New cold front coming
A strong cold air front is forecast to reach the nation on Thursday, pushing temperatures down to 10°C to 14°C in the west and northeast, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. While the mercury is expected to continue rising nationwide today, a cold air mass coming from the northeast could start to affect the nation tomorrow, and rain is forecast across northern Taiwan during the cold front, it said. There is a chance of snow at altitudes above 3,000m nationwide, as well as mountains above 2,000m in the north and northeast, it added.
Burmese sailor stabbed
A Burmese sailor has died following a stabbing onboard a foreign oil tanker in waters northeast of Taiwan, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said on Saturday. A call from the Cook Islands-registered New Progress was received at about 6pm on Friday, when the vessel was in international waters, 31 nautical miles (57km) off the coast of New Taipei City’s Shihmen District (石門), it said. The 27-year-old victim, identified as Wai Phy Aumg, was flown to Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), but declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. He was apparently wounded during a fight with another crew member, it said. However, the case is outside of the CGA’s jurisdiction, as the New Progress was not in Taiwan’s territorial waters at the time, the vessel is not owned by a Taiwanese and the crew members involved are foreign nationals, it said. Local authorities can only conduct an investigation if the boat owner requests judicial assistance from Taiwan, the coast guard said. The boat is temporarily anchored at the Port of Keelung.
Repairs to end by Feb. 8
A Taiwan Railways Administration line in New Taipei City that was damaged by a landslide on Dec. 4 last year is scheduled to fully reopen to traffic just before the Lunar New Year holiday, the agency said yesterday. Repair work should be completed by Feb. 8, two days before the start of the seven-day holiday, it said. At present, trains are only allowed to travel both ways on the eastern mainline connecting Taipei and Yilan County, as the western mainline is still being repaired. The agency announced that it would start accepting online booking services on Thursday for trains traveling between Feb. 8 and Feb. 17.
Excavation penalties hiked
The Legislative Yuan on Wednesday passed two amendments to impose stronger punishments for illegal sand and gravel excavation in the nation’s coastal waters, including a maximum jail term of seven years and a fine of NT$100 million (US$3.51 million). One of the amendments pertains to the Sand and Gravel Excavation Act (土石採取法), which stipulated before the revision that “sand and gravel excavation without permission” would be subject to a fine ranging from NT$1 million to NT$5 million. The other amendment was to the Act on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf of the Republic of China (中華民國專屬經濟海域及大陸礁層法), which had stipulated a fine of no more than NT$50 million and up to five years in jail for “whoever willfully damages or harms the natural resources or ecology” of Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone or continental shelf. The amendments stipulate prisons term of between one and seven years, along with a maximum fine of NT$100 million for anyone caught illegally dredging for sand and gravel in coastal waters or the nation’s continental shelf.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which
STRATEGIC MISTAKE: Beijing’s deployment of aircraft near Taiwan proves the ‘China threat theory’ that sees it attempting to destabilize the region, an analyst said China on Saturday and yesterday sent a record number of military aircraft into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in what analysts said was an attempt to flex its military might for US President Joe Biden. Thirteen Chinese warplanes flew into Taiwan’s southwestern ADIZ on Saturday and 15 entered yesterday, the highest number observed in a single day this year, the Ministry of National Defense said. On Saturday, eight Xian H-6K bombers, four Shenyang J-16 fighters and a Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, entered the ADIZ, while yesterday there were two Y-8s, two Su-30s, four J-16s, six J-10 fighters and a Y-8 reconnaissance
DISPOSING MYTHS: A new constitution would better reflect reality, as the current one was drafted ‘in and for China,’ without the consent of Taiwanese, advocates said Independence advocates yesterday launched the Taiwan New Constitution Alliance to promote drafting a new, localized constitution. “This is a historic moment for Taiwan. Drafting a new constitution is the most important task Taiwanese face,” veteran independence advocate Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏) said at the inaugural event in Taipei. “Although the Democratic Progressive Party is in power, its authority is based on the Republic of China [ROC] Constitution, which has no connection to Taiwan,” said the 95-year-old Koo, a former presidential adviser. “The historic task of drafting a new constitution depends on efforts by all Taiwanese,” Koo said. “A constitution for a sovereign, independent Taiwan