Sun, Sep 27, 2020
China’s “united front” efforts targeting Taiwan are ubiquitous, and include the employment of Internet celebrities to carry out infiltration campaigns on social media, members of the Mainland Affairs Council’s (MAC) Advisory Committee said yesterday. The council released the minutes of a committee meeting on China’s “legal war” against Taiwan and possible response measures. The “legal war” aims to unilaterally define jurisdiction over Taiwan to legitimize annexing the nation based on Beijing’s so-called “democratic negotiations,” while preparing to negate Taiwanese legislation, the minutes said. Committee members and academics who attended the meeting were not named in the minutes. The National Security Law imposed by Beijing in Hong Kong is a model for China to draw up Taiwan-related regulations, the minutes said. Globally, Beijing would continue to squeeze Taiwan’s international space and block the nation from joining international organizations as a sovereign state, they said. On a civic level, Beijing aims to promote economic, social and cultural integration by linking identity documents for Taiwanese to China’s civic rights, it said. To grasp the changes in China’s legislation related to Taiwan, the government should watch the implementation of Hong Kong’s National Security Law and the developments in the territory, the minutes said. China’s legal war against Taiwan operates in tandem with other public opinion, psychological and diplomatic tactics, a committee member said. Beijing has been employing Internet celebrities to wage “united front” and infiltration campaigns against Taiwan on video platforms or attack certain targets through social media, such as WeChat, in an attempt to circumvent legal regulations, the member said. Taiwan should prepare countermeasures and share information with international partners to promote joint defense and security cooperation, the member added. China’s legal war against Taiwan is ubiquitous, another committee member said, citing as examples Chinese People’s Liberation Army aircraft continuing to harass Taiwan and Beijing publicly denying the existence of the median line of
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday urged the government to change the nation’s COVID-19 testing methods and test all people under home quarantine as well as all travelers leaving Taiwan. The KMT caucus held a news conference to suggest alternative strategies after the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday reported that 19 travelers from Taiwan had tested positive for COVID-19 upon arriving in other countries — 18 in the Philippines and one in Japan. KMT caucus whip Lin Wei-chou (林為洲) said the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan might worsen as temperatures begin to drop, and that the surge in exported cases might be a warning sign. “Should the government not implement better border control measures in advance?” he asked. As other countries have different COVID-19 screening mechanisms at their borders, testing travelers before they depart Taiwan would not only protect Taiwanese, but also the nation’s reputation, he said. If exported cases are reported frequently, it might hinder the nation’s efforts to ease border controls, as well as an economic and tourism recovery, Lin added. Wang Jen-hsien (王任賢), a physician at China Medical University Hospital’s Department of Infection Control, told the news conference that the CECC claims Taiwan has no local infections. However, several people tested positive in the Philippines after traveling from Taiwan, indicating that there had been false-negative and false-positive cases, and that Taiwan’s screening method is flawed, Wang said. The current testing method employs a diagnostic kit used in hospitals to diagnose patients, not to screen them, so the government should evaluate its screening method and find other test kits to screen departing passengers, he said. Wang said the diagnostic kit used in Taiwan is the most expensive in the world, costing NT$6,000 to NT$10,000 per test, and also requires a physician’s prescription and a government request notice. Taiwan has shunned wide-scale testing, but people
COVID-19 deaths could more than double to 2 million without collective action against the pandemic, the WHO has warned, as Australia’s prime minister urged any nation that develops a vaccine to share it with the world. The number of cases worldwide has soared past 32.5 million, with deaths approaching 1 million, the global economy devastated, and major cultural and sports events disrupted. However, despite the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday struck a defiant note, saying that his country was determined to hold the postponed Tokyo Olympics next year. “One million is a terrible number, and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million,” WHO Health Emergencies Program executive director Michael Ryan told reporters on Friday when asked how high the death toll could rise. “Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number? If we don’t take those actions ... yes, we will be looking at that number and sadly much higher,” he said. The pandemic has spurred worldwide efforts to develop a vaccine to help defeat COVID-19, as well as efforts to try to ensure fair and widespread distribution. “Whoever finds the vaccine must share it... This is a global responsibility and it’s a moral responsibility,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday in a message to the virtual UN General Assembly. Without a vaccine or effective treatment, social distancing and lockdowns remain among the few options for governments to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, making large gatherings, such as spectator sports and music concerts, highly risky. Authorities in Brazil — which has the world’s second-highest death toll — indefinitely postponed Rio de Janeiro’s carnival. Just 1,000 fans a day are being allowed at the French Open, with organizers of one of the world’s biggest tennis events
US President Donald Trump yesterday planned to name conservative appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett as his third US Supreme Court appointment, setting off a scramble in the Republican-led US Senate to confirm her before the US presidential election in five-and-a-half weeks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made confirming Trump’s judicial nominees a top priority and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, who mounted an angry defense of Trump’s last high court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, in 2018, has signaled that he expects to have Barrett confirmed as a justice by Nov. 3. Barrett, 48, was appointed by Trump to the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and is a favorite of religious conservatives, a key Trump voter bloc. Her confirmation to replace liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died at age 87 on Friday last week, would make Barrett the fifth woman ever to serve on the top US judicial body and push its conservative majority to a commanding 6-3. Trump planned to formally introduce his nominee at a 5pm White House ceremony. Conservative advocates hailed Trump’s selection, which surfaced on Friday night, while liberals voiced dismay. Former US vice president Joe Biden, the Democrat’s presidential candidate, has said that the winner of the election should get to replace Ginsburg. Trump’s fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 Senate majority, and only two Republican senators have opposed proceeding with the confirmation process. However, Democrats are expected to make the process as difficult as possible. Abortion rights advocates are worried that Barrett could cast a vote for overturning the 1973 landmark ruling legalizing abortion nationwide. On the 7th Circuit, Barrett has staked out conservative legal positions in three years on the bench, voting in favor of one of Trump’s hardline immigration policies and showing support for expansive gun rights. She also authored a ruling making it easier
SUSPECTS DETAINED: The suspected attacker arrived in France three years ago from Pakistan as an unaccompanied minor, the interior minister said A suspected accomplice of a man believed to have attacked and wounded two people with a meat cleaver on Friday in front of a Paris office building has been released, a judicial source told reporters. Another person close to the suspected attacker and believed to have been a former roommate in a hotel north of Paris had been arrested, following a series of other arrests on Friday evening, the source said. Yesterday morning, seven people remained in custody including the suspected attacker. The suspected attacker was cooperating with the police, a police source said. The attack took place in front of a building where Muslim militants gunned down employees of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in 2015. It coincided with the start this month of the trial of 14 alleged accomplices in the 2015 attack. The gunmen behind that attack killed 12 people. Police on Friday quickly detained the man suspected of carrying out the cleaver attack next to the steps of an opera house about 500m away. The suspected attacker was from Pakistan and arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin said. A second suspect was detained moments after the attack and prosecutors were trying to establish his relationship to the attacker. He was released free of charge, the source said. Charlie Hebdo vacated its offices after the 2015 attack and is now in a secret location. The building is now used by a television production company. Two of the production company’s staff, a man and a woman, were in the street having a cigarette break when they were attacked, according to prosecutors and a colleague of the victims. After the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, investigators said the militants had wanted to avenge the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the magazine. Charlie Hebdo republished the cartoons
