TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In an apparent suicide, a man was fatally struck by a train at the Taipei Main Station on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 18), causing delays for nearly 10,000 passengers.
At 3:41 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, a 32-year-old man surnamed Chen (陳) leaped onto the tracks at Car No. 11 position as the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) Puyuma Express No. 273 coming from Hualien and bound for Changhua entered the station. The man was immediately struck by the lead locomotive and suffered fatal injuries.
Police were notified of the incident and rushed to the scene. Both the driver and assistant driver submitted to breathalyzer tests, but their blood alcohol level was found to be zero.
The TRA said that passengers on the train were transferred to the No. 175 train. After relevant personnel handled the situation and completed an investigation of the scene, trains resumed running on the line at 5:32 p.m.
The TRA estimates that 20 trains were affected for a total of 475 minutes, and 9,540 passengers experienced delays. Police are reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine the exact cause of the accident.
Those considering suicide should immediately call the Taiwan Suicide Prevention Center at any time at 0800-788995 or Taiwan Lifeline International at 1995. Foreign residents can call the Community Services Center's emergency hotline at 0932-594-578 24 hours a day.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) --- U.S. President Trump has confirmed that he has approved the sale of F-16V fighters to Taiwan and that the arms deal will be approved by Congress.
According to information provided by the White House press office, before leaving for New Jersey, Trump told the press that he had approved the arms sale and he indicated his confidence that the Senate would approve the weapons deal, reported CNA. Trump said that the deal is worth US$8 billion and that it will bring a lot of jobs to the U.S., indicating his confidence that Taiwan will use the F-16 "responsibly," according to the report.
The sale of the F-16V fighters is the largest weapons deal between the U.S. and Taiwan in recent years. At a time when the U.S.-China trade war is at an impasse, and Trump has started to link the trade war with the Hong Kong protests, the sale of the fighter jets will surely irritate Beijing.
Many experts believe that the F-16V can carry and fire many newer short- and medium-range air-to-air missiles and will be more effective in countering the threat posed by China's 4th generation fighters such as the Su-35 and J-10. The warplane's manufacturer Lockheed Martin points out that the new F-16 has a number of avionics, weapons, and radar technologies that previous models did not have, and is designed to operate well into 2070 and beyond.
On June 16, Taiwan's Air Force announced that it would purchase 66 F-16V fighter jets from the U.S. and would deploy them at the Zhi-Hang Air Base in Taitung in the future.
Taiwan earlier this year requested the purchase of the aircraft. The arms sale must be examined by the U.S. State Department and the Defense Department and submitted to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and House of Representatives before being sent back to the State Department for a final decision.
The Washington Post on Aug. 15 cited a source as saying that the Trump administration had submitted the US$8 billion arms sale proposal to Congress that day for review.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Universities see the recent anti-China sentiment in Hong Kong as an opportunity and have called on the Ministry of Education to allow more students from Hong Kong and Macau to study in Taiwan.
The number of students from Hong Kong and Macau pursuing higher education in Taiwan has been decreasing in recent years, probably due to low birth rate and the scholarships provided by the Chinese government. Facing pressure from the declining birth rate in Taiwan, universities hope the government can increase the quota for students from Hong Kong and Macau by 10 percent, reported the Liberty Times.
According to the University Entrance Committee for Overseas Chinese Students, students from the two semi-autonomous regions who attended the joint recruitment program peaked in 2014, with 6,177 applications from Hong Kong and 2,616 from Macau. However, only 2,416 students from Hong Kong and 996 from Macau applied this year.
Both the Ministry of Education and the committee agree that the shrinking number of students from Hong Kong is partly due to the declining birth rate, which saw the number of high school students drop by 8.6 percent last year. Moreover, the committee also pointed out that China has been recruiting more Hong Kong students by providing them with scholarships and other grants, reported the Liberty Times.
Lai Tsung-yu (賴宗裕), the dean of Academic Affairs at National Chengchi University (政治大學, NCCU), said that the enrollment of overseas Chinese students adds 10 percent to the total number of students in universities. Nevertheless, the government should expand the recruitment program under the New Southbound Policy by designating an extra 10 percent for students from Hong Kong and Macau.
In advance of the official joint recruitment organized by the government, some universities hold their own recruitment programs in Hong Kong. For example, NCCU enrolls 94 Hong Konger and Macanese students each year through the school’s recommendations and individual applications.
Michael J. K. Chen (陳振貴), the president of Shih Chien University (實踐大學), remarked that, in the joint recruitment program, private universities cannot always recruit as many students from Hong Kong and Macau as they want, so they have been recruiting independently for two years. The university holds an orientation in Hong Kong every August and encourages returning students to share their experience of studying in Taiwan with their high school back home.
