Wed, Apr 08, 2020
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday disclosed the nation’s capacity for treating COVID-19 patients, adding that it has 34 facilities capable of analyzing 3,800 tests per day. The global outbreak of COVID-19 is still severe, and clustered infections in local communities or healthcare facilities have been reported in many countries, said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元), who heads the CECC’s medical response division. The center has six main strategies to ensure that Taiwan’s healthcare system has sufficient medical capacity, he said. While about 1,500 tests are being performed every day, the nation’s “expanded COVID-19 testing capacity” has reached about 3,800 tests per day, which can be analyzed at 34 testing facilities — 16 in northern Taiwan, 10 in southern Taiwan, seven in central Taiwan and one in eastern Taiwan, he said. The “enhanced community-based surveillance” strategy includes increasing tests on high-risk groups and establishing a network of testing stations in communities, he said. High-risk groups include healthcare workers, airline crew members, passengers who returned on a flight from New York in which 10 confirmed cases were detected and people who visited overcrowded tourist spots during the four-day Tomb Sweeping holiday, Hsueh said. There are 163 hospitals capable of performing tests on suspected cases, 143 responsive and isolation hospitals designated for admitting patients with mild symptoms, and 52 regional hospitals and medical centers that can take in patients with severe symptoms, he said. There are four phases in the “expanding capacity for hospitalizing COVID-19 patients” strategy for designated responsive hospitals, Hsueh said. They include admitting patients to negative-pressure isolation wards or single rooms, setting up exclusive COVID-19 departments, suspending the admittance of non-COVID-19 patients and resettling non-COVID-19 patients to other hospitals, he said. As part of the “making an inventory of hospital beds and respirators” strategy, he said that there are 2,713 hospitals beds,
WORLD-RENOWNED EXPERT: Many Taiwanese only recently became aware of Peter Tsai after he wrote an article answering questions about sterilizing and reusing N95 masks The inventor of the key technology used in N95 respirator and medical masks is Taiwan-born scientist Peter Tsai (蔡秉燚), the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry Association said on Facebook on Monday. Tsai was a professor in the University of Tennessee’s material sciences and engineering department for 35 years before retiring last year, and is a world-renowned expert in nonwoven fabrics. He invented the electrostatic charging technology used to produce the filter media of masks, including medical and N95 masks, as well as heating, ventilating and air conditioning filters, and holds 12 US patents and 20 commercial license agreements for his inventions. While Tsai might not be a household name, he recently became familiar to Taiwanese due to an article he wrote answering common questions about sterilizing and reusing N95 masks, the association said. The “N” in the respirator name means “not resistant to oil,” and “95” means the ability to remove at least 95 percent of submicron particles, such as influenza viruses, dust, pollen, haze and smoke, the association said. N95 respirators are made of four plies of polypropylene media: an outer veil that can resist moisture, a double-ply filtration layer and an inner layer that is in contact with the skin, it said. The outer and inner layers — usually made of spun-bond nonwoven and thermal-bond nonwoven fabrics — have low filtration efficiency and breathing resistance, and serve primarily to contain the middle layer, it said. The middle layer, made of meltblown nonwoven fabrics, seals any gaps through which submicron particles might be able to enter and is key to the N95 respirator’s filtration efficiency, it said. To manufacture meltblown nonwoven fabrics, two fundamental technologies are required: melt blowing and electrostatic charging, with the former being a nonwoven process that makes a fabric composed of microfibers; and the latter being the embedding of permanent charges in a fiber
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday battled COVID-19 in intensive care as death tolls in the US and Europe reached new heights from the pandemic sweeping the world. Johnson, 55, was moved into intensive care when his condition worsened 10 days after his diagnosis. A senior Cabinet minister said that he had been given oxygen, but had not been put on a ventilator. His case has highlighted the global reach of the virus. The disease’s relentless march across the planet has now claimed more than 75,000 lives out of more than 1.3 million confirmed cases, with warnings that much worse is yet to come. The number of daily deaths in Spain rose to 743 yesterday, after France on Monday recorded a new surge of 833 fatalities, its highest daily toll since the epidemic began, and Italy saw its death toll shoot up to 636 from 525 the day before, after days of dropping. The US — which has by far the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world — recorded 1,150 deaths over 24 hours, Johns Hopkins University said. In New York state, the US epicenter of the crisis, the rate of growth in the death toll appeared to be slowing. “New York City is fighting back. We have an invisible enemy. We have a ferocious enemy, but this city is fighting back with everything we’ve got,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. The virus is stretching medical facilities to the limit and the WHO warned that there is a global shortage of 6 million nurses. People around the world have been forced to improvise as supplies run short, with bodies packed in cardboard coffins in Ecuador and a mosque converted into a makeshift mask factory in Iran. Governments around the world are also scrambling to put together rescue packages. With the ink barely dry on a US$2 trillion
Japan yesterday declared a month-long state of emergency over a spike in COVID-19 cases, ramping up efforts to contain infections, but stopping short of the strict lockdowns seen in other parts of the world. The government has come under mounting pressure to tackle an outbreak that remains small by global standards, but has raised concerns among Japanese medical experts, with warnings that local healthcare systems are already overstretched. Announcing the measures, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged Japanese to draw on the sense of togetherness seen after the country’s devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in 2011. “We are again facing a great difficulty. However, if we work together once again with hope, we will rise to the challenge and move forward,” he said. “We will beat the virus, we will defeat the virus and we can overcome the ordeal of this state of emergency.” The move allows governors in seven affected regions, including Tokyo, to ask people to stay indoors and request that businesses close, but there are no enforcement mechanisms and no penalties for those who fail to comply. “Although a state of emergency is declared, it will not mean a city lockdown as seen overseas,” Abe said, adding that public transport would run as normal and roads would not be blocked. However, he urged people to take the declaration seriously, telling Japanese that “everything will depend on your actions.” Pressure to declare an emergency grew after several days of record new infections in Tokyo, although the numbers are far smaller than in many parts of the world, with about 80 cases reported yesterday. Seven regions are covered by the month-long declaration: Tokyo, neighboring Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, the western hub of Osaka and neighboring Hyogo, and the southwestern region of Fukuoka. The economic impacts of the declaration and the broader global pandemic have raised concern
