By Ou Su-mei, Lo Chien-yi and Wu Hsin-tien / Staff reportersAcademics and Hiwin Technologies Corp (上銀科技) have developed a new technique to extend the shelf life of lychees to 30 days. It is great that local businesses have collaborated to boost the nation’s agricultural diplomacy, she said, calling on Hiwin to license the technique to other municipalities. Bananas, pineapples, mangoes and lychees are the nation’s primary fruit exports to Japan, although banana exports have fallen, Council of Agriculture data showed. The Philippines and Japan in 2006 signed an economic partnership agreement, which lowered the tariff on Philippine bananas from 9.1 percent to 5.5 percent. Taiwan’s lack of cooling systems to extend the shelf life of fruits the main obstacle for exports, council Department of International Affairs Deputy Director-General Lin Chia-jung (林家榮) said, adding that the council plans to establish large-scale cooling systems nationwide.
By Sherry Hsiao / Staff writer, with CNAThe Muzha Refuse Incineration Plant smokestack in Taipei’s Muzha District (木柵) is to be redecorated with images of Taiwanese blue magpies, banyan trees and rhododendrons, Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said on Wednesday. The 150m smokestack currently features images of giraffes. Ko in a Facebook post cited wear and tear as the reason for the new paint job. Liang Hung-lang (梁宏郎), who heads the plant, had said on Monday that the image would be kept secret until it was painted at the end of the year. The giraffes have remained on the smokestack for 24 years, Ko said, adding that many people mistakenly believe that it marks Taipei Zoo, which is also located in the area.
The Chinese government said it was responding in “equal scale” to Trump’s tariff hike on Chinese goods, amid a conflict over Beijing’s trade surplus and technology policy that companies worry could quickly escalate and chill global economic growth. China “doesn’t want a trade war,” but has to “fight back strongly,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement. Beijing is also scrapping agreements to narrow its multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the US, which would have seen China buy more US farm goods, natural gas and other products, it said. Chinese regulators also are considering a tariff hike on an additional 114 products, including medical equipment and energy products, the finance ministry said, adding that a decision would be announced later. China’s heavily regulated economy also gives the Chinese Communist Party additional options for retaliation, such as withholding approval for business activity.
The 800 Heroes veterans’ group believes that the state should protect their interests and that amended laws should not be retroactive, group commander Wu Chi-liang (吳其樑) said. The group would “stand up for our constitutionally guaranteed rights” and “fight to the end” even if its efforts were fruitless, said Wu, a retired lieutenant-general. “The amendment is soon to enter its third reading and this is the last mile,” Wu said, calling on all retired military personnel to gather around the legislature. The statement also called for protesters to prepare the necessary equipment, bring their own medication, and bring rain-gear and tents. The protests have mainly been in response to proposed cuts to pensions, which would not only affect future retirees, but also for those already retired, Wu said.
By Lu Yi-hsuan and Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter, with staff writerForeign affairs experts on Thursday called for a “new northbound policy” to develop relations with North Korea. The government should establish a North Korea work group, said Alexander Huang (黃介正), an associate professor at Tamkang University’s Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies. When the North gives up its “military first” policy and develops its economy, Taiwan could have a “new northbound policy” in addition to the New Southbound Policy, he said. Senior adviser to the president Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) said he communicated with North Korea while he was serving as the minister of foreign affairs from 2000 to 2002. If international sanctions on North Korea are loosened or even removed, Taiwanese should help North Korea develop its economy through industries in which Taiwan has an advantage and share its experience of democratization, he said, adding that Taiwan should begin laying the groundwork for these measures now.
Staff writer, with CNADespite Taiwan’s isolation on the international stage, it must continue its humanitarian efforts overseas to stand out on the world stage, diplomats have said. The wide variety of aid Taiwan provides is a reflection of its experience in setting up successful aid programs, former Republic of China (ROC) ambassador to Haiti Peter Hwang (黃再求) said in a recent interview. Many of the large-scale projects carried out by other countries, including the US, have still not been completed, he added. Besides helping an ally, promoting foreign aid can be a positive learning process for many of Taiwan’s agricultural and medical experts, he said. Taiwan needs to continue with its international aid projects and come up with more that could mutually benefit Taiwan and its diplomatic allies, Chao said.
By Jason Pan / Staff reporterThe New Taipei District Court yesterday approved an arrest warrant for a man who skipped bail while under indictment for allegedly marketing counterfeit Rosuvastatin (also known as Crestor), a cholesterol-reducing drug. Pan Chun-ta (潘駿達), 40, on Thursday failed to appear for a trial hearing and did not report to police, prosecutors said. Pan allegedly made about NT$69 million (US$2.3 million) over two years by making and selling counterfeit versions of the drug, prosecutors said. Bailiffs on Thursday inquired into Pan’s whereabouts and found that he had failed to report to Sijhih police once a month. The case was the second this month in which a local police unit failed to alert judicial authorities about a suspect breaking the terms of their bail agreement.
The joint venture aims to turn the idle property into a neighborhood landmark, TAMC said, adding that it has 10 floors above ground and one basement floor. The hotel would have 280 guestrooms and might start operating by the end of next year, adding dynamism to the hospitality industry in central Taiwan, TAMC said. “The deal is a win-win for TAMC and Evergreen Resort given the large floor space involved,” TAMC chairman Cheng Ming-hua (鄭明華) said. The empty building has 8,200 ping (27,107m2) of floor space, making it difficult to find a buyer. Hotels in Taitung have seen their occupancy rates drop as the number of Chinese tourists sharply declined, TAMC officials said, adding inconvenient transportation remains an obstacle.