LION’S SHARE: More than NT$137 billion of the requested funding would go to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, with NT$37 billion for the Ministry of Health and Welfare Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday urged legislators to swiftly approve an additional NT$210 billion (US$7.17 billion) to maintain government subsidy programs keeping companies afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the second increase of special funding for the Special Act on COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery (嚴重特殊傳染性肺炎防治及紓困振興特別條例), with the first, valued at NT$150 billion, approved on May 9. Answering legislators’ questions at the Legislative Yuan, Su said that NT$38.3 billion would go toward pandemic prevention, specifically the purchase and research and development (R&D) of vaccines targeting the SARS-CoV-2 strain. It would also cover compensation for pandemic prevention efforts, purchasing drugs and other goods used for prevention, stepping up border patrols, maintaining quarantine facilities and compensating local governments, he said. The remaining NT$171 billion would be used to maintain the Triple Stimulus Voucher program, promote loans and financing measures for small and medium-sized businesses, fund commercial-use electricity subsidies, extend subsidies for employees at companies or in industries heavily affected by the pandemic, fund subsidies to keep businesses afloat and continue R&D programs, Su said. More than 13.3 million Taiwanese have benefited from the act’s original NT$60 billion in funding and the first special budget increase, Su said, adding that 110,000 companies have been kept afloat and 900,000 employees retained. To date, 22.65 million people have picked up vouchers, demonstrating the program’s success, he added. The government has allocated NT$161.1 billion from the NT$210 billion in funding already approved by the legislature, but has only spent NT$151.9 billion, or 94 percent, of the budgeted funding, Su said, adding that the government has only spent the funding where needed. Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) said that the Ministry of Economic Affairs would take the lion’s share, NT$137.54 billion, of the newly requested funds, followed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, with NT$37.36 billion. The Council of
‘VOICES OF JUSTICE’: The group’s application received support from the UK and the US, but a Chinese delegate was pushing politics, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wikimedia Taiwan yesterday called on China to take responsibility for intellectual property (IP) issues after a Chinese delegation pressed the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to suspend a review of the Wikimedia Foundation’s application for observer status. The WIPO is a UN specialized agency committed to developing a balanced and effective global IP system. When its member states on Wednesday examined the foundation’s application for observer status, a Chinese delegate asked the assembly to suspend the discussion, non-governmental organization (NGO) Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) reported. “As of October 2015 this foundation had 41 recognized chapters and thematic organizations, one of which is Wikimedia Taiwan, established in the province of China,” the KEI quoted the Chinese delegate as saying. “There is reason to believe that this foundation has been carrying out political activities through its member organizations, which could undermine the state’s [China’s] sovereignty and territorial integrity, therefore, it is not fitting for the foundation to serve as an observer to this professional organization.” The delegate asked the assembly to suspend discussion of Wikimedia Foundation’s application “before the foundation could further clarify such questions as member organizations and Taiwan related positions,” the KEI reported. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday criticized the Chinese delegate. The delegate is seeking to impose political censorship on the Wikimedia Foundation and override professionalism with politics, the ministry said. The application was supported by the delegates from the UK and the US, showing that there are still “voices of justice” inside the global organization, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement. Reviewing NGOs’ applications for observer status is irrelevant to the so-called “one China” issue, Ou said, urging the WIPO to adopt a professional approach in examining the foundation’s application. The WIPO should not become an agent of Chinese expansionism in global organizations or an accomplice in subduing NGOs, otherwise it would fall
‘UNSUNG HEROES’: The president said that her goal is to improve soldiers’ dignity so that military service can increasingly become a career path for young people President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday toured several military bases in Kaohsiung to thank military personnel for their contributions to safeguarding the country in the face of repeated incursions by the Chinese air force. Tsai visited the air force’s 3rd Logistics Command in the city’s Gangshan District (岡山), the army’s Engineer Group in Yanchao District (燕巢) and the navy’s Underwater Operations Unit (UOU) in Zuoying District (左營). “I found that the troops I encountered today have a common characteristic, that is, they are all unsung heroes,” she said in Zuoying. She said that since taking office in 2016, her administration has improved the working conditions and welfare of military personnel. For example, a new dormitory is being built at the UOU base in Zuoying, which will hopefully improve the quality of life for officers and soldiers at the base, Tsai said. Also, the government last year began building a facility in Kaohsiung where the country’s first indigenous submarine is to be made, she said. Tsai said that her ultimate goal is to improve the dignity of soldiers so that military service can increasingly become an interesting career for young people. China has intensified its military maneuvers in the region, including sending warplanes into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone. The Ministry of National Defense this month said that the “dramatic increase” in threat level and the military’s aircraft being “middle-aged” required a considerable increase in maintenance costs, which had not been budgeted for. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) on Wednesday voiced concern over the cost of tensions with China. “Each time the communist aircraft harass Taiwan, our air force takes to the skies, and it is extremely costly. This isn’t only a burden for Taiwan, but quite a big one for China, too,” he said. One Taiwan-based diplomat, citing conversations with security officials, said that China appeared to be waging a campaign of attrition
A PRIORITY: Changes to the Constitution would, for example, make it easier for legislators to make revisions to the national flag with no amendment, the group said Along with the nation using “Taiwan” in international organizations, a group of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers on Thursday said that they would prioritize the “normalization of Taiwan as a nation” in work done by the Constitutional Amendment Committee during this legislative session. They said they would propose to amend clauses in the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China so that, for example, Article 10 would read: “The State shall promote the use of ‘Taiwan’ when engaging in foreign affairs, for joining international organizations, for participating in international meetings, and to take up responsibility for international humanitarian assistance.” They added that, to clarify, they would change the supplementary text to read: “This is for the protection of Taiwan’s national sovereignty and security, and conforming to the current reality of the people’s national identity and of current international relations.” Last week, Legislative Speaker You Si-kun (游錫堃) said that cross-party talks decided to allocate the committee’s 39 seats based on each party’s proportion of legislative seats, with 22 seats for the DPP, 14 for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), two for the Taiwan People’s Party and one for the New Power Party. The DPP had decided to reserve two of its seats for independent Legislator Freddy Lim (林昶佐) and Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟). Currently, Article 4 of the Constitution states: “The territory of the Republic of China according to its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly.” DPP representatives on the committee would amend it to read: “The territory of the Republic of China shall be according to the regions under governance of the Constitution” to reflect the Taiwanese government’s de facto control within current national boundaries. In the past legislative session, DPP Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) questioned wording in the Constitution, saying: “Relations between