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) should fulfill her campaign promise by having proposed amendments to the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法) passed during this legislative session, the New Power Party (NPP) said yesterday. The party issued the call to coincide with Freedom of Expression Day, which the government in 2016 designated to commemorate democracy advocate Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), who died on April 7, 1989. Many of the regulations in the act have been ruled unconstitutional by the Council of Grand Justices, NPP caucus whip Chiu Hsien-chi (邱顯智) said. People are required to obtain permission before they can hold a protest, Chiu added, describing the legislation as archaic. “To pass the amendments, the NPP has proposed changing the meeting agenda at the Legislative Yuan 26 times, but we failed. We hope the amendments will pass during this legislative session,” he said. When campaigning for president in 2008, Tsai promised that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), regardless of whether it was the governing party, would propose amendments to the act to stop administrative abuse of power, but “that check has apparently bounced,” NPP Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) said. Tsai and the government should fulfill their promise to the public, which is the protection that a democratic government guarantees for its people, she said. The act should protect people’s rights, rather than limiting them, NPP Legislator Claire Wang (王婉諭) said. Rather than people having to obtain permission for a protest, the act should allow people to simply inform the police about their plan to hold a protest in advance without having to ask for permission, she said. The party also supports removing the regulations banning protesters from approaching administrative buildings, as well as those allowing police to disperse crowds, Wang said. The amendments would punish violent protesters in accordance with the Penal Code, rather than special administrative penalties,
SELF-MANAGEMENT: The numbers of people at some places were far worse than the center had expected, posing a risk of cluster infections, Chen Shih-chung said People who visited crowded areas or activities over the Tomb Sweeping Day long weekend should start practicing 14 days of self-health management, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The large crowds at popular scenic areas and tourist spots over the four-day holiday that ended on Sunday triggered concerns about the risk of COVID-19 transmissions. “In order to enhance the nation’s disease prevention capacity, we require people to make advance preparations for flexible working hours and working spaces,” said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “People who visited crowded places or activities should wear a mask, avoid unnecessary outings, strictly practice social distancing, avoid going to school or work if they develop any symptoms and seek medical attention or the call the 1922 hotline,” the minister said. They should tell their doctor if they develop symptoms such as a fever, coughing, other respiratory problems, diarrhea, or a loss of the senses of smell or taste, he said. It would be best if people under self-health management work at home, while students should tell their teachers about their travel history, and healthcare professionals should expand their testing criteria to include people who recently visited crowded sites who have symptoms that cannot be excluded from the possibility of COVID-19 infection, Chen added. However, by “crowded places or activities” the center was not just referring to the 11 tourist spots that it listed in text messages on Saturday reminding the public to avoid crowded places and keep a proper social distance, Chen said. If people visited other crowded places for a prolonged length of time over the long weekend, they should also practice self-health management, and if they cannot work at home, they should strictly practice the aforementioned measures, as well as social distancing, wearing a mask and frequently washing their hands,
The US and Britain yesterday braced for what could be one of their bleakest weeks in memory as the human and financial toll of the COVID-19 outbreak mounted. However, new deaths and infections appeared to be slowing in Italy, Spain and France, suggesting that lockdowns and social distancing are working. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was infected last month, was hospitalized in what his office described as a precaution because of persistent symptoms. The 55-year-old Johnson, who had a fever for days, is the first known head of government to fall ill with the disease. “I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe,” he tweeted yesterday. World markets rose after much of Europe saw glimmers of hope — deaths and new infections appeared to be slowing in much of the three hardest-hit countries, as well as in the Netherlands and Germany. However, leaders cautioned that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict social distancing measures and national lockdowns. More than 9,600 people have died of the virus in the US, and it leads the world in confirmed infections at more than 337,970. In New York City, the US epicenter of the pandemic, daily confirmed deaths dropped slightly, along with intensive care admissions and the number of patients who needed breathing tubes, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that it was “too early to tell” whether the good news would hold. A report from a federal watchdog agency found that three out of four US hospitals surveyed are already treating patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Italy still has, by far, the world’s highest death toll — almost 16,000 — but the pressure on northern Italy’s intensive care units has eased
POTENTIAL FOR ABUSE: The appointment of a top Chinese diplomat to the council’s Consultative Group reflects China’s effort to expand its influence over the UN system, MOFA said UN members need to watch out for Beijing’s abuse of power in the world body’s systems, after a Chinese official was appointed last week to a panel on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday Jiang Duan (蔣端), who holds the rank of minister at the Chinese mission in Geneva, Switzerland, was appointed to the council’s Consultative Group as a representative for Asia-Pacific states for a one-year term through March 31 next year. It is ironic that the Chinese government, with its egregious record on human rights issues, can be admitted into the consultative group to help monitor the human rights conditions in other countries, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement. The appointment reflects China’s control over UN systems, which deserves the vigilance of all governments, she said. Beijing’s efforts to expand its influence over the UN system and promote a human rights agenda with “Chinese features,” such as prioritizing development projects, have alarmed democracies and the global community, she said. China is not qualified to play a leading role in human rights issues, given that many groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Freedom House, have raised concerns about Beijing’s violation of human rights, she said. The representatives of 22 nations in July last year sent a joint letter to the UNHRC calling on Beijing to stop persecuting Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, Ou said. The ministry called on all UN member states and the global community to closely monitor Beijing’s actions in the UNHRC to prevent it from abusing power or using its position to cover up its rights atrocities, Ou added. On Thursday, Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch, said Jiang’s appointment was “absurd and immoral.” “Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom
