TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Due to the arrival of the first cold air mass of the winter, much of Taiwan could see the mercury plunge to 12 degrees Celsius tonight (Dec. 2).
As a continental cold air mass continues to descend southward into Taiwan today, temperatures will become colder and colder. During the day, highs will only reach between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius in northern Taiwan. Meanwhile, Taichung, Tainan, and eastern Taiwan will see highs ranging between 21 and 23 degrees, while only Kaohsiung and Pingtung will continue to see balmy highs of 26 to 27 degrees.
The Central Weather Bureau predicts that from late this evening to early tomorrow morning, the power of the cold air blast will be at its peak and that the mercury could dip down to 12 or 13 degrees in Tainan and areas north as well as in Yilan. The rest of Taiwan may only see the temperature rise to 14 or 15 degrees.
In terms of precipitation, sporadic rain is likely in northern and eastern Taiwan during the day. As moisture decreases in the afternoon, the probability of rainfall will diminish in northern Taiwan, with eastern Taiwan possibly continuing to see scattered showers and other parts of the country seeing partly cloudy to sunny skies for the rest of the day.
Due to the strong northeast winds, gusts of between 8 and 10 on the Beaufort scale will be seen across Taiwan proper (including Orchid Island and Green Island) and open coastal areas of Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu. Miaoli, Yunlin, and coastal areas of Penghu will see strong wind gusts of up to 11 on the Beaufort scale, while large waves are likely along coastal areas of Taiwan proper.
As for Typhoon Kammuri (北冕), the CWB reports that as of 2 a.m. this morning, it was located 1,240 kilometers southeast of Taiwan's southernmost tip, Eluanbi. The CWB said the storm is continuing to move towards the Philippines and that it will not have a direct impact on Taiwan other than generating large waves along the east coast, the Hengchun Peninsula, and Matsu.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is expected to boost the availability of automated external defibrillators (AED) after Taiwanese-Canadian actor Godfrey Gao's (高以翔) death by heart attack on television set brought the importance of first aid to the public's attention.
Taiwan already boasts the second-highest density of AEDs, which are used to save those suffering from life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW). Current laws stipulate that they should be installed at eight types of public places, including airports, High Speed Rail stations, high schools, universities, and major recreational venues.
More of the portable electronic devices will be made available at borough-level community centers, frequently visited temples, and a number of elementary and junior high school campuses that are open to use by locals, according to Shih Chung-liang (石崇良), director-general of the MOHW's Department of Medical Affairs. According to CNA, this plan will be implemented next year.
While it is in people’s best interest to increase public access to AEDs, experts believe more efforts are needed to educate people on where to find and how to use the life-saving devices. In Taiwan, the usage rate of AEDs may be well below 5 percent.
Only 10 percent of the approximately 20,000 patients who suffer cardiac arrest each year in Taiwan are resuscitated after arriving at the hospital, said Lin Hao-yang (林皓陽), an attending physician at National Taiwan University Hospital's Emergency Medicine Department. A heart attack victim's chances of survival increase by 50 percent if he or she is defibrillated or receives CPR right away.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A group of Taiwanese law enforcement officers has drawn criticism from the public after dancing in uniform in a promotional video for a Buddhist humanitarian organization.
A recent video released by the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation has been widely spread across social media. In the clip, more than 20 Taiwanese police officers and firefighters dance in formation while chanting Buddhist scriptures.
The video was intended to attract new members to the organization and advocate for Buddhism, but it stirred controversy due to the fact that the officers wore their uniforms for such an occasion. The man leading the dance was identified by netizens as Officer Hsu Kuo-huang (徐國晃) of Central Police University (CPU).
CPU pointed out Thursday (Nov. 28) that the behavior of Hsu and the other officers involved was inappropriate and left a negative impact on the image of police in Taiwan. The institution said that Hsu has been admonished and claimed it would educate its officers about dressing in uniform on sensitive occasions".
The National Police Agency (NPA) told the press that wearing uniforms at religious assemblies was legal and that the religious freedom of all law enforcement personnel should be respected. However, it also advised police to be more cautious about associating themselves with a particular religion.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A homeless American English teacher has been charged with arson for allegedly setting fire to a bar at a campground in southern Taiwan on Sept. 20 and is awaiting release from jail pending the arrival of his passport.
After engaging in a dispute with the owner of a campground in Pingtung County, the suspect identified as Harris allegedly set fire to a small bar on the premises on the evening of Sept. 20. After fleeing the scene of the crime and confessing to it on Facebook, he was stopped by police that afternoon for driving erratically on a motorcycle.
Acquaintances say that Harris, who lists his hometown as Vero Beach, Florida, initially worked at the English cram school Geng Hsin Language Center in Tainan City from 2013 to 2014. However, a former colleague claims that he had struggled with mental illness and eventually found it more difficult to remain gainfully employed.
After being terminated by his last employer, Harris moved into a rental hut on the three-acre Rock Garden camping area in Pingtung County's Manzhou Township. On Sept. 17, the owner of the campground evicted the former lecturer at Southern Taiwan University of Technology from the property, apparently causing him to become highly agitated.
