Uber’s valuation in its latest private investment round was more than US$70 billion, but reports said the ride-hailing giant was likely to seek a market value of close to US$100 billion. “Our mission is to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion,” the document filed with the SEC said. The filing contained a “placeholder” amount of US$1 billion to be raised, but that figure is expected to increase ahead of the initial public offering (IPO) expected for next month. Both Uber and Lyft are predicting that ride-hailing would gain even more traction with autonomous vehicles, allowing more people to give up private vehicles and freeing up more urban space. However, analysts have warned that Uber and Lyft face a difficult road to profitability amid challenges from regulators and established taxi operators around the world.
AFP, QUETTA, PakistanA powerful suicide blast apparently targeting the Shia Hazara ethnic minority yesterday killed at least 20 people and wounded 48 at a crowded fruit market in Quetta, officials said. Body parts littered the scene and injured people screamed for help as black smoke cloaked the market after the explosion. A faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack in the capital of Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan Province. The group said that it collaborated with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which has been behind numerous bloody attacks on Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. Balochistan Home Minister Zia Ullah Langu gave the death toll and confirmed that it was a suicide blast, saying that two of the dead were children.
By Jason Pan / Staff reporterA group of civic organizations is to stage a counterdemonstration to a rally by pro-unification parties in Taichung today. The pro-China groups “are abusing Taiwan’s freedom of speech in their proxy work for China, and their rally is to promote Beijing’s annexation of Taiwan under the ‘one country, two systems’ model,” Huang said. More than a dozen groups are to depart from Taiwan Boulevard Section 9 and march to the old Taichung Railway Station and around downtown, Huang said. “We would like to see a massive turnout to welcome the pro-China groups to Taichung. Legal experts have said that the Taichung City Government should not have granted the permit to the pro-China groups, because they are clearly working on behalf of Beijing in contravention of the National Security Act (國家安全法).
BloombergHong Kong has retained its mantle as the most expensive housing market on Earth, boasting the highest average house price at US$1.2 million, as well as the highest average prime property price at US$6.9 million. That is according to CBRE Group Inc’s Global Living report, which canvassed 35 cities from Barcelona, Spain, to Birmingham, England. Vancouver and Shenzhen — one of the bigger cities in China’s Greater Bay Area — round out the top five for highest average property price. The other most-expensive markets for prime homes are Shanghai and Moscow, at US$2.4 million; Beijing at US$2.2 million; Shenzhen at US$2 million; and London at US$1.8 million. For cheaper luxury digs, try Dublin, where the average price comes in at US$384,050 or Ho Chi Minh City, at US$403,270.
AP, DALLASBoeing Co has made 96 flights to test a software update for its troubled 737 Max jet, chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg said on Thursday. More test flights are planned in the coming weeks as Boeing attempts to convince regulators that the plane is safe, he added. The Max was grounded by regulators around the world last month after deadly crashes involving the plane in Indonesia and Ethiopia. Markey said safety equipment that had not been installed on the Boeing 737 Max jets in Indonesia and Ethiopia might have saved them from fatal crashes. Meanwhile, US aviation regulators planned to meet with airlines and pilot unions yesterday to discuss safety issues on Boeing’s grounded 737 Max aircraft.
AFP, NEW DELHIThe Dalai Lama yesterday told his followers to “feel at ease” as he was discharged from a New Delhi hospital three days after being admitted with a chest infection. The Tibetan spiritual leader said that the cause of his illness had been a “kind of flu ... which persisted for a while. His personal spokesman, Tenzin Taklha, told reporters that the Dalai Lama would now spend “several days of rest” in Delhi before returning to Dharamsala, the northern Indian hill city where he has lived in exile for six decades. The Dalai Lama has sought to pre-empt any attempt by Beijing — which has effectively wiped out organized opposition to its rule in Tibet — to name his reincarnated successor, even announcing in 2011 that he might be the last in the lineage. “Let me be very clear: The United States Congress will never recognize a Dalai Lama that is selected by the Chinese,” US Senator Cory Gardner said.
By Sean Lin / Staff reporterThe Executive Yuan’s proposed amendment to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) is an attempt to degrade the law and reinstate “birdcage referendums” to help the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) consolidate its governance, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus said yesterday. The rules for referendums had been relaxed, but Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) wants them tightened again, which would undermine the act, KMT caucus whip Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) told a news conference in Taipei. These represent a backward step for legislative efforts to improve referendums and Su should ask veteran referendum reform advocate Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) whether he approves of the Cabinet’s proposals, Chiang said. KMT caucus secretary-general John Wu (吳志揚) said the proposed amendments would give the commission the ability to rig referendums. Su said that the KMT should not distort the purpose of the proposed amendments.
By Peng Wan-Hsing and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writerTaiwan United Nations Alliance president Michael Tsai (蔡明憲) yesterday said he has renounced his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) membership to protest the party’s decision to delay its presidential primary. Tsai made the remarks in a written statement two days after the DPP Central Executive Committee pushed the date back to May 22. The party’s initial schedule was for a five-member team to mediate between primary participants President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and former premier William Lai (賴清德) by yesterday, and that if mediation had failed, Tsai Ing-wen and Lai would have presented their views to the public today and tomorrow. The rescheduling places the primary after the party is to nominate its legislative candidates, which some say would stack the deck in Tsai Ing-wen’s favor. Michael Tsai, a former minister of national defense, urged the DPP leadership to respect the institution of the primary.