The Executive Yuan yesterday reminded central government agencies, state-run companies and the nation’s science parks not to use visual conferencing software products that could compromise the nation’s information security, sending a letter to remind them to observe rules covering such software. They should heed the Information and Communication Security Management Act (資通安全管理法) and should refrain from using products that could compromise the nation’s information security, Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said in a statement, stopping short of an outright ban on certain products. They can hold visual conferences amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but they should not use Zoom Video Communications or other software that could pose a security risk, said Chen, who doubles as the Cabinet’s chief information security officer. Under the act, agencies should not use or install information and communication systems that pose information security risks, and should give precedence to the products of local technology firms or those that have signed contracts with the government, he said. In special circumstances, when local conferencing software has been ruled out by international meetings, free software, such as those provided by Google or Microsoft, can be adopted following security risk assessments, the Department of Cyber Security said. The letter from the Executive Yuan follows last week’s announcement by University of Toronto-based Citizen Lab that Zoom software apparently transmits and receives encryption and decryption keys from a server in Beijing that is capable of decrypting audio and video content shared between conference participants outside of China. Several lawmakers on the Education and Culture Committee on Monday raised concerns that the Ministry of Education has listed Zoom on its list of recommended software for distance learning. Later yesterday, the ministry said it had told schools nationwide that Zoom was banned for distance learning, and suggested that they use software such as CyberLink U Meeting, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx,
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) yesterday said that he hopes the party’s Institute of Revolutionary Practice could become an “important cradle” for attracting and cultivating party talent. “Although the KMT is poor, it cannot be poor in the area of cultivating talent because talent and discourse are the KMT’s most important assets in the future,” Chiang said at a news conference at the party’s Taipei headquarters to mark Taipei City Councilor Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) taking over as the institute’s new director, along with deputy directors Yu Shu-hui (游淑慧) and Huang Chien-hao (黃健豪). The party must show the public through action, not just words, that it wants to develop new talent, he added. Lo, who outlined his three major goals for the institute, which has reverted to its original name from the National Development Institute. He also said that he would not take a salary for being its director, although Chiang had told him that the job was an “obligatory post” that came without pay when he offered it to him. “The KMT is at a historic low point,” Lo said. “The institute has no money and neither does the KMT.” Lo said he would keep the promise that he made on Jan. 12, the day after the presidential and legislative elections, to donate NT$800,000 (US$26,532) to the KMT’s youth development work once a new party chairperson was elected. The donation would be made to the institute to help pay its expenses, he said. However, the institute is to launch a NT$10 million fundraising drive, he said, adding that details would be released as soon as possible. While NT$10 million is a small sum for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), whose resources are “endless,” it is an “astronomical amount” for the KMT, he added. For decades the KMT had a reputation as one of the
VICTIM’S FAMILY UPSET: The woman’s father said the family would appeal the High Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court and he also planned to sue the city government The High Court yesterday upheld the conviction of a man found guilty of raping, killing and dismembering a woman in Taipei in 2018, but overturned his death sentence. It sentenced Chen Po-chien (陳伯謙), an archery instructor, to life in prison for the rape and murder of a 30-year-old woman surnamed Kao (高), who had been a student at his Yejucaotang (野居草堂) studio in the Huashan Grassland near Huashan 1914 Creative Park. The High Court ruling said it had reduced the Taipei District Court’s sentence in view of the fact that Chen had turned himself in to police after he was listed as a suspect in Kao’s murder. The judges also upheld his conviction for the theft, desecration and abandonment of Kao’s body, High Court spokeswoman Lien Yu-chun (連育群) said. The victim’s family said they were not happy with yesterday’s rulings and planned to appeal to the Supreme Court. Kao’s father told reporters that Chen has never once apologized to the family and has shown no remorse since the gruesome murder. He was going to file a lawsuit against the Taipei City government for its negligent management of the Huashan Grassland, as it was part of an area designated by the city as a temporary artists’ village. The Taipei District Court in August last year convicted Chen of murdering Kao on June 1, 2018. Over the next two days he dismembered Kao’s body, cutting it into 13 pieces, and then took most of the remains to Yangmingshan, where he dumped them. After turning himself in to police, Chen reportedly confessed to strangling Kao, but during his trial last year, he said he had only helped dispose of her body, and that another Taiwanese man, identified only as “Eric,” was the real killer. The lower court ruled that Chen’s testimony should be disregarded.
The second phase of a petition to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) has passed the signature threshold required to initiate a recall vote, the Kaohsiung City Election Commission said yesterday. Citizen Mowing Action, which organized the petition with We Care Kaohsiung and other groups, on March 9 submitted 406,880 signatures to the commission for the second stage. Kaohsiung Deputy Mayor Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文), the commission’s head, said the commission had mobilized nearly 600 civil servants over 29 days to review the signed petition copies. The review process eliminated 29,218 copies, Chen said, adding that about 10,000 were from people who provided signatures in the first stage of the petition. Another 13,000 were eliminated due to incorrect information about the signers’ residency, and another 2,000 were suspected to be forged, chen said. However, the number of valid copies — 377,662 — still exceeded the 228,134 signatures required to launch a recall vote, he said. A recall vote could be held on June 6 or 13, but the Central Election Commission (CEC) would make the final decision after receiving the city commission’s results today, Chen said. According to the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), the first step in the recall process is raising a proposal containing the signatures of at least 1 percent of a constituency’s eligible voters, which in the case of Kaohsiung was 22,800 signatures. The CEC on Jan. 17 said that the petition had passed the first stage with 28,560 valid signatures. In the second phase, the initiators of the petition — which was submitted one year after Han’s inauguration on Dec. 25, 2018 — had 60 days to collect signatures from at least 10 percent of the city’s eligible voters, or about 230,000, but not the same ones who signed in the first stage. In a recall vote, a simple majority must
Sinagpore-based online shopping platform Shopee has launched a short-term charity to help stray animals in Taiwan and relieve the strain on animal carers as the COVID-19 outbreak has led to a reduction in adoptions. The outbreak has lowered the adoption rate by 50 percent compared with the same period last year, the group Love Dog Taiwan said on Monday. Shopee has listed more than 40 products needed most by groups caring for animals, including diaper pads, canned dog food, cat litter and collapsible pet bowls ,on its Web site that the public can buy for the groups, brand marketing division director Liao Chun-huang (廖君凰) said. Shopee would ship the items for free to the groups involved in the project, including the Animal Protection Association and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Liao said. Sixteen pet product companies have joined the project, which is to run until April 19, she added.
