Tue, Sep 28, 2021
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday eased some COVID-19 restrictions for public transportation, performances, exhibitions and sports event venues, effective immediately, as it also announced its conditions for reopening some banned recreational venues, including KTVs and amusement arcades, from Tuesday next week. As the local COVID-19 situation is under control, some ministries have modified the disease prevention guidelines for the businesses they supervise, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. “Starting from this week, eating and drinking will be allowed in the stations of Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp and the Taiwan Railways Administration,” Chen said, adding that eating and drinking are still prohibited on trains. The maximum capacity for tour buses has been expanded to the total seating capacity of the vehicle, he said. For arts performances, exhibitions and sports event venues, Chen said that contact registration, body temperature measurements, the mask requirement, and the eating and drinking ban would remain in place, but crowd capacity constraints are being eased. For indoor venues, the maximum capacity is no longer limited to fewer than 80 people, but they must comply with a general crowd density of one person per 2.25m2, he said, adding that for outdoor venues, the maximum capacity is no longer limited to fewer than 300 people, but they must only fill 50 percent of the seats. Tickets can now be sold on site and are no longer limited to a reservation system, but people should still maintain social distancing measures before, during and after a performance or game, Chen said. “We are still observing any effects from the Mid-Autumn Festival long weekend on the local COVID-19 situation, and if the situation does not worsen, we plan to conditionally approve the reopening of some recreational venues from Tuesday next week,” he said. The venues that would be allowed to
Local chipmakers and electronics manufacturers yesterday said that they expect no major impact from China’s latest power rationing as they plan to reallocate manufacturing activity to a later date or another site to cope with temporary production freezes. The new electricity supply restrictions have mostly affected industrial areas in Jiangsu and Guangdong provinces, which are major production sites for Taiwanese manufacturers. Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chains, the mostly watched segment amid an unresolved supply crunch worldwide, remain mostly unscathed. ASE Technology Holding Co (日月光投控), the world’s biggest chip tester and packager, yesterday said the electricity restrictions should have a “limited impact” on its clients and factories in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province. “The company has arranged shipments to clients in advance,” ASE said in a statement. United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) said its Chinese subsidiary Hejian Technology (Suzhou) Co (和艦科技) is operating normally, with its factory running at full utilization, company spokesman Liu Chi-tung (劉啟東) told the Taipei Times by telephone. “We are not among those companies that have received such notifications. Hejian’s operations are not affected,” Liu said. Hejian makes 8-inch wafers with an installed capacity of 50,000 wafers per month. However, numerous local companies have been forced to curb or halt production. Walton Advanced Engineering Inc (華東), a memorychip assembly and testing service provider, said in a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange that it had halted production at the local government’s request. To satisfy demand, Walton plans to boost production by arranging holiday shifts, it said. Handset keypad maker Ichia Technologies Inc (毅嘉科技), PC and GPS maker MiTAC Holdings Corp (神達控股) and Foxsemicon Integrated Technology Inc (京鼎), a semiconductor manufacturing and inspection equipment maker, said they planned to either allocate production to other sites or use existing inventory to cope with temporary factory closures. HannStar Board Corp (瀚宇博德), which makes printed circuit boards, said two of its Chinese subsidiaries in Kunshan would cease
China’s energy crisis is beginning to hit people where they live, adding the risk of social instability to an economic slowdown and global supply chain disruptions. Residents in several northern provinces have already been dealing with blackouts, while traffic lights being turned off are causing chaos on the roads in at least one major city. Guangdong, a southern industrial hub with an economy bigger than Australia, is asking people to use natural light in homes and limit air-conditioner use after implementing big power cuts at factories. The impact to people’s homes shows how quickly the power crisis is escalating, as China typically first asks large industrial users to curtail consumption when supply gets tight. China is facing power issues on two fronts. Some provinces have ordered industrial cuts to meet emissions and energy intensity goals, while others are facing an actual lack of electricity as high coal and natural gas costs cause generators to slow output amid high demand. The shortages would force companies to raise the prices of goods for Chinese consumers and quicken inflation, the People’s Daily said in an editorial published on Sunday. This would bring unnecessary disorder to the economy and society, it said. The provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang all experienced blackouts over the weekend, Caixin reported, with cuts to traffic lights wreaking havoc.
RIGHT OF WAY: British First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin told ‘Nikkei Asia’ that the Taiwan Strait is ‘international waters’ and it can be used by any nation British warship the HMS Richmond passed through the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning, according to a social media post from the frigate. “After a busy period working with partners and allies in the East China Sea, we are now en route through the Taiwan Strait to visit Vietnam and the Vietnam People’s Navy,” the message on Twitter said. The type 23 Royal Navy frigate is one of the ships deployed with the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier and her task group on a global mission to visit more than 40 nations. The aircraft carrier and task group earlier this month made a port call in Yokohama, Japan. The British embassy in Tokyo said at the time that the deployment was “a powerful demonstration of the UK’s close and enduring partnership with Japan and the UK’s commitment to maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.” The passage through the Taiwan Strait came a week after British First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin told Nikkei Asia that the Taiwan Strait is “international waters” and it can be used by any nation, not just by China. Minister of National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said in Taipei that he was not aware of the exact mission of the British warship that was passing through the Taiwan Strait, but that the armed forces have a clear grasp of all foreign vessels operating near Taiwan and would not intervene. In related news, Chiu yesterday told a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee at the legislature that Taiwan needs long-range, accurate weapons to properly deter a China that is rapidly developing systems it could use to attack the nation. The government this month proposed extra defense spending of almost US$9 billion over the next five years, including on new missiles, as it warned of an urgent need to upgrade the nation’s weapons in
Germany yesterday braced for a period of political unpredictability after the Social Democratic Party (SPD) narrowly won a general election, but faced a rival claim to power from outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative camp. For a nation synonymous with stability after 16 years of Merkel’s leadership, the coming weeks and months promise to be a rocky ride as both German Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz’s SPD and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Armin Laschet scramble for coalition partners. The power struggle risks putting Germany out of play on the international scene for some time, even though November’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, will be demanding action from the world’s biggest powers. Europe’s largest economy will also hold the presidency of the G7 next year and needs a government capable of setting the international agenda. French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Clement Beaune in Paris said that France “has an interest to have a strong German government in place,” urging “swift” action from German political parties. However, European markets heaved a sigh of relief, climbing after the tight results, predicting that a government led by either the SPD or the CDU would bring continuity in economic policy. Preliminary official results showed that the center-left SPD narrowly won the vote with 25.7 percent, while Merkel’s center-right CDU-Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) bloc sunk to a historic low of 24.1 percent. Alliance 90/The Greens placed third at 14.8 percent, its best result yet, but still short of expectations. Scholz, 63, said the conservatives belonged in the opposition. “The CDU and CSU have not only significantly lost votes, they have essentially received the message from citizens that they should no longer be in government, but should go into the opposition,” he said. Shrugging off the uncertainties ahead in the quest for a governing majority, Scholz said Germany
