South Link upgrade begins
A ceremony was held in Taitung yesterday to mark the beginning of the electrification of the South Link Railway, which aims to shorten the travel time between Taitung and Pingtung. Upon the project’s completion, travel from Taitung to Pingtung is expected to take 90 minutes, making it possible to reach Taitung from Taipei within three-and-a-half hours, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said. Shortening the ride between Taitung and Pingtung will complete a “full circle of happiness” for Taitung residents, Taitung County Commissioner Justin Huang (黃健庭) said. The 123.4km-long railway electrification project linking Taitung and Chaojhou Township (潮州) in Pingtung County is estimated to cost NT$27.9 billion (US$907.88 million).
Officer disciplined over shot
A police officer who fired his pistol in anger into the air on Friday night will be disciplined, Taipei’s Wenshan First Precinct said. The policeman, Hung Hui-hsiung (洪輝雄), had asked to take 10 days off to take care of his ailing father in Kinmen County, but the request was rejected by his superior because of the precinct’s tight schedule ahead of local elections on Nov. 29. Hung reportedly stormed out to the parking lot late on Friday, fired his pistol into the air and yelled: “My superior is bullying me,” scaring his coworkers. The precinct said Hung, who had been honored as distinguished officer, was barred from carrying a gun and would face disciplinary action and a trial. Hung’s sister, Hung Juo-shan (洪若珊), who is the speaker of the Lieyu Urban Township (烈嶼) Council in Kinmen and is seeking re-election, said her brother’s superior was “callous” in turning down the request, but added that Hung Hui-hsiung’s reaction was “a bit irrational.”
345,000 rode new MRT line
Taipei’s MRT ferried about 345,000 passengers on its new Songshan Line on Saturday, the first day of its operation, the Taipei Rapid Transit Corp (TRTC) said yesterday. There are eight stations on the 8.5km-long Songshan Line, from Ximen (西門) in Taipei’s old downtown area to the eastern end of Songshan (松山), where passengers can transfer to nationwide rail services. The line opened at 6am on Saturday, operating free of charge or with reduced tariffs for EasyCard holders who enter or exit the eight stations during its first month of operation. About 725,000 riders received the reduced-price service on that day, the TRTC said. The 15-minute end-to-end ride is an extension of the Xindian Line, from Xindian District (新店) in New Taipei City, south of Taipei.
Kinmen envisions landmark
The Kinmen County Government expects a planned passenger service center in the Port of Kinmen to become a landmark, county officials have said. The Shuitou Passenger Service Center has been designed as a tourist attraction that offers transportation services, the officials said on Thursday last week. A budget of NT$1.87 billion (US$60.8 million) has been allocated for it, the county said. The international gateway was jointly designed by Japanese and Taiwanese architecture firms — Japan’s Junya Ishigami and Associates and Bio-architecture Formosana headed by Chang Ching-hwa (張清華) — to help travelers obtain efficient customs clearance and other services, the government said. It estimated that the building, to be completed by the end of 2017, will serve between 3.5 million and 5 million passengers annually.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
NEW CASE REPORTED: A man who returned from South Africa on a flight with the nation’s 460th and 461st cases has now tested positive for the disease The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that there is no need to test all arrivals to the nation for COVID-19, a policy the Executive Yuan supports. The center reported one new imported case, bringing the nation’s tally of confirmed cases to 477. The new case is a Taiwanese man in his 60s who on July 25 returned from South Africa, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is also the CECC’s spokesman. The man had returned to Taiwan on the same flight as cases Nos. 460 and 461, reported on July 27, Chuang said. On July 24,
More than half of Taiwan’s middle-aged population, those aged between 40 and 64, have at least one of the “three highs” — high blood pressure, high blood lipids or high blood sugar — and an unhealthy waist size, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said, adding that more than 30 percent also have metabolic syndrome. The HPA, the Taiwan Millennium Health Foundation and local health departments are cooperating to encourage people to regularly measure their waist circumference and keep it at a healthy size — no more than 90cm for adult men and no more than 80cm for adult women. Taichung Veterans General
‘RELIABLE PARTNER’: US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised the ‘Taiwan model,’ saying that the nation brought its spirit to its COVID-19 response The first memorandum of understanding (MOU) on health cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the US Department of Health and Human Services was yesterday signed at the Centers for Disease Control in Taipei. The memorandum was signed between the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US, by AIT Director Brent Christensen and Taiwan Council for US Affairs Chairperson Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮). US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) witnessed the signing of the memorandum, designed to enhance the nations’