Sat, Feb 27, 2021
More than 99 percent of pineapples sold to China passed inspections, the government said yesterday, after China earlier in the day abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from the nation, which Taipei called an “unfriendly” move. From Monday, China is to stop importing pineapples from Taiwan, the Chinese General Administration of Customs said. The regulation is a normal measure for ensuring biosafety, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) said in a news release later yesterday. Since last year, Chinese customs officials have repeatedly seized pineapples imported from Taiwan that carried “perilous organisms,” Ma said. Were the organisms to spread in China, they would pose a serious threat to agricultural and ecological safety, he said. The import ban is scientifically rational and complies with Chinese law, he said. Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said in a statement that since last year, 99.79 percent of Taiwan’s pineapples sold to China passed testing at customs. China’s action is “unfriendly,” Chang said. The Council of Agriculture (COA) announced that it would spend NT$1 billion (US$35.33 million) to promote pineapple sales at home and abroad, while President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Vice President William Lai (賴清德) would take action to support domestic growers by consuming more pineapples themselves, Chang said. Farmers can rest assured that the government would do its utmost to help them, he said, adding that hopefully, Taiwanese would support the local pineapple industry, just like Australians supported their country’s wine industry after China imposed high tariffs on those products. COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said that the council had received China’s “unilateral notice” on Thursday evening, without any warning. It attempted to express its concern to its counterpart in China, but the Chinese contact did not answer a telephone call, Chen said. Taiwan produces nearly 420,000 tonnes of pineapples every year, and has exported 6,200 batches to China since last year, with
BIDEN FIRST: The Pentagon said the raids targeted infrastructure used by groups backed by Iran and were authorized in response to recent attacks on US personnel The US military on Thursday struck Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria, killing at least 22 fighters, a war monitor said, with the Pentagon saying that the action was a message from the administration of US President Joe Biden after rocket attacks targeted US troops in Iraq. In its first military action against Iran-linked groups since Biden became president five weeks ago, the Pentagon said that it had carried out airstrikes at a Syria-Iraq border control point used by Iran-backed groups, destroying “multiple facilities.” “At President Biden’s direction,” the US raids targeted “infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 22 fighters were killed when the strike hit three trucks loaded with munitions traveling from Iraq near the Syrian border town of Albu Kamal. Militia border posts were also destroyed, it said. All of those killed were from Iraq’s state-sponsored Hashed al-Shaabi force, an umbrella group that includes many small militias with ties to Iran, it said. The location was used by Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada, two Iraqi pro-Iran groups operating under the Hashed umbrella, Kirby said. Syrian state television condemned the “American aggression” against the fighters, who are allied with the Damascus government. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the pro-Iran Kataeb Hezbollah was behind previous attacks on US targets. “We’re confident in the target we went after. We know what we hit,” Austin told reporters on the plane flying to Washington after a tour of the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier off California. “We are confident that the target was being used by the same Shia [Shiite] militia that conducted the strikes” against US
A total of 4.76 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that Taiwan has secured through the global COVAX sharing initiative are expected to be available by April, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. The vaccines would be those made by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca in collaboration with the University of Oxford, Su said. They would be among 20 million doses that the government has arranged so far — including 5.05 million doses from US pharmaceutical company Moderna Inc and 10 million additional doses from AstraZeneca — he said, adding that they are likely to become available next quarter. In addition, a deal with US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and BioNTech is approaching completion, which might provide an additional 5 million doses, a Cabinet report submitted to lawmakers showed. “The order of vaccinations has been planned, with front-line medical workers given priority for the jabs,” Su said. In response to public concern about possible side effects, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), said that the government would launch an online “vaccine map.” Once the vaccines are ready for distribution, the map would allow people to know where they can get the vaccine of their choice, Chen said. Asked by lawmakers whether they would be vaccinated first alongside medical workers to boost confidence among the public, Su and Chen said that the vaccination priority schedule should be followed. The key is to make sure that medical personnel receive the protection they need as quickly as possible, they said. About 332,000 people are in the top category to receive vaccinations in the first round, while key government and disease-control officials are in the second round, the CECC said. Meanwhile, Chen said that jabs of Taiwan-made COVID-19 vaccines could start as early as July. Human trials have begun for two vaccines separately developed by Taiwan-based Medigen
Protecting national security is the priority, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday after the government rejected residency applications by Hong Kong entertainment tycoon Charles Heung (向華強) and his son. “Government officials handling the case have applied the most rigorous scrutiny, with the top priority to protect national security,” Su said. “Ministries will report to the public the details of the decisionmaking process at a suitable time.” Su was responding to media queries about the National Immigration Agency’s (NIA) decision on Thurdsay to deny applications by Heung and his eldest son, Jacky Heung (向佐), to obtain residency in Taiwan through Heung’s Taiwanese wife, Tiffany Chan (陳嵐). The NIA said that its decision was based on Article 22 of the Regulations Governing Residency or Permanent Residency for People of the Hong Kong Area and the Macau Area (香港澳門居民進入臺灣地區及居留定居許可辦法), which lists reasons to reject an application, including incomplete paperwork, the risk of an applicant “harming national interests” and involvement in entities linked to the Chinese government. Sources said that the decision was made after meetings between officials from the NIA, the National Security Bureau and the Mainland Affairs Council. Charles Heung is honorary deputy chairman of the China Film Foundation, sources said. Although it is registered as a foundation, it is controlled by the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, an agency under the Chinese State Council, they said. Bureau officials said that the foundation conducts propaganda campaigns for Beijing and organizes programs for the Chinese government’s push for “all-citizen national defense” in public education. NIA records showed that Charles Heung has been refused entry numerous times, as files from the Martial Law-era Taiwan Garrison Command list him as a “senior figure” of Hong Kong’s largest criminal organization, the Sun Yee On. Vetting showed that Jacky Heung is a member of the National Committee of the All-China Youth