‘FRESH SOLUTIONS’: The UN would be living up to its objectives by including Taiwan, Eswatini said, while Tuvalu called for Taiwanese citizens to be allowed into UN premises Five more diplomatic allies on Saturday spoke up at the UN General Assembly in support of Taiwan’s inclusion: Eswatini, Haiti, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu. Twelve of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies that are UN members have so far spoken out on behalf of the nation at the General Assembly — tying last year’s number. In a pre-recorded address, Saint Lucian Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre said that his country was calling for Taiwan to be accepted as a “legitimate participant” in the global decisionmaking process. Eswatini Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini said that excluding Taiwan from the UN and discriminating against its citizens in a system meant to serve all of the world’s citizens is a “gross violation of the unshakeable principles of the UN Charter.” The African kingdom urged the UN to allow Taiwan to participate in the WHO, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. “With this inclusion of Taiwan, it is our hope that the UN will be living up to its objectives and equally serving the interests of all its member states,” he said. He praised Taiwan for the medical assistance it has given Eswatini during the COVID-19 pandemic. Calling Taiwan an “indispensable partner,” Dlamini said that the nation would play a meaningful role in the global body if given the opportunity. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in his address that allowing Taiwan to participate in international multilateral organizations — collaborating on issues such as healthcare, climate change, civil aviation and crime — would benefit the world. “Taiwan is a relatively small, but legitimate, political expression of the magnificent Chinese civilization. It has been an impressive economic miracle; it is a thriving democracy and it has a right to ask for meaningful inclusion in the relevant global institutions,” he said. “New times
RESPONDING TO XI: The DPP’s ‘anti-China’ policy has changed the ‘status quo’ across the Taiwan Strait and caused alarm on both sides, the KMT chairman-elect said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman-elect Eric Chu (朱立倫) yesterday said he hopes the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will seek common ground and respect differences on the basis of the “1992 consensus” and opposition to Taiwanese independence. Chu made the remarks in response to a congratulatory letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) written in his capacity as general secretary of the CCP Central Committee on the occasion of Chu’s election as KMT chairman on Saturday. In the recent past, the KMT and the CCP had good interactions, bolstered cooperation and promoted the peaceful development of cross-strait relations based on the common political basis of adhering to the “1992 consensus” and opposing Taiwanese independence, Xi said in his letter, according to a copy released by the KMT. “At present, the situation in the Taiwan Strait is complex and grim,” Xi wrote, calling for unity among “all Zhonghua (中華) sons and daughters” and expressing the hope that the two parties will work together to “seek peace for the Taiwan Strait, seek reunification for the country and seek rejuvenation for the nation.” For more than 30 years, there had been good progress in exchanges and cooperation at all levels of cross-strait relations due to the continued efforts of the KMT and the CCP, Chu said in his response, a copy provided by the KMT showed. However, in the past few years, under the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) administration, a “desinicization” and “anti-China” policy has been adopted, changing the “status quo” across the Strait, and resulting in a precarious situation and trepidation among people on both sides, he wrote. Chu said he hopes that the KMT and the CCP will, on the basis of the “1992 consensus” and opposition to Taiwanese independence, seek common ground and respect differences, increase mutual trust, and bolster exchanges and cooperation so
IMPROVING COOPERATION: No matter the outcome of the German election, lawmakers would be interested in forming a delegation to visit Taiwan, Jorg Polster said Germany welcomes Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to establish a new fab in Saxony, German Institute Taipei Director-General Jorg Polster said yesterday at a news briefing on the country’s election. It is the first time the German Institute Taipei has held a briefing on Germany’s parliamentary election, which is “very important,” said Polster, who spoke in German with a Chinese interpreter. Over the past few months, Germany’s electorate seemed to have undergone some changes regarding their choices, with the margins between the Social Democratic Party and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its smaller sister party the Christian Social Union in Bavaria being close, he said, adding that the Green Party was expected to garner more votes. More observation is needed before knowing how the new German government would approach its relations with Taiwan and China, he said. Germany last year launched an Indo-Pacific strategy, including a plan to send a patrol vessel to the South China Sea, Polster said. How the new government would approach the Indo-Pacific strategy would also need more observation, he added. German lawmakers’ understanding of Taiwan is mainly focused on the security of the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan’s success in curbing the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. Lawmakers would certainly be interested in forming a delegation to visit Taiwan, but how to make that happen during the pandemic would need to be deliberated after the new government is formed, he said, adding that he hopes to arrange a visit together with the Taipei Representative Office in the Federal Republic of Germany. In July, TSMC said it was evaluating the feasibility of constructing a semiconductor fabrication plant in Germany. Berlin welcomes the firm’s establishment plan, Polster said, adding that the east German state of Saxony would be a suitable location. Polster, who succeeded former institute director-general Thomas Prinz in July, said he has
Increasing the nation’s defense budget would send the right signal and inspire confidence in nations friendly toward Taiwan, Institute for National Defense and Security Research senior analyst Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said yesterday. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) has grown more active in the past few years in response to an increase in Chinese military activity, Su said at a panel held in Taipei by the Institute for National Policy Research. Japan and South Korea are concerned about the effect of China’s activities on their use of ocean lanes for trade, he said. “Other countries also have concerns, and this is why we’re seeing the US, Australia and India focusing on missile defenses, to address fears of a pre-emptive nuclear strike,” he said. Taiwan’s strategic importance extends to a global scale, as Taiwanese forces can detect Chinese nuclear submarines before they reach the Bashi Channel, he said, adding that if Chinese submarines could pass Taiwan undetected they would be a threat to the US. “Nuclear subs are of paramount strategic importance to nuclear warfare. This is why the Australia-UK-US trilateral security pact — AUKUS — resolved to station US nuclear subs in Australia,” he said. Taiwan must bolster its military and better secure its technology to have its voice heard, he said. Improving its asymmetrical warfare capabilities would be key to reinforcing Taiwan’s defense, he said, adding that the government has budgeted NT$240 billion (US$8.66 biollion) for that purpose. Taiwan has a clear advantage in the semiconductor industry, and it must ensure its technology also remains secure, he said. “Judging from Beijing’s two public statements on the Quad, it is clear that China feels the Quad exists to isolate it,” Foundation on Asia-Pacific Peace Studies chief executive officer Tung Li-wen (董立文) said. At a conference in Beijing in July, Hong Kong-based