An advertisement displayed in the corridor of the underground Taipei City Mall has caused contention online with social media users saying that it depicts Taiwanese bears as servants of Chinese pandas. The advertisement — which imitates the style of an ancient Chinese painting, but replaces people with bears — shows a scene in imperial China, with Formosan black bears laboring, while pandas relax and enjoy beverages. “The development of the tourism industry is important, but this type of targeted advertising is extremely disrespectful — and it makes people uncomfortable,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Chen E-jun (陳怡君) said. The advertisement, under the purview of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), intended to promote tourism, but it “denigrated the Formosan black bear,” which is Taiwan’s “national animal,” Chen added. Given the Chinese military’s increased activity near Taiwan, the public is particularly sensitive about such depictions, she said. Originally painted in 2014 by artist Chuang Hsin-tang (莊信棠), and titled Bears Along the River (熊熊上河圖), the painting is styled after Along the River During the Qingming Festival (清明上河圖), a work by Song Dynasty painter Zhang Zeduan (張擇端). Chuang himself once said that the painting depicts the “current situation in Taiwan.” The painting also shows foods that are typical in Taiwan, such as chicken cutlets, bubble tea, braised duck heads, glutinous rice cakes, Alishan tea and pig feet. Asked for comment, the TRA said that the painting was a non-commercial advertisement placed for tourism purposes, and had been in place for two years. Chuang in 2014 told the TRA that the painting showed common culture in Taiwan at the time, but given public concern, it has looked into replacing the advertisement, it said.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Friday urged the National Communications Commission (NCC) to look into allegations of China interfering in CtiTV (中天) as it reviews the network’s license renewal. Chinese-language media earlier this week reported that China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) interfered in personnel decisions at CtiTV by telling network executives not to sack Wang Yu-cheng (王又正), host of the political talk show Deep Throat News (新聞深喉嚨), which is known for its pro-China stance. The allegation came amid reports that CtiTV executives had decided to make Wang the host of a new online program at CtiTV, which is part of Want Want China Times Media Group. This would reportedly allow the network to pass the NCC review process required to get its operating license renewed, as members of the public had complained about the biased stance and misinformation on Wang’s show and CtiTV news programs. DPP spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) on Friday said the party is aware of the media report about TAO interference in personnel decisions at the network. “Taiwan is a democracy, and media freedom is our precious asset,” she said, adding that if the media reports are true, then it indicates that the network has special ties to the TAO. “It entails the issues of media’s responsibility to society, the journalism ethics and the professionalism of media workers in a democratic nation. We urge said media outlet and the show host in question to give a clear explanation to the public,” she said. “We wish to remind the regulatory agencies, such as that NCC, to fully investigate this matter when reviewing whether to renew a network’s broadcasting license, so as to allay the public’s fears,” she added. CtiTV News (中天新聞) on Thursday issued a statement denying the media reports. “We denounce this in the strongest terms, as it is a fictitious story without factual basis,”
Taiwan’s diplomatic allies on Friday continued to urge member nations participating in this year’s UN General Assembly to grant Taiwan fuller participation in international organizations, citing the humanitarian assistance it has given countries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuvaluan Prime Minister Kausea Natano and Eswatini Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini spoke on Taiwan’s behalf on the fourth day of the general debate, which began on Tuesday last week and finishes on Tuesday. The pandemic is a global problem that needs a global response, Natano said, adding that he regrets that the Republic of China (ROC), Taiwan’s formal name, continues to be kept out of the UN system. Taiwan has managed the pandemic well and performed effectively on several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Natano said, adding that Taiwan is in a much better position than most to help rebuild the international community. “Tuvalu strongly supports the ROC’s readmission into the UN, as a founding member of the UN, and its active participation in UN specialized agencies, including the WHO and ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization],” he added. Taiwan left the UN in 1971 when China was admitted, and has since been excluded from its special agencies. Dlamini told the assembly that continuing to deny Taiwanese the right to participate in the UN system is a political issue that has been allowed to fester too long. “Taiwan has shown significant commitment to the ideals of the United Nations and has aligned her priorities with those of the organization,” he said. “In these uncertain times, when resources are dwindling, Taiwan has not only expressed commitment toward collaborative global citizenship, but has manifested support to development initiatives undertaken by some of our countries and, in particular, the Kingdom of Eswatini,” Dlamini said. Their speeches brought the tally to seven of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies — Palau, Paraguay, the Marshall Islands, Haiti, Nauru, Tuvalu
DEADLY BLAZE AFTERMATH: The city government found another unregistered facility in Taipei’s Neihu District, where four people were removed, city officials said The Taipei City Government is to establish a contact point for people to report suspected illegal long-term care facilities after a fire on Tuesday killed three people, officials said yesterday. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that the city would set up a one-stop service contact point to receive reports on suspected illegal facilities, and also establish a standard operating procedure for the health, social welfare and police departments to hold joint inspections of reported cases. If inspectors do not find anyone home at a reported property three times, they can ask police to make routine spot checks or even forcibly enter the facility to inspect it, if its owner is unwilling to cooperate, as permitted under the Administrative Enforcement Act (行政執行法), Huang said. Since the fire at an illegal facility in the city’s Neihu District (內湖), the city government has checked for other unregistered long-term care facilities, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said. The warden of Ziyun Borough (紫雲), where the house is located, had twice last year contacted the city to ask if it was a legal facility, but a health department inspector, accompanied by the borough warden and police, received no response when they visited the property in September last year, and there was no follow-up on the matter. The city government on Friday received a tip of another suspected illegal long-term care facility, and the health and social welfare department conducted a joint inspection, finding that the facility was unregistered, but charging clients for services, Ko said. This property, also in Neihu, had four residents living in it, two of whom had physical disabilities, Taipei Department of Health Commissioner Huang Shier-chieg (黃世傑) said. Three of the residents were taken to a hospital for health examinations and moved to a legal care facility by the Taipei Department of Social Welfare, while the other
MIDNIGHT RESEARCH: The autonomous shuttle service would take 15 passengers, who must register ahead of time for a short trip on Xinyi Road Taipei residents starting on Wednesday next week can ride a driverless bus during a midnight trial service on Xinyi Road, officials said yesterday. Passengers must first register for one of six sections, ranging from 1 to 1.7km, on a route between Taipei 101 and Hangzhou S Road, Department of Information Technology official Wu Chien-ni (吳茜妮) said. One ride is to be offered each night, and would depart from Taipei 101 at 12:30am and head west toward the intersection of Xinyi and Hangzhou roads before turning toward the intersection of Xinyi and Guangfu roads at 2:15am, Wu said. Each ride would take about 15 minutes, and the 6m long vehicle, operated by Turing Drive Co, can hold 34 passengers, but only 15 would be permitted during the trial service, she said, adding that registration details would be disclosed tomorrow. “There will still be staff in the vehicle during the test ride to ensure safety,” she said, adding that the shuttle would not exceed 15kph. The driverless vehicle is able to slow down when it detects pedestrians within an 8m to 10m range, and brake when it detects a person within 5m of the shuttle, Wu said. The autonomous bus program, set up by the Taipei City Government and Turing Drive, started in February with street mapping and infrastructure building, followed by test rides without passengers in May, she said. Plans for implementing the bus system are uncertain, but the program was designed to test driverless bus transportation during late hours, in rural areas and as part of a last-mile service from a transportation hub to a final destination, the company said. Many cities have been developing autonomous vehicles, including services connecting to the Danhai Light Rail in New Taipei City, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, and between Changhua Coastal Industrial Park (彰化濱海工業區) and Lugang Township (鹿港) in Changhua County.
