While the Executive Yuan is considering setting up science parks in Pingtung and Chiayi counties, there is some criticism about whether science parks are needed in every city and county. Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) on Wednesday told a news conference that the government is planning a new type of science park on less than 100 hectares to promote innovative, energy-saving businesses and improve community relations. Wu’s remarks came after Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) visited Pingtung on Sunday to inspect the planned site for a new high-speed railway station and announced a plan to establish a new science park. Su on Dec. 19 last year inspected industries in Chiayi, where he promised to evaluate the possibility of setting up a science park. He reaffirmed the promise after dining with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers on Wednesday night — the eve of the second anniversary of his premiership. However, some Internet users have questioned whether the plans would only benefit business speculators and why some science parks in agricultural regions, such as in Changhua County, lay idle. Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan deputy executive director Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said that the government should develop detailed plans for parks before announcing them. First, it should determine which plots of idle land are not part of proposals and find out what resources are needed by Taiwanese businesses returning home, he said. Instead of developing separate plans, the science ministry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs — which oversees industrial parks — should communicate, he added. The government should make plans from the perspective of national spatial planning and tell the public what might be sacrificed by erecting new science parks, he said. If science parks are to house businesses related to semiconductors and electronics, the government should assess how much water and electricity would be needed, and push the companies
DETERIORATING HEALTH: Sufin Siluko’s lawyers told the court that his heart condition, diabetes, joint pain and high blood pressure worsened in confinement
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) was yesterday released on NT$10 million (US$351,124) bail after his defense lawyers successfully petitioned the Taipei District Court that he should be freed due to deteriorating health. In September last year, Sufin, KMT Legislator Chen Chao-ming (陳超明), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) were indicted for allegedly taking bribes in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) two-decade-long battle with the Far Eastern Group over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store chain. Of the major figures charged in the case, only Su and his top aide, Hsu Hsueh-yang (余學洋), remain in detention, as the other lawmakers have been released on bail. At yesterday’s hearing, Sufin’s lawyers requested for his release on NT$2 million bail, saying that the defendant only had NT$2.96 million in cash, plus difficult-to-sell properties. They pledged that their client would not flee Taiwan. The defense added that Sufin has a heart condition, diabetes, joint pain in his legs and high blood pressure that are aggrevated by his detention. The court found Sufin to be a flight risk, given the charges against him, but said that there was no reason to hold him, as the investigation had completed taking people’s testimonies. The court set his bail at NT$10 million and restricted his movement to his residence. The four lawmakers have been charged with bribery and breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例). Their aides and office staff have also been indicted for allegedly receiving bribes.
Control Yuan members yesterday voted to impeach former Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) over allegations that he had extra-marital affairs when he was director of the Kaohsiung Information Bureau. The Control Yuan’s review committee voted to impeach Ting 11-0. In its report, the Control Yuan said that his actions contravened Articles 1 and 5 of the Civil Servant Work Act (公務員服務法), and Article 2 of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法). In September last year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) approved Ting’s resignation after the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine reported that he had relationships with four women at the same time while serving as the bureau’s director in 2014, even though he was engaged to be married at the time. It also quoted one of Ting’s former girlfriends as saying that they had sex several times in his Kaohsiung office during work hours and that she had terminated three pregnancies at Ting’s insistence so as not to affect his career. Control Yuan members Wang Mei-yu (王美玉) and Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) wrote in their investigative report that Ting brought dishonor on the civil service and tarnished the image of government officials. Ting headed the bureau under then-Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), before serving as Presidential Office spokesman from May 2019 until his resignation. Yesterday, Ting said in a statement that the impeachment was an unfair decision. “It was wrong to have sex at the city government office,” Ting said. “[But impeachment] is an unjust decision, as the Control Yuan members had already set their sights on persecuting me.” The Control Yuan was wrong to say that sexual harassment was involved, Ting said. “It was a normal relationship between a man and a woman. I never used my position to intimidate her and no sexual harassment took place,” he added. “During our relationship, she mostly took the initiative in contacting me,” he said.
