Wed, Jun 03, 2020
Stimulus coupons for Taiwanese and foreign spouses with residency permits can be ordered starting on July 1 and can be used from July 15 to Dec. 31, the Executive Yuan said yesterday. Aimed at boosting domestic spending, the coupons worth NT$3,000 (US$100.04) are to cost NT$1,000. “For our consumers, this is a very good deal as they get three times as much value for their money,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a news conference in Taipei. While the coupons are to have a wide range of uses, including at department stores, restaurants, book stores, night markets, beauty and hair salons, hotels, and to purchase travel and concert tickets, they cannot be used to pay for online purchases, taxes, fines, cigarettes, stock bonds, insurance, credit card loans, pensions, gift cards or to store value. “Each of the more than 23 million Taiwanese is eligible for a coupon; so are the 150,000 foreign and Chinese spouses with residency permits in Taiwan,” Su said, adding that to benefit the most people, the government has not set an age limit. The coupons are to come in paper and digital form, with the latter comprising mobile payments, electronic tickets and credit cards. “Similar to the system for mask purchases, people can purchase the coupons at post offices upon presenting their National Health Insurance cards, starting on July 15,” Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) said. At NT$1,000 per unit, the coupons are to contain four coupons worth NT$500 each and five coupons worth NT$200 each. Coupons ordered before the start date can be claimed after July 15 at the nation’s four convenience store chains: 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, OK Mart and Hi-Life, Tang said. Consumers can also choose a digital payment option, Tang said. “From July 1, people can choose to [link their coupon order to] either their credit card, a mobile payment service or electronic ticket,
The National Immigration Agency yesterday announced conditions that foreign nationals in Taiwan must meet to apply for a special visa extension after reaching the maximum stay of 180 days on various visas. As part of tightened border controls to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 21 granted an automatic 30-day visa extension for foreigners who entered Taiwan on or before that date with a visa waiver, visitor’s visa or landing visa. It did so again on April 17, and on May 18. However, the total duration of their stay could not exceed 180 days, beginning from the day of entry, the ministry said at the time. The agency yesterday said people who meet certain conditions could apply for special extensions. The conditions include cases where flights back to the foreign national’s home country are suspended, or where the foreigner’s spouse, registered same-sex partner, parents or underage children have household registration or hold residency certificates in Taiwan, the agency said. People who entered the nation on a foreign passport, but have household registration in Taiwan and Republic of China citizenship, can apply, too, it said. Foreign nationals in situations where it is necessary for them to stay could qualify after a review by authorities, it added. Foreign nationals who wish to apply should prepare the relevant paperwork and file their application at the agency’s service stations nationwide, the agency said. The extension for each application is 30 days, it added.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) yesterday expressed concern over the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the territory, after a cluster of nine people in the same public housing building tested positive for the virus in the past few days, ending a streak of nearly two weeks without locally transmitted cases. Hong Kong said that it would implement a two-week extension of social distancing measures, including a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people, to June 18. The territory’s entry restrictions would also remain in place until Sept. 18 for foreign non-residents, with the exception of those who have stayed in Taiwan, mainland China and Macau for 14 days prior to their arrival in Hong Kong. Residents of those places are also allowed into the territory if they have not traveled elsewhere prior to their arrival. Lam also criticized the “double standards” of foreign governments regarding national security, pointing to the unrest in the US as an example of how attitudes differ when protests hit home. “We have recently seen these kind of double standards most clearly with the riots in the United States,” Lam said. “We can see how local authorities have reacted, but then last year when we had similar riots in Hong Kong, what was their position?” The US, the UK and some other Western democracies sharply criticized police crackdowns on anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year. Lam pointed to more recent criticism of imminent national security legislation that many foreign politicians have characterized as Beijing eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong. “They take their own country’s national security very seriously, but for the security of our country, especially the situation in Hong Kong, they are looking at it through tinted glasses,” she said. Lam is to lead a delegation of senior Hong Kong officials to Beijing today to present her
INDIGENOUS PROGRAM: The ‘Chiayi’ can withstand level 10 winds and undertake missions of up to 10,000 nautical miles, while carrying one Sikorsky S-70C helicopter President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday touted the nation’s indigenous ship program as being successful as she presided over a ceremony in Kaohsiung for the launch of the first of the Coast Guard Administration’s (CGA) planned fleet of four 4,000-tonne frigates. According to the Ocean Affairs Council, the ship was named Chiayi (嘉義) based on the council’s naming regulations for coast guard ships, adding that “Chiayi,” which catches more fish than any other county or city, was an apt name for the ship with the largest tonnage in the CGA. Built by CSBC Corp, Taiwan (CSBC, 台灣國際造船), the ship has professional-grade medical facilities, as well as a negative-pressure isolation ward and a surgery room, to meet disease prevention regulations, the council said. The council said that normal sick beds on the ship could also be fitted with negative pressure covers, to decrease chances of infection. The ship is also capable of carrying one Sikorsky S-70C helicopter, which could ferry sick patients to medical establishments on land and would increase the ship’s patrol capabilities, it said. Capable of withstanding level 10 winds and undertaking long missions of up to 10,000 nautical miles (18,520km), the Chiayi and the other three ships would be able to deliver disease prevention materials to nearby countries, and help with humanitarian aid, the council said. The Chiayi is expected to be deployed under the CGA’s central Taiwan branch. In her speech, Tsai said that the addition of the ship would increase mission efficacy and improve safety for CGA personnel. The ship’s launch shows that the indigenous ship program is successful, that Taiwan is serious about bolstering its national defense capabilities and marks the beginning of a new era for the national defense industry, she said. Tsai said that she wanted to thank all who have contributed to the program’s success and the CGA’s personnel, who oversee the
