Staff writer, with CNAA Hsinchu doctor working as a medical volunteer in Papua New Guinea (PNG) described the tough conditions people there face after earlier this month removing a large tumor from a woman’s ovaries. Changhua Christian Hospital, where he used to work, has been sending volunteer medical missions to Papua New Guinea since 2005, Lin said, adding that he took part in missions organized by the hospital to other countries. After moving to work elsewhere, Lin continued to take part in overseas missions and went to Papua New Guinea this year. Nonga General Hospital, where Lin worked for five days, has only one obstetrics and gynecology clinic a week, even though the hospital is dedicated to serving women and children. Many people have to walk for two days to see a doctor, which discourages many pregnant women from getting prenatal checkups or even seeing a doctor until they feel extremely unwell, Lin said.
Staff writer, with CNATaiwan yesterday debuted a hot air balloon in the shape of a Formosan black bear at the International Balloon Festival in Taitung County. The “OhBear” balloon, which is 30.6m high and weighs 250kg, was produced through a joint effort of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ Tourism Bureau and the Taitung County Government. The motif features the Formosan black bear, which is native to Taiwan and mainly inhabits the nation’s Central Mountain Range. As a hot air balloon, the black bear motif is to float among balloons from across the globe at the festival, which is being held in Taitung County’s Luye Highland until Aug. 13. At various venues throughout Taitung, visitors can take tethered balloon rides during the day and attend the Night Glow Concert in the evening.
AP, NEW YORKFacebook Inc on Friday said that it has suspended Boston-based analytics firm Crimson Hexagon while it investigates how it collects and shares Facebook and Instagram’s user data. Facebook has been facing increased scrutiny over how third-party firms use its data since news broke in March that data firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed user data. The Wall Street Journal first reported that Facebook had suspended Crimson Hexagon. “We don’t allow developers to build surveillance tools using information from Facebook or Instagram,” Facebook vice president of product partnerships Ime Archibong said. The firm only collects publicly available social media data, Bingham said, adding that Cambridge Analytica used private user data.
A Mars opposition occurs when Earth passes between the sun and Mars and all three are arranged in an almost straight line. The episode this week is unique because it will be the most significant opposition of the past 15 years, the museum said. An opposition with Mars takes place approximately every two years, but due to the elliptic orbit of Mars, the distance between Earth and Mars varies greatly between each encounter, it said. The next time such a significant opposition will take place will be in 2035, it added. The museum is to hold a series of events to teach the public about the phenomenon.
Reuters, SAO PAULOThe US is monitoring the recent weakness in the Chinese yuan and will review whether the currency has been manipulated, US Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin told Reuters on Friday. Mnuchin said in an interview in Sao Paulo, Brazil, that the yuan’s weakness would be reviewed as part of the US Treasury’s semi-annual report on currency manipulation, which is due on Oct. 15 and will be based on activity for the first six months of this year. “The US should be allowed to recapture what was lost due to illegal currency manipulation and BAD Trade Deals,” Trump wrote on Twitter. The comments, plus Trump’s criticism of Fed interest rate hikes, sent the US dollar tumbling against a basket of currencies. “The [yuan’s] slide against the US dollar will substantially cushion the impact on Chinese exporters from the planned next round of US tariffs,” IHS Markit chief Asia economist Rajiv Biswas said.
Staff writer, with CNA and ReutersThe New Taiwan dollar on Friday fell to NT$30.716 against the US dollar, its lowest level in 16 months, as regional currencies dropped during the week, dealers said. The NT dollar on Friday fell NT$0.084, or 0.27 percent, against the US dollar after moving between NT$30.630 and NT$30.750. For the week, the NT dollar shed NT$0.16, or 0.52 percent, from NT$30.556 on July 13, falling to its lowest level since March 15 last year, when it ended at NT$30.840. Moreover, the yuan is likely to continue to depreciate against the US dollar, adding more downward pressure on the NT dollar down the road, they said. As a result, the US dollar is likely to move even higher against the NT dollar soon, they added.
Selling cannabis has allowed the affable 76-year-old to keep his privately owned pharmacy in Montevideo open in a market dominated by big chains. It has been four-and-a-half years since marijuana use became legal in Uruguay and a year since it has been sold in pharmacies — up to 40 grams a month per person. An initial stumbling block arose when banks refused to work with establishments selling cannabis due to international rules against drug trafficking. However, Curbelo had to get over his own prejudices before deciding to join the select band of pharmacies selling the plant. Users can choose between two brands and two types of cannabis — Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica — that are provided by an official distributor.
By Chung Li-hua and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writerCorrective measures by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration has drastically reduced how often visiting Chinese officials have breached Taiwanese laws, a source said. Despite stricter enforcement of regulations governing visits by Chinese officials to Taiwan, the number of visits has increased by 20 percent from May last year to May this year, with about 32,000 visits during the period, the source said. The 31 incentives were announced by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office on Feb. 28, and include tax cuts, investment capital and relaxed restrictions on certification for 134 professions. In 2014 there were 237 cases where Chinese visitors were reported to have made unannounced changes to their itineraries, while in 2015 there were 125, and during those two years, eight Chinese visitors overstayed their visas, while 214 attempted to conceal their Chinese government positions, statistics from the agency showed. The majority of violations committed by visiting Chinese during the Ma administration were unreported itinerary changes, the source said.
