The percentage of Taiwanese men who are overweight is rising due to lifestyle changes, a researcher said on Thursday. The share of overweight Taiwanese has steadily increased since 2016, reaching 47.9 percent of adults in 2019, Health Promotion Administration data showed. The data showed that 66.6 percent of Taiwanese men aged 35 to 44 are overweight or obese, making it the demographic with the largest share of overweight or obese people. The share of overweight or obese women in the same age group is 30 percentage points lower, the data showed. For women, the age group with the highest share of overweight or obese people is that of 65 or older, with 58.8 percent, it showed. The agency classifies people with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30 as overweight, and those with a BMI of above 30 as obese. To calculate a person’s BMI, their weight in kilograms is divided by the square of their height in meters. Starting this year, the agency’s annual health statistics report compiles overweight and obesity data in four-year periods. For the previous period, from 2013 to 2016, the agency found that 45.4 percent of Taiwanese were overweight or obese. Lu Chia-wen (盧佳文), a doctor in National Taiwan University Hospital’s family medicine department, said that the high share of overweight or obese men aged 35 to 44 might be due to many men of that age group experiencing major changes in their life, for example when they start working in more demanding jobs or start a family. “These changes lead to added stress at work and at home, which might lead to changed eating habits and less time for physical activities,” Lu said. “Men of that age group also experience slower metabolism, which might lead to them gaining weight.” Many men are not aware of that process and only realize that
‘GREEN CITY’ ORDINANCE: The amendment, scheduled to take effect next year, follows trial runs of cup return systems at major convenience stores in the city
The Taoyuan City Council on Tuesday amended an ordinance to require shops over a certain size to provide reusable cups. The regulation is scheduled to take effect in July next year. The amendment to Taoyuan’s “low-carbon green city development” ordinance marks the first time a local government has directly regulated the use of disposable containers. As the amendment includes a penalty provision, the council must send it to the Executive Yuan for approval, which is likely to be granted in September. The Taoyuan Department of Environmental Protection must also hold discussions with convenience store and restaurant operators to determine implementation guidelines before the rule can take effect. About 1.8 billion disposable cups are thrown away every year in Taiwan, more than 450 million of which come from convenience stores, department Director Lu Li-te (呂理德) said. This significant amount has a serious negative effect on the environment and depletes valuable resources, Lu said. Taoyuan in April began trialing a cup return system with 7-Eleven and FamilyMart, which lend consumers reusable cups that can be returned at collection points throughout the city, he said, adding that results have been promising. The ordinance would apply to Taiwan’s four major convenience store chains, fast food restaurants and drink shops over a certain size, Lu said. It also proposes incentives to encourage the use of reusable containers, he said, adding that the ordinance aims to gradually reduce the proportion of single-use containers with the goal of eventually achieving plastic-free sustainable consumption. Another new provision requires waste collectors to tell the department from whom they are about to collect waste and compels them to affix trackers to their vehicles.
