The level 2 “alert” means people are advised to take increased precautions when visiting Iran, he said. Meanwhile, Chen said the nation’s 32nd case of COVID-19 was confirmed yesterday. Four of the octogenarian’s family members — his wife, two sons and a grandson — have tested positive for the virus. CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said that all medical professionals who had close contact with the caregiver tested negative for COVID-19, so the contact investigation is mainly to find people she had close interaction with outside the hospital. Strict access control would be required for the specialized wards and healthcare personnel working in the wards would not perform duties in other departments to avoid cross infection, he said.
By Su Yung-yao and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writerPresident Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday announced that she had suspended preparations for her inauguration ceremony, saying that she would not hold a large assembly amid fears of COVID-19 contagion. Any further plans regarding the inauguration would be made according to suggestions offered by the Central Epidemic Command Center, she said in a statement on Facebook. Preventing the spread of the disease is the government’s top priority, Tsai said, adding that the inauguration — scheduled for May 20 — would only be held under certain conditions. The government would temporarily halt preparations for the event, pending changes in the epidemic situation, she said. Any event held would be smaller in scale than usual due to concerns over the spread of the disease, she added.
Iger, who has been CEO for 15 years, is to assume the role of executive chairman and “will direct the company’s creative endeavors,” a Disney statement said. “It was really that simple,” Iger said while explaining the decision to surrender the CEO chair to Chapek. The move also allows two years for Iger to coach Chapek on aspects of Disney that he is less familiar with. “With the successful launch of Disney’s direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of 21st Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO,” Iger said. In Disney’s latest quarterly update, the company announced it had signed up more than 28 million customers for its Disney+ streaming service.
AFP, ROMEGovernments worldwide yesterday were scrambling to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after fresh infections emerged linked to European hotspot Italy amid dire warnings that countries are not ready to contain the outbreak. Nineteen people have died and 44 further infections were reported across the country in the past 24 hours, including Iranian Deputy Minister of Health Iraj Harirchi. Italy has become the latest major cause for concern after France, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland all reported infections in people who had recently been to its worst-hit Lombardy region. France reported a second death — this time of one of its nationals after a Chinese tourist died earlier this month. However, he told reporters on Tuesday that other nations were “simply not ready” to contain the outbreak.
By Kao Shih-ching / Staff reporterShin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控) plans to raise more than NT$10 billion (US$329.13 million) to strengthen its insurance and banking subsidiaries. Shin Kong said that it would price the new common shares based on the company’s share price, while the price for special shares would likely be between NT$40 and NT$60 per share. The company plans to inject NT$3 billion from the funds raised to Shin Kong Commercial Bank (新光銀行) and the rest into Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽), Shin Kong Financial senior vice president Sunny Hsu (徐順鋆) told the Taipei Times by telephone. Shin Kong is the first among the nation’s 15 financial holding firms that announced plans to raise new capital. With the company’s shares closing at NT$9.74 in Taipei trading on Tuesday, that proposal suggests a dividend yield of 4.19 percent.
AFP, CHARLESTON, South CarolinaDemocratic White House hopefuls on Tuesday rounded on the party’s leftist frontrunner, US Senator Bernie Sanders, during a feisty debate, attacking him as too extreme for US voters and a flawed challenger to US President Donald Trump. Sanders’ rivals joined forces in savaging the self-described democratic socialist as too radical to appeal to a broad swathe of Americans. Buttigieg, a 38-year-old military veteran presenting himself as a unifier, warned a Sanders fight against Trump would spell “chaos” and divide the nation. It ends up as four more years of Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said. Bloomberg sought to cast a Sanders nomination as a sure path to losing.
By Wu Liang-yi / Staff reporter, with CNAThe Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage (大甲媽祖遶境), the largest annual religious procession in Taiwan, is to go ahead as planned, its organizer said yesterday, despite calls by Central Epidemic Command Center officials for the event to be postponed amid concerns over the spread of COVID-19. The procession, which starts in Taichung’s Dajia District (大甲), is held yearly to celebrate the birthday of the sea goddess Matsu, with the Matsu statue from Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) carried on a palanquin through central Taiwan over nine days. The central government has yet to provide any specific guidance on the pilgrimage. Regarding the Dajia Matsu Pilgrimage, Chen said that the ministry has communicated with temple officials, who have proposed alternatives to certain aspects of the procession, including how they would carry the palanquin. Matsu is benevolent.
Sales of investment-linked policies plunged 30 percent annually to NT$166.86 billion, while those of traditional insurance products dipped 7 percent to NT$351.99 billion, commission data showed. Foreign-currency insurance policies last year fell out of favor, as the nation’s major life insurers continued to trim the products’ declared rates, which decide how big a bonus policyholders gain each month. The insurer plans to continue enhancing its marketing of foreign-currency products, as they are helpful in reducing the cost of currency hedging, it said. In related news, Nan Shan Life Insurance Co (南山人壽) general manager Hsu Miao-chiu (許妙靜) applied for retirement on Tuesday. “[Nan Shan’s] general manager should stand up and say ‘no’ to the major shareholders if they have improper demands or suggestions,” Koo said.