LIVELIHOOD: The labor ministry has proposed cash handouts of NT$30,000 per person and loan subsidies of up to NT$100,000 to help people affected by the COVID-19 crisis The Ministry of Labor (MOL) yesterday detailed the latest government policies to ease unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including cash handouts of NT$30,000 (US$994.96) for self-employed people or freelancers. To qualify for the cash handout, a worker must have participated in the Labor Insurance plan through a guild, Minister of Labor Hsu Ming-chun (許明春) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. To make sure that only those in need would receive the handouts, applicants must have been exempt from paying individual income taxes last year, and their insured monthly salary under the Labor Insurance system must not exceed NT$24,000, she said. The handout would be wired into the bank account of successful applicants in a lump sum, she said. People who are already receiving a government-issued subsidy due to the pandemic would not be eligible for the labor ministry’s subsidy, she said. For example, tour guides who are receiving a monthly subsidy of NT$10,000 from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications would not qualify even if they are freelancers, she said. The labor ministry’s statistics showed that about 1.33 million people would be eligible for the cash handout, she said. The labor ministry is also planning to offer subsidized loans of up to NT$100,000 per person whose livelihood has been affected by the pandemic, with the interest rate capped at 1.845 percent, Hsu said. The loan repayment period would be set at three years, with the ministry covering the interest payment for the first year and the borrower paying annual interest of no more than NT$1,845 in the second and third year, she said, adding that the ministry expects about 500,000 applicants. The labor ministry would start accepting applications for the loans and the cash handouts within two weeks of the Legislative Yuan approving a proposed increase of NT$150 billion in the special budget for bailing
The WHO Secretariat has been playing a decisive role in excluding Taiwan’s participation in the global body, three Taiwanese-American groups said in a joint letter to the global health body on Monday, after the WHO said it does not make decisions on membership. The joint letter was endorsed by the North American Taiwanese Medical Association, the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) and the North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association in response to the WHO’s statement titled “Information sharing on COVID-19” published on March 29. “The question of Taiwanese membership in WHO is up to WHO Member States, not WHO staff,” said the letter, quoting the WHO statement. However, “it is the WHO Secretariat that has been playing a decisive role in excluding Taiwan’s participation. Their manipulation of meeting agenda regarding Taiwan’s participation during past annual [World Health] Assembly precludes the decisions by Member States and a transparent democratic process,” the letter said. Taiwanese’s human rights are not a matter to be determined or voted by the WHO Secretariat, nor the member states, which runs counter to the idea of “health for all,” the letter said. When the US Congress returns to session, the FAPA would do its utmost to help pass Senate Bill No. 249 to direct the US Department of State to develop a strategy to regain Taiwan’s observer status in the WHO, FAPA president Minze Chien (簡明子) said in the letter. “We will also continue to advocate for the ultimate goal of Taiwan’s full membership in the global health body,” he said. The WHO on Sunday issued another statement titled “How the World Health Organization works with all people, everywhere” to reiterate its interaction with Taiwanese experts and uphold its “one China” policy. While the WHO soon retracted the second statement, Watchout (沃草) — a Taiwan-based Facebook page promoting civic participation in politics — saved a
Chang Gung Memorial Hospital yesterday said that it has collaborated with other institutes to isolate 22 new strains of SARS-CoV-2 and complete the full genome sequencing of the virus, which causes COVID-19. A team of researchers has also found 25 strains of antibodies in beta-cells collected from three COVID-19 patients, said Huang Kuan-ying (黃冠穎), a doctor at the Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the hospital’s Linkou branch. The hospital found that a monoclonal antibody combined with the coronavirus’ spike protein could help inhibit angiotensin converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) and prevent the virus entering the body. ACE2 is an enzyme attached to the membranes of lung, artery, heart, kidney and intestine cells, and is the main entry point for coronaviruses. Chang Gung University Research Center for Emerging Viral Infections head Shih Shin-ru (施信如) said the antibody could be used to prevent the virus from replicating itself in the human body. If the antibody proves effective in human trials, it could be used as a treatment for COVID-19 or used in prevention, she said. The antibody, which originates from the human body, would be much safer to use than antibodies originating from animals, she added. She suggested that the strains of antibodies be used in permutations for rapid test kits, as it would increase test kit sensitivity and specificity toward SARS-CoV-2. The hospital also said that it would work with the team to develop a test kit and conduct human trials, adding that it would also reach out to the local pharmaceutical industry to help develop a treatment. The hospital’s collaborators include Academia Sinica, the National Defense Medical Center’s Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and a team from the University of Oxford.