US President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to order a military crackdown on once-in-a-generation protests gripping the US, saying that he was sending thousands of troops onto the streets of the capital and threatening to deploy soldiers to states unable to regain control. The dramatic escalation came a week after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed when a white police officer knelt on his neck, leading to the worst civil unrest in decades in New York, Los Angeles and dozens of other US cities. In Missouri, police early yesterday were trying to bring the city of St Louis under control after a night of looting and violence in which four officers were shot, St Louis Police Commissioner Colonel John Hayden said, adding that their injuries were not life-threatening. “Mr Floyd was killed somewhere else and they’re tearing up cities all across the country,” a visibly emotional Hayden said. Trump struck a martial tone in a nationwide address on Monday from the White House garden, as police fired tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the fence. “I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property,” Trump said. He slammed the previous night’s unrest in Washington as a “total disgrace” and called on governors to “dominate the streets.” “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” he said, denouncing “acts of domestic terror.” Despite the president’s rhetoric, Monday’s protests appeared largely peaceful in major cities, although some looting was reported in New York and Los Angeles. However, as he spoke, law enforcement, including
SAFETY RISK: The government is working to categorize countries based on their COVID-19 cases and prevention efforts, which would determine quarantine periods The government plans to rank countries based on their COVID-19 risks to determine how to treat tourists and other travelers from those nations once Taiwan reopens its borders, but it is still working out the categories, a top health official told lawmakers yesterday. “We would divide countries around the world into several categories. One category would comprise those countries with very few confirmed COVID-19 cases, such as New Zealand and Palau. Travelers from the countries in this category would only need to practice self-health management,” Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) told a Legislative Yuan seminar hosted by Democratic Progressive Party lawmakers Mark Ho (何志偉) and Su Chiao-hui (蘇巧慧). “Tourists from low-risk countries, such as Vietnam and Brunei, might be asked to undergo quarantine for five to six days after entering the country,” he said. Taiwan has not had any confirmed domestic COVID-19 cases for 50 consecutive days, but there are now more than 6 million confirmed cases in the rest of the world, with the number rising in South America and Southeast Asia, Chuang said. This means the government would face tremendous pressure when it decides to reopen Taiwan’s borders, he said. “The most important thing is whether the countries whose tourists are allowed to enter Taiwan without having to follow quarantine requirements would allow Taiwanese tourists to do the same there. We need to work with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to sort out the issues,” he said. It is also crucial that people maintain the habit of wearing masks so that the nation can quickly and effectively contain a potential outbreak after the borders are reopened, he added. Ho and Su have proposed that the government form an international travel alliance with other nations that have relatively few confirmed cases of COVID-19. They cited Japan as an example, which
Tony Chen (陳秀熙), a professor and vice dean of National Taiwan University’s (NTU) College of Public Health, yesterday said that Taiwan should start conducting antibody testing to discover the prevalence of COVID-19 in the nation. Reviewing the college’s 17th weekly report on COVID-19, Chen introduced an “index for easing lockdown and border control regulations,” calculated using a formula that includes the nation’s total number of confirmed cases, recovered cases and mortality rate — the number of deaths divided by the number of confirmed cases. An index score of less than one indicates that a country can consider gradually easing its restrictions, while those with an index score of more than one could still be recovering from a COVID-19 outbreak or still have a serious COVID-19 situation, he said. Countries with the lowest index scores include Iceland at 0.01, New Zealand at 0.03 and Taiwan at 0.06, Chen said. However, some of the countries or areas that Taiwanese most like to visit still have relatively high index scores, including the US at 4.07, the Philippines at 3.57 and Canada at 1.11, he said. Other countries or areas with high index scores included Bolivia at 11, central Africa at 37, France at 2.25, New York State at 5.03 and Sweden at 7.33, Chen’s data showed. After introducing some social distancing or digital contact tracing apps used in other counties as a reference, Chen said: “Taiwan does not have to conduct wide-scale antibody testing for COVID-19, but we must conduct the tests on several groups of people.” He said the antibody testing is necessary to understand the prevalence of the disease and how long immunity lasts, to calculate the herd immunity among different groups of people and to consider how to gradually ease social distancing measures. Chen said that seven groups of people should be tested first: confirmed cases; people under
NO NEW CASES: About 700 million masks have been sold through the purchasing system and the stockpile of requisitioned masks is still more than 350 million The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported no new cases of COVID-19, while expressing its gratitude to mask manufacturers for meeting domestic demand and producing extra for nations in need. Yesterday marked the 51st day without a domestic case being reported, while 427 infected people have recovered and been released from isolation, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. About 100,000 new cases are diagnosed around the world every day, so as Taiwan gradually eases disease prevention regulations, everyone must continue to practice personal protective measures, he said. The center would continue to bolster the nation’s medical preparedness and responsiveness, but the healthcare system has achieved its three main goals in the fight against COVID-19, Chen said, while Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元) added that the goals were “reducing the speed of virus transmission,” “safeguarding core personnel to maintain healthy healthcare operations,” and “reducing severe cases and deaths.” “To slow the spread of the coronavirus, turnaround for test results and hospital admissions for people with confirmed infections must speed up, so the CECC is continuing to expand testing capacity — the nation now has 45 designated testing facilities that can conduct 5,900 tests per day, with the results available in 24 hours,” Hsueh said. There are 4,169 hospital beds — 963 negative pressure isolation wards, 1,031 isolation wards and 2,175 specialized wards — that can be used for confirmed cases, Hsueh said, adding that there are also 27 centralized quarantine facilities and temporary negative pressure isolation chambers that can be set up for additional admissions. To prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed, the center needed to maintain a certain number of healthy healthcare practitioners — as they are the most important front-line defense — so it announced in late February the controversial ban against
CUSTOMER DISPUTES: The regulations were needed after a ‘zero tolerance’ policy against drunk driving and increased demand for designated driver services Designated driver services must disclose their rates to customers before providing services, according to the Mandatory and Prohibitory Provisions of Standardized Contract for Designated Driving Services (代客駕車服務定型化契約應記載及不得記載事項) published on Monday. The regulations, which took effect this month, were needed due to increased demand for designated driver services following the implementation of a “zero tolerance” policy against drunk driving and because of an increase in customer disputes, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said. The standardized contract contains four categories of provisions. First, designated driver service operators must disclose the standard by which they would be charged, the ministry said, adding that drivers must check if customers agree to the terms of the service in advance to avoid disputes. Second, designated drivers must have a professional driver’s license and no criminal record, it said. People who want to use a designated driver service must be capable of telling the driver their destination, the ministry said, adding that those who are not sober enough to do that must be accompanied by someone who is. Third, vehicles that customers hand over to designated drivers must have liability insurance and not be stolen, the ministry said. Service operators’ contracts should include information about the liability insurance they have purchased and itemize what it covers so that they can be held accountable if a driver is blamed for a traffic accident, it added. Fourth, designated drivers must take responsibility for traffic offenses that occur while operating a customer’s vehicle, unless it was caused by the customer, the ministry said, adding that drivers can reject any illegal requests from customers. In other news, the Department of Highways and Railway yesterday said that people with epilepsy whose symptoms are mild or can be controlled with medication would soon be allowed to have a driver’s license. Although the proposal must first undergo a 60-day public review, it could
