best,” Chen said. China, who have yet to lose a single badminton match to another nation at the Games, won gold and silver in the mixed doubles after Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping beat favorites Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong 21-17, 17-21, 21-19. For over an hour, the four players who regularly train with one another put on a show of sharp drop-shots, solid smashes and lengthy rallies. After world No. 3 Wang and Huang pulled
Taiwanese boxer Chen Nien-chin and archer Lin Chia-en had their hopes of Olympic podium finishes dashed yesterday after losing in the quarter-finals and round-of-16 of their respective events. Chen, 24, who was participating in her second Games, lost to Lovlina Borgohain of India in a split 4-1 decision in the women’s welter (64-69kg) category quarter-final bout at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo. In the opening round, Chen was able to throw several effective punches against Borgohain as she pinned her opponent against the ropes, but she still lost the round by a combined 48-47 on the five judges’ cards. The Indian boxer came back strong in the second round, overpowering the Taiwanese, and she successfully went on to win the three-round match on a split decision that Chen felt was fair. “Today, the opponent came well prepared and won,” Chen said after the bout, adding that she had no regrets over the outcome. “You win some and you lose some,” Chen said, feeling some satisfaction in improving on her performance at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro when she only reached the round-of-16. The Taiwanese boxer said she would now aim for the next Olympics, which are to take place in Paris in 2024. “I’m still young and I will never give up boxing,” Chen said. Chen’s fate was shared by her Taiwanese teammate Wu Shih-yi in the round-of-16 of the women’s light (57-60kg) category, who fell to a 5-0 defeat to Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira. Archer Lin’s run in Tokyo was cut short by an American in the round-of-16 of the women’s individual event. She was beaten by fifth seed Mackenzie Brown 6-2 in a four-set match held at Yumenoshima Final Field. Lin simply could not match her opponent’s consistency. Brown scored a 27 and three 28s in her four sets (each set consists of three arrows with a maximum
Shooters Wu Chia-ying and Tien Chia-chen yesterday finished fifth and eighth respectively in the women’s 25m pistol competition, becoming the first Taiwanese to reach the final of an Olympic shooting event. To reach the eight-person final, the pair first recorded identical scores of 584 out of 600 in a two-day, 44-person qualifying round comprised of both precision and rapid-style shooting. In the final, shooters competed in a series of up to 10 five-shot rounds scored on a hit-or-miss basis, rather than a points-based system. After the fourth round, the person with the fewest hits was eliminated in each round. Tien — who at 37 is the only mother in Taiwan’s Olympic squad — fell first in the final, placing 10 out of 20 shots within the 50mm 10th ring on the target to finish eighth. Wu, 28, advanced to the seventh round, but was eliminated in a shoot-out after tying with Bulgaria’s Antoaneta Kostadinova at 23 hits each. She finished in fifth place. Despite falling short of a medal, Wu and her coach, Kuo Meng-hsi, said they were delighted that she scored a career-best 584 to reach the final round, improving on her previous top score of 582. “I did my best, I have no regrets,” Wu said. Tien had already turned her thoughts homeward after the competition, telling reporters: “I want to take a nice break and spend some time with my daughter.” In golf, Taiwan’s C.T. Pan was tied for 39th place on one-under when play was suspended in the second round of the men’s individual stroke play. Pan was four-under for the day through 15 holes before bad weather saw the remainder of the second round rescheduled for this morning. In rowing, Taiwan’s Huang Yi-ting finished second in final D of the women’s single sculls at Sea Forest Waterway. Huang posted a time of 7 minutes, 52.18 seconds, 4.12 seconds
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, who won the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold medal this week, on Thursday said that she has fond memories of training in Kaohsiung in 2019 and feels like she has family there. In an online interview organized by the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines, Diaz said she visited Taiwan twice in 2019 so she could concentrate on her training without being distracted by friends and invitations to socialize. “I feel like I have also family there,” she said, adding that she did her training sessions at Gushan Senior High School in Kaohsiung. Diaz, who claimed gold in the under-55kg class in Tokyo on Tuesday, said that she had intended to return to Taiwan a third time to continue her training, but her plans were upended when the nation closed its borders because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and she went to Malaysia instead. Taiwan is “really a good place to train,” the 30-year-old said, adding that she was inspired to do her best because children in Kaohsiung looked up to her. In addition, she got to train with Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun, who won a gold medal in the women’s under-59kg class on Tuesday. “It was really nice to be there, and all the coaches were really good and cool,” Diaz said. “The food in Kaohsiung was also great. That’s why I really love it there.” Diaz said that she has been invited to revisit Taiwan and she would love to do so with other Philippine athletes to exchange knowledge and build friendships. In a statement on Wednesday, Gushan Senior High School congratulated Diaz for winning the gold medal and setting an Olympic record on Monday, when she lifted a combined weight of 224kg. School principal Chuang Fu-tai and head coach Wu Ming-tung said that Diaz had been training on the school campus in 2019 from July