WORK FROM HOME: The third quarter could be a challenge for chipmakers, as a weakening global economy weighs down demand and chip prices, TrendForce said Memory chipmakers Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技) and Macronix International Co (旺宏) reported substantial revenue growth for last month, as demand for game consoles, servers and computers increased amid broader COVID-19 containment measures. Both firms said that the pandemic did not significantly affect their operations last quarter, as all of their chips are made in Taiwan. Macronix, which makes memory chips used in Nintendo Co’s Switch and Switch Lite, said that consolidated revenue surged 39.8 percent monthly to a record NT$3.88 billion (US$128.68 million) from NT$2.78 billion in February. On an annual basis, revenue increased 97.6 percent from NT$1.96 billion a year earlier. The performance brought aggregated revenue in the first quarter to an all-time high of NT$9.42 billion, up 56.2 percent from NT$6.03 billion a year earlier, a company statement said. Nanya Technology yesterday reported that revenue increased 17.37 percent monthly to NT$5.36 billion — the highest in 16 months. On an annual basis, revenue jumped 44.01 percent from NT$3.72 billion a year earlier. On a monthly basis, shipments last month expanded by a low-teens percentage from a month earlier, while chip prices increased by a low single-digit percentage, the company said. First-quarter accumulative revenue reached NT$14.42 billion, a 26.79 percent annual increase from NT$11.37 billion a year earlier and a 9.9 percent quarterly increase from NT$13.12 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, company data showed. Nanya Technology is scheduled to disclose more financial data and information about the impact of COVID-19 during an online investor’s conference on Friday. DRAM chip prices this quarter are expected to increase more than 10 percent from last quarter, when prices rose 5 percent from the previous quarter, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) forecast in the middle of last month, citing demand fueled by companies replenishing inventories. However, the third quarter could be a challenge for chipmakers, as a weakening global
NEW SUPPLY NEEDED: The office rental total made Taipei the second-best performer behind Tokyo’s 1.4 percent increase, while other cities reported declines, an analyst said The nation’s office leasing market last quarter proved resilient as a lack of new supply and stable demand kept rents and vacancy rates nearly unchanged, international property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle Inc (JLL) said yesterday. The same factors might keep the market steady for the rest of this year, JLL said. Vacancy rates for grade A offices in Taipei in the January-to-March period edged up 0.3 percentage points to 2.4 percent, while rents rose 0.1 percentage points to NT$2,809 (US$93.16) per ping (3.3m2) per month, JLL Taiwan senior market director Brian Liu (劉建宇) told an online news conference. The rental total made Taipei the second-best performer behind Tokyo’s 1.4 percent increase, while other cities internationally reported modest declines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu added. The relatively mild outbreak in Taiwan and a lack of new supply for next year led to a greater number of upscale office space being rented, he said. This year, office space rentals — a reliable source of income for institutional landlords — might remain flat, as companies become cautious about expansion, compared with last year’s expectations of stable gains, Liu added. If the crisis persists, corporate tenants might request grace periods for rental payments or temporary reductions in rent to help weather the business slowdown, Liu said. While nearly 29,272 ping of office space is to enter the market later this year, vacancy rates might hover at less than 2.5 percent, he said. The commercial property market is a different story, JLL Taiwan managing director Tony Chao (趙正義) said. “Now could be the worst time or best time [for property investment] depending on how the pandemic settles,” Chao said. “Market players are conservative about real-estate investments, but the health crisis will eventually be over,” he added JLL expects to see a U-shaped recovery — possibly by the third quarter of this year, Chao said.
King’s Town Bank (京城銀行) on Monday reported that net profit for last quarter halved from a year earlier to NT$894 million (US$29.65 million), curtailed by slowing economic activity and stock investment losses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Tainan-based lender saw its lending in the first three months of the year increase 1 percent, a relatively slow pace, as customers turned conservative amid the pandemic. The bank, which focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises, has less exposure to businesses in the food and beverage and tourism industries, which have been hardest hit during the pandemic, so it has not received many applications for loan relief, King’s Town spokesman You Qi-wei (尤其偉) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “We might need to wait until the second half of this year to see if a rapid increase in corporate lending emerges, as investment momentum could be weakened amid the ongoing pandemic,” the bank said. Stock investment losses eroded handling fees and interest income, as the TAIEX dropped 28 percent from January to last month, causing net profit for last month to decline 98.9 percent annually to NT$6 million, King’s Town said. Earnings per share last month were NT$0.01 and totaled NT$0.91 for the January-to-March period, the bank said. “We are not the only bank that has been hit by the bear market. As some of our peers might also have fallen into the red in March due to their larger investments in local shares, I think we did okay,” You said, adding that the bank at one time had more than NT$4 billion of local shares. To weather volatility on global financial markets, the bank would avoid foreign bonds with ratings of “BBB-” and focus on those with ratings of “A-” or “BBB+,” a manager surnamed Hong (洪) said. Despite slumping crude oil prices, the bank has no immediate plans to
Although only three new cases of COVID-19 were reported yesterday — all of them imported — the domestic situation over the next two weeks is still worrisome, especially amid a lack of common sense demonstrated by people who flocked to the nation’s tourist hotspots during the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day holiday. This happened just days after the government announced social distancing guidelines and started implementing stricter measures regarding public transportation. The government has done a stellar job so far of containing the virus, and Taiwan is one of the few places in the world where people are not locked down and suffering from cabin fever. The nation’s accomplishments have repeatedly been lauded in the international media — even making it to CNN’s front page on Sunday — which boosts Taiwan’s international profile and should be celebrated. However, all of this seems to have led to a false sense of security both on the government’s and the public’s part. Although the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan remains relatively low, there has been a steady flow of domestic infections; and while there is no need to panic, such lack of fear amid a global crisis is alarming, as the virus rages on. The government seems to have placed a great deal of trust in the public to follow the rules and has been reluctant to lay down the law like other countries have done. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said before the holiday that he was reluctant to tell people not to travel, adding that it is a good thing to go out and relax as long as people followed social distancing rules or wore masks. He cited Taiwan’s low number of cluster infections and people who had returned from abroad being under self-quarantine as reasons for
