Staff writer, with CNAThe American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) is unlikely to move to its new compound in Taipei’s Neihu District (內湖) by the end of this year due to administrative delays, AIT spokeswoman Amanda Mansour said yesterday. In October, AIT Director Brent Christensen said that the institute was still waiting for final certification of the new compound. The new office compound occupies a 6.5 hectare hillside area. While the AIT handles consular and other affairs at its main compound on Xinyi Road in Daan District (大安), the institute’s agricultural division and the American Cultural Center are housed elsewhere in the city. All AIT operations are to be brought together at the new compound.
By Liao Hsueh-ju and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writerArtist Lu Cheng-min (呂誠敏) has decorated an alley in Hsinchu County’s Sinpu Township (新埔) with a mosaic of comic-book characters created by his elementary-school art teacher, late comic book artist Chen Ting-kuo (陳定國). Lu said that Chen inspired him to become an artist while he was a student at Sinpu Elementary School. Chen drew more than 2,000 comic books and 1,500 comic strips in his lifetime, but many are out of print, he said. The walls, floors and roof of the alley between Jhongjheng Road and Heping Street have all been covered with mosaic tiles. In the mosaic, Lu included one of Chen’s characters, Hua Hsiao Mei (花小妹), who was modeled after Chen’s daughter, Lu said, adding that he hopes visitors and the county’s young residents would take photographs of the alley as a tribute to Chen.
By William Hetherington / Staff writer, with CNAThe government is wholeheartedly committed to solving housing problems, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said at an awards ceremony held yesterday by the Taipei Architects’ Association. The government has received more than 100 applications to renovate older residential complexes and is implementing a public housing program nationwide, Tsai said. The scale of the government’s efforts to deal with housing issues is unprecedented, and her administration has established the first office tasked with urban renewal and social housing, she added. The amendment opened up more land for social housing and the central government has been cooperating with local governments to enact new social housing policy, she said. Housing projects provide an opportunity for the government and industry to cooperate and together build a fundamental component of society — the buildings that people use every day, she said.
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporterInfluenza vaccines match the viruses that are being detected at the moment, but government-funded vaccines are running low, so people at higher risk are advised to get vaccinated as soon as possible, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Friday. From on Oct. 15 to Wednesday, more than 4.62 million government-funded shots had been administered, the centers said. As about 700,000 vaccines were returned to their manufacturers after some were found to be discolored or contained suspended particles, the CDC is running low. People who are at risk and eligible are advised to get a shot as early as possible for better protection, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. CDC disease monitoring data showed that the main circulating virus over the past four weeks has been influenza A (H3N2), which has caused 59 of the 89 serious flu complications confirmed between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1.
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporterTaipei Medical University Hospital on Dec. 7 signed a contract with Taiwan AI Labs to collaborate on introducing an artificial intelligence (AI) system that would provide an earlier warning for sepsis in its intensive care units (ICUs). The five-year contract with the research organization was signed by hospital superintendent Chen Ray-jade (陳瑞杰) and Taiwan AI Labs founder Ethan Tu (杜奕瑾). Previously, sepsis could only be detected after its onset, but after the hospital last year introduced the TED-ICU, medical teams can predict the risk of sepsis about four hours before it occurs, Chen said. The system works by automatically collecting, integrating, analyzing and keeping a record of ICU patients’ physiological information, the hospital said. The hospital said it hopes to introduce AI to learn the medical records of people injured in falls to develop a mechanism to predict high-risk groups for such injuries and to analyze their causes to improve care.
Since Kuo and Fu were both known as “big cannons” (大砲) for their outspoken nature, this led to the rumor that “Big Cannon Kuo caused Big Cannon Fu to die of anger.”Then-minister of education Chen Hsueh-ping (陳雪屏) was quick to clarify that there were absolutely no tempers lost during the session. Nevertheless, a furious group of about 400 teary-eyed NTU students marched to the assembly headquarters after paying their respects to Fu’s body. After Japanese defeat, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took over Taihoku Imperial University, renaming it National Taiwan University in December 1945. By the time Fu arrived in Taiwan, the university had gone through seven presidents in just over three years. I am utterly exhausted and have grown ill as a result, and I don’t have the will to carry on.
Reuters, NEW DELHIDenmark’s Carlsberg A/S and India’s United Breweries Group have filed pleas with Indian authorities, seeking leniency in a probe into alleged collusion to fix beer prices, five sources familiar with the matter said. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been investigating the two companies, as well as the world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (AB InBev). A Carlsberg spokesman in India said it was “cooperating fully with the CCI” and had done so from the beginning of the probe. An AB InBev spokesman in India said the company takes antitrust compliance “very seriously,” but declined to comment further. Individual executives can also be fined, though AB InBev could escape all of its share of the fines as it reported the issue.