Alleged Heavenly Way Alliance senior member Wang Hsin (王鑫), who is suspected of being involved in several killings, was on Thursday detained during raids on the gang and released on NT$2 million (US$71,515) bail yesterday. Wang, 67, and five alleged associates would be charged with breaching the Organized Crime Prevention Act (組織犯罪防制條例) and related offenses, Criminal Investigation Bureau officials said. Bureau files showed that Wang was in the 1970s allegedly involved in the US-based Wah Ching gang and later allegedly cofounded the Heavenly Way Alliance’s US chapter. At the time, Wang allegedly dealt firearms and other weapons used in violent crimes, the officials said. He and other key figures of the US chapter returned to Taiwan in the 1990s or 2000s, where they allegedly continued their criminal activities, the officials said. He is suspected of having paid contract killers for the assassinations of senior members of rival gangs, they said, citing other alleged gang members who described Wang as a “godfather” figure. Despite the suspicion, law enforcement agencies for many years had no solid evidence of his involvement, they said. On Friday, police raided a mansion in a mountainous area of New Taipei City’s Sindian District (新店), where they detained Wang and his girlfriend, surnamed Lin (林), the officials said, adding that other alleged associates were detained in related raids in Taipei and New Taipei City, including a person surnamed Lee (李), who is allegedly Wang’s driver. Six people were taken to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for questioning and released on bail yesterday, the officials said, adding that the six are banned from leaving the country. The charges would be related to the 2013 shooting of businessman Lee Shi-jen (李世仁) in central Taipei, last year’s shooting of Internet fitness celebrity Holger Chen (陳之漢) and two killings of alleged gang members, the officials said. Wang is also suspected to
The government on Thursday banned the importation of pork products from the Dominican Republic, citing reports of an outbreak of African swine fever in the Caribbean country. People arriving from the Dominican Republic would be fined NT$200,000 if they are found to have pork or pork-based items on them, the Council of Agriculture’s African swine fever disaster response center said, adding that nonresidents who contravene the ban and are unable to pay the fine would be refused entry. The US Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of African swine fever based on samples from pigs in the Dominican Republic, the center said. It is the first outbreak of the disease in the Caribbean region in the past few years, it said, adding that cases have more recently been reported in Asia, Europe and Africa. Taiwan, which has a significant hog farming industry, has been on high alert over African swine fever and has banned the importation of pork from areas in Africa where outbreaks occur frequently. However, the virus has been found in imported products such as mooncakes, which often contain pork from unknown sources, the center said, adding that mooncakes containing the virus have been seized from incoming travelers. Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Sept. 21 this year. African swine fever, albeit not known to be harmful to humans, has a high fatality rate for pigs. There is no cure or vaccine for the disease.
New Taipei City is on Friday next week to promulgate a citywide ban on e-cigarette use in venues where smoking is prohibited, city officials said on Thursday, adding that the ban would take effect two days after promulgation. The ordinance, which would also ban the production of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, has been approved by the Executive Yuan, the New Taipei City Department of Health said. Businesses that breach the ordinance would be fined up to NT$100,000 and have their license revoked, it said. Businesses that sell the prohibited items or their components to minors would face additional fines of up to NT$50,000, it added. Nicotine inhaled through e-cigarettes is addictive and harmful to people’s health, New Taipei City Department of Health Director Chen Ran-chou (陳潤秋) said. From 2018 to last year, the share of Taiwanese adults who used e-cigarettes increased almost threefold, from 0.6 percent to 1.7 percent, she said. Authorities recorded 208 cases of minors using e-cigarettes from January last year to last month, she added. Fines for e-cigarette use in the Tobacco Hazards Prevention Act (菸害防制法), from NT$1,000 to NT$3,000, are insufficient and several people who appealed their fines in court have had them repealed, she said. The ordinance would close loopholes in the law, she said, adding that it would also prohibit advertising for and the importation of the items. People who are found to use e-cigarettes in areas where smoking is banned would be fined up to NT$10,000, she said. Smokers who want to quit should seek help from specialists or call the 0800-636-363 hotline, she said.