Taiwan is later this year to take delivery of the first set of new ejection seats for its F-5 jets, which would improve pilots’ chances of survival if they have to eject, the air force said yesterday. The first shipment of Martin-Baker’s Mk 16 zero/zero ejection capability seats from the US is expected to arrive before the end of the year, air force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) told a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee. He said the full order of 70 seats is scheduled to be delivered by next year, and installation would be completed on all 45 of the air force’s F-5E and F-5F jets by the end of next year. The F-5E is a single-seat version of the F-5, while the F-5F is a twin-seat model. The new ejection seats for the F-5 fleet were ordered after military experts said that the current ones should be replaced, as they are outdated. The recommendation was made during an investigation into the cause of a midair collision between two F-5E jets on March 22, which killed first lieutenant Lo Shang-hua (羅尚樺) and captain Pan Ying-chun (潘穎諄). Forensic evidence later showed that Lo had died of a brain hemorrhage. The circumstances of Lo’s death were the same as that of another pilot, captain Chu Kuan-meng (朱冠甍), who was killed in another F-5E crash on Oct. 29 last year. Experts said that Lo and Chu were likely killed when they ejected and their heads hit the cockpit hatch because of the outdated design of the F-5E’s ejection seat. Huang said the military is also planning to purchase at least five UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with infrared night vision, to improve aviation safety. The decision was made after an air force UH-60M chopper crashed in New Taipei’s Wulai District on Jan. 2 last year,
Conscripts are again to be assigned to field military units across the nation, including those on outlying islands, after concluding their basic training, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The four-month military service period for all eligible men in Taiwan is currently divided into two stages — five weeks of basic training in boot camps and 11 weeks of specialized training at military branch training centers that are generally close to where they live. However, the announcement means that, starting this month, conscripts are to be assigned to field units after completing their basic training to better familiarize themselves with field unit operations and make them combat-ready. A lottery draw would be used to decide which unit they are to be assigned to for the rest of their service, meaning they could end up in military units on the islands of Kinmen or Matsu, which lie just off China’s southeast coast. With the change, the ministry is reverting to the original strategy used for the four-month military service period when it was launched in January 2018. In late 2018, the military began assigning conscripts to specialized units after boot camp, but the move is being reversed because having field unit experience would be more beneficial to troops than having only specialized training, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said. Field unit assignments would familiarize conscripts with how troops operate on the front lines and better prepare them for combat, and meet the military’s goal of combining the training of active and reserve forces, the ministry said in a statement.
‘APPALLING’: The former Conservative Party leader said nations need to make it clear to China that it ‘cannot act unilaterally over Taiwan’ British lawmaker and former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith has called on the free world to “categorically” support Taiwan and Lithuania in response to China’s bullying. Smith, who led the Conservative Party from 2001 to 2003, said in an interview that the campaign launched by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), which he initiated, calls on the world to support Taiwan and Lithuania, as both have faced intimidation from Beijing. “Should the free world support them? Yes, categorically,” he said. “We need to be able to make it clear to China one way or the other that China cannot act unilaterally over Taiwan, and that the overflying of their military jets and the threats, the posturing, the undiplomatic language, is appalling.” Many governments have chosen to ignore Beijing’s aggressive behavior toward Taiwan and those who support Taiwan on the world stage, he said, adding that such problems need to be dealt with. He implored the Chinese government to “take a step back from its appalling behavior,” to cooperate and obey the rules that exist in the international order, as well as to value other important things such as human rights and freedom of expression, Smith said. Established on June 4 last year, IPAC is an international cross-party coalition of more than 200 parliamentarians from the world’s democratic legislatures who are focused on creating a coordinated response to China with regards to global security, human rights and trade issues. Smith is the cochair of the alliance in the UK with Labour peer Helena Kennedy. Lithuania is facing increased pressure from Beijing after its decision to open reciprocal representative offices with Taiwan and allow Taipei’s office in Vilnius to bear the word “Taiwanese” in its name, differing from those used by other foreign missions in countries with which Taiwan does not have formal diplomatic relations. Due to his
URGED TO REGISTER: The center is asking people aged 50 to 64 who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine more than 10 weeks ago to register online The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported no new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, but confirmed nine imported cases and one death. The center also announced a modification to its policy, asking that some of those eligible for the 10th round of COVID-19 vaccinations register in the national online vaccination booking system. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the nine imported cases were seven arrivals from Myanmar and two from Indonesia who entered Taiwan between Sept. 11 and Friday last week. Eight of the imported cases tested positive upon arrival and one tested positive upon completing their quarantine, CECC data showed. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞), deputy head of the center’s medical response division, said that four of the imported cases were “breakthrough infections” — people who get infected after having received two COVID-19 vaccine doses. Two of them had received the Sinovac vaccine, one had received Sinopharm and the other had received AstraZeneca. The newly confirmed death was a woman in her 80s who had underlying health conditions, Chen said, adding that she had been diagnosed with COVID-19 on June 20 and died on Saturday. The woman had been hospitalized since June 19, when she began experiencing symptoms and sought medical treatment, Lo said. She had chronic diabetes and kidney disease, he said, adding that she later contracted a bacterial infection and had other complications before dying of multiple organ failure and septic shock. Asked when the center expects to lower the COVID-19 alert to level one or allow people to take off their masks for outdoors activities, Chen said: “There is no set schedule for lowering the alert level.” Over the weekend, 234,294 COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered, bringing the nation’s first-dose vaccination coverage to 52.35 percent, Chen said. The center was asked to confirm a Facebook
Lawmakers yesterday asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) to consider offering more travel vouchers to boost tourism after more than 9 million people signed up for its free draw. The government last week began allowing people to register for digital or print versions of its Quintuple Stimulus Vouchers. They can also sign up for a draw for an additional 7.78 million vouchers provided by various ministries. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is offering food vouchers to the first 4 million people who register for the digital version. Travel vouchers offered by the ministry — 1.2 million in total — were the most popular, with 9.36 million people registering for the free draw as of Sunday night. A travel voucher is equivalent to NT$1,000 and can be used to pay for tourism expenses. In a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) asked Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) if his ministry could offer more travel vouchers. The lot-winning rate for a travel voucher is about 13 percent, which is even lower than winning a scratch-card lottery, Lin said. “The popularity of travel vouchers shows that people want to venture out after being stuck inside for three months. Given that the pandemic has hurt the travel industry the most, the ministry should be more generous and offer more vouchers,” Lin said. Wang said that the ministry has a very limited budget, but would evaluate the situation.