BloombergLVMH has agreed to acquire Belmond Ltd in a deal that values the operator of high-end hotels and New York’s 21 Club at US$2.6 billion. The French luxury-goods company agreed to pay US$25 a share in cash for London-based Belmond, a 42 percent premium over Belmond’s closing price in the US on Thursday. The agreement ends a four-month sale process as Belmond sought to take advantage of a strong hospitality market. LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton brand and champagne maker Dom Perignon, is a surprise winner for Belmond. Belmond, which used to be known as Orient-Express Hotels, owns or has stakes in more than 30 high-end hotels.
Staff writer, with CNATaiwan People News is on Dec. 31 to cease daily operations after six years due to financial difficulties, founder Chen Yung-hsing (陳永興) said on Thursday on the news Web site, thanking readers for their support. Shareholders decided to stop daily operations because of the costs of running a daily news Web site. Over the past six years, Taiwan People News has spent NT$72 million (US$2.33 million), Chen said, adding that the decision was made with great reluctance, but it is time to say goodbye. Research conducted in October by Taiwan Media Watch, a non-governmental organization committed to maintaining press freedom and promoting media self-regulation, found that the Taiwan People News Facebook page was one of the most trustworthy and diverse among the 36 organizations publishing daily news in Taiwan. Organized by Chen, Nobel Prize laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) and film director Wu Nien-jen (吳念真), Taiwan People News publishes news without charge and seeks to reflect public opinion in Taiwan, according to its Web site.
AFP, KATOWICE, PolandNations at UN climate talks were haggling yesterday over the world’s plan to avert disaster as host Poland dumped a draft decision text on delegates just hours before the summit was due to end. Negotiators told reporters that delegates from nearly 200 nations were still far apart on several issues, from how the fight against climate change is funded to the levels of help given to countries already experiencing its effects. Ministers at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change must agree on a common rule book to make good on promises made by countries in the 2015 Paris Agreement. A major sticking point remains finance: Developing nations have said they cannot afford to make their economies greener without reliable, transparent funding from richer nations. ActionAid global climate lead Harjeet Singh said that rich countries were “playing a cruel joke” on developing nations.
By Yang Chun-hui / Staff reporterExecutive Yuan Secretary-General Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰) yesterday registered as a candidate in the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairperson election after being nominated by a group of “middle generation” party members. Cho would be competing with former DPP secretary-general Michael You (游盈隆) and former Kaohsiung County deputy commissioner Kuo Tai-ling (郭泰麟) for leadership of the party. A dominant party has emerged in Taiwan — it is known as the “Hate the Democratic Progressive Party Party,” Cho said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Nov. 24 resigned as the party’s leader after the DPP suffered heavy losses in the nine-in-one elections. In the local elections, the DPP won only six of the nation’s 22 mayoral and commissioner seats, while the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took 15.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterNational Chiao Tung University professor Wu I-chen (吳毅成) presented an intelligent “Life-Learning System for Go” training and grading system for go players at the Future Tech Expo in Taipei yesterday. The system is the result of a years-long endeavor he hopes could help players make faster progress. Cloud computing technology supplier Ubitus Inc provided Wu’s lab with graphic processing units. Before the match, the Chinese and Japanese systems had been the second-strongest systems since Google’s AlphaGo retired, Chou added. Considering that AlphaGo is able to train itself without studying human game records, Wu hopes that his system can also reduce reliance on human players, Wu said.
Staff writer, with CNAForeign students would be allowed to take Taiwan’s teacher certification exam for the first time next year, with all applicants now required to pass the exam before taking part in an internship, the Ministry of Education said yesterday. The ministry released information on next year’s certification exams for teachers at kindergartens, as well as elementary, junior and senior-high schools. It included the announcement that for the first time, foreign Chinese-language students would be allowed to sit the exam if they first pass a pre-service teacher education program. Applicants would also have to pass the exam before starting a teaching internship, a rule introduced in August to boost the exam pass rate, Department of Teacher Training and Art Education Director-General Cheng Yuan-chuan (鄭淵全) said. The old rule required applicants to finish the internship first, but many found teaching uninteresting and did not take the certification exam, resulting in a pass rate of about 60 percent, Cheng said.
Wu made the remarks in an instant messaging group used by the clique. The move would negatively affect Tuan’s role as one of the group’s leading figures, Wu added. Cho called Tuan’s harsh criticism of the party “completely unacceptable” and asked whether the DPP had been wrong to push pension reforms for retired civil servants, military personnel and public-school teachers. Legislation to eliminate a much-criticized 18 percent preferential interest rate for the retirees in six years was led by Tuan, Cho said. He added that while those errors cause him pain, his endorsement of Cho was the last straw.
By Huang Hsin-po and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, and staff writerChunghwa Post Co workers’ health is at risk because the company is importing uniforms that contain high levels of perfluorinated compounds (PFC), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers said yesterday. Last year’s edition of the company’s regulations for purchasing workers’ uniforms said that the clothing should have category 4 soil resistance, DPP legislators Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) said. Legislators said tests showed that the uniforms were 92,000 parts per million (ppm) PFC. Chunghwa Post has shown a disregard for the health of its employees, Hsiao said. Chunghwa Post associate manager Kuo Chun-yang (郭純陽) said the company cares for its workers, but the issue was a theoretical problem related to the clothing industry.