JAPANESE THANKS: Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said the former president was Taiwan’s father of democracy and should be thanked for his achievements
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday led an entourage of top-ranking government officials to pay their respects to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who passed away one year ago at the age of 97. “We look back at Taiwan’s winding path to democracy tread by forerunners and treasure the free air that we enjoy,” Tsai wrote on Facebook after leading the group to Lee’s grave at the Wuzhi Mountain Military Cemetery in New Taipei City’s Sijhih District (汐止). “Every era brings new challenges as we continue deepening Taiwan’s democracy,” she wrote. “What lies ahead of us is deepening Taiwan’s democracy, bringing [the country] to the world and defending democratic values with friends in the international community.” “We will travel on the path of Taiwan’s democracy with determination,” she wrote. Vice President William Lai (賴清德) wrote on Facebook that on the trip to the cemetery, he had reminisced about his meetings with Lee in Tainan. Lee never hesitated to share his thoughts and spoke many times about the importance of humility, equanimity and the ability to endure in life and politics, Lai wrote. Lee would be moved and gladdened by the performance of Taiwanese athletes at the Tokyo Olympics and the acknowledgment of the national team by television anchors in Japan, he wrote. “Lee’s spirit will be forever with us after the departure of his body and we thank him for creating a diverse, democratic and vital Taiwan,” he wrote. “Lee bound his life to the nation’s destiny. He brought immense wisdom and courage to bear at a crucial moment in Taiwanese history that contributed to the nation’s smooth transition to democracy.” “We hope to usher an era of pride and happiness for Taiwanese on the foundation Lee laid down, for the country to obtain more dignity and self-respect,” he added. Separately, the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, Japan’s de facto embassy in
VACCINE DISPARITY? An official said that the government’s vaccination system is deceptive, as 3.86m people have booked Moderna jabs, but only 700,000 are in stock
Most Taiwanese would support a universal cash relief program amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday, urging the government to listen to the people. The KMT has been calling on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to issue cash to every Taiwanese amid nationwide restrictions after an outbreak began in May. It said that its survey results support the proposal. The survey showed that 66.1 percent of respondents hope that the government would distribute cash, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Alicia Wang (王育敏) told a news conference in Taipei. The results showed that 53.4 percent of DPP supporters and 68.1 percent of non-partisan respondents back the proposal, Wang said. The DPP administration has been sluggish in implementing relief measures, showing that it is indifferent and apathetic to people’s suffering amid the pandemic, she said. People desperately need cash relief, but the government has been slow to meet their expectation, showing that it has been distanced from the public, KMT Legislator Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said. The government last year spent NT$48.7 billion (US$1.74 billion) on its Triple Stimulus Vouchers program, including NT$2.3 billion on administration, money that could have been given to the people, Hung said. The unemployment rate has reached 4.8 percent, a 10-year high, and the outbreak has affected the work situation of nearly 1 million people, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Wang Hong-wei (王鴻薇) said, asking whether the government’s relief measures have answered their needs. Wang Hong-wei said that the government’s online COVID-19 vaccination booking system is deceptive. While 3.86 million people have booked Moderna vaccine shots, the government has fewer than 700,000 Moderna doses in stock, she said. About 2.85 million people have received an initial Moderna jab, but there is doubt about whether there will be enough for them all to receive a second dose of the same brand, she
Swimmers and pool owners yesterday appealed to the government for guidelines to reopen aquatic centers, as restrictions amid COVID-19 alerts are threatening the swimming pool industry and training regimens. At a news conference hosted by Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) lawmakers, pool owners said that on Tuesday they would lodge a formal petition with the Ministry of Health and Welfare. Pools have been closed since a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert was imposed on May 19, they said, adding that despite the government on Tuesday lowering the alert to level 2 and lifting some restrictions, pools were not given any leeway. Support for the petition shows that many pool owners are on the brink of financial ruin, said Lin Kuei-ku (林歸谷), who initiated the petition. We would love to give the government more time to look into possible measures, but we cannot wait more than one week, Lin said. Swimmer Hsu Han-peng (許涵棚) and a coach, Huang Chiao-le (黃巧樂), said that they hoped to return to training. Swimmers must train in the water — weight training is not enough, they said. TPP Legislator Tsai Pi-ru (蔡壁如) said that “water-resistant” masks should be developed for swimmers, as well as other measures to shield them after they exit the pool. TPP Legislator Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠) said that if pools are not allowed to reopen in the summer — when they make most of their money — there might be mass closures of such facilities nationwide. The government’s haste to show support for sports by congratulating athletes at at the Tokyo Olympics is undercut by their lack of attention to domestic athletes, TPP Legislator Anne Kao (高虹安) said. Tainan’s team are considering not attending the National Games, as their swimmers could not train for the event, Kao said. Suitable relaxation of regulations, as adopted at the Tokyo Olympics, should be referenced so that athletes’ training