A special exhibition offering a look at Taiwan’s history of disease prevention from the late 19th century to COVID-19 is to open today at the National Taiwan Museum’s Railway Department Park in Taipei. “On the Cusps of Epidemic Crises: Special Exhibition on a Century of Taiwan’s Fight Against Epidemics” provides an introduction to the nation’s experiences at preventing disease over the past century, as well as the modern transformation of the field, from the perspectives of public health, transportation and the public, the museum said. While public health and disease prevention have been major aspects of the nation’s modernization, the implementation of public health policies has often clashed with traditional culture, it said. The exhibition “offers a chance to time travel back through a century of disease prevention in Taiwan,” it said, adding that the exhibition features ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock art), illustrations, photographs and scrolls that have been in the museum collection since the Japanese colonial period, alongside cultural relics of Han Chinese. The exhibition also includes historical records on health and quarantine practices before and after World War II, interviews and displays of objects such as medical supplies, it said. The exhibition revisits major events and policies in the nation’s history of disease prevention and explores how Taiwan developed an advanced public health system, museum director Hong Shi-yo (洪世佑) told the opening ceremony yesterday. Through the context of Taiwan’s history, the museum hopes to inspire visitors to reflect on their surroundings and look differently at the COVID-19 pandemic, he said. Many public health professionals helped the museum in curating the exhibition by offering their advice, as well as loaning literature on the subject, he added. National Taiwan University executive vice president Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳), convener of the Central Epidemic Command Center’s specialist advisory panel, also attended the exhibition’s opening. Before May, thanks to the nation’s past experiences with
REGULATING ANXIETY: Chen Hong-chen, director-general of the Department of Life Sciences, said about 2.8 million people in 2019 sought anxiety treatment A team of Taiwanese, US and Hungarian researchers yesterday said that they have identified a group of cells that regulate anxiety in mice, which is expected to help reduce the side effects of anxiolytic drugs. While about 2.8 million people in Taiwan in 2019 sought treatment for anxiety disorders, the number of people affected by anxiety might be larger than documented, Chen Hong-chen (陳鴻震), director-general of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Department of Life Sciences told a news conference in Taipei. How to regulate anxiety is vital for people in the information era, as well as for brain scientists, and the ministry is seeking more funding for brain-related research to catch up with more advanced countries, he said. While the hippocampus, amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex are known to affect anxiety and melancholy, the team found that mossy cells — a group of neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus — correlate with anxiogenic factors in the environment, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU) professor Lien Cheng-chang (連正章) said. The team used calcium imaging tools to observe neurological activity in the mice when they were exploring open or closed spaces in labyrinth models. When the mice explored an anxiogenic environment that was bright and open, their mossy cell activity significantly increased, while their mossy cell activity dropped when they entered a closed space, showing that they felt safer, Lien said. The team next used optogenetic and chemogenetic tools to regulate mossy cell activity in the mice and found that they performed less anxiety-induced avoidance behavior when their mossy cells were active, he said. The paper, whose lead author was NYCU doctoral student Wang Kai-yi (王凱誼), was published in the journal Cell Reports on Sept. 14, with the paper featured on the issue’s cover. Artist Tsai Yu-lin (蔡鈺麟), the father of NYCU assistant professor Tsai Yu-huan (蔡雨寰), painted
‘ECONOMIC BOON’: Despite short-term pain to the agriculture and auto parts sectors, entry to the Pacific trade deal would bring them long-term benefits, a minister said Taiwan’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) aims to create a boon to the economy, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said at the legislature’s economics committee yesterday. Although entering the regional trade pact could negatively affect sensitive sectors, such as agriculture and automotive components, the benefits would outweigh the costs, Wang told the committee. “According to our 2019 report, it is agriculture, domestic car components and food manufacturers that are going to be more heavily affected by the CPTPP accession, while automotive lighting and bumpers for exports would not be,” Wang said. Wang also said that the Council of Agriculture has calculated that after weighing the benefits and drawbacks, “Taiwanese agriculture would make a gain of NT$50 billion [US$1.8 billion] in exports within five years of joining the CPTPP.” Japan has welcomed Taiwan’s bid, but a delicate issue remains in the upcoming trade negotiations: Taiwan’s ban on food imports from five Japanese prefectures — Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba — in the wake of a meltdown at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in 2011. However, Wang said that the issue would be dealt with under the proviso of maintaining Taiwanese people’s health, as strong scientific evidence aligns with international rules. At the same committee meeting, Minister of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) assured lawmakers that “no nuclear-contaminated foods” would be imported. “We have tested 17,000 items of Japanese food imports since the 2011 earthquake, and every single one passed our standards for radiation,” Chen said. “Any foodstuffs with excess radiation is returned or disposed of. If you can find it in Taiwan, it’s safe.” Separately, when asked about the effect of electricity shortages in China on Taiwanese companies, Wang said that the Chinese government makes executive decisions that are difficult to predict ahead of time.