Someone in Taiwan is diagnosed with cancer every 4 minutes, 42 seconds, the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) said yesterday, adding that colon cancer was the most common cancer diagnosis in 2017, for the 12th straight year. The 2017 Cancer Registry Annual Report released yesterday by the agency showed 111,684 new cancer cases that year, up by 5,852 from a year earlier. The median age of diagnosis in 2017 was 63 years old, the same as a year earlier, but the median age of diagnosis for some types of cancer was lower, such as for esophageal cancer (58), oral cancer (57), breast cancer (55) and thyroid cancer (50), the agency said. A new case of cancer was diagnosed every 4 minutes, 42 seconds — which was 16 seconds faster than a year earlier, HPA data showed. The 10 most common types of cancer in 2017 were colon cancer, lung cancer, female breast cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer (including oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers), prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, skin cancer, gastric cancer and esophageal cancer. The list was the same as a year earlier, except that skin cancer and gastric cancer switched places. The age-standardized incidence rate was 305.4 cancers per 100,000 population, or 8.7 higher than a year earlier, Cancer Prevention and Control Division Director Lin Li-ju (林莉茹) said. The standardized incidence rate, types of female cancer and colon cancer increased more than other types, she said, adding that 16,408 people were diagnosed with colon cancer, making it the most common type of cancer for a 12th consecutive year. The three most common types of cancer in women were breast cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer, with 52,387 women being diagnosed, HPA data showed. The number of breast cancer screenings in 2017 rose by 48,000, while colon cancer screenings increased by about 22,000, Lin said, adding that most of the new
National Taiwan University of Arts (NTUA) yesterday said that students can apply to keep the campus’ ‘Lennon wall,’ where notes and flyers are posted in support of Hong Kong’s democratic movement. The statement came in response to students’ accusation that the university had undermined their freedom of speech by ordering the wall’s removal. The controversy broke out after the NTUA student association president on Sunday wrote on Facebook that the school had demanded that the wall be torn down, drawing students’ criticism. The Hong Kong Outlanders, a group of Hong Kongers living in Taiwan, backed the students on Facebook, saying that the wall’s removal would reduce the space where students could express their opinions. As part of campus renovation efforts, the wall was last year relocated from near the university’s “Wall of Democracy” bulletin board to its existing location, the university statement said. A Lennon Wall Committee, made up of autonomous student groups, in October last year decided to rent the location until the end of the semester, the statement said, adding that the university early last month reminded the committee of the deadline. The university said that it was only following protocol. “The students are welcome to renew the application and continue using the current spot, or relocate the wall to a place near the new Wall of Democracy after it is completed,” the statement said. The university said that it passed regulations last year that banned posts around campus with content related to religion, politics and elections, or with intimidating or insulting language. The regulations, established to help the university remain a neutral academic institution, were set up with student representatives making up more than half of the decisionmakers, it said. In any case, the regulations do not apply to the ‘Lennon wall,’ which is a special case, it added.
RISK OF BURDEN: People can get hold of the coupons in five different ways, which could be confusing for elderly people, KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou said Opposition lawmakers yesterday weighed in on the “Triplicate Stimulus Coupons” (振興三倍券) to be issued by the Executive Yuan next month, saying the system is too confusing and casting doubt on their ability to spur consumption. People can purchase the coupons in five ways, which is confusing, especially for elderly people and people living in rural areas, who suffer the most from the digital gap, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said. People would have to go to post offices to pay for the coupons, much like when they lined up for masks and the NT$10,000 subsidy for uninsured people amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which is inconvenient, he added. “Is there no way to spare people from waiting in lines? I highly doubt that,” Lin said. People must pay NT$1,000 to claim NT$3,000 of coupons, meaning a household might have to pay up to NT$4,000 or NT$5,000 if all of its members were to claim the coupons, which would be a financial burden for some families, he said. The functionality of the coupons also has room for improvement, Lin said. “Some families just want to pay their rent or utility bills, but the government is asking them to go shopping,” he said. The Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) released a poll it conducted last week, in which 39 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” sell their coupons for a profit, while 31.2 percent said they “might” do so. TPP Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) said he feared that the chaotic scenes that occurred at district offices when people claimed their NT$10,000 subsidies would recur. The rules for purchasing the coupons would entail considerable work by convenience store and post office clerks, and would be time-consuming for claimants, Chiu said, adding that these hidden costs could outweigh the coupons’ expected benefits. Many small and medium-sized enterprises are anticipating
Taiwan respects other countries’ decisions not to include it in their first lists of tourists allowed entry when they reopen their borders, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun on Sunday reported that the Japanese government was considering reopening the country to tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand first. Greece on Friday announced that from June 15, it would allow visitors from 29 countries, including Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Israel, New Zealand, South Korea and Germany. Japan has not yet finalized its visitor list, but the ministry has conveyed its hope that Tokyo would include Taiwan, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing in Taipei. Ou did not directly answer a question on whether Tokyo had asked Taiwan to reopen its borders to Japanese tourists, saying that Taiwan has its own considerations. If other countries do not open up to Taiwan because Taiwan does not do the same for them, the nation understands and respects their decisions, she said. Greece’s list involves countries with which it has direct flights, not the tourists’ nationality, Ou said. As there is no direct flight between Taipei and Athens, Taiwanese would have to transfer flights through other countries, which would expose them to a higher risk of infection, she said. Taiwanese could still visit Greece if they are willing to transfer flights in high-risk countries and abide by disease prevention requirements, she said, while advising people not to travel to Europe as it is still covered by the ministry’s red warning on travel. Strictly controlling virus transmission risks at the nation’s border is essential to containing the disease and Taiwan’s success has won global acclaim, Ou said. The government would protect people’s health, security and overseas travel rights while monitoring COVID-19 developments at home and abroad when assessing whether to adjust