US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft yesterday released a prepared speech to Model UN students in Taiwan after her physical visit was canceled, encouraging them to stay firm because “one day you, too, will be standing here.” If the US Department of State had not canceled all overseas trips this week, Craft would have delivered — in person — her speech to students in Taipei on Thursday afternoon, following a morning meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), as part of a planned three-day visit to Taiwan. After a virtual meeting with Tsai on Thursday, the US Mission to the UN yesterday released a video of her prepared speech to the students. Speaking from the UN General Assembly Hall, Craft said: “It is here, and in other UN venues, where the United States makes clear its support for a role for Taiwan on the global stage.” “The United States believes that Taiwan is a force for good in the world, and that is very true,” Craft said. “It is also true that young women and men, like you, deserve to pursue careers and opportunities, and on the international stage, including in organizations such as the World Health Organization, where your expertise has been proven undeniable.” “We need organizations like the Model UN to help illuminate the path forward for the actual UN. And so, your efforts here are perhaps more significant than you may realize,” she added. “You are in the final days of one great change — it is not finished. But for now, school yourselves in reserve, say only what you mean and avoid any signs of temper, but hold strong with your own spirit of what truly counts. Do not mistake the present moment for a determination for your future,” she said. “Stay firm, say the words of democracy even in the wake
The Ministry of National Defense has signed a NT$339.24 million (US$11.91 million) contract with the US to maintain the army’s Bell AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters, public information on the government’s procurement platform showed. The contract was signed by a military delegation and the American Institute in Taiwan to secure spare parts and technical support for the army’s AH-1Ws until Sept. 30, 2027, an official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The military is replacing the AH-1W with the AH-1Z Viper, but is concerned over potential safety issues such structural aging, even though the legacy fleet’s operational readiness is satisfactory, the official said. Some parts are no longer manufactured since the US Marine Corp decommissioned its last AH-1W in October last year, the official said. Taiwan bought a three-and-a-half year supply of parts for NT$1.46 billion in 2019, which would last until the middle of next year, the official said. Taiwan bought 42 AH-1Ws in 1992 and another batch of 21 in 1997, although two aircraft were lost due to accidents. The AH-1Ws are deployed by two attack helicopter squadrons of the 602nd Air Cavalry Brigade.
NO CASH: The new regulations have been postponed because most Indonesian local governments have yet to allocate a budget for the training and placement fees
The Indonesian government is to require employers of Indonesian migrant workers and Indonesian local governments to pay part of their placement fees starting on July 15, rather than yesterday as previously announced. The new policy, aimed at easing the financial burden on Indonesian migrant workers, would remove the requirement for 11 types of worker, including domestic helpers and construction workers, to pay a placement fee and have the overseas employer and local government pay it instead. The new regulations have been postponed because most Indonesian local governments have yet to allocate a budget for the training and placement fees they would be responsible for, Indonesian National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers head Benny Rhamdani said. Of the 34 provinces in Indonesia, only the local government in East Java has a budget to cover the costs associated with training, certificates and fees, Rhamdani said at a news conference yesterday. Efforts continue to enlist the cooperation of local governments, he said, and meetings with the authorities in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong are also being scheduled to discuss the new regulations. Rhamdani pledged to resign if the policy could not be implemented because of funding issues, as he does not want Indonesian migrant workers to continue to be burdened by placement fees. The policy, first announced in July last year, requires the employer of an Indonesian migrant worker to cover the costs of a passport, a return flight, a work visa, a medical checkup, and transportation and accommodation in the destination nation. At present, some employers cover the air fare and fees related to verifying the contract signed between them and the migrant worker, the Ministry of Labor said. The new regulations are to be applied to 14 nations that import workers from Indonesia. The ministry yesterday said that the nation’s representative office in Indonesia
