Foundation’s status not determined

Hsinyutai Co, a holding company determined by the committee to be a KMT affiliate, in December 2015 subsidized the foundation NT$90 million, it showed. The post of the foundation’s president has almost always been taken by the KMT Administration and Management director or other KMT executive, while its directors have always been KMT employees, the probe found. Committee Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) asked foundation representatives whether the KMT pays the rent for the foundation’s offices on Bade Road (八德路) in Taipei. He asked KMT Administration and Management Committee director Chiu Da-chan (邱大展) whether he instructed Lee to withdraw the money and how it has been used. Saying Chiu and the foundation’s directors assumed office only a couple of days after the KMT elected Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chiu (洪秀柱) in May last year, Koo asked Chiu whether he was appointed president by Hung.

January 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Pension reform opponents ‘selfish’: DPP

Staff writer, with CNADemocratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday accused opponents of the government’s pension reform proposals of being selfish and shameless. DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) denounced opponents of pension reform as people “the nation has taken good care of, who are now behaving selfishly and shamelessly.”“We will absolutely not give in” even if they continue to resist reform, Tuan said. Liu said that one of the leading opponents of pension reform, Lee Lai-hsi (李來希), would receive a monthly pension of NT$90,000 (US$2,854) upon retirement after working for 30 years as a public servant, while Alliance for Monitoring Pension Reform convener Huang Yao-nan (黃耀南) would receive NT$70,000 to NT$80,000 a month. However, “it is extremely difficult to communicate with the government,” Tsai said, adding that officials had “ridden roughshod” over the opinions of those opposed to pension reform. If the DPP uses its majority to ram pension reform proposals through the legislature, there is nothing the KMT can do, but in such a situation President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would have to take full responsibility for any and all consequences, Alex Tsai said.

January 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Lawyer calls for probe into president’s foundation

Yeh Ching-yuan (葉慶元), representing the Minsheng Development Foundation and the National Development Fund, made the remark at a hearing to determine whether the foundation and the fund, along with the Mintsu Development Foundation and Minchuan Development, are Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) affiliates. The committee earlier during the hearing said that the post of Mintsu and Minchuan foundations’ presidents have been taken by KMT Administrative and Management Committee directors, suggesting that the foundations could be linked to the KMT. Yeh said the foundations being probed yesterday were each founded by NT$30 million (US$951,384) donated by Hsinyutai Co in Sept. 2015. As with the Minsheng Development Foundation, the foundations’ presidents have all been KMT officials and their directors KMT employees, the committee said. Chiu said Wang had “affixed the wrong seal” to the resignation letter and said that he would “severely punish” Wang if he repeats the mistake.

January 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Taiwan wants a ‘new era’ of peace, Tsai tells pope

In her Jan. 5 letter to the pope, released by the Presidential Office yesterday, Tsai said upholding peace across the Taiwan Strait needs goodwill and communication. “Based on many years of experience in cross-strait negotiations during my political career, I am convinced that military action cannot resolve problems,” Tsai said. In contrast, today people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait enjoy stable lives and normal exchanges under peaceful separate governance,” she said. Tsai said that Taiwan was committed to maintaining its democracy and the “status quo” of peace, but would not bow to pressure. Tsai said she sought to heed the pope’s words of peace.

January 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Resurgent Federer overpowers Berdych

AP, MELBOURNEAgainst 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer yesterday showed that his first two wins against qualifiers at the Australian Open really were warm-ups. He next plays fifth-ranked Kei Nishikori, who beat Lukas Lacko 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the fourth round for a sixth straight year at Melbourne Park. At the time, Djokovic had won four straight major titles — Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015 and the Australian Open and French Open last year. However, the five-time Australian Open runner-up did not think it changed anything for him, unless he reached the final. Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open winner, is next to play Andreas Seppi, who beat Steve Darcis 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/2).

January 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Trump to adjust the ‘one China’ policy, Michael Green says

Reagan said he would restore diplomatic relations with Taipei and Bush said he would protect Taiwan if it came under attack, Green said. Both presidents adjusted their cross-strait policies after their inauguration, showing strong support for Taiwan, while maintaining friendly relations with China, he said. Green said he suspects Trump would adjust the “one China” policy after his inauguration and tell China that the US would expand its cooperation and build mutual trust on the basis of protecting the US’ and its allies’ core interests. Trump was well-briefed on the “one China” issue prior to his telephone call with Tsai, Blumenthal said. The US has its own take on the “one China” policy, but China has succeeded in the past 10 or so years to get the US to come closer to its own position, he said.

January 20, 2017 16:02 UTC

Airport MRT line expected to get approval to run soon

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- After a long delay, the mass rapid transit (MRT) line between Taipei and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is expected to get the go-ahead to begin commercial operations soon, Deputy Transportation Minister Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) said Friday. He said the system's formal opening date will be decided by the Taoyuan City government and Taoyuan Metro Corp., which will take charge of the MRT line's operations. Despite having not yet received the operating permit, Taoyuan Metro said it will operate the line on a trial basis before commercial operations begin. It expects commercial operations to start in March. The 51.03-kilometer line, which took 12 years to complete, will serve more than 20 stations from Taipei to Taoyuan, including 14 from Taipei Main Station to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

January 20, 2017 14:20 UTC

Approved Taiwanese investment in China down sharply in 2016

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The number of planned investments in China by Taiwanese companies that were approved by Taiwan's government in 2016 fell for the third consecutive year, slumping 21 percent year-on-year, the Investment Commission said Friday. The commission attributed the decline to slower growth and a less attractive investment environment in China, which have discouraged Taiwanese investors from injecting funds into the market. According to the commission, it approved a total of 252 China-bound investment applications in 2016, down 21.49 percent from a year earlier. The 2016 figure fell within the Chinese government's growth target range of 6.5-7 percent but was still the lowest in 26 years. In addition to a decline in the number of approved investment plans, the commission said, the value of approved investments in China in 2016 also fell 11.67 percent from a year earlier to US$9.18 billion.

