By Lin Hsin-han and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writerA senior high-school student in Keelung has developed a way to harness the energy produced by fish as they swim. Noticing how quickly fish move, he wondered if the energy their movements produced could be captured and stored, he said. The potential 20-year lifespan of his device would be far better than the average lifespan of conventional batteries, he said. Marine scientist Chiang Wei-chuan (江偉全) said Chen’s device could potentially slash the cost of seafloor research surveys. Once mass-produced, the per unit cost of Chen’s device could be as little as NT$5,000, Chiang said.
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporterDespite the decline in visitors and revenue, Cingshuei Freeway Service Area (清水服務區) in Taichung once again topped the annual list of 15 freeway service areas for the most money earned during the Lunar New holiday. The Guansi (關西) Service Area in Hsinchu County came in second with NT$20.18 million, followed by the Dongshan (東山) Service Area in Tainan with NT$19.88 million, it said. The total revenue earned by the 15 service areas along the National Sun Yat-Sen Freeway (Freeway No. 1), Formosa Freeway (Freeway No. 3) and Chiang Wei-shui Freeway (Freeway No.
In the wake of a recent spate of deaths resulting from drunk driving incidents, lawmakers across party lines have submitted more than 20 draft amendments in a bid to strengthen penalties for DUI. In 2013, lawmakers raised the maximum prison term for a DUI incident that resulted in a death to 10 years, which has helped reduce the number of drunk driving cases, he said. Statistics have shown that raising penalties can deter drunk driving, but the most recent amendments have had a limited effect, KMT caucus secretary-general John Wu (吳志揚) said. The proposed amendment would also stipulate the death penalty, life imprisonment or a maximum prison term of 12 years for fatal drunk driving offenses. Meanwhile, a proposal by Wu and 16 others seeks to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment on repeat DUI offenders.
As China lacks a credible official consumer confidence gauge, Xing uses a weighted average of five indicators to check the pulse: Official retail sales, consumer lending, vehicle sales, air travel and restaurant catering. That barometer slid to the lowest since 2008 toward the end of last year, he said. Last year, the government cracked down on risky peer-to-peer consumer lending, and the wealth effect from property values faded as the surge in property prices moderated. Crucially, since October last year “people started to worry more about the job market, and the prospects for wages and employment,” Xing said. Many risky lending platforms have been shut down already, local governments have started easing property purchase restrictions and employment prospects would be boosted by the Chinese government’s stimulus package, Xing said.
Apple plans to expand the kit next year so that iPhone applications can be converted into Mac apps in the same way. For example, later this year Netflix Inc would be able to more easily offer a Mac app for watching video by converting its iPad app. By 2021, Twitter Inc, which has mostly abandoned the Mac, could publish a single app for all Apple customers. Apple plans to start transitioning some Macs to its own chips as early as 2020, Bloomberg News reported last year. Despite the app merger plan, Apple has said that it would not combine iOS and macOS into a single operating system.
BloombergTesla Inc chief executive officer Elon Musk corrected a prediction for how many vehicles the company would make this year, just hours after tweeting that production would reach about 500,000 vehicles. Tesla still forecasts deliveries of about 400,000 vehicles this year, Musk said. His earlier tweet that Tesla would make about 500,000 vehicle this year was difficult to gauge — given his proclivity for setting stretch goals — and was greeted with some skepticism on the social media platform. In a letter to shareholders, Musk and chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja forecast as many as 400,000 total vehicle deliveries this year. Both he and the company agreed to pay US$20 million penalties, and Tesla said it would implement controls to oversee the tweeting of its chief.
“We agree with the main view on the street, which is that we don’t expect a big bump up anytime soon,” Lim said. Its shares yesterday rose 1.2 percent in Singapore, taking this year’s gain to 10 percent. The deal adds logistics centers and business parks to its portfolio of residential, retail and commercial property. “Ascendas will bring us greater diversity and operational excellence in new economy sectors of logistics and business parks,” Lim said. “Ascendas has very strong expertise in markets that CapitaLand does not have, such as India, Australia and [South] Korea.”
AP, TOKYOJapan has reported that its exports last month tumbled 8.4 percent from a year earlier as slowing Chinese growth pushed its monthly trade deficit to the highest level in nearly five years. The politically delicate trade surplus with the US rose 5 percent to US$3.3 billion as exports climbed nearly 7 percent helped by rising shipments of vehicles and power generating machinery. However, imports of US goods rose by a slightly higher margin on strong growth in purchases of US liquefied gas, coal and grains. Japan’s total trade deficit expanded by nearly half from a year earlier to ￥1.4 trillion (US$12.8 billion), with exports totaling ￥5.6 trillion and imports at ￥7 trillion. The trends suggest a deteriorating outlook for trade as the US and China spar over technology policies and other issues, Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said.