An alliance of civic groups yesterday called on the government to protect the human rights of foreign workers hired by Taiwanese fishing vessels flying a flag of convenience (FOC). It said such boats are often accused of illegal fishing or inhumane working conditions. FOC vessels are a neglected part of the nation’s COVID-19 prevention efforts, as the government does not have guidelines governing how to quarantine such vessels or the entry of foreign fishers on board, said the Foreign Fisher Human Rights Protection Alliance, which is made up of several civic groups advocating labor and human rights. Three Philippine fishers who worked on FOC vessels operated by Taiwanese — the Da Wang (大旺) and Chin Chun No. 12 (金春12號), both registered in Vanuatu — have asked the alliance for help, it said. After the Da Wang returned to Kaohsiung in April, one fisher was confined by his Taiwanese broker at a building in the city from April 20 to May 4 and threatened not to inform officials, it said, adding that the fisher developed bronchitis before his confinement. As the Da Wang left Taiwan again on May 7, the fisher was asked to quit his job and the Serve the People Association took him to its shelter in Taoyuan, the alliance said. Overwork, physical violence and death of an Indonesian fisher had been reported from the Da Wang, the alliance said, citing a report published by Greenpeace Southeast Asia last year. The other two Philippine fishers on the Chin Chun No. 12 were confined at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport for 20 days when they tried to return to the Philippines after disembarking from the ship, said Lennon Wong (汪英達), director of the association’s shelter. The National Immigration Agency considered them as having illegally entered Taiwan and planned to deport them by Friday, he said. After the association intervened
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) yesterday said that it has approved a NT$16.5 billion (US$550,220) bailout package for the container shipping industry following two review meetings on Monday. The announcement came after the ministry finished the distribution of bailout funds to the civil aviation industry in April, whose businesses were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. “As an island nation, Taiwan depends heavily on the development of the container shipping and civil aviation industries for economic development. We are determined to take action to help the shipping industry cope with the impact brought by the pandemic,” Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said. “Through the bailout package, we hope that container shipping carriers can quickly secure the funds they need to sustain their operations and weather the crisis,” Lin added. Expecting that the container shipping industry’s plight would worsen, Lin had in March asked the Port and Maritime Bureau to offer container ship operators a one-year subsidy of NT$243 million to cover the interest incurred on their bank loans, using the Commercial Port Development Fund as collateral, the ministry said. To secure more relief funds, Lin met with the management of Evergreen Marine Corp and Yang Ming Maritime Transport Corp, to understand the challenges facing the industry, the ministry said.
DECISIONMAKING: The public and private sectors could conduct topic-based analyses using Legislative Yuan data to advance democracy, the lawmaker said Independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) yesterday in Taipei launched the Open Parliament Partnership Action Plan in a bid to promote transparency in the Legislative Yuan, increase exchanges with Open Government Partnership (OGP) member states and raise the nation’s international profile. Citing as examples a “mask map” jointly designed by Minister Without Portfolio Audrey Tang (唐鳳) and members of the public, and Citizen’s Congress Watch’s routine perusal of recordings of legislative question-and-answer sessions on Parliamentary TV to rate lawmakers’ performance, Lim told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan that the public sector could team up with the private sector to use similar technologies to conduct topic-based analyses using data made available by the legislature, which he said would help usher in a new era of democracy. This would bring the legislature in line with the targets set by the OGP — whose annual meetings are attended by himself and Tang — boosting the nation’s chances of securing OGP membership, he said. China, with its opaque government, is not very influential in the partnership and cannot ostracize the nation forever, Lim added. Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said that he supports the plan. The Open Parliament e-Network is a spinoff of the OGP and aims to promote openness in parliaments, allow easy access to parliamentary data and digitize parliaments, and the nation should work toward these goals, he said. The goals conform to his own ideals for the Legislative Yuan: to improve its operations and functions, consolidate democratic values and engage with parliaments of other nations, You said. An open Legislative Yuan would further boost the nation’s international visibility and status, which would contribute to the goal of making Taiwan a “normalized” nation, he said. Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the New Power Party and the Taiwan People’s Party also attended the launch ceremony. The
BULK PURCHASE: The French chain and Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International reached a deal covering 224 stores, which is expected to be finalized by year’s end Carrefour SA yesterday announced it would acquire Wellcome Taiwan Co (惠康百貨) for 97 million euros (US$108.33 million), and bring all the Wellcome supermarkets (頂好超市) and Jasons Market Place stores nationwide under its banner within 12 months of the deal closing. The France-based hypermarket chain reached an agreement with Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International Holdings (牛奶國際控股), the pan-Asian retailer that launched Wellcome Taiwan in 1987. The transaction involves 199 Wellcome supermarkets, which have average sales areas of 420m2 and 25 high-end Jasons Market Place stores, which have an average sales area of 820m2, as well as a warehouse in Taoyuan, Carrefour Taiwan (家樂福) said in a statement. Carrefour Taiwan would continue to run the 224 stores it is gaining under the deal, but would consider whether to adjust their locations as their leases mature, a Carrefour Taiwan official told the Taipei Times by telephone. However, it plans to place the Wellcome outlets under its Carrefour Market (家樂福便利購) banner within one year of the deal being finalized, and convert the Jasons Market Place outlets to a Carrefour premium banner, given most of those stores are located in shopping malls and department stores, said the official, who declined to be named. “We would have different strategies to operate the two supermarket chains, as they target different groups of customers and offer different products,” the official said. Carrefour Taiwan has not decided how it would handle the employees of the two supermarket chains, the official added. Carrefour Taiwan currently operates 137 stores nationwide: 68 hypermarkets and 69 supermarkets. It expects to accelerate its development in the supermarket industry, Carrefour Taiwan said. Once the deal goes through, Carrefour Taiwan would have 361 outlets, which would make it the second-largest supermarket chain operator in Taiwan in terms of sales, behind Pxmart Co Ltd (全聯實業), the official said. “By combining these businesses, customers and team members