MESSAGES BANNED: Communications that cause fear and confusion are said to be targeted, but media groups say the effort is intended to stifle criticism Thailand yesterday banned the dissemination of “false messages” that affect security, drawing accusations from media groups that it is trying to crack down on criticism of its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country on Thursday reported record numbers of virus cases and deaths. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said that the spread of fake news had become a major problem causing confusion in society and undermining the Thai government’s ability to manage the pandemic. An emergency decree that took effect yesterday prohibits the dissemination of false messages and distorted news that cause panic, misunderstanding or confusion “affecting state security, abusing the rights of others, and order or good morality of the people.” The decree empowers the state regulator, the Thai National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, to order service providers to block Internet access to individual IP addresses if it believes that they are disseminating false news and to inform the police to take legal action. The decree comes after the government has faced public criticism over its handling of the pandemic. For most of past year, Thailand managed to keep COVID-19 at bay, but a recent surge of infections, driven by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, has been the deadliest yet. A sluggish COVID-19 vaccine rollout has led to huge crowds queuing up day after day in some places for virus tests and inoculations. The government already has sweeping powers to enforce measures to tackle the pandemic and rules to control the Internet. Authorities have been taking legal action against some people, including celebrities and social media influencers, who have criticized the pandemic response. Six media associations said in a joint statement that the government’s legal actions showed “an intent to crack down on the freedom of expression enjoyed by the media and the public.” On Thursday, workers rushed to finish an 1,800-bed hospital at Bangkok’s Don
Doctors healing patients while in hiding, teachers giving up their classrooms and bankers losing their savings are among the stubborn holdouts still on strike to protest Myanmar’s military coup six months ago. Thousands of civil servants joined a mass walkout in the days after the February ouster of Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in an effort to deny the junta legitimacy, a sufficient work force and resources. It is difficult to know how many are still participating in the campaign, with many sacked for joining protests and a severe COVID-19 outbreak likely keeping others away from their desks. The strikes have left the junta deprived of staff to manage utilities and collect taxes. It has appealed for medical workers, engineers and IT specialists to come forward to help its pandemic response — and dangled the promise of COVID-19 vaccines for those who do. A state-backed power company in Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon, warned this month that a running boycott on bill payments was bleeding it of cash and affecting electricity supply. Agence France-Presse spoke to three people about how they were resisting the junta regime. All asked to use pseudonyms for safety reasons. Shwe Ya Min worked for Myanmar’s central bank for 17 years, but she and her husband went on strike soon after the coup, joining colleagues in a walkout that paralyzed the country’s banking system. Businesses have since been struggling to pay employees and buy supplies, and a World Bank report this week forecast that Myanmar’s economy would contract by 18 percent this year. Shwe Ya Min and her husband were both fired in May for not coming back to work, a dismissal she said was a “relief” — even though it came with a demand that they return their back pay. “We loathe [the junta] very much,” she said. “They
Hong Kong police on Friday said they are investigating Olympic Games fans who booed China’s national anthem and drowned it out with chanting during a public screening at a mall. Hong Kong’s Olympic team has had its best Games on record with Edgar Cheung winning gold in fencing and Siobhan Haughey taking two silvers in swimming. However, the success comes at a politically turbulent time for the territory, as China cracks down on dissent in response to huge and often violent democracy protests two years ago. Hundreds of fans gathered in a mall on Monday to watch Cheung’s winning bout, erupting into rapturous applause and cheers when he came out on top. At the subsequent medal ceremony, some fans initially booed China’s national anthem and then chanted: “We are Hong Kong,” in scenes that were broadcast live. “We are Hong Kong” is often chanted by Hong Kong soccer fans, many of whom revel in the territory’s unique identity and Cantonese culture compared with the primarily Mandarin-speaking Chinese mainland. Hong Kong last year passed legislation banning any insults to China’s national anthem and flag, with officials specifically citing soccer fans as one of the reasons they deemed the law necessary. Yesterday, police confirmed that they were looking into whether the Olympic mall fans had broken the law. “The police have initiated an investigation into the incident and will collect relevant evidence,” a police spokesperson said. Hong Kong has imposed a sweeping National Security Law that criminalizes much dissent and pushed an official campaign to root out anyone deemed unpatriotic.
