By Lee Hsin-fang / Staff reporterAs the bids for the nation’s first 5G auction have far exceeded expectations, the Executive Yuan would use the surplus profits to fund projects that would serve the public interest, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said on Friday. The bids have totaled more than NT$138 billion (US$4.60 billion), more than tripling the National Communications Commission’s expectation of NT$44 billion, Kolas said. The Executive Yuan plans to use the money to finance 5G infrastructure, narrow the digital development gap between urban and rural areas, and promote online events that advance the public interest, she added. Academics have suggested setting up a dedicated fund to develop 5G infrastructure and boost the technical capabilities of related industries. Tsai has tasked the Executive Yuan with preparing the first version of the plan by May, the sources said.
Millions of pieces of junk mail fill mailboxes nationwide every year, and most of it is never even read. While exact figures for Taiwan are difficult to come by, US statistics show that the average person receives 18.6kg of junk mail per year, which on a national scale is the equivalent of 100 million trees. Paper production — especially for junk mail — is particularly harmful to the environment because it is such a short-lived product, unlike furniture or hardwood flooring, the report says. Increased use of recycled paper is also a positive change, but if trees are cut down elsewhere to make this paper, the impact on the planet remains. There are also environmental consequences in printing and distributing junk mail.
Reuters, MELBOURNEParts of Australia’s east coast were yesterday hit by severe storms, dousing some of the bushfires that have devastated the region for months, but causing road closures and flash flooding. Fears of smoke from the fires disrupting the Australian Open tennis receded in Melbourne, where the main tournament is due to start tomorrow. Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, three of the states most hit by drought and bushfires, are now dealing with rain bucketing down in several areas. Major highways were closed in Queensland, with the state receiving some of the heaviest rain Australia has seen for months, while power was cut in parts of New South Wales after a stormy night. More benign storms were forecast for Victoria over the weekend, which has already been hit this week by severe storms and unhealthy smoke from the bushfires.
The president does not need the opinion of other countries to make plans, Su added. Other countries should not poke their noses into this,” Su said in response to media queries about the report. Su Tseng-chang would stay on as premier, while former premier Yu Shyi-kun (游錫堃) would be named legislative speaker and would share the duty of presiding over legislative proceedings with Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), the report said. The Presidential Office yesterday rejected the China Times’ report. The office would respect the autonomy of the legislature and the caucuses in electing the legislative speaker, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said, adding that the report was baseless.
Xi’s state visit to Myanmar’s purpose-built capital, Naypyidaw, came as Western investors are giving a wide berth to the country due to the Rohingya crisis. A 2017 military crackdown on the minority, which UN investigators called genocide, forced about 740,000 people from western Rakhine State over the border into Bangladesh. Thirty-three agreements were signed yesterday, with Aung San Suu Kyi and Xi seated across from each other on long tables alongside ministers. Details were scant, but among the deals was a concession and shareholders’ agreement on the US$1.3 billion Kyaukhphyu deep-sea port and economic zone, located in a part of Rakhine State left largely unscathed by the 2017 violence. After his arrival on Friday, Xi called the visit a “historical moment” for China-Myanmar relations, state-run newspaper the Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
Michael Tsai also suggested that the president write a personal letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Taiwan’s desire to join the UN. He also called on the Legislative Yuan to pass a resolution that would give competent authorities the legal basis to make appeals to the international community to support Taiwan’s joining of the WHO. Since 2003, the alliance has sent annual delegations to the US to advocate for Taiwan’s membership in the UN. The main difficulty Taiwan faces in joining the UN stems from its uncertain status internationally, which leaves other nations with their hands tied, even if they want to support Taiwan, Kau said. The government should speak with its allies and call for a debate in the UN regarding Taiwan’s status, he added.
By Chen Yun / Staff reporterWith no Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweights so far having expressed an interest in becoming party chair following the resignation of Wu Den-yih (吳敦義), some KMT members are calling for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) to enter the race. Some KMT members have proposed that the KMT Central Standing Committee amend the party’s charter to allow “people from outside the party” to serve as party chair, sources within the party said yesterday. The proposal has gained the backing of 20 committee members and more than 200 party representatives, and is gaining traction among KMT members, the sources added. Wu’s own political ambition has led some members to the misunderstanding that whoever becomes chair has an eye on the party’s presidential nomination, the sources said, adding that having “an outsider” serving as KMT chair could be rationalized if accompanied by a pledge not to contend for the party’s nomination. The KMT rules previously stated that if no candidate secured more than 50 percent of the votes, a second round of voting for party chair would be held, but the rules were changed in 2018 to stipulate that the candidate with the most votes would win.
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) biggest challenge is itself and it should not drag the Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) into its internal affairs, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Friday. Ko, chairman of the TPP, made the remarks to the media during a visit to Estonia. KMT Taipei City Councilor Lee Ming-hsien (李明賢) on Friday said in Taipei that the KMT’s short-term challenge would not be the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but rather the TPP, which would compete with the KMT to be the second-largest party in the Legislative Yuan. If the TPP’s five new legislators perform better than the KMT’s 38 lawmakers, the KMT would face greater competition, Lee said, expressing concern that young people would choose to join the TPP over the KMT. Ko on Friday visited the e-Estonia Briefing Centre in the Estonian capital, Tallinn, and listened to reports about e-governance by the Estonian Information System Authority and the e-Governance Academy.