A 10-month-old boy on April 1 last year was smothered to death by the body of a worker at an infant care center in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖). At the Shilin District Court on March 25, a prosecutor accused the childcare worker of professional negligence resulting in the death of another person. A discussion on Taiwan’s childcare system might help prevent such tragedies. First, childcare workers need training that gives them needed practical skills. In her testimony, the accused said that she learned by example, no one ever taught her how to put a baby to bed. Government regulations state that professional childcare workers must receive 126 hours of training — the legal framework of caring for children and youth, infant and toddler development and their care, and the design of safe care environments — and pass a written examination. The training seems well thought-out, broad in scope and rigorous, but it is mostly conducted as lectures, with students passing the examination simply by studying exam questions from previous years. Practical training is limited. By contrast, the training required to become a long-term care providers totals 90 hours: 50 hours on core knowledge, eight hours on procedures, two hours for general discussion and a course evaluation, and — most importantly — a 30-hour clinical internship. By practicing the skills required in long-term care — such as feeding with a nasogastric tube, care of a gastrostomy, and manicuring and grooming — during the internship, trainees apply classroom knowledge to real life and evaluate whether they have all of the skills that they need. While childcare workers or those who provide long-term care to elderly people need textbook knowledge, their practical skills must be continually honed through practice to become competent. The government should consider requiring an internship for childcare workers, as it does for long-term care workers. Second, centers
During a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan on March 24, Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) suggested that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) consider inviting Hong Kongers to Taiwan to serve as recruits in the Republic of China (ROC) military because they “hate Chinese more than Taiwanese do.” Hong Kong is under Chinese jurisdiction, and openly recruiting citizens of an enemy state to serve in Taiwan’s military is slightly provocative. Chen Po-wei deserves credit for bringing up the issue of the military’s national identification at the legislature. The political warfare thinking in the armed forces is only weakly identified with Taiwan and there is confusion over who the enemy really is. For instance, the military song I Love Chunghwa (我愛中華) that soldiers chant at night roll call does not differ at all from the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Chinese nationalism, and it would not be out of place if sung by soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The armed forces’ military songs have long abounded with a nationalism aiming toward a “Greater China,” an idea almost completely disconnected from today’s Taiwanese society. It is understandable that the ROC military adopted an aggressive militarist stance under the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) past authoritarian regime, as its ultimate goal was to retake the Chinese territory it had lost. Today, when the Taiwanese public’s only wish is to defend Taiwan, the military should abandon the idea of “restoring the glory of Chunghwa and reconquering the mainland,” and instead identify with Taiwan and safeguarding the homeland. I performed my military service on one of the outlying islands in the Matsu archipelago in 2015, one year after the Sunflower movement. During my time of service, I did not understand why soldiers had to sing I Love Chunghwa, a song
CORRUPT GOVERNANCE: The indictment said that Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz and Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira had received bribes in exchange for voting for Qatar’s World Cup bid Two former executives of US media giant Fox on Monday were charged with corruption, bank fraud and money laundering as US federal prosecutors shed fresh light on the scandal-tainted bidding war for the FIFA World Cups in 2018 and 2022. Former 21st Century Fox employees Hernan Lopez, 49, and Carlos Martinez, 41, face charges, along with 65-year-old Gerard Romy, who worked for Spanish media conglomerate Imagina. The three men are accused of paying millions in bribes to officials from the governing bodies for soccer in South America, and North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The charges allege the bribes were paid in exchange for lucrative TV rights contracts for regional competitions, the Copa America, and qualifying games for the two World Cups. The case forms part of the wide-ranging 2015 corruption scandal that left FIFA in turmoil and led to the downfall of then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter. An unsealed superseding indictment also detailed corruption surrounding the 2010 vote in Zurich, Switzerland, which saw FIFA award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The indictment said former Brazilian FIFA member Ricardo Teixeira and late Paraguayan official Nicolas Leoz, both members of the FIFA committee which voted on the tournaments, received bribes in exchange for voting for Qatar’s bid. In addition, Trinidadian FIFA official Jack Warner “was promised and received” payments totaling US$5 million to vote for Russia, while Guatemala’s Rafael Salguero was promised a US$1 million bribe to vote for Russia. Salguero pleaded guilty to multiple corruption charges in 2016 and was banned from FIFA, while Warner, who faces charges in the US, is battling extradition to the US from Trinidad. “The profiteering and bribery in international soccer have been deep-seated and commonly known practices for decades,” William Sweeney, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said in
The Open Championship has been canceled for the first time since World War II due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 149th Open was scheduled to take place at Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, England, in July, but with the pandemic ripping the sporting schedule to shreds, the event has became the first of the sport’s four majors to be canceled this year. Golf’s oldest major is to be hosted at the same venue in the county of Kent in July next year. “The Open was due to be played in Kent from 12-19 July but it has been necessary to cancel the championship based on guidance from the UK Government, the health authorities, public services and the R&A’s advisers,” organizer the R&A said in a statement on Monday. St Andrews is still to host the 150th Open, but a year later than scheduled in 2022. “Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in the Open. We care deeply about this historic championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart,” R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said. “We have explored every option for playing The Open this year, but it is not going to be possible. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.” “We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do,” he said. The Open is the latest high-profile tournament to be axed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Wimbledon was canceled for the first
Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min is to be exposed to tear gas, undertake live-fire drills and go on a 30km loaded march during three weeks of intense military training this month, a South Korean Marine Corps official said yesterday. All able-bodied men are required to serve in the military for about two years in South Korea, which is technically still at war with North Korea, but Son received an exemption for leading the nation to the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games. Son, 27, is to complete his mandatory military service while the English Premier League remains suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the London club said on Monday. Son, in self-quarantine in South Korea in line with tightened entry rules due to the pandemic, is to begin the stint on April 20 at a Marine Corps unit on the southernmost South Korean island of Jeju, local media reported. The South Korean Military Manpower Administration, which handles conscription issues, declined to confirm the date and location, citing privacy rules, but an official at the Marine Corps said that Son would receive a shortened version of a boot camp required for all new enlistees, including discipline education, combat drills, and a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) exercise. A video of the military training posted on YouTube showed a group of troops undergoing CBRN training in a gas chamber. After a few minutes they are let out, tears streaming down their faces and pouring water over their heads. “The CBRN training is usually the toughest part of the boot camp,” the video says. The official said that Son would wrap up the three-week service period with a group march of up to 30km. “Once you’re in the military, you should be able to fire a rifle, breath in the gas and participate in a battle, rolling and crawling