By Lee Hsin-fang and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe Ministry of National Defense is pushing for an increase in defense spending as the Executive Yuan prepares the fiscal 2019 budget, an unnamed military official said. Defense ministry spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said the ministry is optimistic given Chu’s comments. In 2016, then-defense minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) said he hoped to see the defense budget increased to NT$400 billion, but it was not. They have submitted their budget proposals to the Executive Yuan for review, the source said. The DGBAS would look for irregularities in the budget proposals, an unnamed Executive Yuan official with knowledge of the matter said.
Oil prices and US-China tensions are the two big uncertainties for Nan Ya’s operations, chairman Wu Chia-chau (吳嘉昭) told reporters on the sidelines of an annual shareholders’ meeting in Taipei. The trade spat would likely effect Nan Ya’s electric material products more than its other products, as the US’ latest tariffs are mostly related to high-tech industries, Wu said. Nevertheless, Nan Ya said it is upbeat about the sales of its petrochemical and plastics products, as global customer demand remains robust. Global demand for ethylene glycol, one of Nan Ya’s benchmark products, is estimated to reach 28.44 million tonnes this year, up from last year’s 27.65 million tonnes, according to projections in the company’s annual report. Nan Ya shares yesterday fell 2.13 percent to close at NT$82.8 before the shareholders’ meeting, underperforming the broader market, which lost 1.65 percent.
By Sean Lin / Staff reporterThe Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday accused the Central Election Commission (CEC) of stalling the review of a referendum proposal initiated by KMT Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) about phasing out coal-fired power plants. The proposal from Lu, the KMT’s Taichung mayoral candidate, has been in limbo for 78 days, KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu (林德福) said. This would prevent a referendum proposal from being seconded by the public, he said. He accused the commission of applying a double standard, as referendums initiated by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers were approved faster than those initiated by KMT members. The commission should have asked the DPP administration that question instead, as the result of referendums should serve as references for policymaking, Lu said.
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office said it is collecting evidence and interviewing people to determine if the suspect, Chen Po-chien (陳伯謙), 37, had help in killing and dismembering the 30-year-old victim, surnamed Kao (高). During questioning by police on Sunday, Chen admitted to killing Kao at about 4am on June 1, prosecutors said. On May 31, Chen, Kao and several other people gathered at Chen’s Yejucaotang (野居草堂) studio for drinks, prosecutors said. Chen later transported the body parts on his motorcycle and discarded them along the road on the northern slope of Yangmingshan, they said. Local media had earlier made live broadcasts about the body parts as they were found and reported a claim that Chen had sexually assaulted Kao’s body.
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporterThe prices of bananas and pineapples have stabilized, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday, urging local media to stop running false or misleading reports that affect farmers’ livelihoods. Warmer weather and less rainfall this year led to an overproduction of many crops, especially tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples and mangoes, the council said. As prices plunged, the council found itself under fire over the past few months. Some media reports saying banana and pineapple prices have plunged to a state out of the council’s control are incorrect, Chen said. The council is also working on increasing the ratio of processed agricultural products, he said, adding that only 5 percent of bananas are made into food products.
Passive components are the basic building blocks of electronic circuits. Due to the global economic slowdown in 2012, which negatively affected end-market demand and caused a supply-demand imbalance, Taiwan’s exports of passive components contracted by 5.7 percent annually that year and registered four consecutive years of negative growth through 2015. However, growing demand for passive components as mobile devices became increasingly sophisticated and a wider adoption of semiconductors in automotive electronics resulted in Taiwanese exports recording an annual increase of 29.7 percent in 2016. Last year, exports of passive components rose 13.1 percent year-on-year, with capacitors accounting for 57.9 percent of the total shipments, resistors contributing 23.6 percent and inductors making up 18.5 percent, the ministry said. China, including Hong Kong, continued to be the largest destination for Taiwanese exports, accounting for 79.2 percent of overall outbound shipments, while exports to the US accounted for 4.3 percent and shipments to Germany made up 3.3 percent, it said.
June 17, 2018 15:56 UTC
By Peng Wan-hsin and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe Central Election Commission (CEC) should avoid reviewing the substance of proposed referendums, the Legislative Yuan’s Organic Laws and Statutes Committee said in its report on the Referendum Act (公民投票法). Under the act, there are five areas that the competent authority — which is the commission in the case of national referendums — needs to examine in the process of reviewing proposals for referendums, the bureau said. However, these five areas do not include a review of the substance of the proposed referendums, it added. An amendment to the act in December last year abolished the Cabinet’s Referendum Review Commission. The lowering of the thresholds has resulted in a surge of referendum proposals.
June 17, 2018 15:56 UTC