By Yeh Yung-chien and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe Christian Luotengyuan Association for the Physically Handicapped avoided being dissolved after complying with the Pingtung County Government’s demand that the association hold a presidential election according to regulations. The association would have lost NT$10 million (US$323,981) in donations under its account if it had been dissolved. If the association did not comply with standing regulations, it would be dissolved in full accordance with the law, the county government said. Although the crisis has been averted, Chiang said she was not happy when she received an official notice that the association could continue to operate. Despite her misgivings, Chiang said she was willing to accept the conditions so that disadvantaged and disabled people could continue to have a place for learning.
Uber Taiwan has petitioned the ministry, but to no avail, it said. The consultation period for the proposed changes is to end on April 26. “The MPT system is the opposite of Uber and far from our vision to change the taxi industry,” he said. “We are all angry, as the ministry is to sacrifice our rights to protect taxi drivers,” said Well Lee (李威爾), spokesperson of the Platform Driver Alliance, a group organized by Uber drivers. The alliance is to protest, with a tentative date of April 21, he said, adding that most of Uber’s 10,000 drivers would participate.
Weaker growth and lower inflation expectations could prompt the Fed to cut rates, while faster growth and rising inflation expectations could prompt it to resume raising rates. The Fed at its meeting on March 19 and 20 left its key policy rate unchanged and trimmed its rate hikes outlook this year from two to none. Some economists said that the Fed could actually start cutting rates later this year if the economy slows further. The Fed last year hiked its policy rate four times, leaving it in December last year at a level of 2.25 percent to 2.5 percent. Fed officials said that consumer sentiment has improved since then and officials expect consumer spending to rebound in the next few months.
Reuters, AMSTERDAMChinese employees stole corporate secrets from Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASML Holding NV, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, Dutch financial newspaper Financieele Dagblad (FD) reported yesterday. The newspaper said, citing its own investigation, that technology had been stolen by high-level Chinese employees in the research and development department of ASML’s US subsidiary and ultimately leaked to a company linked to the Chinese government. ASML itself “found no hard proof of involvement of the Chinese government,” the Financieele Dagblad reported. An ASML spokeswoman told reporters that the company was aware of the newspaper report and was preparing a response. “The FD’s investigation found XTAL’s Chinese parent company Dongfang Jingyuan [東方晶源] has ties with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology,” the newspaper said.
By Chen Cheng-hui / Staff reporterStraws are to be unavailable at the McDonald’s outlet on Jiuzong Road in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) from today amid growing awareness of a need to cut waste, the company announced yesterday. The fast-food chain said it plans to implement the no-straw policy at 75 outlets in Taipei by April 22 — Earth Day — and extend it to the chain’s nearly 400 stores nationwide by the end of June. McDonald’s plans to introduce a new lid that would allow people to sip cold drinks without a straw, the company said in a press release. The move is not only aimed at reducing the use of plastic straws and changing consumer behavior, but also to gradually decrease resources used to make and transport plastic straws, easing the burden on the environment, McDonald’s said. EPA Deputy Minister Shen Chih-hsiu (沈志修) praised McDonald’s, saying that the company has made valuable contributions to helping the environment and encouraging people to work together to reduce plastic waste.
As of press time last night, the NIA’s Taichung office was working to ascertain Li’s whereabouts. Author Joyce Yen (顏擇雅) said in a statement on Facebook that the party calling Li a “visiting sociology academic from the US” was an attempt at obfuscation. While Li obtained his doctoral degree in the US, he does not hold a teaching position at any US university, Yen said. Li is most often cited by the media as a researcher at Beijing’s Renmin University of China, she said. Contrary to the stated topic for his talk at the forum, Li is a known supporter of unification through armed invasion, she added.
AFP, KHARTOUMSudanese president Omar al-Bashir was yesterday ousted by the army, brought down by months of anti-government protests against his three decades of iron-fisted rule. However, in the eastern cities of Kasala and Port Sudan, protesters stormed NISS buildings after the releases failed to materialize, witnesses said. Protesters approached the NISS building in Kasala demanding that officers free their prisoners, a witness told reporters by telephone. “But NISS officers fired in the air, after which protesters stormed the building and looted all the equipment inside,” the witness said. Protesters chanting slogans against al-Bashir also stormed a NISS building in Port Sudan, a witness said.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterMembers of the legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee yesterday demanded government agencies improve the disaster alert system and establish a national-level petrochemical disaster response center, following a gas explosion at Formosa Plastics Group’s (FPG, 台塑集團) naphtha cracker complex in Yunlin County’s Mailiao Township (麥寮). The explosion on Sunday occurred at an aromatics production factory run by Formosa Chemicals & Fibre Corp (台灣化纖). Such checks should have been completed years ago after several accidents were reported at the complex, committee convener and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) said, expressing fury over Lin’s response. Liu along with other lawmakers tendered 17 motions requiring several government agencies to improve their disaster response mechanisms and set up a national-level petrochemical disaster response center. The motions also asked the government to help victims seek compensation and tighten pollution and labor safety regulations at the naphtha cracker complex and other petrochemical factories.