Serbian coach Radomir Antic, the only person to manage Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, died on Monday at the age of 71 following a long illness. “The Atletico de Madrid family is mourning the passing of Radomir Antic, one of our legendary coaches. You will forever live in our hearts. Rest in peace,” the club wrote on Twitter. Spanish sports daily Marca said that Antic had been suffering from a serious illness for a long time. Antic, who first moved to Spain as a player with Real Zaragoza in 1978, managed Atletico across three different spells between 1995 and 2000, leading the club to a league and cup double in his first season. He also coached Barcelona during the second part of the 2002-2003 campaign after replacing Louis van Gaal. His first stint at one of Spain’s big clubs came during a 10-month spell with Real Madrid in 1991-1992. On the international stage, he led his native Serbia to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where his team beat Germany 1-0 in the group stage, but failed to advance to the knockout rounds. The Serbian Football Federation paid tribute to Antic as it confirmed the news of his death on its Web site. “All those who knew Radomir will from now on have an emptiness in their heart, and Serbia can be proud to have had such a man who was abroad and represented a source of pride,” the federation wrote. After leaving Partizan Belgrade in 1976 to sign for Fenerbahce, Antic moved to Zaragoza for two years before finishing his career in England with Luton Town. He helped the club achieve promotion to the English top flight in 1981-1982 and then scored the goal that helped them stay up on the final day of the following season. “We are devastated to learn of the passing of Town legend Radomir Antic,
‘CIRCUIT BREAKER’: Keeping schools open was ‘correct,’ as children do not seem to be as badly affected by the virus as adults, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said Singapore defended its decision not to close its schools earlier as the city-state goes into a partial lockdown from today to stem the spread of COVID-19. It was the “correct” move to leave them open, as young people do not seem to be as affected by the virus as adults, while there is no evidence they are vectors of transmission, Singaporean Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung (王乙康) said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Shutting the schools now is part of a slew of so-called “circuit breaker” measures to shrink the transmission rate of the virus, he said. “It was correct to keep schools open, but as of now, I think if we want to do a circuit breaker properly, we should close schools” as well, Ong said. From this week, Singapore is to shutter its schools as it moves to full home-based learning. It was one of a handful of regions that had resisted doing so, citing early research that children are not as affected as adults, even when more than 160 countries had already shut their schools. The decision to suspend schools and also close most workplaces came as confirmed cases of local transmissions and unlinked infections in the city-state have risen in the past few weeks. As of Monday, Singapore reported a total of 1,375 cases since the outbreak began. On Sunday, the city-state announced 120 new cases, by far its highest single-day tally. While Ong said that about 65 students have been infected with the virus so far, none of them caught the disease while attending school, but from traveling or from the adult family members in their households. Schools and some businesses may reopen by May 4 if the circuit breaker measures are successful, he said. “If we do it right, if everyone cooperates, we should be able to crash
China yesterday reported a drop in new COVID-19 cases after closing its borders to virtually all foreigners to curb imported infections, while the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, saw no new deaths for the first time. China had 32 new confirmed cases on Monday, down from 39 a day earlier, the Chinese National Health Commission said. All of the 32 cases involved travelers arriving from overseas, compared with 38 imported cases a day earlier. The overall number of imported infections so far stands at 983, the commission said. Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, reported only two new confirmed cases in the past 14 days. It is due to allow people to leave the city today for the first time since it was locked down on Jan. 23 to curb the spread of the virus. With China well past the peak of infections in February, authorities have turned their attention to imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who show no symptoms, but can still pass on the virus. China has shut its borders to foreigners as the virus spread globally, although most imported cases have involved Chinese nationals returning from overseas. The number of inbound travelers to China through airports has fallen to under 3,000 per day from about 25,000 late last month, before China reduced the number of international flights. It also started testing all international arrivals for the virus this month. The total number of confirmed cases in China stood at 81,740 as of Monday, while 3,331 people have died, the commission said. Wuhan, where daily fatalities had fallen to fewer than 10 since late last month, had no new deaths on Monday. China reported 30 new asymptomatic cases on Monday, nine of which involved incoming travelers. Of the new asymptomatic cases, 18 were in Hubei. About one-quarter of the asymptomatic cases were also imported, the commission
China is facing a wave of COVID-19 infections from Russia, with more than half of the country’s total imported cases in the past two days coming through its northeastern land border. Heilongjiang, China’s northernmost province, which borders Russia, has reported 60 imported cases this month, according to the Health Commission of Heilongjiang Province. All but one entered the Chinese border by car or coach from the nearby Russian city of Vladivostok, after they flew from Moscow, where more than half of Russia’s 6,300 cases have been reported. The Russian cases account for one-third of all the confirmed infections China has detected in people traveling from other countries this month. Imported infections have become a major threat to rekindling the virus in China after draconian measures managed to reduce local infections to a crawl. The jump in cases from Russia shows the challenge China faces in policing its land borders after aggressively reducing international flights to stem the flow of virus-carrying travelers. China shares an extensive land border with Russia along its northeastern provinces such as Heilongjiang. Bustling trade and commerce connections between the people living in either border region keep cross-border traffic high during normal times. Now, with Russia shutting down international flights, the border has become one of the few entry ways for Chinese living in Russia to come home. All the 59 people that crossed the border in Heilongjiang this month are Chinese, a telling sign that the country’s diaspora are increasingly seeking refuge back in China as the virus epicenter has shifted to other places in Europe and the US. Russia had been playing down the severity of the outbreak in the country. It has recorded 47 deaths so far, relatively low compared with other nations in Europe and the US. However, Russia’s cases have spiked in the past few days, with 954