The consumer confidence index (CCI) this month edged downward 1.04 points to 74.39, as people found it more difficult to find jobs. However, stock market investments and consumption of durable goods recovered slightly, the CCI survey released yesterday by National Central University showed. It was the second consecutive month that the index had declined, with four of the CCI’s six sub-indices moving lower and the sub-index on employment experiencing the steepest drop, the survey showed. The CCI is an indication of the level of public confidence for the next six months in employment, household finances, consumer prices, the domestic economic climate, the local stock market and durable goods purchases. The employment outlook reading fell 3.65 points to 65.8, as service industries continued to experience drawbacks from a local COVID-19 outbreak, the survey found. Values that are larger than 100 indicate optimism and while scores below the threshold suggest pessimism. Dachrahn Wu (吳大任), director of the university’s Research Center for Taiwan Economic Development, which conducted the survey, said that the COVID-19 outbreak in Taiwan has shown signs of abating. However, a nationwide level 2 alert remains in place, and the service sector has yet to perform as well as it had before the outbreak began, he said. The worst is likely over, but companies tend to be wary of raising staff numbers until business shows a concrete and lasting improvement, Wu said. Regardless, the economic situation is not what is used to be before the virus outbreak in May, which explains why people have generally found it more difficult to find jobs, he said. People also felt less confident about household income moving forward as the gauge declined 3.35 points to 87, while the inflationary gauge lost 2.45 points to 40, reflecting discontent on the part of consumers about the prices of goods, the survey showed. The public’s confidence in the economy
CHINA POWER CRUNCH: Energy-saving measures are being taken by iPhone factories, although the central government is suspected of granting some exceptions iPhone assembly operations in China are beginning to reduce their energy consumption because of a sudden power crunch in the country, which has triggered government-imposed curbs on a range of businesses. Pegatron Corp (和碩), a key partner for Apple Inc and one of the assemblers of its iPhone, said yesterday that it’s taking energy-saving measures to comply with local government policies. Regardless, the firms responsible for producing the Apple handset have avoided drastic cutbacks in production so far and appear to be getting preferential access to energy in order to keep operations going, people familiar with the situation said. Pegatron’s iPhone facility in the eastern city of Kunshan will be only modestly affected, two of the sources said, asking not to be named because the information is not public. There has been no major impact on the nearby Luxshare Precision Industry Co (立訊精密) iPhone assembly unit, and the company continues to ready key products for shipment in line with its original schedule, one of the people said. Curbs on industrial energy use have been imposed across several provinces, including economic powerhouses Jiangsu and Guangdong, as Chinese officials pursue Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) carbon-neutral push and react to escalating coal and gas prices. The continued operations of Apple suppliers suggest that Beijing might be giving exceptions to the advanced manufacturing sector from its power sanctions. Pegatron’s iPhone production facility in Shanghai and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s (鴻海精密) key Apple handset manufacturing base in Zhengzhou — known as iPhone City — have continued uninterrupted, several of the sources said. Pegatron has been adopting measures to save water and energy over the past few years, “and there is a comprehensive response program for the current situation to reduce the impact on our operations and production capacity,” the company said in a texted statement. While the iPhone supply
Amid a flood of regulatory news coming from China in the past few weeks, one of the biggest has been the impending collapse of China Evergrande Group, the nation’s second-biggest developer and the most indebted of its kind in the world with US$305 billion owed. Fears were confirmed on Friday last week, when the conglomerate missed a deadline to pay US$83.5 billion in bond interest and entered a 30-day grace period from which there is no indication it could escape without defaulting. The news sent investors worldwide into a furor, prompting comparisons to the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, which sparked a contagion leading to the Great Recession. Whether the comparison has bearing remains to be seen, as Beijing has remained silent on the matter save for an injection of cash into the banking system on Friday. However, all signs indicate that the government intends to leave Evergrande to the wolves to underscore its commitment to economic reform. Chinese regulators have been building up to this conclusion for years in their campaign to rein in overreliance on debt, especially in the real-estate industry, which has relied on indiscriminate borrowing to fuel its frenzied growth. Showing lenders that the state will no longer prop up big borrowers is crucial to extricating moral hazard from the credit market. In so doing, Beijing hopes to direct lenders to more productive investments that would spur quality development, or as Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) put it in a January speech to provincial and ministerial officials, “genuine” rather than “fictional” growth. To Xi, this means manufacturing by small and medium-sized firms in consumer-oriented industries. These moves are part of a greater ideological effort to realign the economy away from the capitalism-fueled model that enabled China’s staggering growth and toward the type of socialism envisioned by the Chinese
The Executive Yuan earlier this month approved a proposal to increase the funding to upgrade Kaohsiung International Airport from NT$50 billion to NT$74.77 billion (US$1.8 billion to US$2.7 billion). The project is to include a new international terminal, a full apron, a transit center and a link to the Kaohsiung MRT line. The number of security check lines in the terminal is to be increased from three to four, and automatic equipment is to be added to expedite the clearance of passengers through customs. Twelve themed lounges are also planned. The installation of a solar power system would generate 874,000 kilowatt-hours of power per year, making the airport environmentally friendly. Based on the initial plans showing the routing of international passengers through the Kaohsiung airport and the utilization of its space, the international terminal could be described as “small, but beautiful,” and “fast and comfortable.” In addition to higher ceilings and a more spacious interior, new hardware and software would provide passengers with a completely different travel experience, compared with the crowded and claustrophobic feeling of the existing terminal. Southern residents have been waiting a long time for the new terminal, and the airline industry has been looking forward to it to, for not only would it provide better services, but it would also attract foreign tourists to the region. The only problem is that it will take too long to build. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has said that the airport is to be built in two phases, with the first phase expected to be designed next year, and building contracts awarded in 2025. After the second phase is completed, the airport would have an annual capacity of 16.5 million passengers, but this is not to happen until 2035. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, few international flights are being routed through the Kaohsiung airport, and