The airline said it had filed patent and trademark applications for what it is calling the Economy Skynest. Air New Zealand was still assessing whether it could include other features like a USB outlet and a reading light. Tod said that when that route launches Air New Zealand would decide on whether to go ahead with the Skynest. The cost of the Skynest for customers has yet to be determined, but it would be separate to the cost of booking a seat on the flight, an Air New Zealand spokeswoman said. If the product takes off, Air New Zealand said it is open to licensing the Skynest to other airlines.
By Jason Gale / BloombergThe WHO years ago cautioned that a mysterious “disease X” could spark an international contagion. The new coronavirus, with its ability to quickly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender. The disease has now spread to more than two dozen countries and territories. About 5 percent of patients have critical illness, including respiratory failure, septic shock and multiorgan failure. Still, “the experience to date in Singapore is that patients without significant co-morbid conditions can also develop severe illness,” they said.
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter[Editor’s Note: After press time last night, the New Taipei City Government announced it was canceling its marathon.] Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) yesterday announced that the Tainan Half Marathon scheduled to be held on Sunday would be postponed until October, while the New Taipei City Government said that this year’s New Taipei City Wan Jin Shih Marathon would continue as planned. The Taiwan Medical Alliance for Labor Justice and Patient Safety had urged New Taipei City and Tainan to cancel next month’s marathons. Tainan Bureau of Education Director Cheng Hsin-hui (鄭新輝) said that more than 14,000 people were expected to participate in the half marathon. On the other hand, the New Taipei City Government said that the city’s Wan Jin Shi Marathon would be held on March 15 as scheduled.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterProposed amendments to the Spatial Planning Act (國土計畫法) might cause more environmental injustice under the pretext of “major construction projects,” environmentalists and lawmakers said yesterday, urging the Cabinet to withdraw the “retrogressive” bill. However, the Cabinet on Thursday last week proposed amendments that have unnerved many environmentalists. National spatial plans could be revised if the Cabinet approves major construction projects, one of the amendments says. Many local governments might have difficulty introducing regional spatial plans within two years, but that does not mean they should be given an indefinite period, she said. DPP Legislator Hung Shen-han (洪申翰), New Power Party Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) and Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Tsai Pi-ju (蔡壁如) also urged the Cabinet to review the amendments.
ReutersJohnson & Johnson (J&J) on Tuesday said that it was partnering with Apple Inc to use an iPhone app and the Apple Watch to study how earlier detection of atrial fibrillation impacts stroke in people aged 65 or older. Last year, Apple’s Heart Study — which analyzed the role of wearable devices in identifying potential heart problems — found that the watch could accurately detect atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat. The J&J study would be open to the more than 40 million people enrolled in traditional US Medicare plans, which cover people aged 65 and older, as well as the disabled. The latest Apple Watch model starts at list price of US$399. Apple and J&J officials said that was vital to proving whether the use of the app and watch lead to reduced stroke risk.
By Rachel Lin / Staff reporterMinister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday said that universities are adopting different measures for students seeking college admissions, such as conducting interviews via video conferences, amid concern over the spread of COVID-19. More than 130,000 students are expected to take part in interviews — the second segment of the college entrance exam, Pan said. As university students return to school, the ministry would visit schools that have not yet made adequate preparations, he added. Starting next month, the Ministry of Education is to deliver 94,000 liters of alcohol disinfectants to schools on a monthly basis as part of its preventive measures, Pan said. A supply of 12,500 forehead thermometers has already been delivered to schools, Pan told reporters before attending a meeting in Taipei, adding that another 12,500 is expected to be sent on Monday.
Staff writer, with CNAGlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with US-based contract chipmaker GlobalFoundries Inc to expand cooperation in wafer development. The two sides are to develop a long-term agreement for the Taiwanese firm to supply 12-inch silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers to GlobalFoundries, GlobalWafers said on Tuesday. 3 silicon wafer manufacturer in the world, has a long and ongoing cooperative relationship with GlobalFoundries for the supply of 8-inch SOI wafers. GlobalWafers said that the MOU aims to take advantage of the company’s 12-inch SOI capability and GlobalFoundries’ strength in radio frequency technology to provide a low-power, high-performance and easy-to-integrate solution to be used by next-generation mobile devices and 5G applications. Ties with GlobalFoundries in 12-inch SOI wafer supply are expected to help GlobalWafers widen its product portfolio, boost global competitiveness and strengthen its bottom line, the Taiwanese firm said.