History is written by the victors but Donald Trump being Donald Trump, he was never going to go quietly. So when the Washington Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker requested an interview about the final year of his presidency, Trump invited them to the palatial Florida estate he used to call his “winter White House.” The conversation took place not in his private office at Mar-a-Lago but in its gaudy lobby as waiters assembled a buffet dinner including jumbo Gulf shrimp, oysters over ice and bananas foster. A model of Air Force One, painted in Trump’s unrealized redesign, perched on a coffee table. Club members — a Fox News host and Donald Trump Jr’s girlfriend among them — stopped to chat on their way to dinner. “Trump seemed to love the idea that he was being interviewed as theater,” Rucker recalls by phone. “He could show off to his club members that these fancy reporters from Washington had flown down just to hear what he had to say. And he enjoyed the interview. He talked to us for two and a half hours and then he invited us at the end to stick around for dinner and sent us to a table in the corner of the patio.” The upshot of this encounter in March, and private interviews with more than 140 sources, is I Alone Can Fix It, a follow-up to Pulitzer prize-winning Leonnig and Rucker’s bestseller A Very Stable Genius (both titles are direct Trump quotations loaded with irony). It is among a wave of books about Trump’s disastrous final year hitting shelves just six months after he left office. I Alone Can Fix It portrays a man who put himself before his country. It is packed with hair-raising revelations about the 45th president’s mishandling of everything from the coronavirus pandemic
North Korea isn’t at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. And therein lies a tale — one of sports and viruses, but most of all a tale of complex politics. While it’s not making headlines here, the North’s absence is noteworthy, especially among those who watch the intersection of sports and diplomacy — and the way North Korea’s propaganda machine uses international attention to advance its needs. The no-show is especially striking when contrasted with the last Games. Perhaps the hottest story of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was the North Korean delegation, which included 22 athletes, hundreds of cheerleaders and leader Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister. The coronavirus is the biggest reason for North Korea’s decision not to come to Tokyo. Always highly sensitive to communicable disease outbreaks, the nation has shut its borders even more tightly than normal, worried that its fragile health care system and rickety economy could not withstand a major outbreak. That, in turn, could imperil the ruling Kim family’s grip on power. But there are other things at work, too, according to analysts. North Korean sports, like much about the country, are intertwined with calculations about its pursuit of a nuclear-armed long-range missile program to target the US mainland. After a brief period of engagement, Kim Jong-un now fears the introduction of another virus — the cultural one from the wealthy South — and may be biding his time until next year’s Winter Games. Those take place in China, its longtime ally with which it shares a land border. Kim may have also decided there’s nothing to be gained by nuclear diplomacy at the Tokyo games, as Washington shows no intention of accepting Pyongyang’s demand to end sanctions. PROPAGANDA Neither do sports exist in a void inside the North, where domestic audiences consume messages controlled by the government every step