Riot police in Myanmar yesterday dispersed hundreds of protesters who have rallied daily in the country’s largest city against a military junta that toppled civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In some cities, security forces have steadily increased their use of force, but in Yangon, authorities have exercised restraint, largely relying on barricades and troop presence to prevent gatherings around city landmarks and embassies. Protesters have bypassed restrictions by moving fluidly through the city, organizing around central junctions Hledan and Myaynigone. However, riot police yesterday advanced on the demonstrators, who were mostly sitting and chanting pro-democracy slogans, and warned them to disperse. At least two people were arrested after officers cleared the busy traffic artery. One was Yuki Kitazumi, a Japanese freelance reporter. “According to eyewitnesses, he was beaten on the head by a baton, but he was wearing a helmet,” Kitazumi’s assistant, Linn Nyan Htun, wrote on Facebook, adding that he had reached out to the Japanese embassy. A police officer denied that Kitazumi was beaten, but confirmed that the journalist had been detained at a local police station and would be released after giving a statement. On a smaller residential street off Myaynigone, some demonstrators assembled makeshift barricades, using barbed wire and stacked tables to halt police. Wearing hard hats, protesters shouted the regular anti-junta refrain: “Failure to the dictatorship is our cause, our cause.” Uptown off Hledan junction, demonstrators sprinted away as police warned: “If people do not disperse, we will have to disperse by force.” Protester Nyo Hlaing ran into a nearby house to hide, telling reporters that police had deployed stun grenades. “We had to run,” Nyo Hlaing said, adding that some protesters retaliated by shooting projectiles using slingshots at the police. Reporters on the ground heard several stun grenades detonate and saw police arrest more people. As police searched some apartments, residents around Hledan protested by banging pots
CHIPS: Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua said Taiwan and the US have a track record of working closely together, of being ‘undeniably trustworthy partners’ US President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered a review of US supply chains, seeking to end the country’s reliance on China and other adversaries for crucial goods. However, the process could take months, offering no immediate solution for a shortfall of semiconductors that has idled vehicle production at several US factories. The Biden administration’s 100-day review is to cover chips, but also large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and strategic materials, such as rare earth elements, a White House statement said. Although Biden did not specifically mention Taiwan on this occasion, the US last month appealed to Taiwan to help with the semiconductor shortages. Media outlets such as Japan-based Nikkei Asia have also reported that Washington is expected to pursue partnerships with Taiwan, Japan and South Korea in chip production. Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) has reiterated that Taiwan is a reliable economic partner of the US. “When it comes to the semiconductor industry, information and communications technology products, and biotech, the US and Taiwan have a track record of working closely together,” Wang said. “We are undeniably trustworthy partners.” The signing of a memorandum of understanding regarding Taiwan-US economic prosperity would deepen bilateral ties, Wang added. As a long-term and reliable partner of the US, the government would continue to work with Biden’s administration to deepen Taiwan-US global partnership and trade ties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said yesterday in a statement. A US-Taiwan alliance in the semiconductor field would be good news for Taiwanese firms, said Liu Pei-chen (劉佩真), a researcher at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (台灣經濟研究院). Biden’s review is not aimed at China or any other specific country, but instead focuses on diversifying supply more generally, said White House officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Still, an overreliance on China and other adversaries for critical goods is a key risk that must be
CCP AS GOD: Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu said the law orders all practitioners to love the motherland, and worship the communist leaders The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday slammed Beijing for issuing a set of rules on clergy and pledged to work more closely with the Vatican in defending religious freedom. The Holy See is one of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies and the only one in Europe. “The Chinese government’s recent issuance of the Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel is solid proof of its increased suppression of religious freedom,” ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a regular news briefing. The regulations “nationalize” religion, as they clearly state that all religious personnel in China should support the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), she said. The new measures take effect on May 1. The regulations stipulate that the succession of a living Buddha should follow China’s rules, and that Catholic bishops in China should be approved and ordained by the Chinese authorities, the Chinese National Religious Affairs Administration’s Web site says. The regulations also prohibit religious personnel from accepting their designation from a religious group overseas, the Web site says. “The Taiwanese government will continue to strengthen its cooperation with the Vatican and the Catholic Church to defend the core values of religious freedom,” Ou said. Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) also condemned the Chinese government’s suppression of religious freedom. “Beijing’s newly announced Law Governing Religious Clergy commands all ‘authorized’ practitioners to love the motherland, and worship the communist leadership and socialism,” Wu wrote on the ministry’s Twitter account late on Wednesday. “Simply put, the CCP is the GOD of religions in China. How low must we go before the free world says enough?” he wrote.
DISSATISFACTION? If the referendums collect more than 700,000 signatures each, they would have gotten the most signatures in the shortest time, the party said The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) two referendum petitions — one on banning the importation of pork with traces of ractopamine and the other on holding referendums on the same day as national elections — had as of Thursday gathered 691,398 and 674,497 signatures respectively, the party said yesterday. If the petitions collect more than 700,000 signatures apiece, they would have garnered the most signatures in the shortest time since the Referendum Act (公民投票法) was amended in 2017, party officials said. The KMT proposed the “anti-ractopamine pork” or “food safety” referendum just days after President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement on Aug. 28 last year that the government would ease restrictions on the importation of US pork containing ractopamine residues and beef from cattle aged 30 months or older. The policy took effect on Jan. 1. The party’s other referendum, initiated by KMT Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣), would ask whether people agree that referendums should be held on the same day as national elections if the election takes place within six months of the proposed referendum being approved. In the signature drive — the second stage of the three-step process to hold a referendum — the act states that the KMT must collect the signatures of nearly 290,000 people, or 1.5 percent of the eligible voters in the most recent presidential election. The collection of so many signatures in such a short time represents the public’s dissatisfaction with the Tsai administration’s policy on US pork with ractopamine residues, KMT Organizational Development Committee director-general Lee Che-hua (李哲華) said. The party would continue to verify the validity of all signatures, calling on the Central Election Commission to remain politically neutral and review the referendum questions as soon as possible, he said. The public has witnessed how Tsai, after obtaining a record 8.17 million votes in the presidential election last year, has