Ordinances that require performers to pass tests before they can receive permits are unconstitutional, the Council of Grand Justices said yesterday in Constitutional Interpretation No. 806. A street performer surnamed Chen (陳) in 2014 was issued five demerit points and banned from reapplying for a performers’ permit for a year after the Taipei City Government ruled that the number of people watching a performance of his had exceeded the maximum for the area he had applied to use, a breach of the now-defunct Regulations for Taipei Street Performers’ Performances. Chen appealed the ruling and asked the council for an interpretation. People are at liberty to choose their own profession and express themselves artistically, which has been infringed upon by city and county government demands that street performers pass a test before they obtain performance permits, Constitutional Interpretation No. 806 says. Such regulations do not truly benefit the public, it says. While local governments should not be allowed to review the content of a street performer’s act, they can review the time, location, methods and other aspects apart from the performance, the council said. For example, a local government cannot mandate that a street performer refrain from baring their body during a performance, but they can limit them to times and places where they would not affect children and other passers-by, it said. A local government must tender a draft ordinance that is approved by its council if it wishes to regulate performance times and locations, the Council of Grand Justices said. There are still several counties and cities that have regulations requiring permits and it is expected that they will review and amend them as soon as possible, it said.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in San Francisco on Thursday apologized after office Director-General Scott Lai (賴銘琪) at an event last month said that he spoke “on behalf of the Chinese government.” A video taken at the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America’s annual conference in San Francisco on June 19 showed the speech Lai gave in Chinese, in which he said: “I thank you on behalf of the Chinese government.” Minutes after that remark, Lai told the business group: “I congratulate the chairman on behalf of the Chinese government and the San Francisco office.” In a statement, the office expressed its sincere apology for the diplomat’s “slips of the tongue.” Lai deeply regrets any distress he might have caused among Taiwan’s overseas community and has separately apologized to compatriots who attended the event, it said. Lai thanks the overseas compatriots for pointing out his mistakes and will do his utmost to improve himself to avoid making them in the future, the office quoted him as saying. Lai has served in the diplomatic corps for 32 years with distinction, has displayed a passionate love for Taiwan and shown an unquestionable will to defend its sovereignty, the statement said. The office will continue to serve overseas Taiwanese and represent the nation’s interests in the US, it said. The office welcomes public criticism when it or its staff make a mistake, it added.
A lawmaker and family members of table tennis ace Lin Yun-ju (林昀儒) yesterday said claims that Lin’s stellar performance at the Tokyo Olympics was mainly due to time he spent training in China were unfounded. Lin, 19, caught the attention of sports fans on Thursday in his seven-game match against Chinese world No. 1 Fan Zhendong (樊振東) in the men’s singles. His skillful performance drew praise, despite a 3-4 loss, although commenters online lamented his time training in China and choice of a Chinese coach. Lin finished fourth after a loss in the bronze-medal match. Lin and the other athletes in Tokyo represent Taiwan, and people should consider them all to be the “pride of Taiwan,” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said. “Their sessions at the National Sports Training Center in Kaohsiung are vital to their success,” Lo said. “The athletes play and train in Taiwan and at other venues around the world, including in China, to improve themselves,” he said. “Training overseas is common in the sports world, so Lin’s time in China does not mean it was the main factor in cultivating his talent.” Lin’s father posted a message online thanking sports organizations and corporate sponsors who helped his son to become an elite player and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. “Lin’s path to the Tokyo Olympics was not accomplished by one family, or any single benefactor,” his father wrote. “He received support and assistance from many people and organizations, and we are grateful to all of them.” Lin started playing table tennis in elementary school and it was his uncle who initially provided financial support, paying for a coach, his father said, adding that there were subsequent benefactors and sponsors as his son grew. Commenters said that Lin’s father did not mention China or Chinese sports organizations in the post. Lin’s father later told reporters that
The Executive Yuan on Thursday approved a NT$40.7 billion (US$1.46 billion) plan to improve the social safety net over the next five years, with an emphasis on mental health services and hiring in the public sector. The amount is nearly six times the NT$700 million that the government allocated for the three years from 2018, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told a Cabinet meeting in Taipei. The plan would allow the hiring of an additional 7,797 public-sector workers and subsidize the salaries of 2,024 workers at non-governmental organizations, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said. It would also bolster mental health support services by providing funds to construct 71 community mental health centers and 49 facilities to assist people with psychiatric disorders, the ministry said. Within the justice system, it would fund six new facilities and one hospital dedicated to people involuntarily committed due to mental disorders, it said. More broadly, the funds would go toward 156 new social welfare centers, which often provide help for elderly people and at-risk families, as well as 10 child protection centers, the ministry said. In the past few years, Taiwan has been rocked by high-profile murder cases in which the offenders were found to have severe mental illness, prompting calls for greater emphasis on prevention measures and stricter penalties.