Taiwan yesterday recorded one new imported case of COVID-19 involving an Indonesian who arrived in the nation last month to work on a fishing boat, the Central Epidemic Command Center said. The Indonesian male, in his 20s, arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 31 with a negative test report, center spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a news conference in Taipei. He did not display any symptoms of the disease, Chuang said. The man was tested again on Wednesday prior to his release from a 14-day mandatory quarantine and the result came back positive yesterday, he said. Due to the high CT value of the test, which indicated the presence of only a small amount of viral genetic material and that the infection had likely run its course, the man was most likely infected a while ago in Indonesia, he added. No contact tracing was required, as the man had not come in contact with anyone during his time in Taiwan, Chuang said. Meanwhile, a new disease prevention regulation took effect yesterday whereby a home can only be used for quarantine if the person stays at the property on their own. Previously people arriving in Taiwan could quarantine at a residence along with other people. The tighter measure was introduced in response to the emergence of new more contagious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, the center said, adding those found to have a breached the regulation would be fined NT$100,000 to NT$1 million (US$3,511 and US$35,112). The center has also updated its disease prevention guidelines to provide more clarity on the rules ahead of the Lunar New Year, as Taiwanese living overseas in areas where COVID-19 is more prevalent prepare to return home for the holiday. The latest update specifically addresses questions people might have about “self-health management,” a period of seven days during which arrivals to Taiwan must
More than 80 percent of schools breach Ministry of Education regulations and do not allow students to wear winter clothing, a group of youth organizations said on Thursday, calling on the ministry to enforce its rules. A survey of 1,438 students at 853 schools found that 84.3 percent of schools are ignoring ministry regulations that allow students to wear winter clothing inside or outside their uniform during cold weather, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said. The regulations also state that the definition of “cold weather” should be determined by the student rather than the school, the association said. However, students reported being punished or issued a warning if they wore a hat, gloves, jacket or scarf without obtaining permission in advance, it said. About 54 percent of schools still maintain an outright ban on students wearing warm clothing on top of their uniform, while others stipulate a certain temperature under which students can wear winter clothing, it added. Some schools restrict certain types of clothing without advance permission, such as scarves, hats or sweatshirts, and even particular colors, the association said. Punishments ranged from a warning to doing push-ups, cleaning or running errands, the survey showed. Association deputy director Ho Wei-tzu (何蔚慈) said that the survey responses show that the practice has continued for a long time and students feel powerless to stop it. Student associations that have attempted to impose the ministry’s regulations through proper channels have been pressured or threatened by administrators, Ho said. It is ironic that so many schools require their students to follow their rules, but are not themselves following the ministry’s rules, he said. The ministry’s K-12 Education Administration should investigate whether schools are following the regulations and not leave it up to students to fight for their rights, he added. The K-12 Education Administration yesterday said that it had reissued documents to
Tourism officials and companies are anticipating booming domestic business over the Lunar New Year holiday due to travel restrictions implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Lunar New Year holiday begins on Feb. 11. Tourism agencies have reported an 80 percent room reservation rate between Feb. 10 and Feb. 16 in tourism hotspots, while reservation rates at five-star hotels in Hualien and Taitung area have exceeded 90 percent. Changhua County is the most popular location for Lunar New Year visits, with the Hualien and Taitung area second, Tainan in third, Yilan and Nantou counties in fourth and fifth, and Kaohsiung in sixth place, the officials said. Changhua County claimed the top spot, as central Taiwan is host to many temples where the main deity corresponds to a profession, Lion Travel Co said. The deity at Wenchang Temple (文昌宮) is the divine protector of academics and education; the deity at Zihnan Temple (紫南宮) in Nantou County and the deity at Yunlin County’s Wude Temple (武德宮) oversee financial fortune; while the deity at Changhua County’s Lugang Tianhou Temple (鹿港天后宮) oversees prosperity of businesses, the company said. The Hualien and Taitung area claimed second place due to its plethora of hot springs and beautiful landscapes, the travel company added. Lion Travel is selling dynamic package deals that allow people to customize their travel plans, as this is more popular with the smaller tour groups required due to the pandemic. Cola Tour Co said that it is targeting family groups with packages that allow a child aged under 12 to travel for free if they are accompanied by both parents. It is also selling three-day, two-night packages for five people, with the fifth person traveling for free. The company said that it is providing packages and services for visits to Taipei, Tainan and Hualien, as well as the nation’s outlying islands.