OUTSIDE INSTIGATORS: Premier Su Tseng-chang said that ‘unscrupulous people from outside’ are probably using disinformation to hurt Taiwan’s diplomatic ties News reports of the Taiwanese government spying on foreign envoys and opposition figures are part of a “cognitive warfare” effort by outside forces, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. The phrasing and Chinese characters used in a letter cited by the news stories are a red flag, Su said. “Our citizens and government agencies do not say things that way,” he added. “Unscrupulous people from outside” probably want to damage Taiwan’s relations with its allies through disinformation campaigns, he said. He was responding to questions about a letter received by several local media outlets, which claimed that the National Security Bureau (NSB) and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau had wiretapped the phones of diplomats, government and military officials, and media personalities, especially those affiliated with opposition parties. The letter listed alleged targets, including personnel of the American Institute in Taiwan and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Johnny Chiang (江啟臣). The sender claimed to be a long-serving NSB officer. The letter aimed to create social conflict in Taiwan, and sow distrust between the nation and its friends, the NSB said in a statement on Thursday evening. The letter contained terms commonly used by people in China, such as the translated names of some countries and institutions, the NSB said. Software had been used to convert some simplified Chinese characters into the traditional Chinese used in Taiwan, it said. Over the past few years, the NSB said that it had found people using fake social media accounts to spread misinformation about Taiwan. “Investigations showed that these were actions by outside forces to wage cognitive warfare against Taiwan,” the bureau said, urging the public not to be misled by fake news. Cognitive warfare is defined by some security analysts as an influence campaign that manipulates trusted information to change the target’s views and advance the initiator’s interests.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) yesterday announced that he was removing himself from the party until he clears his name in a bribery case. “I am relinquishing my party membership to protect my beloved DPP, and to keep from causing trouble for top ministry officials,” he said, adding that he aimed to return after being proven innocent by the justice system. Su, 56, has represented Pingtung County constituencies for four terms as a legislator. He has been accused of taking a NT$25.8 million (US$911,468 at the current exchange rate) bribe from former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lung (李恆隆) in a dispute over the ownership of the Pacific Sogo Department Store chain. Su was one of five former and current lawmakers indicted last year on corruption charges. Detained in August last year, Su was late last month released on NT$10 million bail. Su told a news conference yesterday in Taipei that he would focus on serving his constituents in his capacity as a legislator, and that he has no plan to stand in the election for Pingtung County commissioner next year. Although the corruption case has been a setback, observers had said that Su might run as an independent candidate. A run by Su as an independent would likely split the DPP vote, political commentators had said. Local residents had said that Su has the firm support of a number of local groups, despite being implicated in the bribery case. Additional reporting by CNA
US Senator Debbie Stabenow on Thursday said that she had contacted Taiwan’s representative to the US regarding a global shortage of auto chips, which she considered to be the result of a reduction of shipments from a major Taiwanese semiconductor company. “US manufacturers of automobiles, home appliances and other products are being forced to shut down a line or a plant temporarily because of a single company in Taiwan, which has reduced its shipments of semiconductors to our manufacturers,” Stabenow told a confirmation hearing for Katherine Tai, US President Joe Biden’s nominee for US trade representative. The Democratic senator from Michigan said that she had raised the issue with several people in Biden’s administration and also with Representative to the US Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴). Hsiao told reporters in Washington that she had explained to several members of the US Congress, who had expressed similar concerns, that chip manufacturers in Taiwan were last year forced to reallocate production due to a sharp drop in orders, as automakers anticipated poor sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a decision made by the private sector, she said, adding that chip manufacturers in Taiwan are working to increase production to meet market demand. US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers said that Stabenow’s remark on the issue was “incorrect and misleading.” The chip shortage facing US automakers is “primarily a function of the industry itself miscalculating its production needs,” Hammond-Chambers said in a statement on the council Web site. “The absence of enough chips to run US plants is absolutely not a function of any deliberate punitive action by a Taiwanese company,” Hammond-Chambers said. “It is instead the result of US manufacturers failing to order enough chips.” Over the past few weeks, the US has sought help from Taiwan, home to the world’s largest contract chipmaker, to alleviate the shortage of auto
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen is to participate in the ceremonial tip-off at a basketball game in Hsinchu today, as the institute begins a celebration of “sports diplomacy.” The game between the Hsinchu Lioneers and the Taoyuan Pilots is to take place at the Hsinchu County Stadium, the institute said in a news release yesterday. The game is being staged by P.League+, the nation’s professional basketball league. Christensen’s participation is part of a broader series of activities celebrating sports diplomacy, and the ways that it has enhanced ties between people in Taiwan and the US, the institute said. Among the events planned is a workshop on gender equality in sports, it said. The workshop, which takes place on Friday next week, would be opened by AIT Public Affairs Officer Diane Sovereign, and attended by Liu Po-Chun (劉柏君) and Tzeng Yu-hsien (曾郁嫻), participants in the series, it added. Also, the US Department of State is offering free access to a streaming documentary titled Willie, about the first black player in the US’ National Hockey League, it said, adding that people interested in the film should sign up before 4pm today. In May last year, Christensen joined a virtual opening pitch with Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) at the Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium to celebrate that the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) was still able to hold games, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Around that time, Christensen suggested to league commissioner John Wu (吳志揚) that the CPBL might want to add “Taiwan” to its English-language promotional materials to prevent foreigners from thinking that the league was based in China, local media reported.
STRICT MEASURES: More than 95 percent of vehicle owners owing fees would pay if their vehicles were targeted by the city authorities, the Taipei mayor said Taipei might deny vehicle owners with outstanding parking fees the right to park on the city’s roads, following remarks by Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) urging a tougher stance on unauthorized parking. People who owe parking fees for one week or longer should be denied parking public spaces, Ko said at a city government meeting on traffic affairs yesterday. The city in 2015 established a mechanism to enforce parking fee payment, and in 2018 added a mechanism to track and lock vehicles that have unpaid fees, the Taipei Parking Management Development Office said. In 2019, it began towing vehicles parked in certain spaces for more than 30 days, it added. The office last year collected NT$25 million (US$883,205) in fines from 210,000 vehicle owners who had not paid their parking fees, it said. Ko urged officials to target vehicles instead of owners, saying that vehicles should be denied parking in the city if there are outstanding fees. Entry to public parking lots should be denied, and clear warning signs along roadside parking areas should be installed, he said. Vehicles whose owners have not paid their fees in more than a month should be towed immediately, Ko said. “I believe that more than 95 percent of those owing the city government money would pay once this system is implemented,” he said. The office should draft strict measures, but people who have left the country for more than one month should be exempted, he said. Office Director-General Lee Kun-chen (李昆振) said that those who are out of country should pay for parking up front or find a parking lot that offers online payment. In response, Ko said that such a system was neither ideal nor convenient. Ko concluded the meeting by saying that city officials should not be afraid when enforcing rules and regulations.