Chunghwa Post on Tuesday is to release a set of stamps featuring two Taiwanse mosques to highlight cultural diversity in the nation, it said. The two-stamp set features the Taipei Grand Mosque and the Taichung Mosque, with denominations of NT$15 and NT$28 respectively. The Taipei Grand Mosque in the city’s Daan District (大安) is a municipal heritage site, Chunghwa Post said. The external walls of the wings of the building are framed with arches, while the central building is topped with a golden dome, it said, adding that the mosque is flanked on either side with a 20m-tall minaret. The Taichung Mosque is in the city’s Nantun District (南屯), where it operates as a center for learning, gathering and prayer for Muslims in the area. The stamps are to be available at post offices nationwide, the Postal Museum and online, Chunghwa Post said. The state-run company is also continuing a trend it set last year by issuing a series of discs etched with the year’s Chinese zodiac sign, which next year is the Ox. The discs are to be made available on Oct. 5, in gold, silver and copper, the company said. Chunghwa Post spokesman Kuo Chun-yang (郭純陽) on Friday said that the post office had, before last year, commonly issued zodiac-themed stamps. “We considered that the zodiac system is unique and should be celebrated with more than themed stamps,” Kuo said. Last year, Chunghwa Post issued a limited-edition run of discs, which the company was confident would grow in value for collectors, he said. The etching on this year’s gold discs is based on the NT$13 denomination edition of the post office’s zodiac-themed stamp and is made of pure gold, weighing 10g, Kuo said, adding that it would be limited to 1,500 units and sold for NT$22,000 each. There are two versions of the silver disc, based on the NT$6 and
The High Court this week reduced the sentence of a New Taipei City woman convicted in March of manslaughter for the drowning death of her 15-year-old learning-disabled nephew, from 12 to eight years in prison. The teen’s body was found in August last year at the Sanchong District (三重) home of his 39-year-old aunt, surnamed Liu (劉), who allegedly bound his hands and legs with rope and held him underwater to discipline him for not listening to instructions, prosecutors said. She had allegedly held his head underwater and then walked away to smoke a cigarette, returning four minutes later to find that he had drowned, they said. The teen reportedly had behavioral problems due to his disabilities. Following the death of his mother, his father last year moved them in with the aunt’s family. The New Taipei District Court on March 3 found Liu guilty of manslaughter of a minor. She had told the court that although she had restrained him with rope to discipline him, she had not meant for him to drown. The court said that Liu had used cruel methods to inflict pain and fear as punishment, but as she had admitted her guilt and shown remorse, and the boy’s father had forgiven her, it decided to give her a 12-year prison term. Upon appeal to the High Court, Liu during trial denied responsibility for any direct or indirect cause of death, insisting it was physical punishment, without intent to kill, and therefore she should not be convicted of manslaughter. The High Court changed her conviction to a lesser charge of inflicting injuries in causing death in an instance of domestic violence. It was the final ruling, as the Supreme Court had rejected an appeal.
Can a small US aerospace company reach Venus before NASA returns to Earth’s superheated planetary neighbor? That is what Rocket Lab chief executive officer Peter Beck is hoping as he sets his sights on launching a low-cost probe in 2023. Over the past decade his company has become very good at putting satellites in to orbit — and his dream of taking the next step, an interplanetary mission, has recently received a shot of adrenaline with the surprising discovery of a gas linked to living organisms in Venus’ corrosive, sulfuric atmosphere. “What we’re looking for on Mars is signs of previous life,” Beck said. “Whereas Venus, it’s signs of potential life now.” With its hellish landscape, Venus has been largely neglected by the major space agencies since the 1980s in favor of the solar system’s more distant bodies. Dozens of missions have notably been sent to Mars seeking signs of ancient microbes. However, the discovery by Earth-based radio telescopes of a gas called phosphine in Venus’ atmosphere, reported on Sept. 14, sparked a new wave of enthusiasm among scientists who had for years defended the hypothesis that tiny organisms could live in the planet’s clouds. Phosphine is not definitive proof of life, but it is possible its presence is linked to living organisms, as it is on our planet. The finding led NASA to declare it was time to once more prioritize Venus. However, Beck has always been in the pro-Venus camp, and for two years has been contemplating sending an entirely privately funded probe there, he said. He calculated, with the help of a doctoral student, that a small satellite called “Photon” that Rocket Lab developed in-house could be adapted into a spacecraft for an interplanetary voyage. Such bids have historically been the domain of national space agencies, given the enormous costs involved, but Beck thinks he has
A start-up backed by billionaire venture capitalist Chris Sacca and Airbus SE says that it can turbo-charge forest regrowth in the aftermath of devastating wildfires such as those raging across the US West Coast. Australia-based Dendra Systems uses specialized drones to survey vast areas of scorched land and produce an action plan to restore plant and tree life. The drones can then be used to sow seeds of native species much faster than traditional manual planting methods, at the same time providing a constant flow of real-time data on the progress of regeneration. “We’ve got an aerial feeding system, it has been called a sky tractor, so that we can get into those hard-to-reach places,” Dendra chief executive officer and cofounder Susan Graham said. “It’s much more efficient to be flying over the ground than walking over it.” IDENTIFYING ISSUES Huge wildfires are burning across California, Oregon and Washington, while Australia’s East Coast still bears the scars of its worst season on record. Reforestation efforts can be set back by factors including weed invasion and soil erosion, and Dendra’s system uses artificial intelligence software to identify those issues quickly and tackle them before they get out of hand. “You can’t make a tree grow faster, but you can prevent all of the stumbling blocks which happen,” Graham said. SIX TIMES FASTER Seattle-based DroneSeed Co also uses drones to aid the forest regeneration process and claims its airborne delivery system is six times faster than a human planter, allowing it to sow 16 hectares a day. “With catastrophic fires we’re seeing increasingly that wildfire damage is not coming back as forest” as nature’s ability to regenerate becomes overwhelmed, DroneSeed chief executive officer Grant Canary said in a Bloomberg television interview on Aug. 25. “We can fix that, but we’ve got to build the tools,” Canary said. Dendra is also working
