Shanghai Starbucks, Taiwan’s President Starbucks Coffee Corp (統一星巴克) and its Philippine 7-Eleven franchise, Philippine Seven Corp, are the three most important businesses for the company beside its local convenience store business. In August, the Ministry of Labor announced it will from January raise the minimum wage by 4.72 percent to NT$22,000 per month and 5.26 percent to NT$140 per hour. Under the FC1 agreement, franchisees receive 63 percent of the gross profit from President Chain, but must cover the cost of wages, and securing and fitting out properties, while FC2 deals award franchisees a lower proportion — between 33 percent and 51 percent — of the gross profit in exchange for President Chain covering those costs. Shares in President Chain fell 3.5 percent last week to close at NT$275.5 in Taipei trading on Friday. This year, the stock has risen 19.26 percent, compared with the main bourse’s 12.37 percent increase over the period, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.
Staff writerDomestic fuel prices are to fall this week due to Kazakhstan’s concern over the effects of an extension of a global output cut and a continued increase in US oil production, state-run refiner CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) said yesterday. Kazakh Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev last week said that complying with the global output cut until the end of next year would be complicated for Kazakhstan, which is one of the non-OPEC members that supported the pact. Meanwhile, the increase in US crude production last week by 25,000 barrels to 9.71 million barrels per day has added to the sentiment that crude prices might not increase further. The average cost of crude oil decreased by US$0.68 per barrel to US$61.13, CPC said in a statement. Global crude prices also rose due to an increase in US gasoline inventories, said Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), which on Saturday announced similar cuts, effective from today.
Reuters, OSLOThe leader of the group that won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize yesterday urged nuclear nations to adopt a UN treaty banning atomic weapons to prevent “the end of us.”The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize by a Nobel committee that cited the spread of nuclear weapons and the growing risk of an atomic war. ICAN is a coalition of 468 grassroots non-governmental groups that campaigned for a UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by 122 nations in July. The treaty is not signed by — and would not apply to — any of the states that already have nuclear arms. A choice between the two endings: The end of nuclear weapons or the end of us,” she said in her speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. The US, Britain and France sent second-rank diplomats to the ceremony, which Fihn earlier told reporters was “some kind of protest.”
By Stacy Hsu / Staff reporterThe Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said it is considering collecting a “special party fee” and raising the contribution amounts required by KMT cadres and public office holders, in a last-ditch effort to remedy what the party called an “unprecedented financial crisis.”“The challenge facing the KMT is unprecedented, as is its current financial crisis. It was the first meeting of the 210 members of the Central Committee since they were elected in September. To keep from being dependent on borrowed money, the party plans to levy a “special party fee” on party members and require KMT cadres and public officials to contribute more to the party, Chiu said. The regulation was an attempt to alleviate the party’s financial straits amid ongoing efforts by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee to recover party assets allegedly acquired illegally during the nation’s authoritarian era. The regulation requires the KMT chairperson and vice chairs to each raise NT$10 million, while special municipality mayors must raise NT$2 million and party lawmakers NT$500,000.
Wu said the KMT should respond to the act by drawing on historical records in its possession to show that the party has changed. The KMT showed no interest in promoting transitional justice when they returned to office in 2008, despite claiming to be different from the KMT of the past, he added. “If this is done well, then no individual or party will be held accountable for past crimes,” Wu said. Collecting and making public the records of those blacklisted students, which are spread out among various organizations, would provide a more complete historical picture, he said. “In any nation where public records are hidden away or destroyed, people are going to be distrustful of the government,” Wu said.
Hsieh cited a report published last year in the Wall Street Journal titled “Taiwan: The World’s Geniuses of Garbage Disposal,” which praised Taiwan’s transformation from a “garbage island” to “an international poster child for recycling, boasting a recycling rate of 55 percent in 2015” — higher than the 35 percent rate in the US. However, Taiwan’s seemingly impressive recycling rate conceals many hidden numbers, Hsieh said. The nation’s recycling rate is calculated by dividing the amount of recycled garbage by the total amount of garbage, but neither figure reflects reality, Hsieh said. Trash disposed by informal and private collectors is not included in the total amount of garbage, yet the trash they recycle is included in the nation’s total recycling, Hsieh said, adding that because of this, the recycling rate seems high and appears to be rising. Even worse, the organization found that some garbage collectors smuggled in electronic waste from other countries to benefit from recycling subsidies provided by the EPA, Hsieh said.
By Wu Po-wei, Wu Po-hsuan and Jake Chung / Staff reporters, with staff writerA joint effort between the National Communications Commission (NCC) and private organizations is looking to establish Taiwan’s first fact-checking platform by next year in hopes of combating fake news. The commission has held three meetings this year with various platform operators, media agencies and broadcasters and private organizations on potential methods of verifying news reports, NCC Department of Broadcasting and Contents director Huang Chin-yi (黃金益) said yesterday. Government agencies should nonetheless offer clarification to calm the public if disinformation spread by fake news falls within their purview, Huang said. Taiwan has been relying on the self-discipline of its media agencies, as well as the efforts of civic organizations in the nation, Wang said. Most of these organizations are collaborative efforts by media agencies, Hu said, adding that for Taiwan to have no such body shows a delayed reaction on a pressing issue.