While coffee farms in the Alishan (阿里山) area are gaining nationwide reputation, the local branch of the Tourism Bureau aims to promote local farming to coffee professionals nationwide and coffee-loving tourists. The bureau has invited coffee professionals to stay at 20 local coffee farms from Monday to April 28, to learn about region-specific techniques. The campaign aims to capitalize on the growing reputation of coffee from the scenic area, boosted by local growers winning 14 out of 20 awards at last year’s Taiwan International Coffee Show, said Chang Shu-feng (張淑楓), an official at the bureau’s Alishan branch office. “Instead of holding a matchmaking event for businesses, we thought why not turn the demand for such an event into a short vacation for coffee professionals?” Chang said. The program offers 100 coffee professionals the chance to stay at the farms for about two months, where they would harvest and roast coffee beans, and support the local farmers, who would serve as their guides to the area. The bureau is confident that there is enough demand among the nation’s coffee professionals to fill all openings, Chang said, adding that the registration fee is NT$50,000 and participants would have to pay for their accommodation. The tour is a win-win situation for all those involved, she said. The bureau and the Chiayi County Coffee Industry Association would help farmers and other industry professionals establish long-term cooperation, Chang said. The program can be seen as a research-and-development opportunity, and to help increase the profitability of Alishan coffee, she said. Chang hopes that participants would post about their experience on social media, adding that this would help local tourism. “We offer travel packages featuring coffee events tailored to a wide variety of needs,” she said. Separately, a hotel operator on the Matsu archipelago aims to make local liquor production the centerpiece of
Early stage reviews of two additional lines of the Taichung Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) railway have been completed, even as the service on the only completed line, the Green Line, remains suspended, Taichung officials said on Thursday. The Taichung Transportation Bureau called on the public to be patient while safety issues discovered shortly after passenger service on the line started in November last year are solved. The Green Line connects Taichung High Speed Rail Station and two Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) stations, as well as Taichung City Hall. Despite that setback, planning on the Blue and Orange lines, which would greatly enhance the performance of the MRT system, have continued, the bureau said. The Blue Line, which would run parallel to the city’s main traffic axis, Taiwan Boulevard, would now be reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the bureau said, adding that the review would include an environmental impact assessment. The 24.8km line would start at the Port of Taichung in the west and end at TRA Taichung Station in the east, intersecting with the Green Line at the city hall, it said. There would be 20 stations along the NT$128.5 billion (US$4.54 billion) line, which would also have stations close to TRA Shalu Station and Taichung Industrial Park, it said. Meanwhile, the Orange Line is still at an earlier stage of the review process, the bureau said. It just finished a feasibility review, which would also be submitted to the ministry for approval, it added. The 29.2km line, connecting Taichung International Airport, is projected to cost NT$118.5 billion, the bureau said. It would have 26 stations, including stops at TRA Taichung Station, Shuinan Economic and Trade Park, and Taichung Software Park.
People should moderate the use of computers and mobile electronics, a Taipei doctor said, citing a patient he treated for eye floaters after she binge-watched TV dramas. The patient — a woman in her 30s surnamed Chang (張) — had watched as many as 50 episodes of a Korean drama series during the Lunar New Year holiday, physician Lin Jen-chieh (林人傑) said. “She said she felt bored, as she was not able to travel abroad during the holiday. She did not go out to avoid large crowds expected in public places,” Lin said. Chang sought medical advice after seeing shadows and experiencing blurry vision, he said. Physicians often see a significant increase in such cases after long holidays, typically of up to 20 percent, attributable to altered routines, he said. “During a long holiday, many people stay up all night, watch TV and use electronic devices, which causes extra strain on the eyes,” Lin said. People with floaters would see dark spots appear in their field of vision and random flashes in low-light conditions, he said. In the most severe cases, the retina becomes detached, Lin said. Under such circumstances, people would see dark spots forming groups, which might obstruct their view, he said. To avoid overusing the eyes, people should take a break from devices for five to 10 minutes every hour, Lin said. To relax their eyes, people should stretch out one of their arms and focus on one of their fingers, which they then slowly move closer and then return to its original position, he said. To stretch their eye muscles, which are often underused, people should move their eyes in a circular motion, Lin said.
CAUGHT OFF GUARD: A jump in the US Treasury yield might have surprised investors, putting pressure on equities as the 10-year yield outperformed stocks, an analyst said The TAIEX yesterday closed down 498.38 points, the largest one-day loss this year, as foreign institutional investors sold a record net NT$94.4 billion (US$3.33 billion) of local shares, likely prompted by the advancing 10-year US Treasury yield, analysts said yesterday. The weighted index plunged 358 points to 16,094.93 points soon after the market opened, before gradually recouping some losses to end the day 3.03 percent lower at 15,953.8 points, on turnover of NT$432.112 billion, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed. It was the first time the index closed below 16,000 points after standing above it for seven consecutive trading days, the data showed. The record daily sale of local shares by foreign institutional investors sent technology and financial stocks tumbling. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) saw its share price decline 4.57 percent to NT$606, while flat-panel maker Innolux Corp (群創) slid 4.49 percent to NT$17 and United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) fell 2.69 percent to NT$54.2. Cathay Financial Holding Co’s (國泰金控) share price also declined 3.78 percent to NT$41.95. The sell-off could be due to the 10-year US Treasury yield climbing 16 basis points to close at 1.54 percent on Thursday, the highest level since February last year, Taishin Securities Investment Advisory Co (台新投顧) general manager Mason Li (李鎮宇) said by telephone. That sharp increase “surprised many investors and put pressure on stock markets. With the 10-year [US Treasury] yield of 1.54 percent outperforming many stocks’ yields, some investors began to consider favoring bonds over stocks and pulling money out of equities,” Li said. However, the US Federal Reserve is expected to take action to curb the advancing 10-year Treasury yield, which is used as a benchmark for mortgage rates, as its rise would increase borrowers’ burden and the US economy has not recovered from the effects of COVID-19, Li said. Although the local stock market took a hit, Li
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was on Thursday set to sell local currency bonds, as it prepared for a spending blitz amid a global chip shortage. The world’s largest contract chipmaker planned to price about NT$16 billion (US$565.25 million) of notes in three parts in an auction, though the actual issuance size might change. The manufacturer would have to contend with a recent rise in rates globally that has sent many corporate bond yields up from record lows in the past few weeks. The debt offering comes at a promising time for the semiconductor industry as the world scrambles its way through the shortfall for the key components in everything from smartphones to TVs and vehicles. US President Joe Biden’s administration has pressed Taiwan, home to the largest semiconductor manufacturing sector in the world, to help resolve a shortfall of auto chips that has idled some auto plants. TSMC last month announced that its outlay for capital expenditure this year could total as much as US$28 billion, up from US$17 billion last year. The staggering sum would help expand its technological lead and fund construction of a planned US$12 billion fab in Arizona. The company’s board approved a plan this month to raise up to NT$120 billion of unsecured corporate bonds in Taiwan, as well as the provision of a guarantee to a unit for dollar note issuance of up to US$4.5 billion. “TSMC needs funds to build its US factory,” and it might decide later in the year to increase its debt issuance plans, Capital Securities Corp (群益金鼎證券) trader Baker Tu (涂瑞勝) said. Concerns about extra future bond supply from the company could dampen demand for Thursday’s offering, he said.
