AIT shuffle unconfirmed
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday declined to confirm media reports that US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Sandra Oudkirk this year is likely to assume the post of Washington’s top envoy in Taiwan. Reports said that Oudkirk would take over as director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), replacing Brent Christensen. Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that it has no comment on US personnel appointments in Taiwan. AIT spokeswoman Amanda Mansour said that her office does not have any personnel announcements at this time.
Quake strikes in south
A magnitude 4 earthquake struck off southeastern Taiwan at 1:50pm yesterday, the Central Weather Bureau reported. No damage or injuries were immediately reported. The epicenter of the temblor was at sea, about 29.2km southwest of Taitung County Hall at a depth of 24.1km, the Seismology Center said. The earthquake’s highest intensity, which gauges its actual effect, was the highest in Taitung, where it measured 3 on Taiwan’s seven-tier intensity scale, the bureau said.
Heat alert issued
The Central Weather Bureau yesterday issued a heat alert for Tainan and Kaohsiung, with daytime temperatures reaching a maximum of 36°C. Summer-like highs for some inland areas and valleys in the two cities triggered a yellow alert for a one-day temperature high of 36°C based on the bureau’s three-level heat advisory system, it said. The warm weather is forecast to continue until tomorrow, when a moderate seasonal northeasterly wind system is expected to arrive in northern Taiwan, sending daytime temperatures down to 24°C, the bureau said. The temperature in northern areas could fall as low as 20°C on Monday, it said.
Weather stations completed
Two of 16 weather stations planned along Provincial Highway No. 61 have been completed, the Directorate-General of Highways said on Wednesday. The two new stations are in Yunlin and Chiayi counties on the 301.86km highway, the agency said. The establishment of the stations follows a deadly 20-vehicle pileup in Chiayi County on Feb. 21 that led to a Ministry of Transportation and Communications decision on March 4 to spend NT$3.5 billion (US$122.66 million) to improve road safety on the highway. The ministry also plans to install monitoring equipment such as CCTV and vehicle detectors along the coastal highway linking New Taipei City and Tainan, it said.
Kaohsiung fireworks planned
Double Ten National Day fireworks are to return to Kaohsiung on Oct. 10 for the first time in 20 years, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said on Monday. The previous time the event was held in the city was in 2000, when the display was organized for the first time outside of Taipei, Chen wrote on Facebook. At the time, the city revamped an abandoned warehouse for the occasion. The site on the periphery of Kaohsiung Port is now the Pier-2 Art Center, which provides an open space for artists, workshops and exhibitions. The National Day fireworks will be the pride of Kaohsiung residents and for Taiwan as a whole, Chen said, adding that the event would help shine a light on the city’s urban development.
Tainan City Councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sparked further controversy when he echoed remarks by KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰) that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be executed for an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases. Chen heads the Central Epidemic Command Center. Lu at a question-and-answer session at the Tainan City Council said that a lapse in disease prevention measures at China Airlines, which has led to a cluster infection, could have been controlled. However, as the airline’s pilots were allowed a shortened quarantine period of three days and were placed
SUFFICIENT SUPPLY: Taiwan has an abundance of pandemic-related goods in storage, and protocols have been implemented to ensure that the supply chain is not broken Hordes of customers descended on hypermarkets and supermarkets in Taipei and New Taipei City after the government yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert level for the two municipalities to level 3 until May 28. Earlier in the day, the Central Epidemic Command Center reported 180 new domestically transmitted cases, most of them in Taipei and New Taipei City. Despite the government urging the public to stop hoarding daily necessities, shelves were stripped bare while cashiers were working as fast as they could. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at a news conference on Friday detailed the government’s inventory of masks, medical-grade isopropyl alcohol and protective clothing,
‘STAY CALM’: The nation has more than 800 million masks in stock and can produce up to 40 million a day, while hand sanitizer stocks are also sufficient The nation has an ample supply of masks to meet demand amid concerns over an increase in the number of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday. Taiwan has more than 800 million masks in stock, with daily production of 18.3 million units on average and maximum daily capacity of 40 million units, the ministry said on Facebook. The ministry’s assurance came after Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), on Monday said that the nation has entered the community transmission stage after several new domestic
EYES AND EARS: The navy has commissioned the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to manufacture radars to upgrade the nation’s naval monitoring stations A military enthusiast yesterday posted photographs of Taiwanese F-16 jets taking off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with two refueling aircraft, presumably returning to Taiwan from the US for upgrades. Asked about the matter, the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment. The jets had been part of training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and had briefly landed in Honolulu, where the photographer, Aeros808, had spotted them, a source said. The jets did not land in Guam, which had been done in 1996 when the US Air Force delivered F-16s to Taiwan, the source said, adding that the