Nuclear arms ban talks begin at UN, but US, others boycott

talks aimed at banning nuclear weapons began Monday, but the United States, Russia, China and other nuclear-armed nations are sitting out a discussion they see as impractical. Supporters of the potential pact say it's time to push harder toward eliminating atomic weapons than nations have been doing through the nearly 50-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. With international tensions rising while public awareness of the nuclear threat has waned, "the need for progress on nuclear disarmament has rarely been as urgent as it is today," U.N. "As a mom, as a daughter, there is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. The negotiations aim to create "a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination."

March 27, 2017 20:37 UTC

The Latest: Russian state bank says it met with Kushner

WASHINGTON — The latest on contacts between President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Russian officials (all times local):4 p.m.A Russian state bank says it has met with President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as part of a series of meetings on future strategies. The White House said Kushner was "doing his job" by reaching out to foreign officials. The White House confirmed that Kushner had volunteered to answer questions about arranging meetings with the Russian ambassador and other officials. The White House says that President Donald Trump's son-in-law was "doing his job" by reaching out to foreign officials. Kushner is one of Trump's top advisers who the president has entrusted, in part, with holding talks with foreign leaders.

March 27, 2017 20:15 UTC

HK to arrest leaders of democracy protests

HONG KONG -- A day after Hong Kong picked a new pro-Beijing leader, police are planning to arrest student leaders and other prominent figures involved with the huge 2014 "Umbrella Movement" pro-democracy protests, activists said Monday. Hong Kong police, who have arrested more than 200 people for their involvement in the protests, did not reply to inquiries. The arrests, could reignite political tensions in Hong Kong as the city prepares for its leadership transfer. They founded a civil disobedience campaign that helped spark the 79-day protests demanding free elections for Hong Kong's leader. It seems to be a well-designed plan of C.Y.," referring to Hong Kong's current leader, Leung Chun-ying, who is highly unpopular because of his hard-line stance against the protesters.

March 27, 2017 18:11 UTC

Cross-strait collaboration eyes precision medicine

The Cross-Strait Precision Medicine Forum could be the start of competitive collaboration between Taiwan and China that could overtake Western advancement in precision medicine, Chairman Chang Heng (張珩) of the Taiwan Joint Commission of Precision Medicine has said. Precision medicine is a medical model that takes into account an individual's genes, environment and lifestyle when customizing a preventative and treatment health care plan. Wang noted that given Taiwan's ties with Xiamen, the city's free trade zone could attract a lot of Taiwanese businesses that could further promote the development of cross-strait precision medicine research. Currently construction for the next generation sequencing solution plant has completed, he said. Attendees agreed Saturday to make fighting lung cancer and rare illnesses a starting point for further research.

March 27, 2017 18:00 UTC

Sales of older houses plunge by 30% in Taipei

Taipei's abundance of older houses means it was widely regarded as standing to benefit greatly from urban renewal projects, H&B researchers said. However, despite such potential, the drop-off in transactions involving older houses indicates that local buyers still prefer new developments. Lan Mei-nan, a chief researcher at Great Home Realty, said buyers were likely turned off buying older houses due to the drawn-out nature of urban renewal projects, which typically last several years. Other factors cited by Lan included the lower prices garnered when reselling older houses, high maintenance costs and the lack of sound management systems such as community housing committees. If passed, the statute would mean that no urban renewal project could be launched until all involved owners give their approval.

March 27, 2017 18:00 UTC

New Hualien rule to charge hikers fee if they require search and rescue

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hikers who head into the hills without a guide, without insurance or during bad weather could face steep fines of up to NT$ 50,000 under a draft law revealed Monday by the Hualien County Government. According to the county government, the proposed Hiking Activities Autonomous Management Act (登山活動管理自治條例) changes were drafted due to a gradual increase in rescue operations over the past few years. Hualien County Fire Department chief Lin Wen-ruei (林文瑞) said there had been 42 rescue cases last year alone — up 3.5 percent from five years ago. The proposed act comprises 16 regulations, included ones requiring hikers to take with them proper equipment as well as a professional guide. Lin added that once the act took effect, hikers without hiking insurance or who entered the mountains on a typhoon day would be finned between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000 as well as be responsible for the costs of their search and rescue.

March 27, 2017 18:00 UTC

Toscanini's musical and anti-Fascist legacy remembered

MILAN -- Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini's legacies included abolishing encores at La Scala. "That was 7 percent of the population of the United States, adults and children, at that time. That would be like 22 million people tuning into a broadcast of symphonic music. He shifted his career to the United States, where he was conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra at the time and had previously conducted the Metropolitan Opera. "He realized that moving to the United States by conducting symphonic music, he had a much bigger audience for classical music," Pulcini said.