The New Taipei District Court has ruled that the son of a woman who committed suicide must pay NT$2 million (US$70,225) compensation to a landlord in a legal dispute over xiongzhai (凶宅), or a home that becomes stigmatized because of the belief that the ghost of a deceased person haunts it. It was the first ruling in the case and it can be appealed. A woman surnamed Tsai (蔡) had rented a residence for a year from a New Taipei City landlord in September 2019. However, Tsai took her own life at home in June last year, resulting in the landlord demanding compensation from her son. “The place has become a xiongzhai and news gets around. I cannot rent it out, nor can I sell it,” the landlord said in a statement filed with the lawsuit. He said that, because of the suicide, the property had remained unoccupied, despite his best efforts, and had led to a financial loss of NT$2 million due to falling property prices. The term xiongzhai means “unlucky house,” “inauspicious abode,” or “place of violent death,” and in this case “suicide house.” It is a Taiwanese belief that a property is occupied by a malevolent spirit due to an untimely or violent death. The malevolent spirit is believed to curse anyone living in the property, causing them misfortune or even harm. The landlord claimed in the lawsuit that Tsai’s son had promised to pay some form of compensation, but that he had lost contact with him. During the trial, Tsai’s son did not appear in court and did not provide a statement responding to the litigation. “Tsai was an adult who should have known that by committing suicide at a residence, it would devalue it for the owner ... The son did not make an official disclaimer to waive his rights to Tsai’s inheritance and
‘SUPER ACCOMMODATING’: Andrew Liu said the ‘city has a laid-back, almost island, vibe,’ as he recalled the year he spent as a Fulbright English teaching assistant
Kaohsiung was listed as one of “52 places to love” in the New York Times on Wednesday last week, the only Taiwanese destination on the list. The US newspaper compiled this year’s list from submissions from more than 2,000 readers across the globe and Kaohsiung was suggested by China-born Andrew Liu, who lives in Germany. “This city has a laid-back, almost island, vibe versus the hustle and bustle of Taipei,” Liu said in his comments, recalling the year he spent in Kaohsiung as a Fulbright English teaching assistant from 2017 to 2018. He highlighted the good food, including at night markets, and the easy access to nature. “There are mountains and beaches right in the middle of the city limits,” he said. He also praised Taiwan’s inclusiveness. “My boyfriend came to Taiwan with me and we weren’t really sure how to navigate queerness in Asia... I think that, generally, Taiwanese culture is super accommodating and welcoming,” Liu wrote. In response to the city’s inclusion on the list, Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau Director Chou Ling-wen (周玲妏) said that she was proud of the city’s hospitality and inclusiveness, and praised its world-class charm. Kaohsiung is gender-friendly and has a lot to offer different groups of people, Chou said, while it also boasts magnificent landscapes, as well as an abundance of natural and cultural resources. The New York Times publishes an annual list of the top 52 places to visit each year, but due to limits on travel and a lack of new attractions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the newspaper asked its readers to submit their favorite places. It received more than 2,000 responses, including many that it said would have been unlikely to previously have made the list as they were too humble, too dangerous or too personal. The only other destinations in East and Southeast Asia that made the list were Hokkaido,
Applications for assistance grants to World Vision Taiwan soared last year as households felt the pinch due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving the group’s coffers low ahead of its Lunar New Year activities, the social welfare organization said on Tuesday as it asked the public for donations. The group distributes grants to help struggling families with medical or other urgent needs, in addition to regularly sending social workers, it said. In the first nine months of last year alone, the number of grant applications rose by 50 percent compared with the same period the previous year, it said. It gave the example of a child nicknamed Hsiao Shu (小舒), whose father became bedridden after a stroke, leaving the child’s mother to work long hours doing odd jobs to support a family of nine. The water heater in the house caught fire and the family did not have enough savings to replace it, leaving them without hot water in winter, World Vision Taiwan said. A social worker found out about the family’s predicament during a visit and requested a grant to buy a new water heater, it said. Ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, the organization is asking people to donate “red envelopes” to help families in need. It is also planning to hold three events — in Taipei on Jan. 27, Taichung on Jan. 29 and Chiayi on Jan. 30 — featuring music and stories from young people who have received assistance in the past. Those interested in attending the events can register on the World Vision Taiwan Web site.
