CECC skirting dance hall issue is ‘typical,’ Ko saysCENTRAL GOVERNMENT: ’Ordering the businesses to suspend operations was easy, but no one wants to take the responsibility for reopening them,’ the mayor saidBy Lee I-chia / Staff reporterThe Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) instruction that local governments can decide whether hostess clubs and dance halls can reopen is a typical example of the central government’s unwillingness to take responsibility, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. The CECC on April 9 ordered all hostess clubs and dance halls to suspend operations after a case of locally transmitted COVID-19 involving a hostess in northern Taiwan was confirmed the day before. “I know firsthand that the central government’s instruction that ‘local governments can decide whether to allow hostess clubs and dance halls to resume operations’ is a typical example of its unwillingness to take responsibility,” Ko said. Taiwan had not reported a new domestic case in 27 days, so hostess clubs and dance halls should be allowed to resume operations, Ko said. Asked about Ko’s remarks, Chen later yesterday said that the central government has issued the guidelines, but that local governments know the businesses in their area better.
May 10, 2020 15:56 UTC
Most firms view working mothers positively: surveyBy Rachel Lin / Staff reporterWhile most working mothers felt that having children had a negative effect on their career, a vast majority of companies approved of their performance in the workplace, a survey by the Chinese-language magazine Parenting (親子天下) released on Tuesday showed. The poll surveyed the heads of human resources departments at 2,000 companies and more than 6,000 mothers who are either housewives, working moms or on parental leave. The poll found that 54 percent of mothers said that having children had held them back at work, while 87 percent of companies praised working moms as steady performers. A ”Tomistoma schlegelii,” also known as a false gharial, is pictured at the Taipei Zoo in a photograph released by the zoo yesterday ahead of Mother’s Day tomorrow. Meanwhile, 97 percent of employers are in favor of mothers taking parental leave, while nearly 60 percent of companies said that they would have trouble coping with staff shortages if parental leave lasted more than a year, it showed.
US Representative Guy Reschenthaler on Thursday shared the letter on Twitter, showing that it was endorsed by 26 other Congress members. “US-Taiwan relations have never been more important. “Existing restrictions on various aspects of US-Taiwan relations, including those for travel, government-to-government meetings and media, are inconsistent with these principles and not required by the Taiwan Relations Act or relevant policies,” it said. Taiwan’s embassy in Paraguay would continue to communicate with senators to clarify their doubts about bilateral ties, Ou said. Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez has on multiple occasions voiced support for deepening bilateral ties, she said, adding that many bilateral projects for boosting Paraguayan civic life are conducted smoothly.
Virus Outbreak: Virus budget given NT$150bn top-upBAILOUTS COMING: The increase would cover subsidies for affected companies’ operating costs, grants for needy households and programs to spur consumer spendingBy Sean Lin / Staff reporterWithout slashing a dollar, legislators yesterday passed a NT$150 billion (US$5.02 billion) increase to the Special Budget for COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery. The budget increase — which builds on NT$60 billion in stimulus funding that was passed on Feb. 25 — is divided into two parts: NT$133.5 billion in relief funds and NT$16.5 billion for disease prevention. Legislative Speaker You Si-kun, right, bangs his gavel at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to mark the passage of additional funds for the Special Budget for COVID-19 Prevention, Relief and Recovery. Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) said in the explanation for the increase that it would be entirely sourced from borrowing. Several resolutions accompanying the budget increase were also passed.
Lawmakers call for restrictions on sale of wood contractors cut from city treesBy Wu Su-wei and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerNew Power Party (NPP) Legislator Chen Jiau-hua (陳椒華) yesterday called for laws prohibiting the sale of wood obtained by contractors pruning urban trees. Chuang said that vendors buy wood to process into sawdust and are offering NT$1,600 to NT$2,300 per tonne, regardless of wood type. “I wonder if the aggressive pruning of trees nationwide could be considered illegally selling national property,” he said. Taipei City Tree Protection Committee member Ho Cheng-han (何承翰) said that government agencies view trees as just environmental aesthetics, and are prone to hire contractors at a minimal cost. Setting up storage for pruned wood would increase overhead costs for schools and other organizations, Lin said, adding that contracts should state how much wood should be removed.
Siemens eyes autonomous vehiclesBy Lisa Wang / Staff reporterSiemens AG is collaborating with Taiwanese partners to conduct field trials for autonomous vehicles by the end of this year, as the German company aims to increase its foothold in the nation’s smart transportation sector. “Our colleagues are working with a local partner on an autonomous driving project,” Siemens Taiwan president and chief executive officer Erdal Elver said at a media briefing in Taipei on Tuesday. Siemens hopes to bring its Aimsun solution — traffic simulation and large-scale testing of path-planning algorithms for autonomous vehicles — to Taiwan, Elver said. Apart from autonomous vehicles, Siemens is also looking at business opportunities in the electric bus sector, Elver said. The company is also in discussions with a German automaker to supply electric charging solutions for sedans in Taiwan, Elver said.
IDB approves 756 aid requestsSTAYING AFLOAT: IDB has issued NT$734 million in subsidies to help companies pay wages last month for up to 33,957 employees, and it plans another NT$1.12 billionBy Natasha Li / Staff reporterThe Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) has approved 756 of 1,224 applications from companies seeking government subsidies due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it said yesterday. Of the approved applications, 280 are from base metal and machinery equipment makers, 188 are from consumer goods and chemical materials manufacturers, and 120 are from information and communication technology companies, IDB data showed. The remaining applications are from businesses across various sectors, such as design, tourism and knowledge-based industries. It is aimed at providing financial aid to businesses from the manufacturing and services sectors that are struggling with the effects of the pandemic. “After discussions with industry representatives, we have decided to maintain the 50 percent threshold while loosening certain criteria,” he said.