Taiwan's dwindling birth rate is putting a strain on many colleges and universities, which means that the government should actively promote studying in Taiwan. Chen suggested that the government provide more opportunities and incentives for overseas students to work in Taiwan after graduation.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In response to torrential rains in the mountains, 3,566 people have been evacuated from Kaohsiung's Namaxia, Taoyuan, Liugui, and Jiaxian districts, announced the Kaohsiung City Government Civil Affairs Bureau today (Aug. 16).
The bureau said that 3,566 mountain residents had been evacuated last night, including 1,256 in Namaxia District, 827 in Taoyuan District, 787 in Liugui District, and 696 in Jiaxian District. The Kaohsiung City government has announced that work and classes will be canceled again today in Liugui District, Jiaxian District, Maolin District, Taoyuan District, and Namaxia District.
As of 7 a.m. this morning, Kaohsiung City has issued red alerts for mudslides and rockfalls, including 69 in Liugui District, seven in Jiaxian District, 14 in Namaxia District, one in Maolin District, 16 in Taoyuan District. It has also issued 16 yellow alerts, including 10 in Jiaxian District, four in Shanlin District, and two in Maolin District.
The Central Weather Bureau has issued a torrential rain advisory for Kaohsiung City and Chiayi County, and an extremely heavy rain advisory for Tainan City, Pingtung County, and Nantou County. It has also issued a heavy rain advisory for Miaoli County, Changhua County, Chiayi City, and Taitung County.
For the latest update on office and school cancelations, visit the Directorate-General of Personnel Administration website.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Chinese director, inspired by her religious faith, has rejected pressure to withdraw her film from Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, despite recent demands from Beijing and criticism from the Chinese public.
The director is Zhu Yu (朱昱) who is a devout Taoist. She says that she has consulted with a deity, Master Changchun (長春子), who advised that she should carry on her path and not withdraw her film from the awards ceremony.
Zhu’s documentary film title is translated “Young People Question Taoism” (少年問道), but the title can also be understood simply as “young men ask the way.” It follows four young Taoist priests on a 600 kilometer pilgrimage from the White Cloud Temple (白雲觀) in Beijing to the Taixugong Temple (太虛宮) in Shandong, a journey that last 15 days.
White Cloud Temple was founded after Master Changchun's death by order of Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Master Changchun, or Qiu Chuji (丘處機), was an advisor to the Mongolian conquerer who became deified as a Taoist Immortal. He was born in Shandong, but lived most of his later life in Beijing. The pilgrimage of the Taoist priests in the documentary is a symbolic pilgrimage to the birthplace of the lineage's founder.
The film is currently still a candidate in the preliminary selection round, and finalists will not be announced until October. If her film is nominated as a finalist, she will have to receive a permit from Beijing to attend, which will almost certainly be denied.
Zhu said her intention is to continue bringing attention to the religious tradition of Taoism. She says that she has no political motivation to challenge the central communist government, which originally imposed a ban on Chinese artists from participating in this year’s Golden Horse Awards on Aug. 7.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Li Ka-Shing (李嘉誠), Hong Kong’s richest man, has called for an end to the violence that is roiling the city in front-page ads in many local newspapers on Friday (Aug. 16), CNA reports.
The message is from “a Hong Kong citizen” but does not specify what kind of violence, or who should stop the violence. Nevertheless, it is likely related to the escalating anti-extradition bill protests and is the first time Li has commented on the issue.
The Ming Pao (left) and Ta Kung Pao (right) front pages (Radio Television Hong Kong image)
There are two forms of advertisements. One reads: “The melon on the yellow shelf cannot withstand more plucking,” (黃台之瓜，何堪再摘) from a verse written by Li Xian (李賢), a prince forced to commit suicide by his empress.
The other version sees a large stop sign placed on the Chinese characters for “violence” and, “Love China, love Hong Kong, love yourself,” and, “Love freedom, love tolerance, love rule of law,” on both sides. On top it reads, “The best cause can lead to the worst karma,” and at bottom it reads, “Stop wrath with the meaning of love.”
Li quoted the same verse during the 2016 Mong Kok Civil Unrest incidents.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) wants to see a coalition Cabinet different from previous ‘blue’ or ‘green’ governments where legislative debate would devolve into large-scale fights.
Ko founded the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) earlier this month but has still not decided whether to run for president in the January 2020 election.
In an interview with Mirror Media, the mayor predicted that no single party would hold a majority in the next Legislative Yuan. Cooperation would be the most natural thing, with a coalition government running the country based on “science, efficiency, directness, and honesty,” the TPP chairman said.
In an allusion to the frequent conflict at the legislature, Ko wondered “What use is it to throw water balls and budget documents each day?”
