Team heads to Honduras
After a month-long search for three representatives to be sent to Honduras to inspect projects in the region, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) yesterday announced that Kung Kuo-wei (宮國威), a teacher familiar with Latin American affairs, Lin Shih-yin (林詩音), an employee at Taiwan Fertilization Co and Wu Chia-yin (吳佳音), a media representative, had been chosen out of 149 applicants. The group, headed by author Wu Dan-ru (吳淡如), left on a 10-day trip to Honduras yesterday. ICDF secretary-general Chen Cheng-chung (陳正忠) said that this marked the first time for a civic group to assess an ICDF project. Chen hoped that through the group's trip, the public would understand the importance of development assistance abroad.
Officials warn on smuggling
Quarantine officials warned the public yesterday not to smuggle animals and plants from China into Taiwan and urged people to refuse to purchase a product if its origin cannot be determined, as reinforced measures were taken to prevent infectious diseases from being brought into the country. The Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine under the Council of Agriculture recently killed 20 dogs smuggled from China in an effort to prevent rabies from entering Taiwan, bureau officials said. Rabies is endemic in China but Taiwan is rabies-free. According to bureau statistics, a total of 96 dogs smuggled from China had been seized up to the end of this month. The bureau also called on people to inform officials of animal and plant smuggling activity by calling a telephone hot line at 0800-039-131.
Official proposes exchange
Chinese National Tourism Administration Director Shao Qiwei (邵琪偉) yesterday proposed that Taipei's National Palace Museum enhance its exchanges with Beijing's Palace Museum to attract more Chinese tourists. Shao, who arrived in Taiwan the day earlier as the head of a 66-member delegation, made the proposal during a visit to the National Palace Museum, where a wealth of precious Chinese antiquities are displayed. Shao later visited Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the holiday flower market in Taipei, located under the Chienkuo overpass. Shao was invited by the Taiwan Visitors Association to visit Taiwan in his capacity as president of the Chinese National Travel Association. Beijing announced earlier this year that it will allow more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan and it is widely believed that Shao's visit is aimed at paving the way for this policy.
Train tests to 300kph
A test train on the high-speed railway achieved 300kph, the highest test speed so far, over a distance of around 25km yesterday, the Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) announced in a press release yesterday. The test took place on the Kueijen (歸仁) village section of the railway in Tainan County. THSRC officials said the tests are done mainly to check the trains' acceleration and braking systems, and their integration with the track, machinery and electronics system. When the new 345km railway is inaugurated, a trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung will take less than 90 minutes. The high-speed railway will form the backbone of western Taiwan's transport network and will connect eight metropolitan areas between the nation's two largest cities.
RULES TIGHTENED: Passengers arriving from Sydney and Los Angeles tested positive for COVID-19, while passengers arriving from Seattle all tested negative Seventeen of the 217 passengers who arrived on long-haul at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday morning tested positive for COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said, adding that the positivity rate was higher than expected. Yesterday was the first day that the government enforced stricter health guidelines for the testing of passengers arriving on long-haul flights. They must undergo a polymerase chain reaction test immediately after arriving at the nation’s international airports. Those who test positive are sent directly to hospitals to avoid spreading the virus to people working in and around the airports and at quarantine hotels. Victor Wang (王必勝),
‘NEW YEAR GIFT’: While the MAC called the song propaganda, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said that it addressed the homesickness of ‘Taiwanese compatriots’ A pro-unification pop song aired on Chinese television earlier this month would only further sour Taiwanese sentiment toward China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Wednesday. The music video for We Sing the Same Song (我們同唱一首歌), which aired on China Central Television, features Chinese artists performing alongside Taiwanese singers Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰), Ouyang Nana (歐陽娜娜) and Chen Li-nong (陳立農). The lyrics were reportedly written by Taiwanese lyricist Vincent Fang (方文山), known for his collaborations with Jay Chou (周杰倫), to music composed by a Chinese musician. Sung in Chinese and Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), the song is about three Taiwanese siblings who
President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration is seeking to join an Indo-Pacific economic framework being planned by the US, a senior official said. The government is paying close attention to the regional economic pact being touted by US President Joe Biden, although too few details have emerged from Washington for Taipei to make specific plans, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The US is expected to launch the Indo-Pacific economic framework next month after negotiations with Australia, India and Japan, the official said. The economic initiative is to tackle trade facilitation, standards for the digital economy and technology, supply-chain resiliency and
‘CHAOS’: Victor Wang, the CECC’s on-site commander at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, said testing of arrivals has sped up in time to meet holiday demand For now, people are not banned from eating and drinking on trains, despite the rise in locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday. “On Sunday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that the nation would remain on a level 2 COVID-19 alert until at least Jan. 24. So we will follow the center’s disease prevention guidelines for passengers on public transport systems,” Wang said. However, bus and train depots have been asked to disinfect facilities more frequently, he said. The center’s new