DRAM chipmaker Nanya Technology Corp’s (南亞科技) board of directors yesterday approved a proposal to boost capital expenditure for this year to NT$15.6 billion (US$551.12 million), mainly to fund the initial production of next-generation 10-nanometer (nm) class technology. The capital spending exceeded its original estimate of NT$15 billion and represented a sharp increase from last year’s NT$8.5 billion. Nanya Technology told investors last month that 60 to 70 percent of the funds would be used to buy manufacturing equipment to support the pilot run of its first 10nm-class technology at the end of this year. The company mainly relies on 20nm process technology at present. As the new technology would not contribute to production until early next year, Nanya Technology expects bit shipments this year would be flat on an annual basis, compared with an annual expansion of 35 percent last year. The remaining funds would be used to procure research-and- development equipment and to construct an office building, parking lot and other projects, the chipmaker said. Nanya Technology’s board also approved a proposed cash dividend of NT$1.299 per common share, with total payment estimated to reach NT$4 billion. That would represent a payout ratio of 52 percent based on the chipmaker’s earnings of NT$2.51 per share last year, the weakest in about seven years. Revenue increased 17.9 percent year-on-year to NT$61 billion last year, with the biggest contribution coming from DRAM chips used in consumer electronics, such as TV set-top boxes, accounting for as much as 65 percent. PC DRAM chips contributed about 10 to 15 percent, it said. The cash dividend proposal is subject to shareholders’ approval at its annual general meeting on May 27.
The Canadian parliament on Monday passed a motion saying that China’s human rights abuses against the country’s Uighur Muslim population in Xinjiang constitute “genocide.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far avoided using the word genocide in regard to Xinjiang, but if he did, it would begin to generate solidarity among G7 nations on the issue — which is something Trudeau has called for. Former US president Donald Trump used the word genocide regarding Xinjiang before leaving office last month, and members of US President Joe Biden’s administration have been pushing for him to make the same declaration, a Reuters report on Tuesday said. After labeling its actions as genocide, the next question is what countries will do about China. A Politico report on Monday said that campaigners in the UK are pushing for British lawmakers to amend the kingdom’s Trade Bill so that it restricts trade with China and other countries guilty of such crimes. Canada played a crucial role in establishing the International Criminal Court and “became the first country in the world to incorporate the obligations of the Rome Statute into its national laws when it adopted the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act on June 24, 2000,” its Web site says. The act prohibits anyone suspected of involvement in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide of entering Canada. This would affect the operations of China’s representative offices in Canada. Given the implications of recognizing China’s actions in Xinjiang as criminal, Ottawa should rethink its position on the “one China” policy. Members of the Canadian parliament — including Judy Sgro, Michael Cooper, James Bezan, Peter Kent, Steven Blaney and Pierre Paul-Hus — have publicly expressed support for Taiwan. In May last year, then-Canadian minister of foreign affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne expressed support for Taiwan, writing in an e-mail to The Canadian Press:
Taiwanese are SOON to get COVID-19 shots, so medical personnel, government officials and the public should consider the finer points of vaccination information and scheduling. Accurate facts can be found, but they are frequently published next to false rumors, even in news outlets viewed as trustworthy. EU news media have been reporting on adverse reactions and side effects experienced by medical personnel who received the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. German magazine Der Spiegel ran the headline: “The vaccine that nobody wants: Fears of AstraZeneca could have dangerous consequences.” The headline is misleading because it emphasizes some people’s fears, when a closer look shows them to be unfounded. Among the three most commonly used COVID-19 vaccines, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been administered to the largest number of people in the greatest number of countries, which underscores the amplification effect of myths, misinformation, complaints and resistance by a small number of medical personnel. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has compiled data from the WHO on the frequency of side effects following injections of the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The most frequent side effect was pain at the injection site, followed by fatigue, headache and muscle soreness. The least frequent side effects included physiological and clinical symptoms, such as chills, joint pain and fevers of up to 38°C. These symptoms have been reported at much lower frequencies for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine than the other two vaccines — in the language of science, the differences are statistically significant. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has two other advantages: It is the cheapest of the three, and it is easier to transport and store (between 2°C and 8°C in regular refrigerators, compared with minus-25°C to minus-15°C in special freezers). The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine can be quickly shipped to international medical institutions using transportation equipment available in many countries. These advantages
As the US marks one month under the leadership of President Joe Biden, the conversations around Taiwan have shifted. As I discussed in a Taipei Times article (“No more talk of ‘bargaining chips,’” Jan. 30, page 8), with the end of former US president Donald Trump’s administration — and all of the unpredictability associated with it — Taiwan would not have to worry about being used as a “bargaining chip” in some sort of deal with the People’s Republic of China. The talk of Taiwan being used as a bargaining chip never subsided over those four years, but under Biden, those two words do not need to be used anymore. Early messages and signals from the Biden administration demonstrate continued US commitment to Taiwan’s security. From last month to this month, the conversation about Taiwan has shifted again — from Taiwan being a “bargaining chip” to Taiwan bargaining its chips. This year, news stories abound about Taiwan and its importance in the global supply chain of semiconductors, specifically chips from Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC). The big news has been the supply shortage of automotive chips, with the problem escalating to point where German automakers had to slow production. German Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier appealed to Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) in a letter to assist Germany in getting access to more automotive chips manufactured by TSMC. Following this development, Taiwan needed to ask for the German government’s assistance in obtaining vaccines produced by German companies. At the time of writing, it appears that the issues are being addressed: Wang spoke with TSMC about the chip issue and Taiwan is supposed to receive its vaccines shipments. TSMC is working on alleviating the chip shortage, but executives have said that they are already operating at full capacity. Fixing the supply issue is about “reprioritizing” and