Taiwan will always face new challenges within and without as its democracy develops. Yet while new issues appear and must be resolved, one of the most pressing problems from its past remains, namely: What to do with the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, or as it is sarcastically called “The Tomb of the Dead Dictator.” A start on this problem had been made during the presidency of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). In 2007, the hall was renamed National Taiwan Democracy Hall and the surrounding area named Liberty Square. Controversy naturally followed, especially from Taiwan’s resident diaspora, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). KMT members had fled to Taiwan after they lost the civil war in China in 1949, and they still had not wanted to face up to that fact. For convenience, they therefore ignore how they imposed more than 40 years of martial law, White Terror and one-party rule on Taiwanese, and focus on the present issue of the hall. In 2009, with a democratic change of the presidency, the KMT stalwart Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) changed the name back to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Liberty Square ironically did keep its name. In 2017, after Ma’s presidency, a commission was again formed to reconsider a name change more in line with the purpose of the hall, but after four years, no clear results have emerged. It is therefore time for more concrete suggestions and action. The first step should be to once again rename the hall National Taiwan Democracy Hall. The statue of former president Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) must also be permanently removed. Once that is done, all future actions can flow. What to do with the statue is no problem. It can easily be placed in the Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park, where it can reside with all the other statues and relics from that
FINDING TEAM SPIRIT: Feuding Tour opponents DeChambeau and Koepka ended the day in an unexpected hug, while teammates sang ‘Why Can’t We Be Friends’ The US, led by a new generation of golfers, on Sunday reclaimed the Ryder Cup, thrashing holders Europe 19-9 to herald what could be an era of domination by the Americans at the biennial competition. With half the 12-man US team comprised of rookies, there were concerns as to whether the newcomers would be able to survive in the gladiatorial arena that is the Ryder Cup against a European squad packed with cut-throat veterans. Youthful energy trumped experience, as the European old guard failed to deliver against the American young guns. “This is a new era for USA golf,” US captain Steve Stricker said. “They are young. They come with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, a lot of game. They are just so good.” While Europe had four players in their 40s, the US had none, with all but three members in their 20s. The Americans were not just young, but talented, with the debutantes making a major contribution on the scoreboard going 14-4-3. Fittingly it was the youngest member of the squad, 24-year-old Collin Morikawa who secured the winning point. Having romped to a commanding 11-5 advantage after the foursome and four-ball sessions, US entered Sunday’s singles needing just three-and-a-half points to reach the target required to hoist the little gold trophy. Morikawa ended Europe’s faint hopes of a comeback when he birdied the 17th to go 1-up in his match with Viktor Hovland, guaranteeing the US a deciding half-point. The two-time major winner would make it official a few minutes later with a par on 18 to end the match in a tie, sending a thundering chant of “USA, USA” rumbling across Whistling Straits. “To clinch this and bring it back on home soil feels so good,” Morikawa said. “The guys pulled through; we didn’t let up.” The 19-9 rout was the largest margin of victory
Lewis Hamilton on Sunday described becoming the first driver to win 100 Formula One races as “magical,” while his Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff, hailed the landmark as “mind-blowing.” The 36-year-old Briton reached his century by winning the rain-lashed Russian Grand Prix at Sochi. Seven-time world champion Hamilton also moved back to the top of the standings by two points from Max Verstappen, who finished second for Red Bull. “It’s a magical moment,” Hamilton said. “I could only ever have dreamed of still being here and having this opportunity to win these races and get to drive against such phenomenal talent this late in my career,” he added. Hamilton won his first F1 race in Canada in 2007 as a 22-year-old and behind the wheel of a McLaren. He was also the sport’s first black race winner. His 99th victory came on home ground at Silverstone in July this year, but it was achieved in controversial circumstances. On the opening lap, Hamilton, determined not to let Verstappen escape, charged through on the inside. The Dutchman shut the door, hit Hamilton and careened out of the race. Hamilton served a 10-second penalty, then hunted down Charles Leclerc to grab an eighth home victory. “There were moments where you didn’t even know if it was going to happen,” Hamilton said of the long wait to convert 99 into 100. Wolff said he was happy to be there for the milestone. “Those final few laps were so intense, but we managed to make the right calls and lead the field across the finish line,” he said. “What we are witnessing is just mind-blowing,” he added. “It’ll be talked about for the next few days, but it’ll only be years down the line when we realize that we’ve all been part of this journey. A journey no other driver in F1 history has done so far. That’s
This year’s Champions League features an improbable upstart: FC Sheriff, a club run by an eponymous company built on murky money in a pro-Russian separatist enclave of Europe’s poorest country, Moldova. The would-be state, which harkens back to its Soviet past with a towering Lenin statue in the center of its administrative hub, Tiraspol, broke away from Moldova in a short civil war in the early 1990s. Thirty years later, the little-known Transnistria region with its own border police, army, currency and hammer-and-sickle-emblazoned flag has not been recognized internationally, but is propped up by free Russian gasoline and about 1,500 troops. The territory is effectively run by the Sheriff holding company that sports a five-pointed sheriff’s star as its logo. Owned by a former Soviet police officer, Viktor Gushan, the conglomerate controls businesses ranging from a cognac distillery and caviar farm, to supermarket and gasoline station chains — and the soccer club is making waves in Europe. “Viktor Gushan is the person with the most influence here, both in politics and economics,” said Anatoly Dirun, director of the Tiraspol School of Political Studies. Dirun, a former member of the ruling Renewal Party financed by Sheriff, said that besides business, Gushan’s people also hold all of the main leadership posts in the breakaway region, from parliament to the prime minister’s seat to the presidency. Gushan founded Sheriff in 1993 with fellow police officer Ilya Kazmaly. The two 59-year-olds spent the following years buying up former Soviet factories — and fighting off competitors. Helping lead Transnistria’s so-called “privatization” — the selling off of Soviet-era state-owned businesses to private owners — in the 1990s and early 2000s was Valery Litskay, the separatist state’s former foreign minister and chief adviser to its first self-styled president. “Sheriff won the competition,” Litskay said, adding that they offered “the best prices and guarantees” that the
Sumo’s greatest-ever champion Hakuho has decided to retire over persistent knee trouble, Japanese media reported yesterday, leaving a gaping hole at the top of the ancient sport. The Mongolian-born 36-year-old has won a record 45 tournaments — 13 more than anyone else in history — but has been sidelined by injury for most of the year. He made his only appearance this year at July’s Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament, going unbeaten to win the title after missing all or part of the previous six competitions. He and 17 other wrestlers from his stable were forced to miss the next tournament, which ended on Sunday, after a COVID-19 outbreak. Local media said that Hakuho has decided to retire because of a right knee injury, bringing the curtain down on his illustrious career after 1,187 wins. The Japan Sumo Association said it had no comment. Born Munkhbat Davaajargal and the son of an Olympic silver-medal-winning freestyle wrestler, Hakuho came to Japan at age 15 to enter the sumo world. He debuted in 2001 and won his first top-division title in May 2006, before reaching the sport’s highest rank of yokozuna at age 22 in July 2007. His battles with fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu — the pantomime villain to Hakuho’s popular good guy — helped breathe new life into the ancient sport, with attendances booming. Asashoryu retired in 2010, but Hakuho went from strength to strength, overtaking the legendary Taiho’s record of 33 tournament wins in January 2015. Hakuho outlasted fellow yokozuna Harumafuji, Kakuryu and Kisenosato, but his impending retirement would leave only one wrestler — Terunofuji — at sumo’s highest rank. Hakuho acquired Japanese citizenship in September 2019, giving him the right to run his own sumo stable after retirement. He leaves the sport as sumo’s longest-serving yokozuna, having fought his 1,000th bout at the rank in July last year.