Scooter sales rose 4.1 percent last month, driven by rising demand from graduating students and Mother’s Day marketing campaigns, statistics showed yesterday. Sales reached 69,242 units, up from 66,487 in April, and an increase of 0.39 percent over the 68,976 units sold in May last year, data released by Kwang Yang Motor Co (光陽工業) and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed. “Entering the graduation season, demand was fueled mostly by graduating students, who bought new scooters for work or commuting. The effect was even more marked in the middle of May,” said Kwang Yang, the nation’s biggest scooter manufacturer, which sells scooters under its KYMCO brand. Gasoline-powered scooters took a bigger share, 90.7 percent, of the sales, up from 86.75 percent in April, while sales of electric scooters accounted for 9.3 percent, down from 13.25 percent, mainly due to a major shift in the government’s subsidy policy for new scooter purchases. Subsidiaries for buying a new scooter to replace one being retired previously applied just to electric models in the past few years, but would now apply to any type. Sales by electric scooter maker Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) tumbled 28 percent to 5,244 units from April’s 7,296, a decline of 55 percent from the previous year. Gogoro last week introduced a flat rate of NT$299 a month on new batteries for the first year a buyer of a Gogoro VIVA series scooter owns the model. Electric scooter sales, including those from Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰) and Motive Power Industry Co (摩特動力), dropped 26.73 percent to 6,455 units. Kwang Yang posted the strongest growth, 12 percent and 23,751 units, which is attributable to the launches of new gasoline-powered models that meet the government’s Phase 7 emissions standards. Kwang Yang said that it expects scooter sales to recover at a faster pace this month as COVID-19 fears ease. The
OVERSEAS LOSSES: Profitability last year fell to NT$97 million, compared with 2018’s NT$1.94 billion, but CEC’s head said it has a backlog worth 3.5 years of turnover Top Continental Holdings Corp (CHC, 欣陸控股) officials yesterday pledged that the company would emerge stronger from overseas investment losses last year that saw the group’s profitability plummet 95 percent from its 2018 earnings. Profitability last year was NT$97 million (US$3.23 million), or earnings per share (EPS) of NT$0.12, compared with NT$1.94 billion and EPS of NT$2.36 the previous year. As of this year, losses linked to projects in India and overseas investments would no longer impact the group’s civil engineering subsidiary, Continental Engineering Corp (CEC, 大陸工程), CHC chief executive Cindy Chang (張方欣) told a media briefing in Taipei ahead of the group’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Friday next week. The conglomerate also owns Continental Development Corp (CDC, 大陸建設) and HDEC Corp (欣達環工), which specializes in wastewater treatment. ENGINEERING PLANS CEC chief executive officer Simon Buttery said that the company closed last year with a NT$70 billion backlog, equivalent to three-and-a-half years of turnover, and in line with its strategic business growth plan through 2025. A sizeable proportion of the backlog came from new contracts, including the Taoyuan MRT Project and Nangang Depot Public Housing project, Buttery said. He is confident Taiwan would make further investment in civil infrastructure, he added. NEW OPPORTUNITIES CEC would explore civil opportunities related to conventional and renewable energy, as well as business opportunities from building demand in the residential and hospitality sectors, he said. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply of construction materials and workers for projects in Hong Kong, but the situation might stabilize in the second half of the year, Buttery said. To mitigate the global shortage of construction manpower, CEC is looking at new technologies to reduce its dependence on human labor, he said. CDC chairman Christopher Chang (張良吉) said the group’s development arm sold NT$5.9 billion of properties in Taiwan last year, a 28 percent increase from 2018. PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT CDC plans
Executive Yuan spokesperson Kolas Yotaka has been using the Romanized version of her Aboriginal name for at least 10 years — but some Taiwanese apparently find it offensive. Kolas on Friday last week had to respond to a note in the Presidential Office’s suggestion box asking her to use her “Chinese name,” which just shows how far the nation has yet to go to fully embrace its diversity and become an inclusive society. Some people seem to forget that Aborigines are just as Taiwanese as the nation’s Han majority. The note asked Kolas to stop using her “English” Aboriginal name — which is a misnomer, as Roman script is used for transliteration of most languages around the world, including Taiwan’s numerous Aboriginal languages and even Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) at times. The incident was as an opportunity for the government to remind the public to respect one another’s cultures, as only education can combat ignorance and discrimination. The Presidential Office handled the letter quite gracefully, with spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) sending a handwritten letter to the person who filed it. Aside from saying that Kolas’ name is completely legal, Huang wrote: “Like Han Chinese naming customs, Aboriginal names come from a rich cultural heritage, and are also the greatest blessings from their parents and family. I suggest that you learn more about the issue so you can better understand your fellow citizens. Let’s be proud together of Taiwan’s beautiful diversity.” It could not have been better said — and kudos to the government for showing class in handling the issue. It should be basic knowledge to every Taiwanese that Aborigines were forced to use Chinese names (after being forced to adopt Japanese names by the previous colonizers) when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) arrived. While it made sense for the nation’s Han
I would really rather not use the expression “golden decade,” because it has been sullied by former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who said that with the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China, Taiwan would experience a golden decade, but reality proved that to be a matter of political trickery. In the end, I still decided to use this expression here, because looking at the global economy today, Taiwan has a good chance of experiencing a golden decade in the next 20 years. I believe that the global economic situation is becoming increasingly favorable to Taiwan. First, with the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China bared its fangs and angered the world, setting off the US-China trade and tech disputes. One opinion poll showed that 90 percent of Americans perceived China as a threat to the US. Second, in the war of words over the “Wuhan pneumonia,” Beijing’s unreasonable and irrational behavior has set off a wave of strong dislike of China. Third, the spread of the pandemic has exposed the limitations of globalization and sparked an anti-globalization sentiment. The reorganization of the global supply chain will pick up speed once the pandemic is over, and this will emphasize Taiwan’s role within the global supply chain. Fourth, the US presidential election in November. Regardless of who wins, the strong dislike of China means that the next president will increase pressure on Beijing, and that a second round of US-China trade talks will be intense. The animosity between the US and China is beneficial to Taiwan, because it will deter Taiwanese from investing in China and detract from the Chinese beneficial policies aimed at Taiwan. The problem is that Taiwan itself is not working hard enough. Those with a pro-Beijing position that leans toward economic integration with China continue to make up the mainstream in
