Authorities crack down on fake taxis outside Taoyuan airport

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taoyuan International Airport Corp Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁) pledged Sunday to address the rampant "fake taxi driver" problem outside the airport's arrival halls, after the situation was again brought to light by social media users. National Taiwan University professor Chang Hsueh-kung in a Facebook post accused the fake taxi drivers of creating a chaotic transportation situation by holding up traffic as he left the airport himself. He made a direct appeal to Tseng, commenting under his post : "Darjen Tseng Chairman, where are you?" As of now, the airport management would step up inspections and patrols to drive away the fake taxi drivers. Some wrote that arrivals preparing to leave the airport after 10 p.m. would most definitely get accosted by fake taxi drivers looking for business, while others called the situation "damaging to the country's image."

March 26, 2017 04:52 UTC

Rain moving south Sunday, weather becoming dry later

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- It would be a day of cloudy and rainy weather all around Taiwan Sunday, with northern and eastern Taiwan particularly wet and cold under the influence of a continental cold air mass, the Central Weather Bureau said. The good news is that the weather would turn dry Monday even though temperatures would remain low in late-night and early-morning hours, the bureau said. The weather is expected to become warmer during the day on Tuesday as the cold air mass weakens. A band of rain and cloud was expected to move south during the day so it would become dry in northern Taiwan in the afternoon while the rain would not let up until the evening in central and southern Taiwan, it said. Rain would likely continue to fall into the night in eastern Taiwan and in the mountainous areas around Taiwan, according to the forecast.

March 26, 2017 03:00 UTC

Congo war crimes victims awarded US$250 by ICC

But in announcing both collective and individual reparations, he said he hoped it would bring some "measure of relief" and help victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo rebuild their lives. The ICC sentenced Katanga to 12 years in jail in 2014 after convicting him of five charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the February 2003 ethnic attack on Bogoro, a village in troubled Ituri Province. "These individual reparations don't have any symbolic value. Today US$250 doesn't mean anything in the DRC," Salomon Kisembo Byaruhanga, a local tribal chief, told AFP. In its 1,000-page reparations order, the court said it had assessed the total damage at US$3,752,620.

March 25, 2017 18:11 UTC

More firms join boycott of YouTube ads

AP, SAN FRANCISCOAn advertising boycott of YouTube LLC is broadening, a sign that big-spending companies doubt Google’s ability to prevent marketing campaigns from appearing alongside repugnant videos. AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen AG and other companies pulled ads earlier this week. Google depends mostly on automated programs to place ads in YouTube videos, because the job is too much for humans to handle on their own. Besides suspending their spending on YouTube, Wal-Mart, PepsiCo Inc and several other companies have said they will stop buying ads that Google places on more than 2 million other third-party Web sites. Alphabet’s stock price has fallen nearly 4 percent since the boycott began last week after an investigation by British newspaper the Times revealed the ads of major brands were appearing in YouTube videos delving into contentious themes.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Iron rally turns to rout as futures post record loss

BloombergIron ore is getting beaten down after a flurry of warnings that gains might be vulnerable. Futures in China have posted an unprecedented weekly loss, the most-active contract in Singapore fell for a sixth day and spot prices had the biggest slump since November last year. “I don’t think this is the big sell-off yet,” Tomas Gutierrez, an analyst at Kallanish Commodities, said by telephone from Shanghai. In Dalian, most-active futures collapsed 19 percent this week — the most on record — as steel prices backtracked, with reinforcement bar in Shanghai tumbling 12 percent. In Singapore, SGX AsiaClear futures had the fourth weekly loss in five, about 9 percent lower.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

European stocks decline as risk aversion weighs

BloombergEuropean stocks on Friday fell for the fourth time in five days, widening a weekly decline and moving further away from a 15-month high they reached just a week ago. The STOXX Europe 600 lost 0.2 percent. Republican leaders of the US House of Representatives pulled the legislation due to a shortage of votes despite desperate lobbying by the White House and its allies in the US Congress. KEY ECONOMIESReports from Germany and France showed better-than-forecast manufacturing and services this month, signaling strength in the key eurozone economies. In Germany, the DAX added 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 dropped 0.2 percent, while Britain’s FTSE 100 index dipped 0.1 percent.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Medeiros slams Trump over Taiwan

By Nadia Tsao and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter in Washington, with staff writerFormer US National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Evan Medeiros on Wednesday slammed US President Donald Trump’s Taiwan policy, saying US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks in Beijing last week showed that the administration was “flip-flopping” on the issue. Alleged infighting in the Trump administration has further clouded the issue, making it difficult for foreign governments to confirm Trump’s strategic intentions, while his decision to go forward with the summit without appointing a full staff of experienced Asia-Pacific experts might lead to blunders. Medeiros told reporters that Tillerson’s comments were “not a positive” development for Taiwan, and that Trump’s “erratic” policy should raise concerns in Taipei about what he thinks about the nation. Repeating Chinese officials’ phrasing has the effect of reinforcing Beijing’s view that it “can shape and alter your approach,” Medeiros said. He added that he doubts whether the Trump administration views Taiwan as crucial to long-term US interests, as the Obama administration did, or if it sees Taiwan as a bargaining chip to be traded to China when dealing with North Korea.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Oil down for week on US supplies, OPEC meeting