Why, for starters, is the Green Knight green? It’s a question that’s long vexed scholars of the 14th century chivalric romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The movie, like the epic poem, is full of mysteries, most of them unspoken. But the knight’s unlikely color — Why isn’t he a more typical knightly blue? — is a question voiced by the characters of David Lowery’s adaptation, The Green Knight. He’s green, answers Dev Patel’s Sir Gawain, because it’s the shade of rot. The Green Knight, as seen in Lowery’s enchanting Arthurian dream, is an imposing tree of a man, with a wispy beard of twigs and a wooden mane whose movements rustle with the sound of bended, creaking branches. (He’s played by a much-costumed Ralph Ineson.) Early in The Green Knight, he rides on Christmas Day into King Arthur’s court, cloaked in shadow, and offers a game. Strike him wherever you want, and he will repay the same stroke a year hence at his Green Chapel. Gawain, freshly inspired by King Arthur to be ambitious after spending his days drinking and carousing, takes up the challenge and boldly chops off the knight’s head. The thrall of victory quickly turns ominous when the Green Knight stands, picks up his head and — with more menace than even an unwanted houseguest promising to return for the holidays — says he’ll see the young man next Christmas. The Green Knight is the color of nature and of death, which here are the same things. Lowery’s film, shot on misty Irish plains and dank forests, is earthy, with dirt under its nails, and blanketed in wintery fog. It’s both of the land and the ether, poised in a dreamy, mythical long ago. Gawain’s quest to visit the Green Knight a year later is a haunting journey into an
Would banana skins be considered kitchen waste? (5/5) 那香蕉皮算不算廚餘？（五） A: Listen, the garbage truck’s coming, quick! B: Wow, it’s time for the Taiwanese most important evening social ritual! As soon as you hear The Maiden’s Prayer, it’s like someone’s pushed a button, you get all flustered, grab all the garbage bags and rush out of the door as if your life depended on it. A: Ha ha. When in Rome… Hey, look, she seems to be the one who just moved in. And she’s rather well dressed. B: Yeah, not like us, standing here in our flip-flops and shorts, the standard get-up. A: Well, I once had a roommate who would insist on changing into their outdoor clothes and shoes whenever they took the trash out, not wanting to look too unkempt, but also wanting to be prepared to run after the garbage truck. B: Let’s go and say hi to the new neighbor. A: 你聽，垃圾車來了，快衝！ B: 哇！台灣人每天晚上最重要的社交儀式來了！你們一聽到《少女的祈禱》，就好像被按到什麼開關，都忽然變得好緊張，拿著大包小包的垃圾拼命往前衝！ A: 哈哈，你也已經入境隨俗了啊！欸，你看，她好像是最近搬來的鄰居耶！穿得還蠻漂亮的。 B: 對呀，不像我們，大家都穿人字拖鞋、短褲，這是標準配備。 A: 可是我以前的室友，每次倒垃圾都堅持要換成外出服和鞋子，說是怕太邋遢，而且也方便追垃圾車。 B: 我們去跟新鄰居打個招呼吧！ (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.
Would banana skins be considered kitchen waste? (4/5) 那香蕉皮算不算廚餘？（四） A: Ah, I forgot the kitchen waste, it’s still in the refrigerator. I’ll go and get it. B: It’s a good idea to put the kitchen scraps into the refrigerator, it stops them from going bad or giving off a smell. You have to be careful it doesn’t contaminate the other food in there, though. A: Actually, when you throw away the cooking leftovers, you still need to sort it into scraps for pig feed and scraps to be used for compost. B: Damn, that’s a bit complicated, isn’t it? So, would banana skins be considered kitchen waste? If so, what kind? Can pigs eat them? A: When I lived in the south before, banana skins and all fruit peelings were considered compost, but a little while ago here a refuse collector told me that fruit peelings could be put in with the normal garbage, because there are no compost processing plants in this area. A: 啊，我忘了廚餘，還在冰箱裡，我去拿出來。 B: 廚餘放冰箱倒是個好辦法，才不容易腐壞發臭，不過小心別污染了其他食物。 A: 其實丟廚餘的時候還分類呢，有一種是可以餵豬，另外一種是用來堆肥。 B: 天哪，這太複雜了吧？那香蕉皮算不算廚餘？如果算的話，屬於哪一種？豬會吃嗎？ A: 我以前住南部的時候香蕉皮和其他果皮算是堆肥的廚餘，可是前陣子這裡的清潔隊員跟我說，就把果皮當一般垃圾丟掉就好，因為這附近沒有處理堆肥的設施。 (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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