A man donating blood in Taichung yesterday holds a sign that reads: “I’m the most hot-blooded.” The Taiwan Blood Services Foundation warned yesterday that Taiwan’s current blood stocks are expected to run out in about four days, and that blood types AB, O and A, would not even last that long.
WEEKLY CLASSES: A National Policy Foundation member said elementary schools are already facing a shortage of teachers of ‘bentu’ and ‘new immigrant’ languages
Experts and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday raised doubts about the government’s readiness to execute the Development of National Languages Act (國家語言發展法) and said that there was ambiguity in the act’s definition of so-called “national languages.” The act, which was passed by the legislature on Dec. 25, 2018, and went into effect on Jan. 9, 2019, is to promote the passing down, revival and development of national languages in recognition of Taiwan’s multicultural nature. In the act, “national languages” are defined as the natural languages used by ethnic groups in Taiwan, as well as Taiwan Sign Language. The act stipulates that starting with the 2022-2023 school year, classes in national languages are to be mandatory “at all stages of compulsory education.” Based on the Ministry of Education’s 12-Year Basic Education Curriculum Guidelines, which were implemented in August 2019, elementary-school students are already required to take a weekly class in either a bentu (本土, “local” or “native”) language — specifically Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Hakka or an Aboriginal language — or a “new immigrant language” (Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, Malay, Filipino, Cambodian or Burmese). Elementary schools are already facing a shortage of teachers of bentu and “new immigrant” languages, National Policy Foundation member Kao Yuang-kuang (高永光) told a news conference in Taipei held by the foundation — a think tank affiliated with the KMT. He asked whether enough teachers would be available to teach “national languages” at junior and senior-high schools when they become mandatory next year. KMT Legislator Cheng Cheng-chien (鄭正鈐) said that the ministry has yet to come up with a solution to the shortage of teachers. The lack of teachers is the “biggest problem” with making “national language” classes mandatory for junior and senior-high school students, Cheng said. The definition of “national languages” in the act is wide-ranging, he said, adding that it is important to
NO SHELF LIFE: Premier Su Tseng-chang said he faced a choice between doing something for his government or being an ornament, and that he chose the former
Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday said that there is no plan for a Cabinet reshuffle any time soon. Su made the remark at a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei marking the second anniversary of his Cabinet. He has never found the job tiring or bothersome, and he cherishes the opportunity that the people have given him to serve, Su said, adding thanks to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) for her confidence in him. While most premiers experience a decline in popularity from the moment they take on the role — as it involves decisions that cannot please everyone — he could only try to satisfy the majority, Su said. “A premier can choose to do something for their government or they can be an ornament,” he said. “I chose the former.” Asked whether the Tsai administration would “ambush” the public by allowing imports of radiation-free food from Japan the same way it had announced changes to the rules for US pork imports in August last year, Su denied the premise of the question. The government had not “ambushed ” the public on the issue of US pork imports containing traces of ractopamine, he said. It followed proper procedures, he said. Taiwan banned food imports from five Japanese prefectures after the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster, which is seen as a barrier to the nation joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. The government is closely monitoring pork imports after the new rules went into effect on Jan. 1, Su said, adding that he has personally inspected the screening processes. A Web site launched by the government on Monday last week shows the percentage of local and imported pork on the market, as well as the results of tests for ractopamine residues, he said.