‘ESCAPE FROM JUSTICE’: A US gymnast who trained under Geddert for more than 10 years and was assaulted by Larry Nassar called his suicide ‘an admission of guilt’ A former US Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar on Thursday killed himself, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them. John Geddert faced 24 charges that could have carried years in prison had he been convicted. He was supposed to appear in an Eaton County court, near Lansing, Michigan, but his body was found at a rest area along Interstate 96, state police said. “This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said. Nessel earlier announced that Geddert was charged with a bushel of crimes, including sexual assault, human trafficking and running a criminal enterprise. The charges were the latest fallout from the sexual abuse scandal involving Nassar, a former Michigan State University sports doctor now in prison. Geddert, 63, was not arrested and transported to court. Rather, Nessel’s office allowed him to show up on his own. “We had no indication that Geddert intended to flee or hurt himself or others. We had been in contact with his attorney and were assured of his cooperation,” Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said. Geddert was head coach of the 2012 US women’s Olympic gymnastics team, which won a gold medal. He was long associated with Nassar, who was the Olympic team’s physician and also treated injured gymnasts at Twistars, Geddert’s Lansing-area gym. Among the charges, Geddert was accused of lying to investigators in 2016 when he denied ever hearing complaints about Nassar. However, the bulk of the case against him involved his gym in Dimondale, Michigan, and how he treated the young athletes whose families paid to have them train under him. The charges against Geddert had “very little to do” with Nassar, Michigan Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said. Geddert was
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on Thursday scored twice, including a late winner, as Arsenal qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League with a 3-2 victory over SL Benfica in Greece, while Manchester United and Rangers cruised through to the next round. The Gabon striker put Arsenal ahead at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus in their home leg of a tie relocated due to COVID-19 travel restrictions between Portugal and the UK. Diogo Goncalves leveled the contest with a magnificent free-kick and Rafa Silva gave Benfica a 2-1 lead on the night when he took advantage of an error from Dani Ceballos on the hour. Kieran Tierney rifled in an equalizer and Aubameyang headed in the decisive goal from Bukayo Saka’s cross on 87 minutes, earning the Gunners a 4-3 aggregate victory and saving them from an unusual away-goals exit, following a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Rome. “Everyone is happy tonight. This is what gives me power every day, take errors from the past and transform to strength,” Aubameyang told BT Sport. “The team showed a lot of character and we deserved the win. It was a hard game. What we showed tonight will be an example for the future,” he added. Manchester United cemented their place in yesterday’s draw with a 0-0 draw at home to Real Sociedad, having effectively clinched the tie last week with an emphatic 4-0 win on neutral ground in Italy. Mikel Oyarzabal’s awful penalty miss represented the best chance at Old Trafford for La Real, while Bruno Fernandes rattled the crossbar and Axel Tuanzebe’s header was disallowed for a foul. Leicester City, who are behind second-placed United in the Premier League only on goal-difference, were knocked out after sliding to a 2-0 loss at home to Czech champions Slavia Prague. Lukas Provod fired Slavia in front just after halftime following
French Open champion Iga Swiatek yesterday advanced to the final of the Adelaide International with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Jil Teichmann. The fifth-seeded Swiatek next plays second-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, who felled 16-year-old American Coco Gauff 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (4/7), 6-2. Swiatek was dominant in the opening set, breaking the Swiss left-hander’s serve in the fourth game. The 19-year-old Swiatek bothered her opponent with a series of powerful groundstrokes as Teichmann made a series of unforced errors — 13 in the first set. Teichmann failed to convert a break point in the fourth game of the second set — her only one of the match — and it was a turning point. Swiatek held serve, then broke the unseeded Teichmann’s serve the next two times to keep her perfect record for the tournament — she has not lost a set. “I feel solid and that is the most important thing for me because when I play good I just enjoy everything,” Swiatek said. OPEN SUD DE FRANCE AP Top-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut on Thursday swept aside French qualifier Gregoire Barrere 6-0, 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Open Sud de France. The Spanish veteran, who is chasing a 10th career title, won 100 percent of his first-serve points in the first set and broke Barrere’s serve three times in each. Barrere leveled for 2-2 as they exchanged breaks early in the second set, but Bautista Agut broke him twice more, including in the last game. The 32-year-old Spaniard next faces sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert. Dusan Lajovic, No. 3, and Hubert Hurkacz, No. 4, were both knocked out by unseeded players. Lajovic lost 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 to Austrian David Novak and Hurkacz was beaten 7-5, 6-2 by Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Novak next plays German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, who withstood 29 aces from Jiri Vesely and had 17 of his own in