In the town of Brignoles in southeast France, 40 tonnes of human hair are stacked in a warehouse — discarded locks sent in from salons far and wide under an innovative recycling scheme. After a successful trial in the nearby port of Cavalaire-sur-Mer, the hair is destined to be stuffed into nylon stockings to make floating tubes that are to line harbors and mop up ocean oil pollution. “Hair is lipophilic, which means it absorbs fats and hydrocarbons,” said Thierry Gras, a hairdresser in Saint-Zacharie near Brignoles and founder of the project Coiffeurs Justes. Awaiting the green light from labor inspectors and anti-pollution officials, Gras hopes to start large-scale production of the tubes before the end of this year, and so help fight pollution. He plans to sell the forearm-length tubes, which can each absorb eight times their weight in oil, for 9 euros (US$10.47) apiece. At the Brignoles warehouse, paper bags are filled with 2kg of hair each, waste from thousands of participating hairdressers from all over France — including Gras’ own — as well as Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. The bags are then sent to another site a few streets away, where formerly unemployed people and school dropouts are paid to make the absorbent tubes. Gras plans to reinvest half of the sale price of the tubes in the employment center. Each hairdresser on average produces about 29kg of hair waste every year, most of it ending up in the trash, Gras said. Last year, scientists found that discarded human hair was likely to blame for a strange phenomenon of missing toes among Paris pigeons. The birds appear to get entangled in the discarded locks, cutting off blood flow to their extremities. While snipping away at a client’s hair, Gras said that his appetite for fighting pollution was awakened in childhood by the 1978 stranding of the Amoco
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Tuesday appealed to the international community for support in the face of Chinese military planes ever more frequently crossing the median line of the Taiwan Strait. However, responding to the appeal is difficult, as Beijing does not acknowledge the median line, so it cannot be accused of encroaching on Taiwan. From a constitutional perspective, the Republic of China (ROC) and the People’s Republic of China claim sovereignty over territory administered by the other. Even if Taipei and Beijing were to recognize each other’s independent sovereignty, China could say that it is transiting the Strait’s international airspace or waters — legitimate activities that other nations regularly do. For example, US Navy vessels have this year made several passages through or near the Strait. Crossing the median line also does not violate international law. Even though the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea grants nations jurisdiction over their territorial airspace, the UN does not recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty. Essentially, Taiwan and China are on opposite sides of a war that never formally ended, or even saw a ceasefire deal signed, and neither side has rescinded its territorial claims. The US might have mitigated the continuation of hostilities through its Taiwan Relations Act (TRA), which opposes any unilateral steps by either side to alter the “status quo” in the cross-strait relationship on the principle that all issues regarding Taiwan’s future must be resolved peacefully. In the absence of a formal agreement between Taiwan and China, the act has largely served as a deterrent to Chinese aggression, but it is unsure how far the US would go militarily to enforce it. However, China has consistently said that its “Anti-Secession” Law legitimizes its potential use of military force against Taiwan and it has not rescinded its threat, should Taiwan formally declare independence. Wu
Unlike its previous practice of disclosing the latest activities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in a press release, the Ministry of National Defense has in the past few weeks followed the model of the Japanese Ministry of Defense. When carrying out surveillance and reconnaissance of the nation’s waters and airspace, it has posted real-time military activity updates on its Chinese-language Web site, explaining with text and graphs the responses and measures taken by the nation’s armed forces. The disclosed information on PLA activities show that the military is capable of maintaining regional security and safeguarding a free and open Indo-Pacific region. More importantly, its updates expose the PLA’s various attempts to collect military intelligence, as well as its efforts to contain the military’s underwater drills. On Wednesday last week, the ministry disclosed that two of the PLA’s Shaanxi Y-8Q anti-submarine aircraft had crossed into the airspace above the waters between the South Taiwan Shoal canyon (台灣淺灘南峽谷) and the Pescadores Channel (澎湖峽谷), which stretch from the Taixinan Basin (台西南盆地, also known as the Southwest Taiwan Basin) — less than 120km west of the nation’s Anti-submarine Zone No. 6 — down to the South China Sea Basin. The area is an important passage from the South China Sea through the South Taiwan Shoal to the Taiwan Strait. In terms of its geohydrologic environment and geographic conditions, the region boasts complicated variations of seabed landscape and seabed sedimentation that make it extremely suitable for Taiwan’s military to deploy submarines to carry out operations and deter the PLA from assembling surface vessels from ports in Shantou, Guangzhou and Zhanjiang. A submarine deployment would also act as an effective countermeasure against a possible blockade by the PLA enacted from a military port near Sanya on Hainan Island. Since the beginning of this month, the Y-8Q — also known