AP, NEW YORKTechnology unleashed baseball’s era of analytics and now it is holding the sport prisoner. Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran are casualties, a triple play of hubris. Video rooms and dugouts are now monitored by Major League Baseball, like proctors pacing an exam room to stifle students’ temptation to cheat. ‘TECH CHALLENGE’“It’s a serious problem for baseball, the merging of technology and an ancient game. Cora had gone on to become Boston’s manager and led the Red Sox to the 2018 World Series championship.
Staff writer, with CNAThis year’s One Art Taipei event yesterday opened to the public at the Sherwood Taipei with a display of more than 3,000 contemporary works of art from across Asia. The art fair, spread over three floors of the hotel, features works by artists from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong, and from 67 galleries across Asia. A series of 12 contemporary pieces by 24-year-old Austrian artist Alessandro Painsi, which were on loan from the Be Fine Art Gallery in Taipei, attracted attention in an empty room of the hotel. This year is the second year of the hotel art fair, which started last year, when it sold about 800 pieces, One Art Taipei director Rick Wang (王瑞棋) said. One Art Taipei, which opened on Friday for art collectors and special guests, runs until today.
By Hsu Li-chuan and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerKaohsiung’s E-Da Hospital on Wednesday warned against drinking unboiled or unfiltered water from mountain streams to avoid ingesting parasites, after treating a woman with a leech in her throat. The hospital treated a 60-year-old woman surnamed Shen (沈) who was complaining of feeling “something in her throat” and was coughing blood, said an otorhinolaryngologist at the hospital, Wang Chih-chun (王誌群). The patient, who grows coffee trees in Kaohsiung’s Maolin District (茂林), often washed her face or rinsed her mouth using nearby water sources, Wang said. Shen’s exposure to untreated mountain water might have given the leech an opportunity to enter her body, possibly through the nasal cavity, Wang said. Wang urged people who hike and camp in the mountains to avoid drinking water directly from ponds or streams, and that any food washed with the water should be thoroughly cooked and boiled before ingestion.
However, even with growing sales, automakers plan more than 40,000 jobs cuts in the coming years, with Opel Automobile GmbH the latest to announce 2,100 voluntary departures on Tuesday. HIGH-END SUPREMACY“German manufacturers are well-positioned with their premium brands,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, industry expert at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Both premium manufacturers’ figures were massively boosted by China, with Mercedes sales there growing 6.2 percent and BMW 13.1 percent year-on-year. SUV DOMINANCEFor all the German automakers, last year brought new strides for the dominance of SUVs in sales figures. “It’s perfectly clear that SUVs drive sales and profits for the carmakers,” Stefan Bratzel of the Center of Automotive Management said.
ReutersEuropean shares on Friday clocked a record closing high after European Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan struck a positive tone on talks with Washington and on optimism over signs of resilience in China’s economy. The pan-European STOXX 600 on Friday rose 3.82 points, or 0.9 percent, to 424.36, its best week since Dec. 20 and a jump of 1.2 percent from a close of 419.14 on Jan. 10. It also added to investor optimism after the US and China signed a trade deal earlier in the week. Stocks in Germany, the EU’s largest economy, rose 0.7 percent, with technology stocks serving as the biggest boost. Polish video game developer CD Projekt SA was the biggest loser on the STOXX 600, dropping 5.6 percent after it postponed the release of its widely awaited game Cyberpunk 2077.
Stepping off the crammed train — dubbed the “Internet Express” by Indian Kashmiris — in the nearby town of Banihal, the passengers make a beeline for cafes where they pay up to 300 rupees (US$4.22) for an hour of broadband access. Indian-administered Kashmir has been without broadband and mobile data services since Aug. 5 last year, when India’s government revoked the special status of its only Muslim-majority state, splitting Jammu & Kashmir in two. In addition to introducing the democratic world’s longest Internet clampdown in Kashmir, Access Now said that India also accounted for two-thirds of global shutdowns in 2018. “Punishing an entire population on the basis of saying potential violence or terrorism might occur is extraordinary,” Chima said. New Delhi said that the scrapping of Jammu & Kashmir’s special status was necessary to integrate it into the rest of India and spur development.
The Chinese health authority yesterday confirmed four cases — all men who began experiencing symptoms from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8 — CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. Since Dec. 31, CDC personnel have conducted onboard inspections for respiratory diseases on 31 flights from Wuhan, covering 3,541 passengers and crew, Chuang said. Two others were infected with the influenza A (H1N1) virus and two with the influenza B virus, Chuang said, adding that they have all tested negative for 2019-nCoV infection. “The CDC never ruled out the possibility of human-to-human transmission, so we have used the highest standards for onboard inspections, disease screening and preventive measures,” he said. Blood donors who show symptoms of fever, respiratory infection or pneumonia after donating blood should notify the center, it added.