By Nadia Tsao and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter in WASHINGTON, with staff writerThe day US Navy vessels arrive in Kaohsiung would be the day the Chinese People’s Liberation Army “unifies” Taiwan by force, said Li Kexin (李克新), minister at the Chinese embassy in the US. Li made the remarks on Friday at an explanatory session at the Chinese embassy in Washington about the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress and US President Donald Trump’s visit to China last month. “I said: ‘Are you not going to send military vessels to Taiwan, to Kaohsiung...? If you send military vessels over there, [you] will activate the Anti-Secession Law [of China],” Li said on Friday. Li said he was not joking, adding that US military vessels need to obtain China’s approval to visit Shanghai and if they want to visit Taiwan, China will definitely disapprove.
According to the Hot Spring Act (溫泉法), natural hot springs are national resources, Consumers’ Foundation chairman Yu Kai-hsiung (游開雄) said. As many people have visited hot springs in the past few weeks amid falling temperatures, the foundation randomly surveyed 12 hot spring resorts nationwide, Yu said. Chengping Hot Spring Resort in Jhiben, as well as the Shian Ting and Melonshan resorts, asked for down payments in excess of the legal maximum of 30 percent, the foundation said. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications must step up efforts to supervise hot springs, Yu said, adding that it should begin by revoking permits. Hot Spring Tourism Association Taiwan president Lee Chi-tien (李吉田) said that the foundation’s sample size was too small to claim that “40 percent” of national hot spring owners operated illegally.
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that online rumors that eating soy products increases the risks of premature sexual development and breast cancer are incorrect, as phytoestrogens contained in soy products are very limited. Some people fear that soy isoflavones, with estrogenic effects, could increase risks of sexual precocity and breast cancer. Soy isoflavones only account for about 0.2 to 0.4 percent of soy beans’ weight and someone eating 1kg of soy beans would ingest a maximum of about 20 to 40 milligrams, the FDA said. The absorption rate of soy isoflavones in the human intestinal tract is only about 20 percent, it said, adding that a person would need to consume a very large amount of soy products to absorb excessive soy isoflavones. People should acquire a correct understanding of dietary concepts instead of believing rumors and seek medical attention when they feel ill, the FDA said.
Ridership on TRA trains last year totaled 230.37 million, an annual decline of about 8 percent, a significantly steeper drop than the 0.26 percent fall recorded in 2015, the report showed. The TRA’s two main express services, which both require advance booking, have been seeing a steady decline in ridership over the past few years, the report showed. The passenger load factor on Ziqiang trains fell to 70.31 percent last year, compared with 76.33 percent in 2013, according to the report, which did not give precise ridership data for the service. On the Juguang service, the passenger load factor was 42.89 percent last year, compared with 57.16 percent in 2013, the report showed. For all TRA trains, the average load factor fell from 66.85 percent in 2013 to 63.28 percent last year, the report showed.
AFP, GAZA CITY, Palestinian TerritoriesIsraeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip yesterday killed two Hamas militants as unrest simmered across the Palestinian territories over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Dozens of protesters were wounded by rubber bullets or live fire in clashes in the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem that followed Friday prayers. Yesterday’s predawn airstrike on a base of Hamas’ military wing in Nusseirat, in the central Gaza Strip, was one of several, the Israeli military said. On Friday night, a rocket hit the southern Israeli city of Sderot, although Israeli public radio said it did not explode and did not cause any casualties. The Israeli military said that its Iron Dome air defense system intercepted an earlier rocket fired from the Palestinian enclave.
Staff writer, with CNAThe Ministry of Science and Technology is planning to use its experience setting up science parks to replicate them in Southeast Asian nations and help Taiwanese businesses better explore opportunities there. The ministry has asked the science park authorities in Hsinchu, Taichung and Tainan to assess the possibility of establishing similar facilities in Southeast Asian nations targeted by the government’s New Southbound Policy, Su said. “With supply chain clusters at science parks in these countries, Taiwanese businesses could help each other and explore local markets more effectively,” he said. “The ministry has been negotiating with several Southeast Asian countries in the hopes of establishing science parks in those countries through investment by the private sector and host governments,” Su said. “Rather, it will help build a comprehensive production chain for Taiwanese businesses operating there, saving costs and boosting margins for them.”
By Jason Pan / Staff reporterProsecutors yesterday indicted the co-owners of English-language teaching companies Wells English (威爾斯美語) and TutorWell (微爾科技), two years after hundreds of staff and students said they were cheated in a “fraudulent bankruptcy” scam. After a more than one-year investigation, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office indicted 49-year-old Weng Yi-wei (翁一緯) and 48-year-old Wu Chun-hsien (吳俊賢), co-owners and investors in Wells English and TutorWell. The three men had a thriving business, as Wells English and Hsueh Cheng at one point had 16 and 19 branches nationwide respectively, but news of financial problems began to surface in 2015 and the three companies were shut down without warning in January last year. Thousands of students and hundreds of employees said it was a fraudulent bankruptcy and filed a lawsuit in April last year. However, prosecutors said that as testimony and evidence indicated that Weng and Wu did not participate in the scheme, they were only charged with violating provisions of the act.
The act has been compared to a “birdcage,” because it imposes an extremely high threshold for any proposal to pass. Foundation members marched to the Presidential Office Building and stood silently in front of the building to demonstrate their long-term demand for the referendum threshold to be lowered. The demonstrators walked around the Presidential Office Building for about two-and-a-half hours and staged a sit-in in front of the White Terror monument, Liu said. Foundation founder and former DPP chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) has his own plans to address the issue, he added. In response to the group’s latest appeal, Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said that Taiwan is a democratic nation and initiating a referendum is a power afforded to the people.