Kyrie Irving on Thursday finished with 27 points and nine assists, as the Brooklyn Nets stretched their winning streak to a season-high eight games with a 129-92 victory over the Orlando Magic. The Nets recorded their most one-sided win of the season by shooting 61 percent from the floor over the last three quarters. “We put a few possessions together and we ended the first quarter well, and I feel like that put us in position to take control of the pace of the game,” Irving said. James Harden finished with 20 points, seven assists and nine rebounds for the Nets, who nailed 20 three-pointers in front of a pandemic-limited crowd of 327 people at the Barclays Center. Reserve Landry Shamet added 19, while Joe Harris and Bruce Brown chipped in 14 apiece in a dominant win. Brooklyn are on their longest winning streak since 2006 and won their sixth straight contest without Kevin Durant with a strained left hamstring. Nikola Vucevic tallied 28 points and 12 rebounds for Orlando, who suffered their worst loss of the season, missing 27 of 36 threes. “We can’t beat ourselves and we can’t turn the ball over, and that’s where it started,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said. Meanwhile, Joel Embiid scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the first-placed Philadelphia 76ers took advantage of a rare off night by Luka Doncic to overpower the Dallas Mavericks 111-97. Embiid shot five of 20 from the field, but made 11 of 12 free throws. Ben Simmons added 15 points and seven assists, while Seth Curry contributed 15 points for the Sixers, who improved to 14-2 at home. “I was just being me. Doing what I do,” Simmons said. In other games on Thursday, it was: ‧ Knicks 140, Kings 121 ‧ Grizzlies 122, Clippers 94 ‧ Nuggets 110, Wizards 112 ‧ Bucks 129, Pelicans 125
GREAT ESCAPE: After traveling 32 hours by train and two by bus, Russian diplomats and their family cheered as they crossed the border on a ‘non-self-propelled railcar’ Eight Russian diplomats and family members — the youngest of them a three-year-old girl — on Thursday left North Korea on a hand-pushed rail trolley due to Pyongyang’s COVID-19 restrictions. Video posted on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ verified Telegram account showed the scene as the trolley, laden with suitcases and women, was pushed across a border railway bridge by Russian Third Secretary Vladislav Sorokin. The group waved and cheered as they made the final approach toward their homeland, the culmination of an expedition that began with a 32-hour train ride from Pyongyang, followed by a two-hour bus ride to the border. “It took a long and difficult journey to get home,” the ministry said in the post, describing how and why the group left on the trolley. MAIN ‘ENGINE’ “Finally, the most important part of the route — walking on foot to the Russian side,” it said. “To do this, you need to make a trolley in advance, put it on the rails, place things on it, seat the children — and go,” it added. Sorokin, the only man in the group, was “the main ‘engine’ of the non-self-propelled railcar,” it said, and had to push it for more than 1km. Once on Russian territory they were met by foreign ministry colleagues and were taken — by bus — to Vladivostok International Airport. “Don’t leave your own behind,” the ministry added as a hashtag. LOCKED OUT North Korea imposed a strict border shutdown in January last year to try to protect itself from COVID-19. The shutdown has canceled all flights in or out of the nuclear-armed, sanctions-hit country, and cross-border trains. With staff and supplies unable to enter the country, the restrictions have severely hampered the activities of diplomats and aid workers, and several Western embassies have pulled out their entire staff. Russia has close relations with North Korea and maintains a
Twenty-five years after Pokemon first began delighting children and adults alike, the phenomenon is still capturing hearts, with the smartphone craze Pokemon Go reaching a record success amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The augmented-reality game raked in US$1 billion in just the first 10 months of last year — its most lucrative yet — according to market tracker Sensor Tower, and experts see no sign that interest is flagging as the world’s highest-grossing media franchise evolves. “The characters themselves are so appealing, and the mechanics of the actual video and card games are so well executed that it has this very timeless quality,” said Brian Ashcraft, an author who writes about Japanese pop culture. Dan Ryan, a 29-year-old who works in London’s finance sector, has been a fan nearly his whole life and is not shy about his hobby, even with colleagues. “They know I disappear every Thursday to go and play Pokemon cards, they see me come in with my Pikachu jacket, and they see my Pokemon mugs,” he said. He said he spends “too much money” on rare Pokemon cards, whose prices have boomed as virus lockdowns push people toward indoor pursuits, with some in mint condition going for more than US$500,000. Pokemon is inspired by the childhood tradition of collecting bugs — popular during Japan’s hot and humid summer holidays — and part of its enduring appeal is its simple goal: to catch them all. Hundreds of round-eyed “pocket monsters,” inspired by everything from mice to dragons, can be caught and trained to full strength in battles. The winning concept has sold countless toys, film tickets and more than 30 billion Pokemon cards since the first monochrome Game Boy titles were released in Japan in 1996. Atsuko Nishida, who designed the electric mouse-like creature Pikachu, once said she modeled it on a round Japanese sweet called a
‘WIDE-OPEN RACE’: The senate minority leader said that he knew of four people who would seek the Republican nomination for the 2024 US presidential election Less than a month after excoriating former US president Donald Trump in a blistering floor speech, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday said that he would “absolutely” support Trump again if he secured the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. McConnell told Fox News that there was still “a lot to happen between now” and the next presidential election. “I’ve got at least four members that I think are planning on running for president, plus governors and others,” McConnell said. “There’s no incumbent. Should be a wide-open race.” When asked if he would support Trump again were he to win the nomination, McConnell said: “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.” McConnell’s comments precede an annual gathering that this year is expected to showcase Trump’s grip on the Republican Party’s base. Trump, along with most other leading 2024 presidential prospects, is set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, which opened yesterday and finishes tomorrow. Shortly after voting to acquit Trump at his second impeachment trial, McConnell delivered a scalding denunciation of him from the Senate floor, calling him “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol in Washington. Trump responded by calling McConnell a “dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.” While Trump was in office, they secured key Senate victories, such as 2017 tax cuts, and confirmations of three US Supreme Court justices and more than 200 other federal judges. The relationship between the two soured after Trump said that the presidential election on Nov. 3 last year was “rigged.” It deteriorated further last month, after Republicans lost Senate control with two Georgia runoff defeats followed by the attack on the Capitol. On the day of the riot, McConnell railed against “thugs, mobs or threats,” and described the attack as “this failed insurrection.” Still, McConnell’s comments on Thursday might prove prescient. US Senator Mitt Romney, a