AFP, HONG KONGHong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd (國泰航空) yesterday said that it is expected to have swung back to profit last year, ending two years of losses, despite suffering an embarrassing data breach at the end of last year. The airline expects to record a consolidated profit of about US$293 million, compared with US$160 million losses the year before, according to a preliminary profit alert. The second half of the year appears to have brought Cathay squarely back into the black. Cathay is expected to further benefit from the end of costly fuel-hedging contracts this year, Kingston Securities (金利豐證券) analyst Dickie Wong (黃德几) said. However, the company still had “much room to improve in their luxury classes” if it wants to take on Middle Eastern rivals, Wong added.
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporterTo mark the 30th anniversary of the death of democracy activist Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕), the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation yesterday launched the first Art Freedom Era festival in collaboration with civic groups and artists. The art and cultural events are to celebrate freedom, explore Deng’s legacy and imagine a better future for Taiwan, Deng’s widow, Yeh Chu-lan (葉菊蘭), told a news conference at the Nylon Cheng Memorial Museum in Taipei. How do we express our hope for a new and free nation in the face of social division?” she asked. Yeh said that she hopes the festival would spark more discussion on those issues and bring new momentum to the nation’s civil society. However, to maintain the freedom and democracy people now enjoy, and to build an independent nation, there are still many challenges, she said.
By Jason Pan / Staff reporterThe Taiwan High Court yesterday upheld convicted arsonist Weng Jen-hsien’s (翁仁賢) death sentence. Weng had shown no remorse for his crime and there was no likelihood of rehabilitation, the court said. Weng was convicted of killing direct family members and relatives, which is punishable by death or life imprisonment under the Criminal Code. Weng ran into the house, doused his family members with gasoline and set them alight, it found. Throughout the investigation and court proceedings, Weng did not show any remorse and his crime had affected family members and relatives, the court said, adding that he remains a danger to his family.
By Chen Wen-chan and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau has proposed a three-point plan for tackling air pollution after Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) said he was surprised by the pollution levels he witnessed while surveying the Love River (愛河) via helicopter on Wednesday last week. First, a task force led by experts and academics would be set up to inspect air pollution control equipment at steel and petrochemical factories inside Linhai Industrial Park (臨海工業區), helping owners with upgrades and heat recovery, the bureau said. Second, stricter standards would be introduced to lower emissions of air pollutants at electrical facilities, the bureau said. Third, legislation would be drafted requiring factories to use low-sulfur fuel, which would reduce sulfur oxide emissions by about 40 percent, the bureau said, adding that is it likely to be implemented in October. It has already asked the company to speed up its schedule for the transformation, the bureau said.
AFP, NEW YORKA boost in US holiday sales helped retail behemoth Walmart Inc’s profits surge at the end of last year, but store executives on Tuesday acknowledged that they have not yet solved the profitability riddle for the fast-growing online business. Higher comparable sales at Walmart’s namesake US stores — the source of two-thirds of revenues — offset declining sales at Walmart International and Sam’s Club stores. The company has signaled that it expects losses in its e-commerce business to grow over the next year, due to spending on same-day grocery delivery and technology. Walmart is exploring other innovations, such as a crowdsourced grocery delivery pilot program. The system could ultimately evolve to one where Walmart delivers groceries within a window of time, McMillon said.
An eye exam showed that her best corrected visual acuity was 0.5 and 0.6, he said. Chen also did not lower the screen brightness after work and watched online shows on her smartphone with the lights turned off, he said. Chen’s symptoms were relieved after three to four days of treatment using topical antibiotics and steroids, as well as artificial tears and other eye drops and creams, the ophthalmologist said. To prevent similar cases, smartphone users should not keep screen brightness at the highest level all day, look at their smartphone’s screen under sunlight or view the screen in complete darkness, Hung said. Computer and smartphone screens should be viewed from a distance of 30cm to 40cm, and the level of brightness should not exceed 500 lux, he said.
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporterMore than 60 civic groups are to march in Taipei on Sunday to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the 228 Incident. Last year’s march saw the participation of 48 civic groups, while 61 groups have signed up for this year’s event, the Nylon Cheng Liberty Foundation and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, which organized the march, said in a joint statement. Foundation chief executive officer Tu Chih-yao said that the Incident serves as an important reminder of how precious freedom is. “Many people might be indifferent about the 72nd anniversary [of the Incident], but we must not give in to ‘amnesia,’” she said. He said that he hopes teachers and students would join the march to learn about the Incident and reflect on the way they learn history.