Singapore drops requirement
Starting on March 1, exporters of certain beverage and food items will no longer be required by Singapore to provide official documentation that their products are plasticizer-free, the Department of Health said yesterday. Following a similar decision by China on Jan. 5, Singapore will exempt Taiwanese firms from providing certification for five categories of exports — sports drinks, juice, tea drinks, fruit jams or syrups, and tablets or powders — the Food and Drug Administration said. Singapore and China were among the few countries in the region, including Hong Kong and South Korea, that required Taiwanese firms to provide plasticizer-free certification in the five categories after it was reported in May last year that some locally produced items contained industrial plasticizers.
Souvenir show scheduled
The country’s first-ever souvenir show is scheduled to begin in late April in an attempt to boost tourism and tourism-related industries, the event’s organizers said yesterday. The four-day show will feature numerous gifts and food items that are manufactured or produced locally, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council said in a statement. The council said it hoped the show would help local souvenir makers expand to the international market, especially in places where Mandarin is widely spoken. The show, in collaboration with local governments, has interest from attracted more than 150 local exhibitors, who would occupy almost 300 booths. In addition to displays featuring a wide array of food products and stationery items, one-on-one procurement meetings will also be held on-site, the council said. The show will help the country’s tourism industry to help drive the economy with some added value, the organizers said, adding that souvenirs are items that tourists typically enjoy to take home to remember their lovely memories. The show will run between April 19 and April 22 at the Taipei World Trade Center Hall 1, the council said.
Liao appointed AEAR head
Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) assumed the position of chairman of the Association of East Asian Relations (AEAR) yesterday and vowed to do his best to improve Taiwan-Japan relations. Liao, who most recently served as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) secretary-general, said he would commit himself to the position and hold consultations in a wide range of fields to reinforce the relationship between the two countries. He also praised the contributions made by his predecessor, Peng Run-tsu (彭榮次). The AEAR has handled Taipei’s relations with Tokyo since formal diplomatic ties were severed more than 30 years ago.
Clean by-election urged
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday called for a clean election in today’s by-election for the township chief of Huatan (花壇) in Changhua County — the third election of its kind in two years. DPP spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) urged judicial officials to keep an eye out for vote-buying in the region, which was why results of the previous two Huatan Township elections had been nullified. “Inactive investigation would be an encouragement of vote buying and detrimental to Taiwan’s democracy,” Lin told a press conference, adding that the party is confident of victory if the election is conducted fairly.
Flu-related deaths reported
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced yesterday that there had been five new confirmed influenza-related deaths in recent days. The victims were all aged over 60, with the oldest being an 89-year-old woman residing in the south of the country, according to the CDC report. None of the patients, who all suffered from chronic diseases, had received flu vaccinations, the CDC said. According to the CDC’s data, the number of patients rushed to hospitals after showing flu-like symptoms reached about 1,700 on Thursday, down from 2,200 on the same day the previous week. Since July last year, the number of confirmed cases of flu has increased to 1,023, 59 of which were fatal, CDC statistics show.
Alleged swindler in custody
A man was taken into custody for allegedly swindling millions of New Taiwan dollars by selling Sesame Street dolls and other items which he said had “magic powers,” police said yesterday. The suspect, identified by his surname, Lin (林), was accused of conning about NT$3 million (US$101,000) from a businessman with products including an Elmo doll, a Sesame Street muppet, which he reportedly said was “holy” and could bring luck, the police said. The businessman, who said Lin also asked him to “buy property in the underworld,” later contacted the police after he realized he had been scammed. Lin was also suspected of selling the dolls to other people for up to NT$1 million apiece, as well as touting a variety of products for their alleged healing effects. Police said they would continue to investigate Lin, a temple keeper in Taoyuan County, after they found documents with information on a large number of “followers” from the past several years at his home and at the temple.
Legislators praise noodles
An award-winning chef on Thursday served members of the California State Legislature in Sacramento with his signature beef noodles and received high praise from the diners. Moreover, the legislature issued a citation in recognition of the work by Hou Chun-sheng (侯圳生), winner of the spicy braised beef noodles category at least year’s Taipei International Beef Noodle Festival, to promote exchanges between California and Taiwan through the famous Taiwanese dish. The citation said that Taiwan maintains close relations with California and is the state’s sixth-largest trade partner. According to Jack Chiang (江國強), director-general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco, Hou is the first Taiwanese chef to be cited by the California State Legislature. Such “food diplomacy” allows the country to demonstrate its soft power and helps strengthen trade ties between Taiwan and the US, Chiang said.
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
The gig began with a nun chanting on stage, but suddenly erupted into a wall of noise unleashed by distorted guitars and screamed sutras — the unique sound of Taiwan’s first Buddhist death metal band. The nation has a vibrant metal scene, but few outfits are quite as eye-catching as Dharma (達摩樂隊), a band that aims to deliver enlightenment via the medium of throaty eight-string guitars and guttural roars. Dressed in robes — black, of course — they use traditional Sanskrit sutras as lyrics, but everything else screams death metal, from bloody face paint on stage to growled vocals, relentless riffs and
LOOPHOLES: The people behind biased media content produced by a Chinese network, likely without sending staff to Taiwan, remain anonymous, a source said Beijing’s latest attempt at psychological warfare through heavily biased online media is aimed at sowing discord and polarizing Taiwanese society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said. The council’s comment came in response to Chinese network Southeast Television, which late last month began broadcasting an online program featuring commentary by Taiwanese unification supporters that authorities suspect was filmed illegally in Taiwan. To circumvent cross-strait regulations, the broadcaster collaborated with online service provider Baidu to air the series titles Diverse Voices From the Taiwan Strait (台海百家說). Only Taiwanese are shown on camera, without revealing the host, interviewer or production team. In one video, political commentator and
SUPPRESSION: Michael Tsai, a former defense minister, said that Beijing’s list of Taiwan independence advocates contravenes the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights The best way to respond to threats from China against Taiwan independence advocates is for the president to publicly reiterate Taiwan’s sovereignty, former minister of national defense Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) said on Sunday. Chinese media on Nov. 15 said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was compiling “a list of stubborn Taiwanese separatists and will severely punish them in accordance with [China’s] Anti-Secession Law and hold them accountable for their actions for the rest of their lives.” Chinese media subsequently accused Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) of being a “first-rate war criminal,” because of his policy on mask exports. “The vast majority