As a representative of the Taiwan Nurses Association, a long-time member of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), I attended the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 18 and 19 as an ICN representative. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was held virtually through videoconferencing, with a special focus on pandemic response measures, and results reported and shared by the WHO, its member states and non-state actors, such as the ICN. Compared with past assemblies that normally lasted for six days, this year’s meeting was held in a very rushed manner. As it was the first time the meeting was held via videoconferencing, the WHO showed an apparent lack of management and efficiency, while member states were thrown into confusion by technical issues, such as communication and translation problems. Having said that, this was the first WHA I have attended where I felt “the sense of pride in our country” that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) mentioned in her May 20 inaugural address. During the assembly, Taiwan was explicitly mentioned in the speeches delivered by the US, Japan, Malta and many of the nation’s diplomatic allies, calling for the WHO to include Taiwan. Palauan Minister of Health Emais Roberts said emotionally: “Taiwan was the first country to lend Palau a helping hand” after the outbreak. Palau now has all the equipment, supplies and training it needs to fight COVID-19 thanks to “the simple act of kindness and solidarity from Taiwan and many other member states in this meeting,” he added. During the Adoption of the Agenda session on the first day, the WHA also discussed the proposal “Inviting Taiwan to participate in the World Health Assembly as an observer,” which was submitted by the nation’s 14 diplomatic allies — to the General Committee for consideration. This contradicts a statement by the New
MOST WANTED: Timo Werner, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool, raced clear on a rapid counterattack to score his 31st goal of the season in all competitions RB Leipzig on Monday returned to third place in the Bundesliga with an entertaining 4-2 victory at Cologne. Jhon Cordoba claimed the early advantage for the home side, but Leipzig scored four in 37 minutes, including Timo Werner’s 31st goal in all competitions, to climb back above Borussia Moenchengladbach and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the hunt for a UEFA Champions League place. “We wanted the three points, we succeeded, but it is annoying that we fell behind early and wasted a few chances,” Leipzig managing director Oliver Mintzlaff told broadcaster DAZN. “We are back on course for the Champions League, which is our goal, but the pressure is great. Everyone has to go all in, be totally focused and focused,” he said. Cologne coach Markus Gisdol made four changes from Wednesday last week’s loss at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, starting Rafael Czichos in place of the suspended Sebastian Bournaauw, red-carded in the defeat. Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann switched both his wingbacks from Wednesday last week’s draw with Hertha BSC as Angelino, on loan from English Premier League side Manchester City, and France youth international Nordi Mukiele started. The hosts took the early lead as Cordoba poached his 10th home goal of the campaign. Midfielder Elvis Rexhbecaj’s effort deflected onto the far post and the Colombian finished from the rebound after seven minutes. The sides were level 13 minutes later when Patrik Schick headed home Angelino’s cross to start the flurry of goals. Things went from bad to worse for Gisdol’s men four minutes later when Cordoba was forced off with an injury and replaced by Anthony Modeste. Leipzig took the lead eight minutes from halftime when Christopher Nkunku claimed his first goal since January. Austria midfielder Konrad Laimer played a clever ball into the penalty area and the former Paris Saint-Germain striker dinked his finish over the onrushing Timo Horn. Leipzig went further ahead
Japan’s top baseball players yesterday got their first taste of competitive action more than 10 weeks after the scheduled start of the season, as warm-up matches were held across the nation. Nippon Professional Baseball is to stage its first competitive matches on June 19, albeit in empty stadiums, as the Japanese government lifts COVID-19 restrictions that delayed the season from its March 20 start. All 12 teams were due to hold practice games yesterday, including reigning Japan Series champions the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, as well as last year’s Central League champions the Yomiuri Giants. This season’s schedule, which has been reduced to 120 games, has been devised to limit the amount teams need to travel in the hope of reducing the risk of infection. Yokohama DeNA BayStars held their first game against Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in an empty stadium with only limited media and officials allowed to attend. Everyone entering Yokohama Stadium had their temperature taken and were required to answer questions about their health. None of the players wore masks, but all members of both teams’ coaching and support staff did. BayStars manager Alex Ramirez said that despite playing in an empty stadium and suffering from a delayed start to the season, his players needed to just focus on what they can control. “I just want the guys to go out there and play, and do the best they can do,” Venezuelan-born Ramirez told reporters before the game. “Just stay in control of themselves and then we will see what happens. I am not expecting too much from them.”
With fans barred from entering stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Danish Superliga leaders Midtjylland took an imaginative approach to their return to action with a “drive-in” broadcast for supporters. The club on Monday installed giant screens in the parking lot of the MCH Arena to allow fans to watch their match against AC Horsens from the their vehicles from the more than 2,000 available parking spaces. Fans turned out with the vehicles emblazoned in the club’s red and black colors, with balloons and flags on show. While fans, who listened to the commentary on their radios, would have been glad for the chance to see their team back in action, the hosts suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat to 10th-placed Horsens. A goal from Louka Prip in the 36th minute settled the outcome, although Midtjylland remain nine points clear of Copenhagen at the top of the table. The top six in the Superliga play a 10-game “mini-league” to determine the champions.
England paceman James Anderson believes the extended break afforded to him by cricket’s suspension during the COVID-19 pandemic could prolong his career by up to two years. The cricket season was brought to a halt in March and England’s three-Test series against the West Indies was pushed back from its scheduled start this month. The England and Wales Cricket Board has set a provisional date of July 8 for the series to begin and Anderson, who has not played since suffering a rib injury in January, was part of a 55-strong group asked to return to training. “The break could just add on a year or two at the end of my career,” 37-year-old Anderson, Test cricket’s most prolific fast bowler with 584 wickets, said on the Tailenders podcast. “I’ve really enjoyed being back — and as odd as it is just bowling into a net with not many people around, it’s still nice to be back and playing cricket.” England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler previously said that the shutdown had allowed cricketers to recharge their batteries and could prove beneficial in the long term. With games set to be played without fans, Anderson believes that crowd noise should be piped in to improve the atmosphere. “I’ve been watching the rugby league in Australia and I actually thought there was a crowd watching,” the Lancashire paceman said. “I thought it worked. It was nice to have that sort of atmosphere even though there was no one there.”