Taiwan and Tibet enjoy a unique and amicable relationship. With the spread of Tibetan Buddhism in Taiwan and Taiwan embracing democratic values, both sides have successfully strengthened a relationship that was once at the point of brinkmanship due to the establishment of the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission based on China’s nationalist frontier policy of five races. Since the late 1990s, Taiwan and Tibet have put relations on a new path, as shown by the establishment of the Tibet Religious Foundation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, the Taiwan Tibetan Welfare Association, Students for a Free Tibet’s Taiwan chapter, Taiwan Friends of Tibet and, most recently, the Taiwan Parliamentary Group for Tibet. Taiwan also has hundreds of Tibetan Buddhist centers and hundreds of thousands of Tibetan Buddhism followers. When he was freelancing in Taipei in 2003, Indian Legislator Tsering Namgyal said that the city must have had 100 Tibetan Buddhist centers, while the rest of Taiwan must have had more than 200 centers. Every year sees an increase in the number of Tibetan Buddhism followers. There are about 250,000 and their number continues to grow. The growing interaction between the two communities and governments has brought an increasing number of Tibetans to Taiwan. The shift in the demographic of Tibetans visiting Taiwan also indicates a change in their perspectives on each other. Today, Tibetan visitors to Taiwan include monks, students, businesspeople, members of parliament and members of non-governmental organizations. On Tibetan National Uprising Day, Tibetans in Taiwan are joined by Taiwanese friends in organizing rallies, like other Tibetans do around the world. The Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan, one of the biggest Tibet advocacy groups, continuously organizes activities regarding human rights violations in Tibet and about Tibetans’ political struggle. Since the first breakthrough in relations
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to become only the third man after Don Budge and Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time. Not even Nadal, the holder of 19 majors, or Roger Federer, with a record 20 Slams, can match that staggering achievement. Federer will miss the French Open as he rehabs his injured knee, while Nadal has played just three matches since February, a rustiness evident in his quarter-final exit in Rome. However, Djokovic refused to get carried away by his chances at Roland Garros ahead of today’s start in a wet and chilly Paris. “It’s Nadal,” said the world No. 1 when pushed on who is the favorite. “You just can’t put anybody in front of him.” Djokovic is right to be cautious after experiencing numerous low points on the red clay of Paris. In the 2012 final against Nadal, having won eight games in a row, he was up a break and pushing to level the match at two sets apiece when rain brought an overnight suspension. Play resumed the following day, but Djokovic’s momentum was lost and a double fault on championship point completed his misery. Twelve months later, Djokovic was poised for a semi-final win over Nadal with just a routine putaway required to
Michael Schumacher’s son Mick said that the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equaling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Michael Schumacher at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in today’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was: ‘Records are there to be broken.’ It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick Schumacher said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very good run. He had a very consecutive and positive run,” he said. “It’s good for the sport ... the next aim would be then I guess for me, if I do make the step [up], to break that again,” the 21-year-old said. Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher took his last win with Ferrari in China in 2006. He has not appeared in public since he sustained severe head injuries in a 2013 skiing accident. Hamilton is on course for a seventh crown and set to replace the German as the most successful F1 driver of all time. The Briton already has more pole positions, podiums and points finishes. Hamilton said he prized the helmet he exchanged with Michael Schumacher in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and felt “pure admiration” for a man he first met as a youngster at the German’s kart track in Kerpen. Asked whether he might shed a tear as Michael Schumacher did when he matched the late Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna’s 41 wins in 2000, Hamilton said he remembered that, but was not focused on the numbers. “I cannot tell you how I am going to feel, or what it is going to mean, or if it’s going to mean anything,”
Formula One world championship leader Lewis Hamilton showed his pace yesterday with the fastest lap in the final practice for the Russian Grand Prix. The 35-year-old Briton led a Mercedes one-two on top of the timesheets, with Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas 0.776 seconds slower after setting the pace in both of Friday’s sessions. Six-time world champion Hamilton, who set his best time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds with 14 minutes to go in the session, has won four times in Russia before. Dominant Mercedes have won every race in Russia since the first in Sochi in 2014. Hamilton leads Bottas by 55 points in the championship after nine races. McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was third fastest, 0.817 slower than Hamilton, with Renault’s Esteban Ocon fourth. Ocon’s Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo struggled in the session with a dislodged wing mirror, trying to adjust it at speed with his left hand. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, third in the championship, was sixth-fastest. Sebastian Vettel was seventh for Ferrari with teammate Charles Leclerc 12th.
Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor next year, an aide said in a statement yesterday. “For the sake of all the Filipino COVID-19 victims, Senator Manny Pacquiao will be fighting UFC superstar Conor McGregor next year,” Pacquiao’s special assistant Jayke Joson said, adding that negotiations are ongoing. The fight could be staged in the Middle East after the pandemic abates, the aide said, adding that Pacquiao would donate a portion of his prize earnings to Filipino COVID-19 victims. Pacquiao’s promoter Sean Gibbons on Friday told reporters in Los Angeles that the eight-division world champion was mulling a possible comeback fight with McGregor, although the two camps were a “long way” from an agreement. Earlier on Friday, McGregor wrote on Twitter that he was “boxing Manny Pacquiao next in the Middle East.” “It will be a true honour to have faced two of the greatest boxers of the modern era,” McGregor wrote. Pacquiao has not fought since claiming the WBA welterweight crown with a stunning victory over Keith Thurman in Las Vegas in July last year. A bout against McGregor, who faced welterweight king Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2017, would guarantee Pacquiao another lucrative payday as he nears the end of an illustrious boxing career. “Our lawyers are finalizing all the confidential details, but both fighters are getting ready for this one epic last boxing fight,” Joson said. Gibbons said that McGregor had shown in his Floyd bout that the Irishman was capable of challenging “the best boxers in the world.” Pacquiao has successfully combined a political career in the Philippines, where he is an elected senator, while continuing to box at the highest level. “His main focus right now is to help here and there, providing relief, shelter, money and food, among other necessities,” Joson said.