Harris then left a long, ranting manifesto on his Facebook page giving his side of the story of the eviction. He claimed that the owner of the campground had allowed him to pay his rent by working for 30 hours a week.
Harris bitterly wrote that the owner's reason for the eviction was that "He can't really get the full enjoyment out of his property unless he is perfectly alone." Apparently distraught at his plight, Harris took to Facebook on Sept. 20 at 4:22 p.m. to cryptically write, "I've never written a suicide note. This one will be read backwards unless you read it in real time."
Incredibly, four minutes later at 4:26 p.m., he confessed on Facebook to setting fire to propane tanks at the Rock Garden Pub: "I just set fire to The Rock Garden. I turned on the gas, cut the lines, and soaked the bar and kitchen with gasoline. If it doesn't burn down, it isn't my fault." The act appears to be an attempt at getting revenge on the campground owner, as he also owns the pub.
At 4:41 p.m., he posted the message "It's loneliness, isn't it?" Harris' friends were greatly alarmed at his message and asked him to seek help and inform the police.
Harris was not seen or heard from for the next three days until he was spotted riding a motorcycle in an obviously inebriated state. The Manzhou Police Station tells Taiwan News that officers pulled Harris over at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 for public endangerment and operating a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol.
The Pingtung District Prosecutor's Office told Taiwan News that Harris has been formally charged with committing arson (縱火罪). The Taiwan Pingtung District Court said a judge has approved Harris's release from detention, and his trial date is set for Dec. 16.
However, because he has been unable to provide his passport, he is still in custody. Harris has apparently applied for a new passport and will be released once he receives one.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the revelations by a self-professed Chinese spy continue to grab headlines in Taiwan, the government’s response to related issues has also come under scrutiny.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (Nov. 28), the chairman of the Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation (台灣民意教育基金會), You Ying-lung (游盈隆), blasted Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration for an abuse of police power in handling a case involving a re-post of a picture alleged featuring Wang Liqiang (王立強). Wang recently claimed to have engaged in espionage activities targeting Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Australia on behalf of Beijing.
According to You, one of his friends complained about being interrogated by police for two hours simply because he or she had re-posted a picture on social media allegedly showing Wang and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) member Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆) together at a gathering.
The individual mistaken for Wang turned out to be an assistant to a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council. The man, surnamed Li (李), had visited Lin years before along with Wang Dan (王丹), a prominent figure in the Tiananmen Square protests. Lin has dismissed allegations stemming from the photo as rumors and pledged to take legal action, wrote Liberty Times.
You lambasted what he sees as the excessive use of police power in dealing with the matter, expressing disbelief that his friend could face prosecution for an act the police claimed violated the Civil Servants Election And Recall Act. He said the incident indicates that any move deemed detrimental to President Tsai could result in such police misconduct and legal consequences, “which utterly infringes on the people's rights that are enshrined by the Constitution."
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwanese do not rate highly on the international scale for sense of humor, but such a sense can be learned, a research team at National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) said Wednesday (November 27).
Professor Chen Hsueh-chih (陳學志) and his group spent 30 years studying the subject, and came to the conclusion that Taiwanese only rated No.15 on a list of 22 countries for their sense of humor.
Presenting the results of his study at the Ministry of Science and Technology Wednesday, Chen said Taiwan finished below average on the subject, while Italians were the most adept at using humor.
Analyzing the responses of the 7,226 Taiwanese citizens who took part in the survey, Chen’s team found that men often used humor which attacked or even denigrated others, while women were more considerate, though married couples would show the same style of humor after 10 years together.
NTNU also paid special attention to children with Asperger Syndrome, and concluded that it was possible to teach them a sense of humor. The professor said politicians should be careful to use more moderate, self-deprecating humor.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- High-profile Chinese Culture University (CCU) Chairman Chang Jen-hu (張鏡湖) died in Taipei on Monday (Nov. 25) after a month-long treatment for pneumonia and liver cancer.
Chang, 92, was born in China and came to Taiwan in 1948, according to LTN. He studied in the U.S. and took a teaching job at the University of Hawaii after graduation. Specializing in geography, Chang also worked for Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University as a research faculty member for climate change. In the U.S., apart from his academic career, he had also worked as an editor for National Geographic and a coordinator for a panel at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
After returning to Taiwan, in 1985, he took over the NT$1.78 billion debt-ridden CCU from his father, Chang Chi-yun (張其昀), and successfully helped the school cut the debt and break even in merely ten years. Today, the school owns nearly NT$6 billion in cash.
His father was an educator and politician, who served as Minister of Education of the Republic of China under the late Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek (蔣中正).
Chang Jen-hu has been proud of himself for improving the school's financial health, expanding school locations in downtown Taipei apart from its main campus in Yangmingshan, and improving facilities to better serve faculties and students.
Described as the "toughest chairman in the country's private schools, Chang has also invited criticism for his management style in his late years. He made headlines for his divorce with former Kuomintang legislator Mu Ming-chu (穆閩珠), as well as lawsuits against the school's board of directors over choices for the top management team.