AUO to spin off higher-margin display businessesA NEW HOPE: Under the plan, the NT$386 million public information and general purpose displays groups would become Da Qing Corp, pending shareholder approvalBy Lisa Wang / Staff ReporterLCD panel maker AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) yesterday unveiled a plan to demerge its higher-margin public information and general purpose displays businesses, marking its first spin-off. Photo: Chen Mei-ying, Taipei TimesDa Qing would focus on sales, research and development, and customer service of general purpose and public information displays, AUO said in a statement. AUO said that the public information display products include displays for smart retail, transportation and education, as well as specialized industrial-grade displays for harsh environments, such as outdoors. Products developed by Da Qing would deliver higher profit margins than commodity-type panels and have longer life cycles, AUO said. Rival Innolux Corp (群創) had mapped out similar plans to spin off some businesses 18 months earlier, but the firm has not yet made significant progress.
First book of ‘Son of Formosa’ series hits the shelvesBy Cheng Ming-hsiang and Jake Chung / Staff reporter, with staff writerThe first book of a biographical comic series titled Son of Formosa (來自清水的孩子) on Tsai Kun-lin (蔡焜霖), a political prisoner during the White Terror era, hit the shelves on Tuesday. Pages from the first book of a biographical comic series on Tsai Kun-lin, a political prisoner during the White Terror era, are pictured on Wednesday. Slowork Publisher president Huang Pei-shan (黃珮珊) said the company plans to release the second book next month, and complete the whole set by next year. White Terror-era political prisoner Tsai Kun-lin, center, illustrator Chou Chien-hsin, left, and National Taitung University professor Yu Pei-yun present a copy of the first book of a biographical comic series in Taipei on Wednesday. It is highly possible that the series could become popular internationally, Huang said.
With the aid of footage provided by Coast Guard Administration surveillance cameras, investigators established the sequence of the bridge collapse, the board said. 11, the bridge and the arch above it were visibly shaking, with the bridge beginning to drop slightly at 9:30:02am. At 9:30:03am, the west end of the bridge slid down the pier, followed by the east end of the bridge. Inspection records showed that the county government inspected the bridge seven times between 2000 and 2016, but none listed suspension cables or the anchor heads as must-check items. The bridge has not been inspected since it was turned over to the bureau on April 28, 2016, investigators found.
May 05, 2020 16:00 UTC
Virus Outbreak: Virus dampens home-buying interestNEGATIVE SENTIMENT: Although the number of infections is low in Taiwan, people still refrained from making large purchases on concerns that the virus might persistBy Crystal Hsu / Staff reporterHousing transactions last month totaled 17,603 units in the six special municipalities, down 11.2 percent from one month earlier, as the coronavirus pandemic weighed on buying interest, analysts said. Transactions in Tainan slumped 10.8 percent to 1,697 units and weakened 9.8 percent to 3,314 units in Taoyuan. Taipei and New Taipei City were relatively resilient with declines of 6.9 percent and 5.3 percent to 2,241 and 4,591 deals respectively. The figures bucked the seasonal trend as the current quarter is normally a high season for the housing market, Hsieh said. The sentiment would erase a 2 percent annual gain in housing transactions in the first four months, Evertrust said.
Virus Outbreak: TFCF gets NT$8m from Micron Technology, staffBy Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporterMicron Technology Taiwan and its employees donated NT$8 million (US$267,737.62) through the Micron Technology Foundation to the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF) to help support underprivileged families during the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund said on Monday. The company’s matching gift program meant that contributions to the fund from more than 1,000 of its employees were doubled, the fund said. The donation was more than five times the NT$1.5 million goal the company set early last month when it launched a fundraising campaign. The painting symbolizes the COVID-19 pandemic as a nightmare. “As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, young children and their families remain especially vulnerable,” fund chief executive Betty Ho (何素秋) said.
Han defends self against recall vote on June 6Staff writer, with CNAKaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) yesterday defended himself against a recall vote that is scheduled to take place next month. Central Election Commission Chairman Lee Chin-yung makes an announcement about a recall vote against Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu at the commission’s offices in Taipei yesterday. The recall vote is to take place on June 6. A recall vote is to be held on June 6. The CEC plans to open 1,823 voting booths for the recall vote, but it has yet to find enough venues to do so, as many schools have been reluctant to provide space, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
While there are legal protections against discriminatory practices in the workplace in Taiwan, their enforcement could be improved, she said. Work is an important part of people’s lives, with some people spending more time with their colleagues than their family members, she said. A majority of people who participated in the survey (84.3 percent) work full-time and more than half (58.7 percent) were aged 26 to 35. Among the respondents, 74.5 percent identified as homosexual and 22.4 percent identified as bisexual, the groups said. They said that 42.4 percent of respondents identified as cisgender male, 48.6 percent identified as cisgender female and 7.7 percent identified as transgender men or women.
Amendments to promote railway staff safety passBy Sean Lin / Staff reporterLawmakers yesterday passed proposed amendments to the Railway Act (鐵路法), including a provision that railway staff should be equipped with safety training and disease prevention skills. Apart from being tasked with disease prevention and safety response capabilities, railway staff should familiarize themselves with disease prevention or safety equipment used by rail operators, the amendment says. Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang bangs the gavel as lawmakers pass the third reading of amendments to the Railway Act at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday. Railway staff must comply with accident investigations by the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board, they say. The legislature also passed an article stipulating that products used on rail systems must be certified by institutes recognized by the ministry.