SECURITY LAPSES: After six weeks of hearings into why people were allowed to leave hotel quarantines, it is still not known who decided to use security guards instead of police Victoria Minister of Health Jenny Mikakos yesterday resigned in the fallout from an inquiry into why security guards were used instead of police or the military at quarantine hotels. Lapses in security at the hotels were given as the major reason for a second wave of COVID-19 cases. Yesterday, Victoria state reported just one more COVID-19 death as Melbourne’s case average continued to fall. Melbourne residents, who have been in lockdown for more than one month, are waiting for the easing of restrictions on Monday. It is expected to include a staged return to school for some students and outdoor gatherings of five people from two households. Mikakos issued a statement confirming her resignation, just a day after Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews gave evidence to the inquiry and pointed partial blame at Mikakos for her role in the bungled quarantine program. “I am disappointed that my integrity has sought to be undermined,” she wrote in a one-page statement. “I have never shirked my responsibility.” She said that she also plans to resign from the Victoria Parliament. Mikakos appears to be taking the blame when no one else would. After six weeks of hearings into the hotel inquiry, it is still not known who made the decision to use security guards instead of police or soldiers, which were used in other Australian states. Andrews; Minister for the Coordination of Jobs, Precincts and Regions Martin Pakula; and Minister for Police Lisa Neville all denied being involved in the decision. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton; his predecessor, Graham Ashton; Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton; and multiple senior public servants also said that it was not their decision. In other regional news, India reported 85,362 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours with infections slowing down this month. The Indian Ministry of Health yesterday raised the nation’s confirmed total to more than 5.9
EMBATTLED PM: Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has been struggling to maintain support amid infighting in his coalition that has just a slim two-seat majority Polls yesterday opened in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state in a vote seen as a referendum for embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s seven-month-old unelected government. The leader of the opposition-ruled state dissolved the assembly on July 30 to seek early elections and thwart attempts by Muhyiddin’s ruling alliance to take over Sabah through lawmakers’ defections. The stakes are high for Muhyiddin after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday said that he has secured majority support in the Malaysian parliament. “This is the first state-wide election since the creation of Muhyiddin’s government in March. In a way, it is an indirect referendum on whether the people are happy with the formation of the backdoor [unelected] government,” University of Tasmania Asian studies professor James Chin said. Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo hold about one-quarter of the parliamentary seats and are seen as crucial for political leverage. The two states — which are rich in oil and timber, but among the poorest in Malaysia — have a greater level of autonomy in administration, immigration and judiciary. The attempted takeover of Sabah was reminiscent of how Muhyiddin took power in March after defecting from the reformist government to form a new Malay-centric administration. Muhyiddin’s alliance has since taken control of many states after lawmakers defected. The opposition now controls only Sabah and two of the country’s richest states, Selangor and Penang. However, Muhyiddin has been struggling to maintain support amid infighting in his coalition that has just a slim two-seat majority. His leadership is in further doubt after Anwar claimed to have won majority support, including from lawmakers in Muhyiddin’s camp. Anwar has not revealed details, as he is waiting to meet with Malaysia’s king, who is receiving treatment in a hospital, because the king has the power to appoint a new prime minister or dissolve the parliament for early general elections. Muhyiddin has said that
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) agreed in talks on Friday to work closely together by holding high-level meetings, including summits, but did not discuss the possibility of a visit by Xi to Japan. “I told [Xi] that the stability of Japan-China relations is crucial, not only for the two countries, but also for the region and for international society,” Suga told reporters after their telephone conversation. His talks with Xi late on Friday were his first since taking office just over a week ago, replacing former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who resigned due to poor health. A planned visit by Xi to Japan in April was indefinitely postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan had triggered protests even within Japan’s governing party because of China’s tightening of controls over Hong Kong and its assertive actions in regional seas. “We did not discuss [Xi’s] possible visit to Japan,” Suga said. The leaders agreed to hold summits and other high-level meetings to cooperate in bilateral, regional and international issues, he said. Relations between the two Asian rivals have improved recently as China faces heightened tensions with the US. However, Japan sees China’s military development and increasingly assertive stance in the East and South China seas as a major security threat. The Japanese-controlled Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) — known as the Senkaku Islands, or Tonoshiro Senkaku, in Japan and the Diaoyu Archipelago (釣魚群島) in China — are claimed by Taiwan, Japan and China, but Chinese Coast Guard vessels routinely enter the islands’ waters. Xinhua news agency reported that Xi noted the improvement in relations, saying that China stands ready to work with the Suga government to deepen cooperation in mutually beneficial areas such as trade and to handle sensitive issues, including historical ones. Japan’s military invasion of China in the 1930s and 1940s
Sept. 28 to Oct . 4 A large number of 3000-year-old slate coffins were unearthed on a hill near Nanhe Village (南和村) in Pingtung County on Sept. 30, 1985. Unfortunately, the United Daily News (聯合報) noted that they had been seriously damaged by construction, and no artifacts or human remains were found. Although the newspaper called the find a “significant discovery,” little information can be gleaned about this specific site because it’s just one of countless locations where stone sarcophagi have been unearthed across southern and eastern Taiwan, and as north as Yilan County. These stone receptacles for the dead were first found in 1930 at a site in Kenting (墾丁) by a Japanese team led by anthropologist Utsurikawa Nenozo, who unearthed 31 coffins after four excavations. They contained abundant artifacts such as jade and pottery shards, and this venture is considered Taiwan’s first academic archeological excavation. According to contemporary research by Kenting National Park Headquarters, human activity in the area can be traced back to over 6,500 years, encompassing over 70 archaeological sites. The best-known mass stone coffin site is the Beinan site (卑南遺址) in Taitung County, which was revealed in 1980 during a railroad rerouting project. It is Taiwan’s largest known prehistoric settlement with a sophisticated culture that included indoor burials, teeth extraction and a social hierarchy, and boasting about 2,000 coffins with many more either destroyed or still buried. It’s the largest prehistoric stone graveyard ever found around the Pacific Rim. Throughout the years, coffins continued to be found at various construction projects, the latest coming in 2011 when three, 4,000-year-old sarcophagi were found in Taitung. FIRST FINDS After receiving his PhD in anthropology from Harvard University, Utsurikawa became the head of the newly established Institute of Ethnology at Taihoku Imperial University (today’s National Taiwan University), where he conducted