January 20, 2017 13:55 UTC

Tsai reiterates stance on maintaining cross-strait peace

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In a recent letter to Pope Francis, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) reiterated the Republic of China's stance on upholding Taiwan's democracy and peace in the Taiwan Strait, outlining four principles for peaceful engagement with mainland China. Tsai sent the letter on Jan. 5 in response to the Pope's message on the World Day of Peace 2017. "We should thus cherish all the more this status quo of hard-won stability," Tsai said. Tsai also listed four principles for peaceful engagement with mainland China: "our pledges will not change, our goodwill will not change, we will not bow to pressure and we will not revert to the old path of confrontation." The Holy See, with which the ROC established diplomatic relations in 1942, is the only country in Europe that has full diplomatic links with Taiwan.

January 20, 2017 13:19 UTC

Strong cold air mass sends mercury down to 10.4 degrees in Tamsui

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The arrival of a strong cold air mass from China on Friday has sent the mercury down to 10.4 degrees in Tamsui in New Taipei, the lowest temperature in a low-lying area in Taiwan this winter, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB). The low was recorded at 2:20 p.m. on Friday. As of 5 p.m., Keelung City, Xinwu District in Taoyuan City and Banqiao District in New Taipei had also recorded winter lows at 11.4 degrees, 12 degrees and 12.2 degrees, respectively. CWB forecaster Hsu Chung-yi (徐仲毅) said the cold air mass is expected to affect Taiwan until next Tuesday, and temperatures are likely to drop to their lowest levels early Saturday morning. Temperatures on Friday, meanwhile, are expected to further drop at night.

January 20, 2017 10:38 UTC

Labor insurance premium rate to be raised incrementally: vice president

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A draft proposal to reform Taiwan's pension system seeks to incrementally raise the labor insurance premium rate from 9.5 percent to 18 percent over a 10-year period, rather than doing so in one step, Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) said on Friday. Under the proposal, the labor insurance premium rate will be raised by 0.5 percentage points every year starting in 2018, according to Chen, who heads the Pension Reform Committee under the Presidential Office. For workers whose insured salary is NT$30,000, raising the premium rate by 0.5 percentage points will mean an increase of NT$30 per month in their share of the labor insurance premiums, he explained. The proposal will be presented to a national conference on pension reform for discussion on Sunday. On the proposed labor insurance premium rate hike, Lin said the adjustment is needed to narrow the huge fiscal shortfall in the program and prevent it from going bankrupt, which is currently expected to occur in 2027 or earlier.

January 20, 2017 10:00 UTC

Taoyuan police seize NT$180 million worth of ketamine in drug bust

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Police busted a drug ring in Taoyuan earlier this week, arresting seven suspects and seizing NT$180 million (US$5.71 million) worth of ketamine, the city's District Prosecutors Office said Friday. The suspected ring leader, surnamed Liu, and six others believed to have been involved in the manufacture of the illegal drug were arrested and are being held incommunicado with the permission of the court, the prosecutors' office said. The seven suspects are believed to be members of a branch of the Tiandaomeng gang, one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Taiwan, according to prosecutors. During the raid, police also seized a quantity of ketamine, with an estimated street value of NT$180 million, and equipment that was being used to produce the drug, prosecutors said. Taoyuan prosecutors said they ordered the raid after obtaining information that a Taoyuan-based gang was manufacturing drugs there.

January 20, 2017 09:56 UTC

Soros: Trump a 'would-be dictator' who will rattle markets

NEW YORK (AP) — Billionaire investor George Soros said Thursday he views President-elect Donald Trump as an "impostor and con man and a would-be dictator" who will rattle financial markets. Soros, a big supporter of Hillary Clinton's failed presidential campaign, said he is confident Trump will be checked by Congress and the Constitution. "He would be dictator if he could get away with it but he won't be able to," Soros said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. "I personally am convinced that (Trump) is going to fail," Soros said. He said he expects financial markets to "not do very well" because of the uncertainty generated by the Trump administration.

January 20, 2017 09:05 UTC

Taiwan urged to immediately suspend death penalty

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- International human rights experts have called on Taiwan to suspend its use of the death penalty, expressing regret that the nation has failed to make any progress in abolishing capital punishment. Although capital punishment is increasingly defined in international law as a violation of human dignity, it remains on the books in Taiwan, because it is said most Taiwanese support the death penalty. The review committee urged the Taiwan government and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to educate people as to the cruel and inhumane nature of the death penalty, rather than citing public opinion as a justification. It also strongly suggested that Taiwan should immediately suspend the death penalty and abolish it in the near future, Lin said. The international review meeting wrapped up on Friday.

January 20, 2017 08:55 UTC

Pension reform proposal draws mixed reviews

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Reviews have been decidedly mixed for the extensive pension reform proposals presented yesterday by Vice President Chen Chien-jen, participants in the process revealed on a radio show this morning. Yeh Ta-hua, who serves as a committee member for the government's pension reform task force, gave the proposals a score of 65-70 out of 100. She predicted that pension funds for private sector employees would go bankrupt in nine years while the funds for public sector employees could withstand another 13 years. Huang Yao-nan, convener of the Pension Reform Oversight Coalition, was less generous, giving the proposed reforms a failing grade of 30 points. The vice president on Thursday outlined the major points of the government's pension reform plans, including increasing labor insurance premium rates and phasing out a controversial 18-percent preferential interest rate.

January 20, 2017 03:17 UTC

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