‘WORRYING’ TREND: Inappropriate use of antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to higher bacterial resistance rates to antimicrobial medicines Increased antibiotics use to combat the COVID-19 pandemic would strengthen bacterial resistance and ultimately lead to more deaths during the crisis and beyond, the WHO said on Monday. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said a “worrying number” of bacterial infections were becoming increasingly resistant to the medicines traditionally used to treat them. The UN health agency said it was concerned that the inappropriate use of antibiotics during the coronavirus crisis would further fuel the trend. “The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased use of antibiotics, which ultimately will lead to higher bacterial resistance rates that will impact the burden of disease and deaths during the pandemic and beyond,” Tedros told a virtual press conference from the WHO’s Geneva headquarters. The WHO said only a small proportion of COVID-19 patients needed antibiotics to treat subsequent bacterial infections. It has issued guidance to medics not to provide antibiotic therapy or prophylaxis to patients with mild COVID-19, or to patients with moderate illness without a clinical suspicion of bacterial infection. Tedros said the guidelines should help tackle antimicrobial resistance while saving lives. He called the threat of antimicrobial resistance “one of the most urgent challenges of our time.” “It’s clear that the world is losing its ability to use critically important antimicrobial medicines,” he said. Highlighting inappropriate usage, he said there was an “overuse” of antibiotics in some countries, while in low-income states, such life-saving medicines were unavailable, “leading to needless suffering and death.” Meanwhile, the WHO said the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) had been severely disrupted since the COVID-19 pandemic began in December, following a survey of 155 countries. “This situation is of significant concern because people living with NCDs are at higher risk of severe COVID-19-related illness and death,” it said. The survey, conducted over a three-week period last month, found that low-income countries were most affected. About 53 percent
For 143 Palauan citizens trapped overseas by COVID-19 travel restrictions, the journey home, always long, will be especially tortuous. To reach their Pacific island home they face six long weeks of quarantine: two in Guam, two in a hotel in Palau, and then another two weeks of self-isolation at home. They will also face at least five COVID-19 tests. However, some Palauans fear that even these measures will not be enough. Palau, in the north Pacific, is one of a handful of countries globally with zero cases of coronavirus. Having closed its borders on March 22, the country has grappled with how to bring home its citizens, trapped abroad, particularly in the US, without importing the virus. The topic has proven hugely divisive, as the government has sought to balance the rights of citizens to return with the need to keep its small population safe. Palauan President Tommy Remengesau Jr is insistent that people should be allowed to return home, and the government plans to repatriate its citizens in three batches, with the first group of 50 already quarantining in Guam. They are scheduled to arrive in Palau on Thursday next week. Returning citizens face two weeks of quarantine in a hotel in Guam, then two weeks of quarantine in a hotel under police guard in Palau, before a final two weeks of self-isolation, all while undergoing regular testing. The policy is a controversial one. Remengesau has split with congressional members on the repatriation issue, but last week told lawmakers the government would sponsor the returnees regardless of political opposition, saying the nation had a responsibility to bring its citizens home. “Fear is always going to be there ... but you have to ask the question: What do you do with the citizens in distress? Do you simply say close the door and say: ‘You are not
LEMONS INTO LEMONADE: Qatar’s ostracism by other Persian Gulf nations has sparked a self-sufficiency drive to set up farms in a country entirely dependent on imports A Qatari arms factory that makes rifles and grenade launchers has added a product that saves rather than takes lives: ventilators, now needed at home and abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The venture is the latest salvo in Doha’s charm offensive to cement old partnerships and secure new friends, as a bitter spat with Saudi Arabia and its allies drags into its fourth year on Friday. The embargo has allowed the small Persian Gulf state to draw on capabilities developed the hard way in the wake of its regional isolation. In the nerve center of Qatar’s nascent arms industry — the state-run Barzan Holdings facility — giant posters of soldiers toting locally made rifles promote “sovereignty” and “lethality.” However, alongside all of the gun parts and night-vision goggles, the factory is preparing to churn out 2,000 life-giving ventilators per week, in collaboration with US defense manufacturer Wilcox. Many are earmarked for export to what Qatar deems “friendly countries.” “We thought it would be the perfect time to try to seize the moment to ... ramp up production needs,” Barzan managing director Nasser Hassan al-Naimi said of the pandemic. Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, abruptly cut diplomatic, economic and travel ties with Doha in June 2017, insisting that Qatar was too close to Iran and funding radical Islamist movements. Qatar rejected those allegations and refused to budge on 13 demands made by its allies-turned-adversaries, including the closure of the Doha-based al-Jazeera news network and shutting a Turkish military base in the emirate. At the end of April, al-Naimi oversaw a military airlift from the US of manufacturing equipment, which is initially to be used to build ventilators, before later being repurposed to produce military gear. “There was a five-year strategy to bring in these machines over time, but now you’ve got it all at once,”
Dozens of fireworks displays erupted simultaneously across Japan on Monday to cheer up the public, urge the gods to end the coronavirus pandemic and provide practice for struggling pyrotechnic artisans. More than 160 manufacturers launched their displays at precisely 8pm at secret locations across the country for a five-minute display called “Cheer up Hanabi” (fireworks). In an era of social distancing, the synchronized shows were designed to be long enough for people to rush to balconies or doorsteps to see them but too short for people to race to the launch sites. With traditional summer festivals canceled due to the coronavirus, fireworks artisans said they wanted to bring light to the skies during these dark times. “Historically fireworks in Japan have been launched to pray for the eradication of plagues and to console the spirits of the deceased,” Tokyo craftsman Kouhei Ogatsu, 38, said. “In the business we have been discussing what we can do in this society that has been changed so much by the coronavirus,” and decided to hold shows nationwide to cheer up the public, he said. The pandemic has been particularly harsh for fireworks producers who spend all year making and testing their crafts and now are unable to sell them because summer festivals have been called off, said Ogatsu, whose family has run a fireworks business in Tokyo since 1864. Artisans need to keep making fireworks in order to maintain their skills. But they can only keep a certain amount of gunpowder by law, forcing them to search for ways to use their stock but avoid encouraging crowds. ‘FAR, FAR AWAY’ Even before the coronavirus spelled the end for many summer festivals, several fireworks displays had been rescheduled or canceled due to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Now that the Games have been postponed until next summer, displays could be pushed back yet another year
It is a scene repeated the world over: pedestrians glued to their phones while walking, causing collisions and sometimes accidents. No more, says one Japanese city. Officials in Yamato city, near Tokyo, on Monday submitted a bill to the city assembly to stop people from using their phones while walking. “The number of people using smartphones has rapidly increased and so have the number of accidents” in the densely populated area, city official Masaaki Yasumi said. “We want to prevent that,” he said, adding if passed it would be the first such ban in Japan. But Yasumi said there will be no punishment for those unable to tear themselves away from their screens in the street. “We hope the ban will raise more awareness about the dangers,” he said. Posters and messages will inform citizens of the rule, expected to take effect from next month. In 2014, research by Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo estimated a pedestrian’s average field of vision while staring down at a smartphone is five percent of what our eyes take in normally. The company ran a computer simulation of what would occur if 1,500 people used the hectic Shibuya pedestrian crossing in Tokyo while all looking at their smartphones. The results showed that two-thirds would not make it to the other side without incident, with 446 collisions, 103 people being knocked down and 21 dropping their phones. The number of accidents between people using phones while riding a bicycle and pedestrians is also increasing in Japan. In some cases, victims’ families demand up to ￥100 million (US$1 million) in compensation.