The strong-willed chairman suffered from aging-associated diseases in recent years. He was said to have undergone pneumonia treatment in October and was later diagnosed with liver cancer during his stay at the National Taiwan University Hospital.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A firefighter was hospitalized after he was bitten by a venomous viper while trying to remove it from a bed and breakfast in the northern Taiwan city of Keelung on Wednesday (Nov. 27).
At 12 p.m. on Wednesday, the Keelung Fire Department received a 119 call from the operator of a mountainside bed and breakfast on Zhengbin Road in Keelung City's Zhongzheng District. He requested assistance in removing a snake from inside one of the guest rooms, reported UDN.
When firefighters surnamed Lu (盧) and Tseng (曾) arrived on the scene, the owner said that he had first spotted the snake outside the door of a bathroom before later seeing it in the bathroom. The firefighters assessed that the snake was still inside the toilet stall.
Tseng stood in the rear wearing gloves and holding snake tongs, while Lu stepped forward to open the door of the toilet stall to try to locate the serpent. When he entered the stall, a one-meter-long viper suddenly sprang from the top of the rock wall behind the door and landed on Lu's right hand, instinctively sinking its fangs into his flesh, prompting Lu to shout, "I've been bitten!" reported China Times.
After biting Lu, the snake fell to the ground, and Tseng quickly grabbed it with tongs and tossed it in a cage. The firefighters then confirmed that Lu had been bitten by the highly venomous Taiwan habu, or brown spotted pit viper (Protobothrops mucrosquamatus, 龜殼花蛇).
As Lu's bite wound was rapidly swelling, Tseng rushed him to nearby Keelung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital to seek treatment. Fortunately, Lu was rapidly administered an antivenom injection and is out of danger.
When Lu's fellow firefighters heard the news of his bite, they were greatly concerned. The incident also revived the debate over whether firefighters should be tasked with capturing snakes without adequate professional equipment.
According to Keelung City statistics, last year, there were 1,681 cases of firefighters being dispatched to remove bees and 921 incidents involving the capture of snakes in the city. As of the end of October this year, firefighters have been dispatched to deal with bees 1,124 times and sent to handle snakes 830 times.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Lee Chia-fen ( 李佳芬), wife of Kuomintang (KMT) presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), has been barred from entering Singapore because its government does not allow "foreign political activities."
Lee had originally been slated to stump for her husband among overseas Taiwanese voters in Singapore this week. The city-state's media outlets estimate there are 50,000 Taiwanese currently residing in the Lion City.
However, the KMT on Tuesday (Nov. 26) announced that Lee's trip had been canceled due to Singaporean government concerns about security, reported The Straits Times. In response to media questions about the cancellation, a spokesman for Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said, "The Government does not permit the conduct of foreign political activities, including campaigning and fund raising, in Singapore."
The spokesman added, "We have consistently maintained the same policy for all parties.” He added that "all residents and visitors" are expected to abide by the nation's laws.
Lee and the KMT are desperately seeking new ways to drum up support for Han. The latest survey by the Cross-Strait Policy Association shows the combination of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former Premier William Lai (賴清德) has a support level of 50 percent, while Han and his running mate Simon Chang (張善政) lag far behind at 28.3 percent.
Lee Chia-fen has been able to enter other countries with large Taiwanese communities in Southeast Asia, such as the staunch ally of Communist China, Cambodia — which does not allow Taiwan to have a representative office in its territory. Lee has also recently visited Vietnam and Japan to rally Taiwanese behind her husband, while on Monday (Nov. 25) she stumped in Indonesia before heading to Malaysia.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Tuesday (Nov. 26) people should not speculate about the alleged Chinese spy who has turned himself into the Australian authorities, cautioning it was an ongoing investigation.
Wang Liqiang (王立強) claimed to have previously been employed by the Hong Kong-based China Innovation Investment Ltd. (CIIL) in order to infiltrate Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Australia. He said his tasks included collaborating with Taiwan’s media companies, temples, and grassroots organizations.
The idea, he said, was to topple Tsai in the upcoming presidential election. He also claimed his operations had the backing of Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) of the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), in the mayoral election last year.
Han, now the KMT presidential nominee, cast doubt on the integrity of Wang via Facebook on Tuesday. “Has the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) utilized a counterfeit Chinese spy to influence Taiwan’s elections?”
Speaking with local media on Tuesday, Tsai denied Han’s accusation the DPP had cooked up such a scheme. This is an international case involving multiple countries, and no party or individual in Taiwan is capable of orchestrating such a matter, said Tsai.
She also declined to confirm if national security personnel have met with Wang in Australia. She said the case is of great importance and that intelligence and law enforcement agencies are carrying out the necessary probes.
The Chinese authorities have since denounced Wang as a fugitive in a fraud case.
In addition, CIIL Chief Executive Officer Xiang Xin (向心) and his wife Kung Ching (龔青), who is also a CIIL board member, were detained by the Investigation Bureau officials in Taipei on Sunday (Nov. 24). The two are now being charged with national security offenses, multiple reports said.