Unemployment rate drops to its lowest in 19 months

By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporterThe unemployment rate last month dropped to 3.78 percent, the lowest in 19 months, as more first-time jobseekers found employment and fewer people quit over the Lunar New Year holiday, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics said in a report yesterday. The unemployment rate after seasonal adjustment stood at 3.84 percent, a 0.01 percentage point increase from December last year, the report said. There were about 445,000 unemployed people in the nation last month, a decrease of 1,000 from a month earlier, agency data showed. When bonuses and other perks were factored in, monthly wages averaged NT$47,728, gaining 2.12 percent from the same period a year earlier, the agency said. Last year, people worked an average of 176.4 hours per month, down 5.8 hours from 2015, it added.

February 24, 2017 16:03 UTC

Festival to feature 228 Incident rally

By Su Fang-ho and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe Gongsheng Music Festival, an annual event started by a group of young Taiwanese in 2013, this year is to feature a march marking the 70th anniversary of the 228 Incident. The 228 Incident refers to a military crackdown by the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration on civilian protesters that started on Feb. 27, 1947. Festival organizer Tsai Yu-an (蔡喻安) said the march, to take place on Tuesday, is to begin in front of the Executive Yuan compound in Taipei, which was the location of the Bureau of the Executive Officer in 1947, where guards fired on protesters in events that led to the 228 Incident. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Feast team is to hold workshops and talks on transitional justice, wealth inequality and political persecution. Past methods of commemorating the 228 Incident have been “heavy in mood,” but if the nation wishes to spread knowledge of the Incident to the younger generation, it must use different, more attractive methods, Chang said.

February 24, 2017 16:03 UTC

Premium Friday latest bid to lift Japan spending

Welcome to Premium Friday, Japan’s latest bid to tackle two perennial problems — sluggish consumer spending and notoriously long working hours blamed for a national health crisis known as karoshi, or death from overwork. Every year, Japan’s notoriously long working hours are blamed for hundreds of deaths due to strokes, heart attacks and suicides, along with a host of serious health problems. “It’s hard for Japanese workers to take a day off, so we need to create conditions in which everyone can take a holiday.”However, it could be hard sell. And only a small fraction of Japan’s firms are taking part in the nonmandatory scheme. “This campaign will not suddenly boost spending or stop long working hours,” Tokyo-based NLI Research Institute analyst Naoko Kuga said.

February 24, 2017 16:03 UTC

Kim Jong-nam was assassinated with nerve agent: police

AFP, KUALA LUMPURNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother was assassinated with a lethal nerve agent manufactured for chemical warfare and listed by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction, Malaysian police said yesterday. Kim Jong-nam died on Feb. 13 after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport by two women, who are seen on CCTV footage shoving something into his face. Detectives are holding three people — two women from Indonesia and Vietnam, and a North Korean man — but want to speak to seven others. One man wanted for questioning is senior North Korean embassy official Hyon Kwang-song. North Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Kang Chol has said Pyongyang “cannot trust” the police to conduct their probe fairly.

February 24, 2017 16:03 UTC

Growth of South Korean household income slows

South Korean households’ consumption expenditure dropped 0.5 percent, with larger drops seen in transportation and clothing expenses, the data showed. The weakness in household income reflected slowing growth amid a political scandal that has led to the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. The situation worsened in the fourth quarter, when the scandal erupted, with income growth slipping to 0.2 percent from a year earlier and spending falling 3.2 percent. The country’s economy expanded 0.4 percent quarterly in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace in more than a year. The tepid income growth last year was due to “job growth slowing on a delay in the economic recovery and corporate restructuring,” the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a separate statement yesterday.

February 24, 2017 16:03 UTC



Campaigners advocating jury trial system protest at Presidential Office

By Jason Pan / Staff reporterCampaigners yesterday protested outside the Presidential Office Building, calling for the implementation of a jury system for criminal trials as a judicial reform subcommittee gathered to discuss possible reform measures. However, the proposal has been met with criticism and opposition from most judicial reform advocates, who have called for a jury trial system that gives the jury the power to reach a decision in criminal prosecution cases. “We are opposed to the position taken by the Judicial Yuan and by many of the members of the judicial reform subcommittee. They advocate the participatory jury system, which is judicial reform by fake means,” said Taiwan Jury Association chairman Chang Ching (張靜), who is a member of the subcommittee that convened yesterday. Eighty percent of the public supports the jury trial system, according to surveys, but in this subcommittee I am in the minority,” Chang Ching said.

February 24, 2017 16:03 UTC

Restaurant review: Yamamoto no Hamburg

By Han Cheung / Staff reporterDon’t dismiss Yamamoto no Hamburg because of its bright pastel decor and cute illustrations of smiling burger patties on the wall. Resembling more of a Salisbury steak, it is eaten on a plate alongside veggies and rice, and usually topped with some sort of sauce. We order the winter special burger served in clam chowder (NT$320) and the mentaiko (salted cod roe) burger (NT$280), along with an NT$199 set meal with a burger croquette appetizer. The overall taste is subtle, which is why the restaurant can combine it with so many different ingredients. The cod roe burger came with roasted pumpkin and other vegetables and a small side of spaghetti.

February 24, 2017 16:02 UTC

Restaurant review: Ja Ho 家伙

By Dana Ter / Staff reporterResting at the busy intersection of Bade Road and Guangfu North Road in Taipei, Ja Ho recreates a traditional Taiwanese noodle shop in a setting that is artful and contemporary. Boards pinned to the wall spell out the ethos of Ja Ho: to evoke a sleek but cozy setting that reminds patrons of the simple joy of a home-cooked meal. Instead of menus, Ja Ho has ordering sheets — which are completely in Chinese — similar to what you would find in any mom-and-pop shop in Taiwan. Surprisingly, Ja Ho’s prices aren’t that much higher than those of the mom-and-pop shops either, despite the ambience being tenfold more enjoyable. We also share a bowl of pork ball soup (NT$40) — we couldn’t get enough of Ja Ho’s pork — which is nourishing and soulful.

