EPA warns power firms on dumping used solar panelsGOING SOLAR: Energy developers have to obtain a registration number for each panel and pay a recycling fee before installing the unitBy Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterSolar power developers are required to pay recycling fees for installing solar panels, and those caught illegally dumping panels would face a fine of up to NT$3 million (US$100,164), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday. The EPA has, in cooperation with the Bureau of Energy, set up a recycling system for solar panel waste, EPA Department of Waste Management Director-General Lai Ying-ying (賴瑩瑩) told a news conference in Taipei. The system was established to prevent heavy metal pollution caused by decommissioned photovoltaic panels and to foster a circular economy within the solar power industry, she said. To handle used panels, developers have to file an application with the EPA’s online solar panel recycling system, and the Taiwan Photovoltaic Industry Association would help recycle them, Lai said. The EPA last month helped recycle 50 solar panels decommissioned from an energy installation site in Penghu County, where solar panels are more easily eroded due to salty and humid conditions.
However, the changes have drawn criticism from local government officials since they were announced. The app was upgraded to help control the number of people at attractions during a long weekend, the ministry said. It displays crowd levels in green, yellow and red — normal, slightly more crowded than normal and crowded respectively, it added. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hung Mong-kai (洪孟楷) said that the center sent crowd warning text messages to visitors at 11 attractions during the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend earlier this month. Chunghwa Telecom has been asked to revise the parameters before the holiday, it added.
Subsidies target base stations in remote areasBy Shelley Shan / Staff reporterThe government plans to budget NT$390 million (US$13.02 million) in subsidies to telecoms building base stations along more than 100 backcountry hiking trails, near several large mountain huts and along the South Link Line, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Construction costs are expected to reach NT$180 million and no fund had previously covered building telecom infrastructure in these areas. The South Link Line, part of the nation’s mass transportation system, has a few railway stations in mountainous areas that need base stations, Cheng said. The government subsidies — to be funded by the Executive Yuan’s Secondary Reserve Fund — would cover 49 percent of the cost of building the base stations, Cheng said. The commission aims to add reception to the mountainous areas and improve reception along the South Link Line by the end of this year, Cheng said.
Taiwanese expats in the UK in the time of COVID-19Racism, empty shelves and purchasing good quality face masks are some of the difficulties experienced by overseas TaiwaneseBy Jean-Baptiste Andrieux / Contributing reporter in LONDONSince the appearance of COVID-19, Taiwanese expats living in the United Kingdom have had to face their share of adverse situations. “I was wearing a face mask on my way to do my grocery shopping when a man approached me quietly and shouted ‘virus’ in my face. Photo: APEven finding a face mask of a good standard has nonetheless proven to be difficult in the UK, and scams are plentiful. “I could find face masks online, but for an expensive price,” said Yu Chi-yi (余治儀), a student at King’s College in London. Photo: AFPSimilarly, it has become more and more complicated to purchase Taiwanese food in the UK.
Virus Outbreak: Prototype of new ventilator set to be built: ministerBy Natasha Li / Staff reporterLocal medical equipment suppliers are soon to build a prototype of a ventilator to treat COVID-19 patients, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin speaks at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Finance Committee in Taipei yesterday. Taiwanese manufacturers mainly produce positive-pressure ventilators for people with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, while ventilators for critically ill patients are imported. “Our engineers are working on building a prototype along with local companies specializing in machinery sensors and components, as well as systems integration,” an institute official told the Taipei Times by telephone. The institute expects to hold a news conference next week to showcase the prototype, the official said.
“We are not only apologizing, we also feel ashamed,” Ko said at a meeting of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Taipei City Council caucus. Cashbox had previously passed 20 fire safety inspections, but four of its six branches in Taipei failed an unscheduled inspection after the incident, he said. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, left, yesterday bows at a meeting of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Taipei City Council caucus to apologize for the ineffectiveness of the city government’s fire safety inspections. Five fire protection systems in the building were found to have been turned off before the incident and four other Cashbox branches failed the city’s unscheduled fire safety inspections on Monday, officials said. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that the city government would complete fire safety inspections of 70 enclosed recreational spaces in the city by tomorrow, as well as re-examine related fire safety regulations.
Ministry drops delinquent political parties from listBy Jake Chung / Staff writer, with CNAPolitical parties delinquent in filing documents mandated under the Political Parties Act (政黨法) have had their registration information removed from the Ministry of the Interior’s records. Dissolved on Tuesday, the 171 political parties — including the Trees Party, the Faith and Hope League, and the Zhonghua Social Democratic Party — began yesterday to receive notification of their disbandment. The emblem of the Ministry of the Interior is pictured at the ministry in Taipei in an undated photograph. Photo: Huang Hsin-po, Taipei TimesThe ministry added that it would appoint an official for parties unable to agree on one. Forty-two political groups — including the National Women’s League — failed to submit the documents needed to become a political party, so they were also dissolved on Tuesday, the ministry added.
Academia Sinica members raise citizenship issueBy Chien Hui-ju and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writerAt least 10 Academia Sinica members are Chinese nationals who do not possess Republic of China (ROC) citizenship, researchers at the institution said yesterday, calling for staffing rules to be amended. Academia Sinica members are peer-elected and any changes to the institution’s regulations must be decided by a meeting of all of its fellows, it said in a statement. The name and emblem of Academia Sinica at the entrance of the institution are pictured in Taipei’s Nangang District on Tuesday. A former Academia Sinica member from China was only permitted to be a visiting foreign scholar at Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Sciences after he gave up his Chinese citizenship for US citizenship, Lin said, but added that Academia Sinica permitted him to remain a fellow, despite the change in citizenship. The example shows that Academia Sinica does not follow normal international practice regarding academic posts, Lin added.