By Jonathan Chin / Staff writer, with CNAThe National Palace Museum has unveiled a slew of merchandise for a special exhibition on comic book artist Uen Chen (鄭問) ranging from reproductions to whiskey. In addition, several whiskey distilleries partnered with the museum to sell nine whiskey labels featuring Chen’s artwork for Koei’s classic turn-based strategy franchise Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chunghwa Post is simultaneously releasing a special stamp collection based on Chen’s art, with the first edition limited to 200 sets. The museum is also offering other items featuring Chen’s art, including art books, notebooks, calendars, shirts and bags. An opening ceremony was held yesterday for the exhibition, titled “The Legacy of Chen Uen: Art, Life and Philosophy.”The show, which features 250 original works, sample comic books and personal effects, runs until Sept. 17.
If a partnership is reached it would be the first time that the Taiwanese firm acquires a springboard to the European market, Taiwan Cement said. Sanko owns three cement plants in Turkey, making it a medium-sized cement supplier in that country, Taiwan Cement said. Under chairman Nelson Chang (張安平), Taiwan Cement has been transforming itself into an energy-efficient company with larger international visibility. The form of the partnership is still being negotiated, Taiwan Cement added. Shares of Taiwan Cement rose 0.78 percent to close at NT$45.25 in Taipei trading yesterday.
By Chiu Chih-jou and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writerAn abandoned church in Pingtung County’s Wanluan Township (萬巒) is to be refurbished to promote cocoa, Hakka culture and tourism, the county’s Hakka Affairs Department Director Chen Li-ping (陳麗萍) said. With the permission of the Diocese of Kaohsiung, construction to transform the church into a promotional center for the county’s cocoa industry has begun, they said. The church would be restored to its original appearance, and would include installation art that is evocative of a traditional Hakka rural commune, officials said. The county government has prepared NT$80 million (US$2.67 million) for the three-phase project, with the first NT$30 million earmarked for installations, they said. The cocoa commands three-and-a-half times the price of average cocoa futures, but many farms and businesses need to be consolidated and lack economies of scale, Chen said.
Ongoing strikes have hit some Taiwanese companies that operate in Vietnam’s Tien Giang Province, council chairman Hsu Yu-lin (許玉林) said in a statement, adding that the protests have affected other southern provinces, including Long An, Dong Nai and Tay Ninh. The council, which is the largest Taiwanese-founded trade group in Vietnam, has 14 branches and more than 1,500 members there, data showed. The council’s statement came after Pou Chen, the world’s largest branded athletic and casual footwear maker, on Monday said its four plants in Vietnam had to halt production because of the protests. Vietnam is Pou Chen’s largest production base, with seven plants contributing about 44 percent of the company’s total sales last quarter, a report by Chinese-language Economic Daily News said. The company, which has more than 150,000 employees in Vietnam, is considering shifting production to Indonesia and Myanmar to avoid risks, the report said.
By Lisa Wang / Staff reporterThe Central Taiwan Science Park Administration yesterday said it has gained approval to develop land in Taichung’s Houli District (后里), after 12 years of dealing with environmental disputes, which would ease a scarcity of land nationwide. The park administration made the remarks after the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday endorsed a second-phase environmental impact assessment, four years after it settled legal disputes with environmental activists and local residents. There is also a chance that Apple Inc’s camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co (大立光) might build a new production line there. “We are approaching Largan to lease land in Houli,” Central Taiwan Science Park Director-General Chen Ming-huang (陳銘煌) said in a telephone interview. Topkey Corp (拓凱), which produces composite carbon fiber and resin, plans to invest NT$1.8 billion (US$60.22 million) on building production lines in Houli, Chen said, adding that camera lens maker Newmax Technology Co (新鉅科) also plans to invest about NT$2 billion there.
By Lee I-chia / Staff reporterAllowing gay men to donate blood is a meaningful step toward the protection of human rights, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday in response to criticism that the policy would raise health concerns. The Taiwan Lily Justice Association yesterday said that the policy raises concern over whether nucleic acid testing (NAT) can detect the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in donated blood. The association played on the government’s blood donation slogan, “save one life by donating one bag of blood,” by turning it into “destroy one life by donating one bag of blood.”It said the number of nations that allow blood donations from gay men is low. Centers for Disease Control data show that of 631 reported HIV cases between January and April, 479, or 76 percent, were men who had had unprotected sex with other men. Chen said any person who had unprotected sex could pose a risk of HIV infection, which is not limited to gay men.
Staff writer, with CNATsai Kun-lin (蔡焜霖), who was imprisoned during the White Terror era for joining a book club, is to receive a special contribution award at this year’s Golden Comic Awards, the Ministry of Culture announced on Monday. This provided a platform for local comic book writers to present their work, the judges for the award said. The ministry also released the list of 23 works nominated for this year’s Golden Comic Awards. Online text and graphic designer Cherng (馬來貘) was nominated in the best comic strip collection category for his work featuring Malayan tapirs. Wei Tsung-cheng (韋宗成) and Yi Huan (依歡) have been shortlisted for the best comic for teenage boys and teenage girls awards respectively.