February 24, 2017 16:02 UTC

Leicester City fire Claudio Ranieri as relegation looms

APMasterminding one of the greatest upsets in sporting history was not enough for Claudio Ranieri to keep his job at Leicester City. Ranieri was fired by Leicester on Thursday, nine months after the 65-year-old Italian manager guided the club to the Premier League title at pre-season odds of 5,000-1. “No matter how strong that might be.”On current form, Leicester are heading for relegation with 13 games remaining. They have not scored a goal in six league games this year and have won one of their past 10 games in the league. “His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question,” a long club statement said of Ranieri.

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC

O’Neill urges Super series to dump teams

As the SANZAAR organizers grapple with a way forward for the 18-team, five-nation championship, O’Neill said they should return to a 15-team format. O’Neill said he fears the far-flung competition, beset with problems over its unwieldy conference structure and exhausting travel schedules, is losing its tribalism. “It will take some very bold decisionmaking,” O’Neill told the Daily Telegraph, imploring Australian administrators to stand strong against calls to axe one of their own five teams. “What is the best competition structure that is ultimately and unambiguously in the best interests of Australian rugby?” he asked. “Latitudinal competitions — east-west competitions — do not work,” he said, suggesting Australia should even look at a better trans-Tasman option that included Pacific and Asian teams.

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC

Hsieh Su-wei advances to doubles final in Hungary

By Dave Carroll / Staff reporter, with AP, DUBAI, United Arab EmiratesHsieh Su-wei advanced to the doubles final at the Hungarian Ladies Open yesterday, while fellow Taiwanese Chan Hao-ching upstaged elder sister Chan Yung-jan on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the doubles at the Dubai Tennis Championships. In Budapest, fourth seeds Hsieh and Oksana Kalashnikova took just 60 minutes to see off the challenge of Serbian duo Aleksandra Krunic and Nina Stojanovic 6-2, 6-2. In the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, fifth seeds Chan Hao-ching and Yaroslava Shvedova stunned French top seeds Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 3-6, 10-3 in 1 hour, 26 minutes. In the singles, top seed Angelique Kerber journeyed to her first Dubai semi-finals, while Caroline Wozniacki reached her sixth. Kerber leads Svitolina 5-4 in career meetings, but Svitolina has won their past two matches, including in Australia last month.

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC

Venezuelan skier struggles in first outing on snow

AP, CARACASFor a Venezuelan skier who had only trained on wheels beneath a bright sun, the slopes of Finland proved a mighty challenge. “We will issue a strong statement to the French government for their affront against a Venezuelan athlete,” Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Delcy Rodriguez said on Twitter on Wednesday. “Embarrassing,” wrote one critic on his Instagram page, accusing Solano of receiving sponsorship from the Venezuelan government while countless numbers go hungry. “My friend, I swear I am not here because of the government,” Solano wrote in response. “This pushes me to try more every day.”Venezuela have sent seven athletes to four Winter Olympics since 1998, winning no medals.

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC

Lyon advance easily in Europa League

APIn the latest show of strength in French soccer, Olympique Lyonnais on Thursday powered into the last 16 of the Europa League, handing AZ Alkmaar a second heavy beating in a week. Lyon displayed their attacking talent by following up a 4-1 victory in the first leg with a 7-1 thrashing at home, with Nabil Fekir scoring a hat-trick. By winning 11-2 over two legs, Lyon completed the second-biggest aggregate success in the competition’s history. Maxwel Cornet, Sergi Darder and homegrown players Houssem Aouar and Mouctar Diakhaby also scored for Lyon. Behind 4-0 after the first leg, Villarreal recovered some pride by winning the return match 1-0 in Rome, but still bowed out.

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC

Ex-lawmaker Pan Wei-kang joins KMT race

By Stacy Hsu / Staff reporterThe Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) chairpersonship election has become even more competitive after former KMT legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛) yesterday became the sixth to join the race. Pan, a six-term KMT legislator and a three-term Taipei city councilor, announced her candidacy at a news conference in Taipei, which was attended by her supporters and several KMT politicians, including former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄), former acting KMT chairperson Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠) and KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏). “My candidacy has been dogged by conspiracy theories ... but my main goal is simply to bring home all KMT members who have lost contact with the party. The other five contenders in the May 20 election are Hung, KMT Vice Chairman Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), former vice president Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), former KMT vice chairman Steve Chan (詹啟賢) and former Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Co general manager Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜). Official candidacy registration is to begin on April 17 and each prospective candidate is required to collect the signatures of at least 3 percent of KMT members.

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC

Two Examination Yuan candidates confirmed

By Alison Hsiao / Staff reporterThe legislature yesterday confirmed two nominees for the Examination Yuan, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus abstaining from the vote. DPP Legislator Huang Wei-cher (黃偉哲) said that as an institution, the Examination Yuan is not dominated by its president or vice president alone. As the Examination Yuan oversees the operation of public services, its pension reform proposals are to be presented to the Legislative Yuan for review, alongside those submitted by lawmakers. While the normal term for an Examination Yuan member is six years, Lee and Chen’s terms are to end in August 2020, as they are serving out the terms left by former Examination Yuan vice president Kao Yuang-kuang (高永光) and member Pasuya Poitsonu (浦忠成), who resigned respectively in December last year and last month after the change of administration. Kao and Pasuya were nominated along with Examination Yuan President Wu Jin-lin (伍錦霖) in 2014 by then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

February 24, 2017 16:01 UTC



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