The God of Medicine had an uneventful birthday yesterday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, even celebrations for Baoshengdadi (保生大帝), also known as the God of Medicine, were significantly downsized across the nation. Tainan’s Singji Temple (興濟宮), for example, held a low-key candle placing ritual Monday night and focused on promoting its artifact exhibition featuring its recently restored door god paintings. Created by renowned temple painter Chen Shou-i (陳壽彝) in 1977, the doors were painstakingly restored over 18 months by Lee Chih-shang (李志上) and his team at Ming Shiang Art Conservation (名襄文化) and reinstalled last year. Lee, who calls himself a family physician and cosmetic surgeon for antique paintings, says that he’s been working on various artifacts in the temple for the past three years. Applying Western preservation techniques he learned in Germany to the Taiwanese climate, with the blessing of the sea goddess Matsu, Lee has made it his mission to preserve as much of Taiwan’s cultural heritage as he can. Due to the lack of value placed on local Taiwanese religious culture until recently, and poor conservation technique, much has been lost already. In Germany, Lee practiced on 400-year-old relics, while in Taiwan he has worked on at most five pieces that were created before the Japanese arrived in 1895. Before Chen died in 2012, he lamented that there were probably less than 10 of his works still intact despite working on over 200 temples since he was 15 years old. “Taiwanese did not value their own culture in the past, instead championing tacky or foreign styles. They discarded their local culture and art without knowing how precious they were,” he told the Liberty Times (Taipei Times’ sister newspaper). BALANCING ACT Chen learned his craft from his father Chen Yu-feng (陳玉峰), who was considered the top artisan painter in Tainan during
The lights shone more brightly than anything I’d ever seen. One million blinding watts strafed across the leaves of countless cannabis plants that peeled off in neat rows in every direction. The warehouse was as pristine as a pharmaceutical facility, and as we strode around in crisp white nylon overalls and box-fresh wellies, the atmosphere was surreal — interstellar, almost. It felt as if we were on a mission to Mars. It was definitely a glimpse of the future. It was 2017 and I had been invited to visit this legal medical cannabis “grow” in the town of Gatineau, near Ottawa. I was in Canada after writing a paper for the drug-law reform think tank Volteface , proposing an online-only, legal cannabis market in the UK as a way to break the logjam between the UK’s two million cannabis smokers and those who fear legalization. I was meeting with Canadian police and politicians to hear more about that country’s plans to completely legalize cannabis the following year. Back in the UK, a million-watt grow like Gatineau’s would put you in jail for a decade. Here, it was likely to make its owners a very cool, very legal few million in mere months. Added to that, the state would benefit, too, as taxes from sales of the crop would be collected for the common good rather than enriching criminals. It felt utopian. For the three decades I have campaigned to reform drug laws, I never expected to see change happen so quickly, or at such scale, as it did in Canada. But, two years on, the Canadian experiment hasn’t quite turned out as we reformers had hoped. The Gatineau greenhouse through which I strode on that day in 2017 was owned by a firm called the Hydropothecary. Now named Hexo, in October last year it
As students wait outside an exam room in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district, the air is tense. A girl in a school uniform rocks a guitar back and forth in her hands next to a boy who stares nervously into his fringe. Another girl sitting on a nearby bench adjusts her crop top. But in a neighborhood filled with English and maths crammers, this is no normal exam room. Mudoctor Academy is a K-pop training school, where dozens of students between the ages of 12 and 26 line up for their chance to audition for a visiting entertainment scout. Kevin Lee is among this group of hopefuls. At 19, he has already moonlighted as a backup dancer for the phenomenally successful K-pop group BTS. He estimates that he has attended more than 50 K-pop auditions over the past four years. But this hasn’t been enough. Concerned about his age — most entertainment companies recruit school-aged trainees — Lee says he will give up on his dream if he isn’t accepted into a major entertainment company this year. “It’s hard not to think about failure,” he says. “They say at 17 you have a 50 percent chance of becoming a trainee. I’m already 19 so my chances are slim.” Lee is not alone — for many young Koreans K-pop is a desirable career choice and there are many academies like Mudoctor. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this pop behemoth that has become South Korea’s best-known cultural export? It’s an industry worth US$5 billion; BTS alone sold more albums than Taylor Swift , Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande last year. But something is very wrong inside K-pop, and it points to a deeper malaise throughout South Korea. There has been a spate of suicides and high-profile sex scandals involving K-pop stars in recent times.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the globe, uncertainty surrounding the virus is causing anxiety and fear. Yen Su-mei, director of the Department of Chinese Medicine at the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Nantou Hospital, says that long-term anxiety induced by the pandemic can lead to symptoms including headaches, insomnia, nightmares, fatigue and irritability, as well as mental and physical atrophy. When you begin to feel tense, Yen recommends applying gentle pressure to three acupressure points on the body, as a way to reduce stress and calm your nerves. According to Yen, applying pressure to the three acupressure points — called neiguan (PC-6), shenmen (HT-7) and ear shenmen (MA-TF1) — can help relax one’s mood and aid sleep, and can be carried out anytime at home to maintain overall well-being. 1. Shenmen: With your palm facing toward you, find the intersection between the little finger and ring finger and follow the line down to the lateral crease of skin where the wrist meets the hand. Try pressing down at this spot and you will be able to detect a hollow area underneath the muscle: this is the shenmen acupressure point. 2. Neiguan: With your palm facing toward you, place your finger at the center point of the lateral crease where wrist meets the hand. Move your finger downwards in the direction of the elbow, moving the width of three fingers. You will be able to detect a hollow area between two muscles: this is the neiguan acupressure point. 3. Ear shenmen: To locate the ear shenmen, place your finger on the upper edge of the ear. Slowly move your finger down until you find a small hollow. Moving away from the direction of your face, move your finger up out of the hollow, approximately one-third of the way along the adjacent raised
A : Are you Hakka then? B : How do you know about that? A : Because we have some Hakka friends who also do their tomb sweeping after Lunar New Year, not on Qingming Festival. B : So, why do so many people do it on Qingming Festival? A : 你該不會是客家人吧？ B : 這你怎麼會知道？ A : 因為我的客家朋友掃墓的時間也是在農曆年後，不在清明節那天。 B : 咦？那為什麼很多人都在清明節連假掃墓呢？ English 英文: Chinese 中文:
“Safer at Home.” It’s a slogan of choice for the mandatory confinement measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. But it’s not true for everyone. As the world’s families hunker down, there’s another danger, less obvious but just as insidious, that worries advocates and officials: a potential spike in domestic violence as victims spend day and night trapped at home with their abusers, with tensions rising, nowhere to escape, limited or no access to friends or relatives — and no idea when it will end. “An abuser will use anything in their toolbox to exert their power and control, and COVID-19 is one of those tools,” said Crystal Justice, who oversees development at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a 24/7 national hotline in the United States. In cities and towns everywhere, concern is high, and meaningful numbers are hard to come by. In some cases, officials worry about a spike in calls, and in others, about a drop in calls, which might indicate that victims cannot find a safe way to reach out for help. In Los Angeles, officials have been bracing for a spike in abuse. “When cabin fever sets in, give it a week or two, people get tired of seeing each other and then you might have domestic violence,” said Alex Villanueva, the sheriff of Los Angeles County. “One of the key challenges of this health pandemic is that home isn’t a safe place for everyone,” said Amanda Pyron, executive director of The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence, based in Chicago. “Victims and the abusers have to stay at the scene of the crime.” Similar concerns have arisen in hard-hit continental Europe. In France, “it’s an explosive cocktail,” says Nathalie Tomasini, a leading lawyer for domestic violence victims there. Being trapped in an apartment with an abusive partner, she
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