AFP, TOKYOJapan yesterday attacked an “extremely regrettable” ruling by the WTO that upheld a ban by South Korea on some seafood from Fukushima imposed after the 2011 nuclear power plant disaster. “There is no change in Japan’s position of demanding South Korea lift all the restriction measures, and we will pursue this via talks with South Korea,” the ministry said in a statement. Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono urged South Korea to “correct its policy,” but acknowledged that Japan had now run out of legal recourse. However, talks broke down, prompting Japan to seek a WTO ruling in August 2015. The WTO panel last year ruled that South Korea should lift its ban, but the appellate court quashed this, the final word on the subject.
Entering Taiwan under the guise of sightseeing to advocate unifying Taiwan with China by means of force is “worse than terrorism,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told reporters. Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said Li should not have planned activities of a political nature or advocated the destruction of Taiwan’s sovereignty. Li in August last year applied for a multiple-entry permit to visit Taiwan for tourism purposes and arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday, NIA Director-General Chiu Feng-kuang (邱豐光) said yesterday. Li was asked to leave the country because of his intentions to engage in an activity inconsistent with the purpose of his entry permit, Chiu said. Li has been declared persona non grata and would be subject to restrictions if he returns to Taiwan, the Ministry of the Interior said.
A total of 24 restaurants won the prestigious Michelin stars in the Michelin Guide Taipei 2019, which was officially released on Wednesday. Cantonese restaurant Le Palais at the Palais de Chine Hotel was again the only restaurant bestowed three stars. Shoun RyuGin, the Guest House at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel, RAW, Tairroir and Sushi Amamoto each clinched two stars. However, several winning restaurants have shut up shop in the past year due to the high rents in Taipei. (Eddy Chang, Taipei Times)《米其林指南台北2019》於本週三正式公布，總共有二十四家餐廳榮獲著名的米其林之星。君品酒店的頤宮粵菜餐廳又再度成為唯一被授予三星的餐廳，祥雲龍吟、台北喜來登大飯店的請客樓、RAW、態芮、鮨天本，分別贏得二星的榮耀。此外十八家餐廳今年受到一星的表揚：大腕、教父牛排、金蓬萊遵古台菜、謙安和、吉兆割烹壽司、侯布雄、Longtail、明福台菜海產、MUME、鮨野村、鮨隆、大三元、天香樓、雅閣、Impromptu by Paul Lee、Logy、山海樓台菜、華西街台南擔仔麵。而不少摘星的名店亦是去年首次指南的贏家，有些經營者說自從他們摘星後，生意增加了兩到三成，特別是幫他們吸引了不少外國觀光客。但因台北市房租高漲，在過去一年已有數家曾上榜的店家結束營業。（台北時報張聖恩〉
AFP, TOKYOJapan yesterday appointed a new Olympics minister to replace a gaffe-prone politician forced to step down after the latest in a string of embarrassing missteps. With fewer than 500 days to go until the opening ceremony, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that he had reappointed the “experienced” Shunichi Suzuki, who served as Olympics minister in 2017 and last year. “I hope Mr Suzuki ... will recover trust [among the public] and lead us toward a successful Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Abe told reporters. “Contribution to the reconstruction effort of disaster-hit areas is a main focus of Tokyo 2020, and we will continue our efforts to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Games ... with the key aim of helping to restrengthen those areas,” Tokyo 2020 organizers said in a statement. Suzuki yesterday said that Sakurada’s comments were “inappropriate” and vowed to push forward with reconstruction.
AFP, YANGON, MyanmarSoccer-obsessed Burmese teen Kaung Khant Lin roots for Manchester United, worships star Lionel Messi and was honored as the best player in a tournament. Kaung Khant Lin was born with a stump for a right leg that today protrudes from his soccer shorts. Unlike Kaung Khant Lin, many are survivors of land mines planted in the conflicts plaguing the nation’s restive borderlands. Kaung Khant Lin’s father, a 41-year-old painter and decorator, said he cannot even bring himself to watch his son play. Kaung Khant Lin is working hard at school in the hope of studying mechanical engineering — even if he dreams of becoming a soccer coach one day.
Instead, the 29-year-old and her doctor were horrified to discover four bees living under her eyelids, feasting on her tears. Doctors at Fooyin University Hospital in Pingtung County’s Donggang Township (東港) described the incident as a “world first,” having successfully managed to extract all four sweat bees alive from He’s tear duct. It took He three days to recover, Hung saidThe small bees, known as Halictidae or “sweat bees”, are attracted to human perspiration and are found all over the world. Hung told the news conference that sweat bees commonly nest in the mountains and near graves, which explained how He had come into contact with them. “They’ve been sent as specimens to a professor at National Taiwan University and will be studied,” Hung said.
April 11, 2019 16:04 UTC
They are suspected of rigging bids, filing fraudulent expense claims and submitting forged receipts for athlete training programs in the US to enrich themselves. Six others from the association and travel company were also listed as suspects in the investigation. Pi and others allegedly colluded to ensure that Winner Express Travel won the contract and then, by producing fake receipts, and pocketed at least NT$700,000, prosecutors said. Winner Express Travel has been owned by Tsai and his family since 1992. “You [Tsai] had asked athletes not to complain when competing for the nation’s honor, but you can engage in corruption for money?
April 11, 2019 16:04 UTC