The neighborhood close to Station A8 on the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport MRT line in Taoyuan’s Guishan District is flooded yesterday following torrential rain.
KAOHSIUNG LINK: The Maritime and Port Bureau said that a new business model would be implemented to hold ferry operators responsible for profitable service
A new ferry, to be called the “Taipeng”, is to replace the Taihwa and serve the route between Kaohsiung and Penghu County from August 2023, as the Maritime and Port Bureau and state-owned Taiwan Navigation Co yesterday signed a contract to build and operate the new ship. The contract was signed by bureau Director-General Yeh Hsieh-lung (葉協隆) and Taiwan Navigation chairman Liu Wen-ching (劉文慶) at a ceremony attended by Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材). The new ship, to be built by Japanese shipyard Naikai Zosen, would have more space for vehicles and cargo, Yeh said, adding that it would help boost the growth of Penghu’s tourism industry. The new ship would have berths for four tour buses and 84 vehicles, while the Taihwa can carry a maximum of 55 vehicles, Yeh said. The new ferry would also have space for 10 refrigerated containers, which would be used to bring produce from Taiwan proper to the outlying island county, Yeh added. The new ferry would allow for more convenient travel, despite reduced passenger capacity, Yeh said. It would offer sleeping accommodation to 300 travelers, up from 200 on the old ship, while the overall passenger capacity would be 600, down from 1,150, he added. The new ship would also have restaurants, cafes and other leisure facilities, he said, adding that the bureau would implement a new business model to operate the ferry sustainably. “In the past, the government tasked shipyards with building a ferry and later recruited contractors to operate them. The new ship was commissioned by Taiwan Navigation based on the bureau’s requirements and planned operations,” Yeh said. The contract covers 20 years and includes exclusive operating rights, but also holds the contractor responsible for profitably running the service, he said. It includes 300 guaranteed trips between Kaohsiung and Penghu annually, but also
OUTSIDE NHI COVERAGE: Vaccination plan would depend on demand from foreigners without NHI numbers, as some of them might have received jabs abroad, the CECC said
Foreigner residents who are not enrolled in the National Health Insurance (NHI) system are able to register for COVID-19 vaccination, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The first step of the registration process on the government’s 1922.gov.tw Web site, on which applicants state their intention to get vaccinated, formerly required them to register with their NHI number, as well as their national ID number or resident card number. Foreigners with residence in Taiwan who have no NHI coverage can now register, the center said. To register, they can enter their passport number, together with their resident card number or visitor visa number, it said. Residents from China, Hong Kong or Macau can provide the number on their entry/exit permit, together with their resident card number, the center said. Taiwanese without household registration can also use their entry/exit permit number and their ID number, it said. The center is looking to find out how many foreign residents without NHI coverage wish to receive the vaccine in Taiwan, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC, told the center’s daily news conference in Taipei. Some of them might already have been vaccinated abroad, Chen said, adding that it is therefore difficult to estimate the number of those interested in getting inoculated in Taiwan. Including them helps the CECC plan the further rollout of doses, he said. Asked about when they would be able to schedule their vaccination, Chen said that the CECC hopes to first collect information on that group and make plans accordingly. Asked whether the government plans to introduce so-called “vaccine passports,” Chen said that more discussion would be needed on whether different disease prevention rules should apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Additional reporting by CNA