As if the climbs and views and snacks and companions of cycling in Taiwan aren’t sufficient, the GPS-generation of route-planners are now using apps such as Strava and Endomondo to create works of art as they ride. One such is nicknamed the Dove Road of Sijhih (汐鴿路), a 25km ride that follows the riverside bike path from the Nangang-Neihu Bridge (南湖橋) to New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止), climbs around 400m up the Sijhih-Shiding Road (汐碇路), before dropping back down past Academia Sinica to generate a very dove-like pattern. Originally called Kippanas by indigenous Ketagalan people and transliterated into Hoklo (more commonly known as Taiwanese) as phangasi (峰仔峙), Sijhih’s modern Chinese name means “tide stops” and indicates it is located at the tidal limit of the Keelung River and is therefore essentially at sea level. Once a sleepy suburb on the edge of the Taipei Plain, it developed rapidly since the 1980s, and is now home to many of Taiwan’s major electronics headquarters, including Acer and Garmin. To the north, though not on today’s menu, is a choice of three popular routes up Wujhih Mountain (五指山, “Five Finger Mountain”). At the top is the military cemetery designed as the final resting place for former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) and his son, former president Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國). To date, however, its top-flight resident is the mostly-forgotten Yen Chia-kan (嚴家淦, president from 1975 to 1978) though starting Oct. 7, he will be joined by recently deceased Lee Teng-hui (李登輝, president from 1988 to 2000). Similarly, to the south, three routes climb to Luku (鹿窟, literally “Deer Cave,” but more likely the transliteration of an Aboriginal name). Two rise quite precipitously, but today’s dove-shaped route takes the westernmost, which fortunately is also the easiest. Eight kilometers and around 400m of ascent bring you to a plateau,
Until this summer, when the idea of hiking the length of the island first occurred to me, I didn’t even know that Cijin (旗津) had been a peninsula until 1967. That’s when diggers and dredgers severed Cijin from Taiwan’s “mainland,” because the authorities wished to create a southern entrance to Kaohsiung’s fast expanding port. The island is just under 9km long, but a bit of research quickly convinced me that a south-to-north trek wasn’t a good idea. The southern third of Cijin is dominated by container-lifting cranes, warehouses and other facilities off-limits to the public. Dunhe Street (敦和街) forms the boundary between the inhabited section of Cijin and the freight-handling zone. Stepping off the bus, I walked through densely-packed neighborhoods, hoping to get a good look at the shipyards on either side of Jhongjhou Fishing Harbor (中洲漁港) and Jhongjhou Ferry Station (中洲輪渡站) on Cijin’s northern waterfront. The security guard at one yard told me I shouldn’t take photos. At another, three vessels were being worked on, but all of them were obscured by scaffolding. Near the ferry dock, a few businesses sell mahogany-colored slabs of sun-dried salted mullet roe (烏魚子). This pricey delicacy, known as karasumi in Japan, is similar to the bottarga produced in several Mediterranean countries. The backstreets and alleyways in this part of Cijin are incredibly warrenous, and I couldn’t locate the Chen (陳) ancestral hall marked on my map, nor the one for the Ye (葉) clan. I eventually stumbled across the Jhuang (莊) ancestral temple. It has three stories, making it one of the town’s taller non-shipyard structures. The extended Ye and Jhuang families figure prominently in the saddest episode in Cijin’s recent history. MEMORIAL PARK Continuing along Cijin 3rd Road (旗津三路), I reached the Memorial Park for Women Laborers (勞動女性紀念公園). Visually, it’s unremarkable — the central feature is a pedestal
They may have had a reputation for trade, braids and fearsome raids, but the Vikings were far from a single group of flaxen-haired, sea-faring Scandinavians. A genetic study of Viking-age human remains has not only confirmed that Vikings from different parts of Scandinavia set sail for different parts of the world, but has revealed that dark hair was more common among Vikings than Danes today. What’s more, while some were born Vikings, others adopted the culture — or perhaps had it thrust upon them. “Vikings were not restricted to blond Scandinavians,” said Eske Willerslev, a co-author of the research from the University of Cambridge and the University of Copenhagen. Writing in the journal Nature, Willerslev and colleagues report how they sequenced the genomes of 442 humans who lived across Europe between about 2,400BC and 1,600AD, with the majority from the Viking age — a period that stretched from around 750AD to 1050AD. The study also drew on existing data from more than 1,000 ancient individuals from non-Viking times, and 3,855 people living today. Among their results the team found that from the iron age, southern European genes entered Denmark and then spread north, while — to a lesser extent — genes from Asia entered Sweden. “Vikings are, genetically, not purely Scandinavian,” said Willerslev. However, the team found Viking age Scandinavians were not a uniform population, but clustered into three main groups — a finding that suggests Vikings from different parts of Scandinavia did not mix very much. The team found these groups roughly map on to present-day Scandinavian countries, although Vikings from south-west Sweden were genetically similar to their peers in Denmark. Genetic diversity was greatest in coastal regions. Further analysis confirmed the long-standing view that most Vikings in England came from Denmark, as reflected in place names and historical records,
Thousands of Colombians protested on Monday against police brutality and government policies, 11 days after the death of a man at the hands of police sparked demonstrations. Trade unionists and students led the rallies and marches, chanting slogans against police brutality, that culminated in clashes with police in the center of Bogota, the main protest hub. Demonstrators threw stones at police officers, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Police said that 5,600 people participated in 142 protests, but by the end of the day, attendance seemed slightly higher. Bogota experienced several days of unrest after a 43-year-old engineer named Javier Ordonez died on Sept. 9 after being assaulted by two police officers. After an 11-day break, students wearing masks took to the streets once more. On Monday, a court ordered that the two officers, who have been charged with torture and aggravated homicide, be preventively detained. During the protests that followed Ordonez’s death, security forces opened fire, killing 12 people. Investigations against several members of the force are ongoing.Thousands were also injured, including many officers, and dozens of police stations were destroyed. Monday’s protests took place against the backdrop of a recent wave of massacres related to the conflict between drug traffickers and authorities, as well as the economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic. (AFP) 週一，在一名男子死於警察之手而引發示威遊行後的第十一天，哥倫比亞數千民眾對警方的野蠻行為及政府施政進行抗議。 工會成員與學生引領集會遊行，高喊口號反對警察施暴，最後在抗議的主要地點波哥大市中心與警方發生衝突。 示威者向警察投擲石塊，警方以催淚瓦斯及閃光彈回擊。警方表示，一百四十二場抗議活動有五千六百人參加，但到當天結束時，參加人數似稍有增加。 四十三歲的工程師哈維爾‧歐多涅斯遭兩名警察攻擊後，在九月九日死亡，這在波哥大引發了數日的動盪。 隔了十一天，學生們戴著口罩，再次走上街頭。 法院於週一判令，預防性拘留該二名被控施酷刑與加重謀殺罪之警察。 在歐多涅斯之死所引發的抗議活動中，維安部隊開火，造成十二人死亡。目前正對部隊數名成員進行調查。抗議活動中有數千人受傷，其中包括許多警察，也有十多個警局被毀。 週一抗議活動發生的背景，是毒販與政府當局衝突所引發的最近一波殺戮，以及冠狀病毒疫情所造成的經濟危機。 （台北時報林俐凱譯）
Let’s dine out tonight (5/5) 今晚我們去餐廳吃飯吧（五） A: I can’t believe we ordered the hottest curry on the menu by mistake. I’m such a dunderhead: I should have checked with the waiter first. B: Never mind, the mango lassi the waiter gave us on the house really did the trick: my mouth has cooled down now. A: Why don’t you finish off the remainder of the lamb rogan josh — it’s the mildest of all the curries we ordered. I’ll polish off the beef vindaloo. Waste not, want not. B: Are you sure that’s wise? I might have to take you home in an ambulance. A: 真不敢相信我們竟然不小心點到菜單上最辣的一道咖哩。我真是個笨蛋：我應該先跟服務生確認的。 B: 沒關係，服務生送我們餐廳招待的芒果優格真的發揮魔力了：我的嘴巴現在冷卻下來囉。 A: 你要不要把剩下的喀什米爾羊肉咖哩吃完──這道是我們點的咖哩菜肴裡最溫和的。我會快速掃完辛辣香料牛肉咖哩。不浪費才能不虞匱乏。 B: 你確定這樣是明智之舉嗎？我搞不好要叫救護車載你回家哦。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
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