US arms sales to Taiwan are unlikely to continue at the rate and size of packages arranged by US President Donald Trump’s administration, Lee Che-chuan (李哲全), of the Ministry of National Defense Institute for National Defense and Security Research, said on Saturday last week. Lee’s remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday last week wrote on Twitter that “we’ve stood by our friends in Taiwan,” and that the Trump administration had over the past three years authorized more than US$15 billion in arms sales to Taiwan. “The Obama Administration? $14 billion dollars in sales over 8 years,” Pompeo wrote, referring the former US president Barack Obama. Lee said that while the administration of US president-elect Joe Biden would continue to observe past US policies to maintain the safety of Taiwan and stability in the Taiwan Strait, it would be unlikely that arms sales would continue in the same vein as the Trump administration. Arms sales under a Biden administration are expected to be low-profile and practical in nature, such as offering technical assistance for some items instead of selling them outright, Lee said. It is also possible that the Biden administration would provide key equipment for Taiwan to bolster its research and development, he said. Tamkang University Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies director Wong Ming-hsien (翁明賢) said that a Biden administration would begin to “ease off” on arms sales to Taiwan. Adequate handling of US-China relations would be the equivalent of adequately stabilizing global relations for a Biden administration, he said, adding that it would seek to undo the damage that the Trump administration had wrought on US credibility over the past four years. However, the Biden administration’s attitude toward arms sales would only have limited effect on Taiwan, as the nation would require several years’ worth of national defense spending
Taiwan would provide medical assistance to people if complications arise from taking Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday. Deputy MAC Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) made the remarks in response to media queries amid reports that China-based Taiwanese businesspeople were facing pressure from Beijing to be vaccinated for free under its program. “No Taiwanese businesspeople wanted to get that vaccine,” a source told the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on condition of anonymity. “China makes forms that Taiwanese businesspeople have to fill out. After they fill out the form, it half-forces them to take the Chinese vaccine.” The council is “paying close attention” to the situation and would ensure that Taiwanese receive medical care should their health be compromised in China, Chiu said. Taiwanese working in China should weigh the risk of vaccines carefully and take all precautions to protect their health, he said. When asked whether the government would set up a “travel bubble” for the Lunar New Year holiday for people who have received a Chinese vaccine, Chiu said: “This is not the time to think about” traveling. The council would comply with measures set up by the Central Epidemic Command Center, he said. Commenting on Hong Kong, Chiu condemned the arrest of lawyer Daniel Wong (黃國桐) and 10 other dissidents under the National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory. “The international community is concerned with the authorities’ conduct, which has been harmful to human rights,” he said. “Instead of resorting to ever harsher repression, the path to maintaining tranquility and prosperity in Hong Kong is to deal with people’s wishes with reason and tolerance.” Meanwhile, the council marked the 30th year of its founding with a Facebook post, saying that its birthday wish is for “the relationship across the Taiwan Strait to be one of mutual trust, benefit,
The Directorate-General of Highways (DGH) yesterday said that alterations to a vehicle that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) made were illegal after the party unveiled a truck featuring a pig’s face to promote its referendum drive opposing imports of pork containing traces of ractopamine. The ears and snout attached to the exterior of the truck are clearly illegal alterations according to Article 16 the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), the DGH said. If driven on the road, police could fine the owner NT$900 to NT$1,800 for “adding, removing or altering of the original design in a manner that endangers the safety of the vehicle,” the act says. If someone reports the vehicle, personnel would recall it for inspection in accordance with the law, the DGH said. However, it is allowed as a display, as long as it is never driven on a road, it said. Moreover, the KMT did not apply to change the vehicle’s color, the agency said. According to its records, the original color of the vehicle is not pink, it said. Regardless of whether it is