By Lee Hsin-fang and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe Executive Yuan yesterday introduced draft amendments to the Referendum Act (公民投票法) that would allow referendums to be held separately from general elections and bar referendum questions concerning human rights. In addition, the amendments aim to shorten the main body of the text of a referendum, introduce referendum titles for easier reference and restrict referendum-related promotion on voting day. Huang Shih-hsiu (黃士修) — the main proponent for last year’s referendum No. 16 that saw the timetable for the government’s “nuclear power-free homeland” policy scrapped — yesterday held a news conference to protest the reinstatement of the requirement for photocopies of signatories’ identification documents. The restriction on human rights issues as referendum topics was proposed by supporters of same-sex marriage.
AFP, BRUSSELSEuropean leaders yesterday agreed with Britain to delay Brexit by up to six months, saving the continent from what could have been a chaotic no-deal departure at the end of this week. Tusk had proposed a year-long delay, but said that the six-month extension is “still enough to find the best possible solution. Please do not waste this time.”May’s government now has time to ratify the deal agreed with EU leaders in November last year, to rethink its approach or to stop the entire Brexit process, he said. “The EU have agreed that the extension can be terminated when the withdrawal agreement has been ratified,” she said. The British pound briefly edged up against the US dollar and euro after the extension was announced, but gains were limited and sterling later slid back.
Sales beat analysts’ estimates in the first quarter as fresh propositions like Christian Dior monogrammed low-top sneakers and US$1,200 Louis Vuitton utility harnesses hit stores. The key fashion and leather division — where good news often lifts shares across the fashion industry — posted a 15 percent gain. At Christian Dior, designer Kim Jones released buzzy new sneaker models and adapted the brand’s famous Saddlebag line for men. The company said fur-and-handbags label Fendi, shoemaker Berluti — which also changed its designer — and Loro Piana also boosted the fashion division’s growth. Overall, LVMH’s first-quarter sales rose 11 percent on an organic basis to 12.5 billion euros (US$14.1 billion), the Paris-based company said on Wednesday after markets closed, which beat analysts’ estimates.
By Ann Maxon / Staff reporterCitizen Congress Watch (CCW) yesterday urged the Legislative Yuan to amend a law governing its approval of political appointees and conduct a thorough review of Lee Chin-yung (李進勇), the nominee for Central Election Commission (CEC) chairman. As part of the confirmation process, the Legislative Yuan’s Internal Administration Committee yesterday held its first meeting to review Lee’s qualifications. “We are very unhappy with the amount of information the ruling party has provided for his review,” Chang added. In addition, the amendments would require the Legislative Yuan to spend at least a month reviewing the nominee and hold public hearings during the process, he said. “The best thing would be seeing the Legislative Yuan immediately improve the confirmation process by passing the amendments,” he said.
The OECD found that with each successive generation, fewer are making it into the middle class, which is defined as having between 75 and 200 percent of the median national income. If 70 percent of the baby boomers born after World War II were part of the middle class in their 20s, for millennials — those aged 17 to 35 — it has fallen to 60 percent. A strong and prosperous middle class has long been viewed by economists as crucial for a successful economy and a cohesive society. In addition to sustaining consumption, the middle class drives much of the investment in education, health and housing. The report, titled Under Pressure: The Squeezed Middle Class, found that middle-class incomes have barely grown, in both relative and absolute terms in most of the OECD countries.
1 Feng Hsiang” variety used to be most popular type of strawberry, having been grown for more than 30 years, she said. In 2014, the agency began developing its first new variety of strawberry, called the “Miaoli No. 1 Lien Hsiang,” from Feng Hsiang, she said. It has a sugar content of up to 16.5 degrees Brix, compared with the Feng Hsiang’s roughly 10.56 degrees Brix, she said. Lien Hsiang strawberries weigh 20.5g on average, while Feng Hsiang strawberries weigh 14.2g on average, she said.
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporterCriticizing the cost and delays in releasing the Taiwan Railways Administration’s (TRA) upgraded ticketing app, two Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday asked the agency to release all the procurement contracts related to the app. The upgraded app was released on Sunday, but on Tuesday some people complained about being disconnected as they tried to purchase tickets. The TRA spent about NT$1 billion (US$32.4 million) to develop the new app, which was an extraordinary amount, Legislator Jason Hsu (許毓仁) told a news conference he held with colleague Alex Fai (費鴻泰). Prior to that, the TRA had spent NT$200 million to create the app, he said. “I am very curious about the technology used to develop this app,” Hsu said.