“Hey, what is 228 anyway?” My ears perked up when I overheard two young people sitting next to me discussing the upcoming holiday. I was eating a late dinner after spending all afternoon at the library researching and writing about some of the more obscure victims of the 228 Incident, the infamous anti-Chinese Nationalist Party uprising in 1947 that was brutally suppressed. “I have no idea,” the other replied. They proceeded to look it up online and appeared astonished at the new information, especially over the number of alleged victims. Virtually censored and seldom discussed until the late 1980s, it seems that many younger locals still see Feb. 28 as just another day off, not a day of remembrance to the thousands who lost their lives. I only had a cursory understanding of the incident before I started writing the history column Taiwan in Time five years ago, and throughout the years I’ve stumbled my way into some of the seldom-visited, cobweb-filled corners of the tragedy. But there’s still so much to explore, and I gained an even deeper understanding yesterday at the National 228 Museum’s new exhibition Scars on the Land (土地傷痕), which is the first of a three-part series on historic sites related to the 228 Incident in northern Taiwan, starting in Taipei and Keelung. The show opened this past Sunday and runs until May 16, and generally covers events leading up to the uprising and the immediate aftermath. The second part, which opens May 20, will cover New Taipei City, Taoyuan, Hsinchu and Miaoli and deal with the attempts to negotiate with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government before troops arrived from China for the final bloodbath, which is detailed in the last chapter, set for Aug. 19. The exhibition is organized chronologically. The first few sites set the scene
Taiwan’s oldest surviving Christian house of worship stands in a village at the base of the Central Mountain Range. Upgraded to a basilica minore by Pope John Paul II in 1984, Wanjin Basilica (萬金聖母聖殿) was established in what’s now Pingtung County’s Wanluan Township (萬巒) in 1863. The church’s founder, Dominican priest Father Fernando Sainz (郭德剛), was one of the first missionaries to enter Taiwan after the signing in mid-1858 of treaties between Qing China (which ruled the island between 1684 and 1895), France, Great Britain, Russia and the US. These agreements, collectively known as the Treaty of Tianjin (天津條約), compelled the Qing Dynasty to lift all restrictions on the practice of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christianity. However, it seems this clause wasn’t clearly communicated to every level of the Qing bureaucracy. After Sainz, his fellow Dominican preacher Father Angel Bofurull and four Chinese converts arrived at Takow (today’s Kaohsiung) from the Philippines on May 15, 1859, they were detained by the local magistrate for two days. Once they were freed, things didn’t get much easier. Before the end of the year, illness forced Bofurull to quit the mission, and it’s not clear if the Chinese converts stayed on. At one point Sainz was alone, homeless and having to sleep on a beach. The Spaniard persisted, and with the help of Matthew Rooney — a Takow-based Irish-American who traded in camphor and opium — he eventually found a place to stay. Sainz established a church in 1861 in what’s now downtown Kaohsiung. That chapel is long gone, and it’s for his church-planting efforts in the interior that the priest is best remembered. Ordered to search for descendants of Aboriginal people who’d become Christians in the 17th century, when the Protestant Dutch dominated south Taiwan, Sainz ventured across the lowlands where Han settlers were continuing
In August last year, Matt Lawson, a Melbourne-based conspiracy theorist and anti-5G activist linked to the group that helped organize the city’s anti-lockdown protests last year, held one of his regular YouTube gabfests. The guests were mostly the usual crowd. The former celebrity chef Pete Evans was there, wondering aloud why the only politician talking about the immune system during Covid-19 was the US president Donald Trump: “He’s talked about zinc, he’s talked about sunlight and he’s been ridiculed for it.” So too was Serene Teffaha, a Melbourne lawyer who became a darling of the anti-lockdown movement after raising at least US$500,000 to launch a class-action lawsuit during the city’s lockdown, and Zev Freeman, a skydiving instructor and anti-5G activist who regularly pushes theories linked to the sovereign citizen conspiracy theory on a range of fringe Australian podcasts and YouTube channels. But there was also an unexpected guest on the call. Shrouded in black, wearing a hooded jumper and going by the name X, she described herself as an actor and “professional feeler”. She talked about attending the Met Gala and appearing in “Hollywood blockbusters.” According to a tweet from Lawson, the actor was Isabel Lucas, the former Home and Away and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen star. The Guardian has not been able to independently confirm whether the actor was Lucas. “I don’t want to be anonymous but I am about to start filming a film and I do need to be careful about being outspoken because you can get dropped by charities, you can lose campaigns with car companies,” the actor on the video said, which has been viewed by more than 10,000 people since August. “But I feel 100 percent called to speak to this topic because ... it’s about speaking the truth and shining a light on the reality of what’s really
I really want to take that class! (5/5) 我好想要加選喔！（五） A: Come on, get a move on. The class selection period is almost up. Open the Web page and get ready. B: Don’t rush me! The more you rush me, the more my hands shake. A: Look, the number of people signed up for the classes keeps jumping up, you have to choose them now. Here! Here! B: Not that one! You almost made me click on the wrong one. A: Sorry. The class you want is too popular. I’m more nervous than you are. B: Ha! Success. I never expected selecting classes would be more gripping than buying limited edition products online. A: 快點快點，加退選開放時間快到了，你先把網頁打開準備好。 B: 你不要一直催，你越催我手就抖得越厲害。 A: 你看，選課人數一直往上跳，你快按。這邊，這邊！ B: 不是這堂課啦！你害我差點按錯。 A: 歹勢。你要修的那堂課太搶手了，我比你還緊張。 B: 耶！成功了。沒想到選課比上網搶購限量商品還刺激。 （Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
I really want to take that class! (4/5) 我好想要加選喔！（四） A: Yesterday my roommate took me to sit in on one of the general education classes he’d selected, and good god! The teacher was great, I really want to take that class! B: Because the teacher was hot? A: Ha, there was that, but the main reason was the teacher’s ability to explain complex concepts in a very simple way, such that even a dunce like me understood! I was really impressed by her. B: It was the complete opposite for me. I took an inter-departmental elective class today, and discovered my ex was there. I was knocked for six. I’ve decided I’m not going to take that class. A: Seriously, you’re going to drop the class for that reason? Grow up! Learn to let go. A: 我昨天被室友拉去旁聽他選修的通識課，哇塞！老師好讚，我好想要加選喔！ B: 因為老師很美嗎？ A: 哈哈也算是啦。不過主要是因為老師可以把很複雜的概念用很簡單的方式解釋得好清楚，就連我這麼遲鈍的人都聽得懂欸！我真的很佩服她。 B: 我跟你相反，我今天上一堂跨系的選修課，竟然發現我前任也在班上！嚇死我了！我決定要退選這門課。 A: 拜託，因為這種原因退選，你真的很不成熟欸！你們難道不能好聚好散嗎？ （Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
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