driven, it is illegal to paint a vehicle an unusual color without permission, the DGH said, adding that it would recall the truck, inspect it and instruct the owner to correct any problems. KMT spokeswoman Angel Hung (洪于茜) said that the ears and snout are removed while the vehicle is being driven, and are only for display while it is parked. The party has applied to update the records regarding its color, she said, adding that authorities should avoid intentionally obstructing the process. Separately, the KMT reported that as of 5pm on Wednesday it had collected 88,157 signatures for its referendum drive on food safety and 87,800 for its referendum on election timing. If added to the ballot, the first referendum would ask whether the government should prohibit the import
STUDENT SURVEY: Third-graders up to college seniors were asked about their weekly use of cellphones and the Internet, and how much time they spent on physical activity
A survey has found that young people spend nearly 40 hours every week using technology, four times more than they spend doing physical activity, advocacy group Cyber Angel’s Pick (CAP) said yesterday. The group interviewed students ranging in age from third-graders to college seniors to determine trends and views on Internet usage among young Taiwanese. The survey found that on a weekly basis, respondents on average used their cellphones for 25.91 hours, were online for 13.72 hours and watched television for 13.03 hours, CAP chief executive Huang Wei-wei (黃葳葳) said. However, they only did physical activity for 11.64 hours, showing that tech usage is taking up time that could be spent on other activities, said Huang, who is a professor of communications at National Chengchi University. Cellphone and Internet usage is also affecting young people’s outlook, she added. Respondents reported feeling less capable of taking care of themselves, while anxiety about making mistakes and the future was common, she said. As for external pressures, they felt unable to express differing opinions or meet their parents’ expectations, she said. They also believed school rules to be unreasonable and that appearance is more important than health, Huang added. As tech use has increased, young people have become less likely to seek help from others, and are less likely to help those around them, Huang said. Participation in school clubs and teams has also declined, she said. Parents need to be aware of their child’s technology habits, as interpersonal relationships can suffer as a result of increased tech use, she said. However, technology has the potential to expand a user’s worldview when it is used to learn more about an interesting, multifaceted topic, rather than passively absorbing whatever algorithms choose to show, Huang said. Use of technology should follow the mnemonic “CHECK”: choice, home, examination, change and knowledge, she said. Choice means carefully
FRACTURED LIMBS: Veterinarian Wu Chia-ying said she had to euthanize 90 percent of the animals caught in foot-hold trap that she was given to treat
Animal rights advocates and veterinarians yesterday called for the Taoyuan City Government to draft ordinances to prevent the ownership of animal traps unless an individual has a permit, following the deaths of 14 animals in the city last year, including a crab-eating mongoose, which is a protected species. An amendment to the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法) passed 10 years ago stated that no animal traps may be manufactured, sold, displayed, imported or exported without explicit permission from the central government, the group told a news conference in the city. However, the amendment does not say that one cannot “own” such a trap, which has led to a number of incidents involving traps. There were five incidents of animals being hurt by traps between October last year and last month in Taoyuan’s Jhongli (中壢), Sinwu (新屋), Longtan (龍潭), Houxiang (後巷) and Fusing (復興) districts, said Wu Chia-ying (吳珈瑩), a veterinarian who works with the Wild Bird Society of Taiwan. Most of the traps were set up by farmers to prevent animals from ruining their crops, or to catch rats, but wildlife usually migrate to lower altitudes during the winter, Wu said. The jaws of the traps are strong enough to fracture animals’ limbs, and if an injured animal is not discovered soon enough, its wounds could become infected, she said. The survival rate of animals caught in such traps is extremely low, Wu said, adding that she had been forced to euthanize 90 percent of animals injured by foot-hold traps that she saw. Taoyuan City Councilor Chen Jui-sheng (陳睿生) said the lack of legal restrictions against owning traps, and the absence of any punitive measures, makes it difficult for the government to enforce the law. Chen said he is mulling proposing an ordinance to ban ownership of animal traps in the municipality. Taoyuan Animal Protection Office Commissioner Wang Te-chi (王得吉)