In celebration of its 125th anniversary, Chunghwa Post is issuing a limited series of Hello Kitty-themed products to go on sale today. Only 888 sets are to be sold: 288 of a new regular issued set and 600 of the 125th anniversary edition set, for NT$1,196 and NT$1,496 respectively, the postal operator said. Included in the previously issued set are two plushies — one of a letter carrier with a hat and bag, and another writing a letter — as well as four toy vehicles, it said. The set includes four toy vehicles, two mail trucks and two mail vans, one of each with white license plates and the others with special-edition gold plates, it added. The 125th anniversary set comes with all of these items, plus a stamp folder and a bag, it said, adding that sales are limited to two sets per person. The plushies and the toy vehicle with the white license plates can also be purchased individually for NT$199 and NT$399 respectively, Chunghwa Post said. The two limited-edition sets are to go on sale at 8:30am today exclusively on the operator’s online Postal Stamps Mall, while the plushies and the toy vehicle can be purchased at any post office, the Postal Museum in Taipei or online, it said. This is the third time the postal operator has offered products featuring the popular Sanrio character to enthusiastic response. In December last year, lines began forming outside the Taipei Beimen Post Office before 6am to buy the last of the sets on offer. However, the post office is not the only public service to get a cartoon makeover today. Adding to the firm’s previous experiments with dolls and beer bottles, EasyCard is now offering another creative way to swipe when entering train stations or making purchases. The chip in this new “card” is hidden in a cartoon figure atop
New EMU900 and EMU3000 trains are scheduled to arrive today at ports in Taichung and Hualien, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said yesterday. The delivery is part of the train operator’s project to upgrade its fleet with 520 EMU900 cars and 600 EMU3000 cars at a total cost of nearly NT$70 billion (US$2.5 billion). The TRA took delivery of the first cars last year and expects the last batch to arrive in 2024. Today’s delivery includes the sixth batch of EMU900s, with 10 cars to arrive at the Port of Taichung, and the first batch of EMU3000s, with 12 cars to arrive at the Port of Hualien, the agency said. Chen Shih-ben (陳詩本), head of the TRA’s rolling stock department, said that the manufacturer of the EMU900 had planned to deliver 140 cars this year, but only 100 would be delivered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Since the middle of this month, four sets of EMU900s are transporting people between Keelung and Miaoli County on the nation’s longest commuter train route. We are testing the fifth set, which should be ready to start service by the middle of next month,” he said, adding that the EMU900s would mostly be used to serve commuter routes in northern Taiwan. Seven batches of the EMU3000 are scheduled to arrive before the end of this year, including the one arriving today, Chen said, adding that the agency would start using three of the sets for intercity express services along the east coast on Jan. 1 next year. “We are aiming to have five EMU3000s ready to be deployed by the Lunar New Year holiday next year,” he said. The addition of new trains would allow the agency to retire more than 800 older train cars by 2024, Chen said. “In the future, the agency will only have
A Tibetan monk built a sand mandala in a prayer for peace and an end to the COVID-19 pandemic as the Museum of World Religions in New Taipei City reopened on Wednesday. A sand mandala is a form of Tibetan religious art using ground minerals to form geometric patterns and holy symbols, the museum said in a news release. Prayers to buddhas and bodhisattvas are given, and scriptures are chanted before creating a sand mandala, a reverent meditation on life and impermanence, it said. Mandala are incredibly difficult to construct, said Cho Ching-mei (卓靜美), the museum’s director of exhibitions and collections. They are easily damaged, embodying transience, Cho said. The art form is an appropriate reflection of the state of the world and Taiwan as it eases COVID-19 restrictions, she said. The mandala was created by Taiwan-based Tibetan monk I Hsi Sang-chu (義喜桑珠) in the sixth-floor hall of the museum in Yonghe District (永和), Cho said. Following the mandala’s ritual dismantling, the sand is to be distributed in glass vials to the first 10 museum visitors each day from yesterday to Aug. 18, she said. Two vials would be given to visitors selected at random on Aug. 14 and 15 during a special exhibit on tokens of love from cultures worldwide, she said.