US crude output last week continued to expand along with inventories, data from the US government showed on Wednesday. While OPEC would not formally decide until May whether to prolong a production-cut deal aimed at easing a global glut, officials are meeting this weekend in Kuwait to discuss its progress. Oil this week slid below US$48 per barrel, the lowest prices since November last year, as the US supply glut and increased drilling activity continued to counter output cuts by OPEC and other producers. OPEC will extend the cuts if stockpiles are still above their five-year average, Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih said in a Bloomberg interview last week. Nationwide stockpiles increased by 4.95 million to 533.1 million barrels in the week ended March 17.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

DPP urges China to account for missing Taiwanese activist

Reuters, TAIPEIChina’s failure to respond on the matter of a Taiwanese man missing in China is causing his family “anxiety and panic,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said yesterday, as it called on authorities to protect the rights of Taiwanese. Concern has risen in Taiwan about the whereabouts of Lee Ming-che (李明哲), a community college worker known for supporting human rights in China who disappeared on Sunday last week after entering China’s Zhuhai city via Macau. Chinese authorities had repeatedly said they would protect the rights of Taiwanese in China in accordance with the law, the DPP said. The party called on Chinese authorities to respond promptly to requests for cooperation and “effectively protect human rights and not increase the risk of Taiwanese traveling to China,” Chang said. “Please tell her if her husband is alive or dead, where is he,” the rights group said in a statement.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

US dollar steadies after Republicans pull healthcare bill

Reuters, NEW YORKThe US dollar on Friday pulled back from near a four-month low against the Japanese yen and snapped an eight-day losing streak against the safe-haven currency after Republicans killed their bill to overhaul the US healthcare system. With a risk-averse mood across markets, the greenback has slipped about 1.3 percent against the yen this week. In Taipei, the New Taiwan dollar on Friday was unchanged against the greenback at NT$30.488. The NT dollar rose 0.5 percent against the US dollar from last week’s NT$30.626. Sterling on Friday fell against the US dollar and euro from the previous session’s one-month highs, as investors braced for Britain to begin next week the formal process of leaving the EU.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

F-35Bs out of Taiwan's budget: experts

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Military experts said Friday U.S.-made F-35B fighters would be ideal for Taiwan's defense needs, but warned that a mixture of political and financial factors made the purchase of the jets unlikely. He said that should mainland China use ballistic missiles to attack Taiwan's military airports, the takeoff capability of Taiwan's existing fighters would be seriously undermined. "In this regard, the short takeoff F-35B can offset the advantage of the ballistic missiles fired by mainland China." But Chieh saw little possibility of the U.S. selling F-35B fighters to Taiwan. Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuang recently expressed his confidence that F-16V could effectively counter China's J-20 and J-31 stealth fighters should a cross-strait war break out.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Auckland, Otago maintain NZ form

Duffie touched down twice within 10 minutes at the start of the second half as the Blues overcame a disorganized first half performance to win by six tries to two. The game turned in the Blues’ favor in the second half when they lost their structure. Duffie’s tries in the 45th and 54th minutes unleashed a torrent of scoring by the Blues in the second spell. “I think in the first half we played a little more towards the way we wanted,” Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss said. The Highlanders are the bottom team in the New Zealand Conference, while the Brumbies are atop the Australian Conference.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

High-level Japanese official visits

Shortly after his arrival, Akama chaired the opening of a two-day Japanese tourism fair at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei. Organizers said the tourism fair also aims to expand the market for Japanese regional foods and creative works in Taiwan. While not easy to put together, the visit had great significance, Akama said, adding that he was happy to share Japanese culture with Taiwanese. Akama said he hoped that Taiwan would soon allow imports of products from Fukushima Prefecture. Importers of Japanese food products have since May 15, 2015, been required to present certification to prove their produce does not originate from any of the five prefectures.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

FDA postpones raising of fluopyram limit for teas

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has postponed the recently modified regulation to allow 6 parts per million (ppm) of fluopyram residue in tea due to public apprehension, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said. Lawmakers from several political parties, physicians and non-governmental organizations also questioned the FDA’s decision, with some saying that the 6ppm limit is much higher than that of Australia, Japan and the EU. However, the FDA issued another press release that evening, stating that it would postpone modifying the fluopyram limit for tea. In response to media queries for comments, Chen said the modification was pre-announced according to formal procedures, and he respects the conclusion the specialists reached. However, he said the implementation was postponed because of public concern, potential negative effects on tea exports and a lack of urgency for the change.

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

Trump praises Charter over plan to hire 20,000

AP, WASHINGTONUS President Donald Trump on Friday praised a plan by cable company Charter Communications Inc to hire 20,000 US call center workers. However, the hiring initiative dates back to 2015 as part of the company’s successful efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable Inc. It was the latest corporate jobs announcement made at the White House that capitalized on plans made before Trump won the presidency. Call center jobs at Charter have a base pay of US$14 per hour and total annual compensation of nearly US$29,000, according to the jobs site Glassdoor. Trump said the plans will be great for US workers, telling Rutledge: “You watch, it will be one of your really fantastic decisions.”

March 25, 2017 15:56 UTC

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