‘COMPETING DEMANDS’: The Australian prime minister said that he had already been on several trips this year, and that he instead needed to focus on domestic issues Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, under pressure to adopt a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target, might not join this year’s landmark UN climate summit in Glasgow, he said in an interview published yesterday. The world’s biggest coal exporter by value, and still reliant on fossil fuels for most of its electricity, Australia has not made a firm commitment on its own greenhouse gas reductions. Morrison has vowed to mine and export fossil fuels as long as there are buyers. Asked about attending the global climate crisis conference in November, Morrison told the West Australian newspaper: “We have not made any final decisions.” “I mean it is another trip overseas and I have been on several this year and spent a lot of time in quarantine,” he was quoted as saying. “I have to focus on things here and with COVID. Australia will be opening up around that time. There will be a lot of issues to manage and I have to manage those competing demands,” he added. The 12-day meeting in Scotland, the biggest climate conference since landmark talks in Paris in 2015, is seen as a crucial step in setting worldwide emissions targets to slow global warming. Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said Australia would be “strongly represented” at a senior level, even if Morrison did not attend the summit. Morrison’s government has suggested it would achieve net-zero carbon emissions “as soon as possible,” and preferably by 2050, but has not made any commitments to do so. The prime minister told the newspaper he was trying to bring the government and the country together on commitments, to provide certainty for the next 20 to 30 years. He has been in tough negotiations over setting a net-zero target within the conservative coalition government, an alliance of his own Liberal Party and the National Party, who have much of
An Afghan business leader who employs hundreds of women on her saffron fields has vowed to speak up for the rights of her workers, and “not remain silent” under Taliban rule. The hardliners have increasingly excluded women from public life since sweeping to power last month, pushing many female entrepreneurs to flee the country or go into hiding. Many fear a return to their brutally oppressive rule from 1996 to 2001, when women were effectively banned from going to school or work and only allowed to leave the house with a male relative. “We will raise our voice so that it reaches their ears,” said Shafiqeh Attai, who started her saffron company in the western city of Herat in 2007. “No matter what happens we won’t just sit at home, because we have worked very hard,” she added. Attai’s business, the Pashton Zarghon Saffron Women’s Company, produces, processes, packages and exports the world’s most expensive spice with an almost exclusively female workforce. More than 1,000 women pick the brightly colored crocuses across the company’s 25 hectares of land in the Pashton Zarghon district of Herat Province, which borders Iran. Another 55 hectares are independently owned and operate under a collective that Attai set up for female saffron pickers, who are represented by union leaders. Employing women allows them to be breadwinners for their families, Attai said, enabling them to send their children to school, and buy clothing and other essentials. “I worked hard to establish my business,” the 40-year-old said. “We don’t want to sit quietly and be ignored. Even if they ignore us, we will not remain silent.” The ousted, Western-backed government encouraged farmers to grow the spice — used in dishes from biryani to paella — to wean them away from Afghanistan’s huge and problematic poppy industry. Still, the country remains by far the biggest producer of opium
China is to reduce the number of abortions performed for “nonmedical purposes,” the country’s Cabinet said in guidelines issued yesterday that it said were aimed at improving women’s reproductive health. China has already enacted strict measures aimed at preventing sex-selective abortions, and health authorities also warned in 2018 that the use of abortion to end unwanted pregnancies was harmful to women’s bodies and risks causing infertility. The Chinese State Council said the new guidelines were also aimed at improving women’s overall access to pre-pregnancy health care services. From 2014 to 2018, there had been an average of 9.7 million abortions per year, rising about 51 percent from the 2009-2013 average, despite a relaxation of family planning policies in 2015, Chinese National Health Commission data showed. The data did not specify how many abortions were for medical reasons. It was not immediately clear whether the new measures were designed at addressing China’s declining birthrate, which think tanks and policy researchers have identified as one of its major social policy challenges in the coming decades. Although China remains the world’s most populous nation, the latest census showed that population growth from 2011 to last year was the slowest since the 1950s, and was expected to slow even more within a few years. After years of trying to limit population growth, Beijing is promising new policies aimed at encouraging families to have more children. It said in June that it would allow all couples to have three children instead of two. Policies designed to reduce the financial burden of raising children are also being introduced.