MR DEMOCRACY: While welcoming the university’s move, Lee Teng-hui’s daughter also called for government support to make the former president’s dream a reality
National Taiwan University (NTU) has agreed to house a memorial library to former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) at its College of Law building on Xuzhou Road in Taipei, the Lee Teng-hui Foundation announced yesterday. On the eve of the first anniversary of the former president’s death, the foundation, the Taiwan Association of University Professors and other groups convened a news conference calling for the creation of a Lee Teng-hui memorial library. Annie Lee (李安妮), Lee Teng-hui’s daughter and chairwoman of the foundation, said her father was unable to fulfill his dream of building a library before he died. After members of the funeral committee stressed the importance of creating a library in his honor, NTU agreed to the proposal, she said. Annie Lee said that the first time she met NTU president Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), he gave his full support to the idea. “At least we now have a location,” she said, adding that they would need government support. After COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are eased, the foundation would exchange more ideas with the university, she added. A national-level library involves a broad set of considerations, NTU Office of General Affairs president Louis Ge (葛宇甯) said. From the facility to its collection and future operations, everything requires meticulous planning, but, most importantly, it requires long-term, stable government support, he said, adding that the university is willing to participate fully with the project. As NTU is a public institution, the process of loaning out property is subject to numerous regulations, but if an agency supports the idea and commissions the university to assist in establishing a library, this complication could be avoided, Ge said. Without government support, it would be difficult to rely on the university or foundation alone for the enormous undertaking, including renovations, operating expenses, maintenance, curation and acquisitions, he added. Annie Lee said her father’s unsaid last words were a
The Executive Yuan should prepare digital stimulus vouchers and earmark funding for a stimulus program that should start once the COVID-19 situation has eased, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators told an online news conference yesterday. DPP Legislator Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱) said that issuing vouchers would be an effective means for the government to stimulate a post-COVID-19 economic recovery. “Digital vouchers” of small denominations should be issued rather than paper ones, as they would make it easier for smaller businesses to handle payments, he said. The program should target the needs of the food and beverage sector, retailers, firms in the travel industry, and the arts and humanities sector, he said. The program should seek to help small businesses affected by the outbreak and incentivize smaller purchases instead of big-ticket spending, he said. Contactless payments using digital vouchers would be more convenient than paper vouchers and help lower the risk of COVID-19 infection, DPP Legislator Lin Chu-yin (林楚茵) said. Last year’s Triple Stimulus Voucher program cost the government NT$1 billion (US$35.8 million), including packaging, delivery and printing, she said, adding that digital vouchers lower the share of spending that does not benefit the public. The Act Governing Electronic Payment Institutions (電子支付機構管理條例) sets safe standards for the easy flow of digital payments, and the government should recognize the role e-payment platforms have taken on for many Taiwanese, she said. Digital vouchers would also push the development of a “green” financial system and the local fintech industry, she said. Stimulus programs should start only when the COVID-19 situation has eased, DPP Legislator Hsu Chih-chieh (許智傑) said, adding that the scope and aims of a program should be debated by the Executive Yuan. Hsu said he believed that more people would opt for digital vouchers this time, compared with just 13 percent when the Triple Stimulus Vouchers were issued. The National Development Council said that