CWB issues cold warnings
The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) has issued warnings for cold temperatures in 20 cities and counties, with a strong continental cold front to linger until at least early this morning. An “orange” alert was issued for New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Taichung, Chiayi City and Tainan, as well as Hsinchu, Miaoli, Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin, Chiayi and Yilan counties, warning of temperatures of below 6°C last night into this morning. The CWB also issued a “yellow” alert, saying temperatures of below 10°C were expected in Keelung, Taipei, Hsinchu and Kaohsiung, as well as Pingtung, Hualien, Taitung and Kinmen counties. In November last year, the bureau adopted a color-coded alert system to warn of low temperatures across Taiwan, with “yellow,” “orange” and “red” warnings denoting “cold,” “very cold” and “frigid” temperatures respectively in non-mountainous areas.
Visa program extended
Taiwan and North Macedonia have agreed to extend their bilateral visa-free programs for five years through March 31, 2025, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. Passport holders from both sides can visit each other’s territory without a visa for up to 90 days within an 180-day period, the ministry said in a statement, adding that information has been updated on the Web site of each nation’s foreign ministry. However, the privilege only applies to Republic of China passport holders whose document contains their national ID number, the Taiwanese ministry said. Having the ID number means the passport holder is a Taiwanese national and has household registration in Taiwan, which guarantees their civil and political rights, it said.
Ministry thanks US senator
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked US Senator Marco Rubio for urging the US to fully implement the Taiwan Travel Act, negotiate a bilateral trade agreement and increase military support for Taiwan. In an opinion piece published in the Washington Examiner on Thursday, Rubio said that Beijing would likely redouble its efforts to isolate Taiwan in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party’s founding next year. Ship visits and face-to-face meetings between senior military and government officials are opportunities for US engagement, while the US should “fully implement the Taiwan Travel Act,” he wrote. The ministry said in a statement that the nation would continue working with the US administration and the US Congress with a pragmatic attitude, and steadily deepen bilateral partnerships around the world.
Fire dog carer sought
The Taipei Fire Department is to accept applications to take care of its rescue dog, a five-year-old German shepherd named Humble, until Feb 17. Applicants should live on the first floor of a building with open space of at least 10m2, with Taipei residents preferred, the department said. The dog’s food is to be paid for by the department, it said, adding that if veterinarian services are required, the carer should inform the department first, but if there is an emergency, the carer can seek help first and apply for reimbursement from the department afterward on provision of medical certificates. Since 2015, six of its retired rescue dogs have been adopted by animal lovers, the department said.
Phase 2 clinical trial results of the Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp’s COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday were published on the Web site of The Lancet: Respiratory Medicine, in an early preview before publication. The study paves the way for other nations to issue emergency use authorizations or produce the Medigen vaccine, given The Lancet’s credibility as a highly respected medical journal with a rigorous peer-review process, Medigen’s international affairs director Lien Chia-en (連加恩) said. Lien said that the study is important as it proposes methods for converting international units for efficacy comparisons. The methods have been used for correlating the efficacy of hepatitis B
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
THREATS: Dismissing Beijing’s assertion that its military exercises only target Taiwanese separatists, Chiu Kuo-cheng said war has no regard for political affiliation In case Taiwan is attacked, the military will defend the nation and not stand by like “plastic toys,” Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. Chiu was responding to Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) asking him to clarify his remark last week that “the military holds to the principle that we will not fire the first shot.” Wang asked Chiu whether he meant what he said literally or that Taiwan would not start a war. “The Republic of China will not start a war,” Chiu
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found