He emphasized the need for rational debate and condemned the obsession with the issues of unification and independence. The TPP caucus might turn into a reasonable minority focusing attention on the rational side of the issues at stake, the mayor said.
While Ko has not announced a presidential bid yet, he is scheduled to meet two other key political players at a Buddhist event in Taoyuan on Sunday (August 18). Foxconn Technology founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) has been named by some commentators as a potential presidential candidate who would cooperate with Ko, while former KMT Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has so far said he would continue to run for president, even though he did not take part in the opposition party’s primary selection process.
Media reports suggest that Ko, Gou, and Wang will discuss the possibility of cooperation during their meeting this weekend.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Visitors from Myanmar who bring pork products with them will be fined NT$200,000 (US$6,312) starting Thursday (Aug. 15), said Taiwan’s disease prevention authorities, as the country has been added to the list of areas reporting African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks.
Myanmar notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of the presence of ASF on Wednesday (Aug. 14), making it the seventh country in Asia to report an outbreak of the pig epidemic, said the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHI). The other Asian countries that have recorded cases of the disease are China, Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea, and Laos.
The outbreak occurred at a pig farm in the eastern part of the country, adjacent to Laos and bordering China’s Yunnan Province. Of the 15 hogs that had contracted the infectious disease, 12 died, and another 53 pigs were culled to prevent it from spreading. Possible causes of the outbreak include importing live hogs, smuggling them, and feeding them with food waste, the OIE pointed out.
Myanmar was categorized as a high-risk area for ASF in February, meaning that the check-in and carry-on luggage of visitors arriving from the country would be subject to a thorough X-ray scan for suspicious products, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.
Travelers from the country are warned against carrying pork products into Taiwan. First-time violators will be penalized with a fine of NT$200,000, and repeat offenses will face a fine of NT$1 million, said the BAPHI.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Chinese netizens on Wednesday (Aug. 14) turned on their own flagship tech company Huawei after images surfaced of some of the company's phones listing Taiwan as a separate country from China.
On Tuesday (Aug. 13), Weibo users started posting screenshots of the firm's P-series phones oddly displaying different political status for Taiwan, depending on the language setting when viewing time zones. When the default simplified Chinese characters are displayed, Taipei is listed as part of China.
However, when the language setting is switched to the traditional Characters, Taipei is listed in the time zone view as being part of Taiwan, implying that it is a separate country. Chinese netizens quickly became incensed at the perceived stab in the back by a domestic company.
By Wednesday, the hashtag #HuaweiGetoutofChina (华为滚出中国) started to spread like wildfire on Weibo, Chinese netizens calling for Huawei to apologize. Over 300 posts have been made under the hashtag and it has received more than 300,000 views.
Chinese netizens accused Huawei of "adopting double standards," being a "traitor," and called for a boycott of the brand. One user even wrote, "to safeguard national sovereignty and to crush all separatist acts, please pick up a Huawei and smash it!"
However, one Weibo user pointed out that it could be caused by a "problem" with the Android application package, and that similar discrepancies have been seen on phones made by other brands.
Criticism of Huawei has been on the rise recently on Chinese social media after images of a 2010 Facebook post by the company marking Taiwan's national day. Similar posts acknowledging Taiwan's national day going back to 2014 were found to have been posted by other Chinese phone makers, such as Xiaomi and Oppo.
When contacted by reporters for comment on the latest incident, Huawei said it was looking into the matter.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In keeping with Taiwan's ban on single-use plastic straws, the country's largest convenience store chains 7-Eleven and FamilyMart are going to phase out plastic straws for most beverages by Sept. 11.
On July 1, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) imposed a ban called the "Restriction on the Use of single-use Plastic Straws" on government departments, schools, department stores, shopping malls, and fast-food chains. Though convenience stores were spared the ban, they are voluntarily phasing them out as well.
For its part, 7-Eleven is going to stop offering plastic straws to customers at its 5,500 stores across Taiwan on Sept. 11. Meanwhile, starting in mid-September, rival FamilyMart will start offering strawless lids which have a sippable protrusion.
According to reporters, starting Sept. 11, 7-Elevens in Taiwan will no longer provide disposable plastic straws for customers, and will switch to beverage containers that meet government regulations and are environmentally friendly. However, they will continue to offer straws for tea drinks with edible ingredients, such a bubble milk tea, as well as slurpees.
In 92 stores within FamilyMart's four major markets, it will begin to offer environmentally friendly straws. This month, it will begin to serve its Let's Café beverages with a sippable lid and will no longer offer straws with its cold drinks.
7-Eleven is planning on introducing straws made out of more environmentally friendly materials, such as stainless steel and biodegradable bamboo fiber straws. FamilyMart is also introducing natural bamboo fiber straws which can be cleaned and reused.