March 27, 2017 17:48 UTC

KMT poll suggests Tsai’s approval rating down

By Stacy Hsu / Staff reporterPresident Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating has plunged to about 25 percent, although less than 30 percent of Taiwanese would like to see her removed from office, a poll published by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said yesterday. The poll, conducted by TrendGo Survey Research Co between Friday and Sunday at the behest of the KMT, showed that 25.7 percent of the respondents were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, compared with 61.5 percent who were not. Despite Tsai’s high disapproval rating, only 28.9 percent of those polled supported removing her from office, while 59.4 percent were opposed, the survey said. “These figures indicate that Taiwanese are moving toward a middle ground,” Hu said, adding that the KMT would step up efforts to appeal to grassroots voters. The poll collected 1,069 valid samples and has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

Seven high-school students and one teacher killed in Japanese avalanche

AFP and Reuters, TOKYOAn avalanche yesterday killed seven high-school students and a teacher on a mountain-climbing trip in Japan, with more than 30 people reportedly injured. More than 100 troops have been deployed in a major rescue effort after the avalanche hit ski slopes in Tochigi Prefecture, with television footage showing rescuers climbing mountains as ambulances stood by. A group of 52 students and 11 teachers from seven high schools were on a three-day mountaineering outing when disaster struck, authorities said. “This is an annual event and we never had a major accident before,” one of the teachers told Jiji Press. However, some of its facilities were made available for the high-school mountaineering trip organized by physical education authorities.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

Insomnia affects women more than men, poll finds

The Taiwan Society of Sleep Medicine commissioned the repeat cross-sectional survey, which gives an overview of sleeping disorders in Taiwanese. Insomnia is indicated by three types of difficulties with sleep, Sleep Center director Chen Ning-hung (陳濘宏) said. If the symptoms occur more than three times per week and persist for more than three months, then the condition is considered chronic, Chen said. The average duration of a respondents’ sleep and level of satisfaction increased in this year’s survey, Chen said. Both numbers had risen since the 2006 survey and were significantly higher than the average prevalence rate.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

‘One country, two systems’ an empty pledge: DPP

The election bankrupted the “one country, two systems” framework and weakened the little confidence Taiwanese had in Beijing, Wu said. Because the Chinese Communist Party puts its hands into Hong Kong and deprives Hong Kongers of the opportunity to seek freedom. “Without the opportunity to have fair elections or freedom of speech, is the so-called ‘one country, two system’ the way of the future?” Lee asked. Former premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), who had been sympathetic of Hong Kong’s electoral system, said “one country, two systems” was being emptied out, Lee said. “The Hong Kong system shows that what ‘one country, two systems’ stipulates is fake democracy.”

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

DPP pans ‘Formosa’ banner removal

DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) criticized the banner’s removal, saying the Sports Administration should do a better job of advising the CTFA, adding that fans should not be censored when they are cheering for their team. Lin Yung-chen (林詠晨), head of the Ultras Formosa fan group whose banner was removed, said his group has been using the same banner for nearly 10 years and had not encountered any difficulties until last year. Lin said the slogan is meant to cheer on Taiwanese teams, adding that Formosa is a historical Portuguese name for the nation. “The name has even been used officially for the Taiwanese team at the Olympics,” Lin said. Huang accused the Sports Administration of failing to act as an intermediary between sports associations and fans.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

ARATS boss pushes ‘one country’ for more trade

However, the problem can be dismissed if both Taiwan and China are “in one country,” he said. Chen was responding a comment from Taiwanese businesspeople during a panel discussion at the four-day Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province that ended on Sunday. “We are two WTO members in one country, which have not yet been unified peacefully,” Chen said. Under WTO rules, if one WTO member offers a preferential treatment to another member, it has to give that same treatment to all other members, he said. China will face economic challenges if it unilaterally opens its market to Taiwan, “but this problem will be much easier to solve if the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are in one country,” he said.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

HK protest leaders to face charges

Reuters and AFP, HONG KONGHong Kong police yesterday told at least nine organizers of 2014’s pro-democracy “Umbrella movement” that they would face charges, protest leaders said, an ominous sign just a day after a Beijing-backed leader was chosen, vowing to unite society. It was not immediately clear why authorities had waited so long to pursue the charges. Asked by reporters about the timing, Lam said she could not intervene with prosecutions carried out by the administration of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英). Hong Kong lawmaker Tanya Chan (陳淑莊) said at least nine protest leaders, including herself, received telephone calls from the police notifying them of the charges. Lam was Leung’s deputy chief secretary for the past five years and is known as a tough, though competent administrator.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

Axing statute of limitations on murder supported

Staff writer, with CNADeputy Minister of Justice Tsai Pi-chung (蔡碧仲) yesterday said that the Ministry of Justice agrees that the statute of limitations should be scrapped for murder charges. Tsai said that there is no statute of limitations in other advanced nations, such as Germany. Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of the legislatures Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee, Tsai was responding to a proposal by lawmakers to scrap the statute of limitations for major crimes. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) and others in December last year proposed a revision to the Criminal Code governing statutes of limitations. Wang said the statute of limitations should not apply to offenses foe which the maximum sentence is the death penalty, life imprisonment or prison terms longer than 10 years in the case of murder or major economic crimes.

March 27, 2017 15:56 UTC

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