Despite the country’s much-lauded National Health Insurance (NHI) and a raft of social-service programs, Taiwan still lacks a comprehensive welfare system. Citizens unable to take care of themselves are often forced to seek help from their relatives. For a foreign resident whose family might be on a different continent, this can be a huge problem, says John Groot, Taipei representative of Haxtrong. Registered as a not-for-profit organization in 2014, Haxstrong initially emerged in Kaohsiung in 2010 as an ad hoc group of expatriates and their Taiwanese friends who rallied to support Gregg Haxton. An English teacher from South Africa, Haxton had been grievously injured in a motorcycle accident. “He isn’t the founder, but he is the reason the entire thing exists,” says Shaun Bettinson, Haxstrong’s Taichung-based president. Following the accident, Haxton spent two months in a coma, then a year convalescing at his parents’ home. When he returned to Kaohsiung, he was determined to keep the support line open to others, “in an effort to thank and pay back all those who’d helped him in his time of need,” according to the organization’s Web site, haxstrong.org. Haxton currently serves as the organization’s vice president. The Web site lists types of assistance Haxstrong can offer, as well as certain situations in which it won’t get involved. SUPPORT NETWORK Those suffering from anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts will find a sympathetic ear. But there are some situations that are beyond their capacity. The Web site makes it clear that “Haxstrong cannot help” those hoping to borrow or raise money to pay for damage to property or vehicles as a result of an accident, or who want someone to bail them out of jail. The organization can’t give legal advice, although they do sometimes suggest people contact the Legal Aid Foundation, says Groot, adding that he devotes about
The end of World War II left Japanese militarists with a raft of urgent problems. The Allies were about to exercise their hypocritical victor’s justice on the Japanese, which meant that many in the government and military faced jail or execution. Moreover, the Japanese establishment had lost the war badly, and for the most part run it incompetently, and had to offer a neat explanation, or at least somehow cover up its crimes, incompetence and strategic ineptitude. As historian Bruce Lee chronicled in Marching Orders, it was Minister Okamoto Suemasa, the head of the Japanese delegation in Sweden, who came up with the approach that to this day influences virtually all discussion of the war, especially on the western left, and in Japan. After noting that the American public was shocked by the horrors of the atomic bomb, Okamoto proposed playing up the bombings to deprecate US conduct of the war and divert attention from Japan’s crimes. On Aug. 29, 1945, he messaged Tokyo with this idea, noting: “Since it is difficult to justify the heavy damage inflicted and the massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, there is the opportunity — by making use of the Diet, the radio, the various other means — to play on enemy weakness by skillfully emphasizing the extreme inhumanity of the bomb.” JAPAN’S A-BOMB PROPAGANDA The Americans had been reading Japanese military and diplomatic codes, and would continue to do so until early November of 1945. US analysts summarized the burgeoning Japanese campaign for General Marshall, observing that Japanese leaders intended to play up the atomic bombings to explain Japan’s surrender, because the military did not believe it had been defeated in combat, and to counter negative publicity about Japanese atrocities, especially the treatment of Allied POWs. In Tokyo, Foreign Minister Shigemitsu Mamoru responded
At the “Human Library,” you can “loan” a person to tell you their life story, an original concept born in Denmark that is designed to challenge prejudice and which has spread around the world. Iben — a quiet 46-year-old sexual abuse victim with mental health issues who doesn’t give out her last name — is one of eight “books” curious people can loan on this autumn day in Copenhagen. For 30 minutes, you can ask anything you want, either one-on-one or in a small group. “The Human Library is a safe space where we can explore diversity, learn about ways in which we’re different from each other, and engage with people we normally would never meet... and challenge your unconscious bias,” explains Ronni Abergel, the project’s garrulous initiator. He created the living library in 2000 during the Roskilde music festival and went on to build a non-profit organization. The concept has since found its way into more than 70 countries. “A reading truly is a conversation,” says Abergel. “I’m going to take a few minutes to explain my topic, my background and to make sure that you can ask me anything about being HIV (positive) or disabled, or transgender, or a refugee or Jewish or Muslim or whatever my topic may be.” BLANK PAGES In most cases the conversations flow freely, typically held in a calm environment like a city library, a meeting room, or as today, in the garden of the Human Library’s premises. “Sometimes people ask a lot and the conversation flows. But sometimes I maybe need to tell them a little bit more, ask my readers questions in order for them to reflect or ask new questions,” says Anders Fransen, a 36-year-old blind and hearing impaired “book.” People are encouraged “to ask really difficult questions,” Abergel says, stressing that nothing is off limits, no matter how sensitive the
A: Hi, I’m looking to buy a new bike. I want to do long trips, but I’d also like to do some hill climbing. B: Well, for hill climbing I would recommend this carbon fiber road bike. The largest sprocket on the cassette has 32 teeth: that will get you up steep hills. A: I’d heard carbon-fiber frames are expensive. Have you got anything less expensive? B: Aluminum frames are less expensive, but they’re also heavier, so they’re more difficult to climb hills with, and they don’t absorb the shock from bumps in the road so well, so they’re less comfortable to ride. A: 你好，我想要買輛新的單車，是要騎長程的，也要可以爬坡。 B: 要爬坡的話，我推薦這輛碳纖維公路車。它的飛輪上最大的齒盤有三十二齒，可以爬上很陡的坡。 A: 聽說碳纖維車架很貴。你有便宜一點的嗎？ B: 鋁製車架比較便宜，可是也比較重，所以比較不好爬坡，而且吸震的功能也不是很好，所以騎起來比較不舒服。 (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times / 台北時報林俐凱譯)
On Sept. 11, a 31-year-old man, surnamed Chi, who lives in Taoyuan rode his off-road motorcycle to the area around Gaotaishan in Hsinchu County’s Jianshih Township, but soon lost contact with his companion. He was only left with his bike, along with his backpack, which had his cellphone inside. Thanks to a concerted effort, on the morning of Sept. 17 Chi was finally found on the bank of a stream near the Jinping hot springs, from where he was carried down the mountain and taken to hospital. “Mountain forest goddess” Chan Chiao-yu, who is an experienced mountaineer and often takes part in mountain search-and-rescue parties, shared the good news on Facebook and said she hoped everyone was aware that if you get lost you should not wander off. She said that not everyone knows how to read maps and understands mountain terrain, so when you realize that you have lost your way, “if you walk around all over the place you can easily get into dangerous terrain and make it harder for rescuers to find you.” Chan said that, for rescuers who have no information to go on, “there are endless possibilities as to where a lost person might be,” but the number of rescuers is limited, and if a lost person keeps moving around and getting further and further away, the search will extend to more distant areas and drag on for a long time. If an area has already been searched, no one will be sent to search there again soon, so if a lost person keeps moving around and enters an area that has already been searched, it will reduce their chances of being found. Chan stressed that if people trekking in the mountains become lost and do not know how to get out, “they would be better off leaving
Are you using that to commute? (1/5) 你要騎去上班嗎？（一） A: Nice bike! Are you using that to commute? B: Well, yes, but I bought it for exercise. A: Are there some good places for off-roading around here? B: No, I’m thinking of going on a long distance trip. See, I’ve had a rack fitted so I can put panniers on the back. A: Cool. Mind if I join you? I’ll need to buy a bike though. A: 你這腳踏車不錯嘛！你要騎去上班嗎？ B: 嗯，對，不過我是為了要運動才買的。 A: 這附近有可以騎越野車的地方嗎？ B: 沒有啦，我是想要騎長程。你看，我已經裝了自行車貨架，就可以掛馬鞍袋了。 A: 酷！我可以加入嗎？不過我得要先買輛自行車才行。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times / 台北時報林俐凱譯）
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