People returned to some of Thailand’s famed sandy beaches Monday, keeping well apart but enjoying the outdoors, as authorities eased some coronavirus restrictions for the first time in more than two months. In Pattaya, visitors marveled at the clarity of the turquoise-blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand, and pensioners eager for exercise promenaded along the beach. Social distancing rules still applied, with local authorities ordering beachgoers to stay at least a meter apart. German expatriate Heidi Glemeau was one of the first to take an early-morning dip in the water, and couldn’t believe how empty it was. “I couldn’t resist the temptation,” she said. “It’s become a paradise — just like it was 30 years ago.” Not all beaches were closed during the lockdown, and not all re-opened Monday. Phuket, in the south, is still off-limits, while Hua Hin remained open throughout. Thailand has been under various lockdown restrictions since mid-March, when authorities declared a state of emergency against the coronavirus — shuttering malls, leisure centers and public spaces, including its beaches. But the number of new infections slowed last month, and on Monday cinemas as well as tattoo and massage parlors across the kingdom were given the green light to return to business. “I think it’s been long enough,” said Nutthawut Kanasup, 29, who waited for a foot massage at a downtown Bangkok spa. Student Prayos Plodchai, who had tickets for US blockbuster Bloodshot, said he was not very confident about the hygiene standards at Central World mall’s cinema. “But I’m willing to take the risk because I’ve been stuck at home for so long,” the 19-year-old said. Official records show the kingdom escaped the worst of the disease relatively lightly, recording just over 3,000 infections and 57 deaths. Some experts, however, say a lack of testing may mask the true toll. Regardless, the exodus of foreigners and a
People who chew on betel nuts are a high-risk group for contracting oral cancer. Betel nuts sold commercially, in addition to the areca nut — more commonly known as betel nut — usually also contain other ingredients including betel pepper, betel leaf, betel pepper vine, slacked lime and spices. Some people mistakenly believe it is these additives within betel nut preparations that cause damage to the mouth and throat. However guidance by the Ministry of Health and Welfare stresses that as early as 2003, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had already proved arcea nut is a group one carcinogen. Despite this, many people — especially the young — are unaware of this fact. In light of this, the ministry has launched a new campaign to encourage members of the public to kick the habit of chewing on betel nuts early to avoid long-term damage to their health. Research by the IARC has proved that areca nut contains arecoline and arecaidine that, when mixed with saliva in the mouth, adheres to cell membranes and produces a carcinogenic substance. This means that even without the addition of any additives, chewing on areca nut may cause cancer within multiple areas of the body including the mouth, pharynx and esophagus. This is the reason why the nut is categorized as a group one carcinogen. To help the public prevent and identify oral cancer at an early stage, anyone aged 30-and-above and Aborigines aged between 18-to-30 who use (or have previously used) betel nut, or smoked tobacco, are entitled to an oral cancer screening once every two years. According to the ministry, regular screening allows medical professionals to detect over 5,000 cases of precancer and confirmed cancer every year. Early treatment can prevent the cancer from spreading or becoming worse, and the survival
A: Instead of calling pest control, I’m going to search online and see if there are any DIY solutions for dealing with cockroaches. B: Well, you can give it a try, but... A: Bingo! This Web site suggests dissolving soap flakes into hot water, and then spraying the soapy solution onto the cockroach’s body. B: Hmm, I’m not convinced. A: 與其打電話請除蟲專家，我要上網搜尋看看有沒有什麼自己解決蟑螂的方法。 B: 好哦，你可以試試看，但是‧‧‧‧‧‧。 A: 賓果！這個網站建議把肥皂屑放進熱水中溶解，然後把這個肥皂溶液噴灑在蟑螂身體上。 B: 嗯，我不相信這會有效。 English 英文: Chinese 中文:
In 1790, following the American war of independence, Alexander Hamilton proposed that federal government should take on the huge debts incurred during the struggle by individual states. It had long been Hamilton’s view that this move would be a key moment in the forging of a true United States of America. “A national debt,” he had written, “if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing. It will be a powerful cement of our union.” Until now, this kind of thinking has never gained a foothold in the European Union. Despite periodic calls for deeper fiscal union, richer EU states have balked at the notion of pooling debt with weaker neighbors. After the crash of 2008, when Greece hovered on the edge of bankruptcy and a sovereign debt crisis threatened to engulf Italy, the EU went no further than the provision of emergency loans and cheap credit. The bailout money came with painful strings attached, as countries were obliged to launch deeply resented austerity programs in order to manage their growing debt mountain. The alternative — writing off debts in Hamiltonian fashion — was dismissed out of hand by Germany’s finance minister at the time, Wolfgang Schauble. That was then. On May 18, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron presented plans for a 500 billion-euro (approximately US$556 billion) EU recovery fund, which would distribute non-refundable grants (rather than loans) to the countries that have suffered most during the coronavirus pandemic. Crucially, the money would be borrowed by the European Commission (EC) on behalf of all member states, and sit within the EU budget to be agreed for 2021-27. This paved the way for EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who on May 27 unveiled a 750 billion-euro fund, dubbed Next Generation EU, which will be
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