‘Dark forces’ behind Lam attack: ChaoNATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE: Attacks against advocates of democracy would happen again if the masterminds are not identified, DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin saidBy Jason Pan / Staff reporterDemocratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) yesterday called on law enforcement authorities to treat the recent paint attack on Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), a former co-owner of Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay Books, as a national security matter. The dark forces behind them will continue to operate from abroad, out of reach of our laws, and they will continue to pose a danger to democracy activists,” he said. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin, left, and former Causeway Bay Books co-owner Lam Wing-kei talk to reporters at Chao’s legislative office in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei TimesChao invited Lam to attend yesterday’s briefing, along with Criminal Investigation Bureau Deputy Commissioner Liao Hsun-cheng (廖訓誠) and officials from the National Security Bureau’s (NSB) Third Department. Chao said that Lam was not the only Hong Konger to be attacked in the past few years.
Cashbox representatives apologize for deadly fireBy Chen Cheng-hui / Staff reporterCashbox Partyworld Co Ltd (錢櫃) representatives yesterday bowed at a news conference to offer their apologies to the public for a deadly fire that broke out at one of the popular karaoke chain’s outlets in Taipei on Sunday. The company has suspended its business operations in Taiwan for one week to improve fire and building safety at its outlets, Cashbox chief executive officer Lien Fu-tsai (連福財) said. Cashbox Partyworld Co Ltd director Yen Chih-ching, second left, chief executive officer Lien Fu-tsai, third left, and other company representatives bow in apology at a news conference in Taipei yesterday. At a separate news conference at the Taipei Exchange, Cashbox chief financial officer and spokeswoman Eve Kao (高心華) said that she could not report on the company’s potential losses in monetary terms. Cashbox reported NT$212.62 million in consolidated revenue last month, down 28.35 percent from a year earlier, as the COVID-19 outbreak affected business, Kao said.
Net profit was NT$1.5 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. Despite the quarterly decline, net profit rose 6.4 percent annually from NT$1.39 billion. The chipmaker said that it aims to limit the new fab’s erosion of its gross margin to within 5 percentage points this year. “At the moment, we still see our customers showing very strong demand through the second quarter,” Vanguard chairman Fang Leuh (方略) told investors during a teleconference. “We have two months of [order] visibility until the end of the second quarter,” Fang said.
Dinos force deciding SBL title gameBy Jason Pan / Staff reporterPoint guard Marcus Keene’s 46 points last night led the Yulon Luxgen Dinos to a 99-81 win over Taiwan Beer in the Super Basketball League (SBL) championship, evening up the series and forcing a deciding game tomorrow at the Hao Yu Sports Center in New Taipei City. Yulon Dinos center Sim Bhullar — born in Canada to Indian parents — contributed to the victory by grabbing 11 rebounds, a game high for either team. Led by Keene’s outstanding individual effort, the Yulon Dinos’ teamwork put them ahead 47-40 at halftime. In the third quarter, the Yulon Dinos outscored their opponents 28 to 15 and extended their lead to 75-55. The Yulon Dinos continued to rack up long-range shots throughout the final quarter, and although Taiwan Beer rallied, they were unable to close that gap.
Virus Outbreak: Chen, Azar talk by phone about prevention effortsCONFERENCE CALL: Joining the top health officials from Taiwan and the US on Monday night’s conversation were AIT Director Brent Christensen and top ministry officialsBy Lee I-chia / Staff reporterMinister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) and US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar exchanged ideas about COVID-19 prevention in a conference call on Monday night. Azar and Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), had an in-depth talk about disease prevention strategies, global health and safety, and touched upon Taiwan’s participation in the WHO, the office said. Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times“This morning I spoke with Minister Chen of Taiwan regarding the #COVID19 outbreak. I thanked him for Taiwan’s efforts to share their best practices and resources with the U.S.” Azar wrote on Twitter shortly after the telephone call. Their call was part of ongoing efforts to cooperate in disease prevention, Yao said yesterday during a news briefing at the foreign ministry in Taipei.
Given the shortage of coronavirus testing kits, foreign buyers have shown an interest in the firm’s products, he said, adding that Medigen’s local plant has produced some kits. Medigen’s diagnostic reagent was the latest to obtain the certification, after products manufactured by GeneReach Biotechnology Corp (瑞基海洋) and General Biologicals Corp (普生). Like the other companies’ products, Medigen’s reagent gives results in about 80 minutes, with an accuracy rate of 95 percent, Lee said. As some people infected with COVID-19 have shown false negatives, the public has questioned the accuracy of the testing kits that are available. “The false negatives are not the result of a failure on the part of the testing kits, as most medical devices are sensitive and accurate.
Passport, CAL proposals advanceCLEAR IDENTITY: Several proposals to highlight Taiwan on the passport and rename the flag carrier are to be discussed in cross-caucus discussions before second readingsBy Sean Lin / Staff reporterProposals to redesign the cover of the nation’s passport and rename state-run China Airlines (CAL) yesterday advanced to second readings, pending cross-caucus talks to be convened by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The DPP caucus tendered a motion to send to a second reading its proposal and one by Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) on redesigning the passport cover to highlight the marking or symbol of “Taiwan,” which was passed without objection. The proposal would not involve a constitutional amendment, as it only deals with the markings on passports, so relevant agencies should be able to promptly address the matter flexibly, he said. Both proposals say that any forthcoming design must make a distinction between China Airlines and Chinese state-run Air China. The DPP caucus is responsible for scheduling cross-caucus negotiations on the proposals to redesign the passport, while the NPP and the DPP would jointly be responsible for scheduling talks on renaming China Airlines, Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌) said.