President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said her administration will spend more than one fifth of its proposed 2019 defense budget on the development of domestic weapons systems. According to Tsai, the move is in line with the government's policy of strengthening national security.

The government hopes to increase defense spending by NT$18.3 billion next year to NT$346 billion (US$11.7 billion) – a figure which represents 2.16 percent of Taiwan's GDP.

Tsai said 21.3 percent of that total will be spent on developing indigenous defense systems as part of efforts to boost defense capabilities. The allocations also include NT$95 billion for military investment, an increase of NT$13.9 billion from this year.

The president made the statement during the unveiling of a plaque at the Navy Command Headquarters, which bears the inscription "New Navy Sets Sail." Tsai said the plaque symbolizes the "beginning of a new era for the Navy."

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) CEO C.C. Wei (魏哲家) said the computer virus that hit the company last Friday was not caused by a hacker or a disgruntled employee, in response to reports the virus was part of a cyberattack on the chipmaker.

According to Wei, the virus was a "mistake by TSMC itself" and occurred when a new tool was connected to the company's computer network without having been first isolated and checked for viruses.

Wei said the mistake was "very regretful" and the company will install an automatic checking system to ensure that similar incidents do not happen in the future.

TSMC is a major supplier of processors used in Apple’s iPhones, including the A11 processor used in the iPhone X. Analysts told CNBC they expected the impact on Apple’s 2018 production to be minor. However, the reports renewed concerns about the overall status of Taiwan’s cybersecurity

According to Wei, all the tools affected were declared virus-free on Sunday, but production is being ramped up slowly as a cautionary measure.

TSMC estimated the virus attack could cut its revenue for the third quarter of this year by less than 2 percent, after initial fears that third quarter revenue could fall by up to 3 percent.

President Tsai said Taiwan has been making breakthroughs in resolving bottlenecks encountered in the design and manufacturing of submarines through international cooperation and other efforts here at home.

Speaking at the Navy Command Headquarters, Tsai said "international friends" have lent their support to Taiwan because they have seen the government's resolve to develop the nation's indigenous defense systems.

However, Tsai did not give any examples of the "breakthroughs" that have been made in submarine development.


Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG

President Tsai waves as she boards Hai Lung-class submarine (SS-794) on a visit to a navy base in Kaohsiung.

Her statement comes after the United States Department of State approved the marketing license needed for its domestic manufacturers to sell technology to Taiwan to help the island develop its own indigenous submarines. That approval means Taiwan will be able to acquire the technology needed to build such combat systems, torpedoes, and missile systems.

CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船), which was commissioned to plan and design the submarines in late 2016, says it is not ruling out the possibility of seeking cooperation with international naval architects to facilitate the project.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers are warning the government not to make any "rash" decisions in response to moves by some international airlines to change Taiwan's designation on their websites.

According to KMT legislative caucus secretary-general Ceng Ming-zong (曾銘宗), the government should be very cautious when considering what countermeasures to take against 44 foreign airlines that have changed the island's designation.

Ceng said the Tsai administration needs to refrain from taking any action in cross-strait affairs that could further dampen ties with Beijing and instead focus on re-starting negotiations on all matters relating to people's livelihoods.

The statement comes after reports claimed the government is considering adjusting the time slots allotted to airlines and denying them the use of jet bridges for adhering to Beijing's request that Taiwan be listed as part of China.

DPP legislative caucus secretary-general Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said the countermeasures exist only on paper and will undergo further evaluation before any moves are finalized.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says two more cases of dengue fever have been confirmed to be part of this year's first indigenous cluster outbreak in New Taipei's Xinzhuang District, bringing the total number of cases in the cluster to eight.

Health officials say the seventh and eighth cases in the dengue fever cluster were confirmed on Monday.

The latest cases involve a middle-aged couple who did not travel overseas during the incubation period for the disease and who began to display symptoms of dengue fever late last week. They are currently in isolation.

CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Luo (羅一鈞) said the first six cases were in Qiong-Lin ward, while the two latest patients live in neighboring Xing-Han ward, about a kilometer away. Luo said this indicates the cluster infection has worsened and the virus has spread northwards to more densely populated areas of Xinzhuang.

The Ministry of Labor (MoL) said three more industries are being exempted from work week laws.

The move to exempt the media, shipping, and slaughter house sectors from the new laws brings the total number of industries that can request employees work for up to 12 consecutive days under special circumstances to 15.

Previously, the sectors could only ask employees to extend their maximum consecutive work days to six. However, company unions still need to agree to any changes in the work week and companies still need to obtain employees consent before making any changes.

Companies with 30 or more employees are also still required to inform their local labor departments when making any arrangements to extend the number of consecutive work days.

The Council of Agriculture (CoA) is warning the public not to bring pork products from China into Taiwan following confirmation of an outbreak of African swine fever there.

Animal health officials say although the disease cannot be transmitted to humans, it still poses a serious threat to Taiwan's pork industry, due to the lack of medication or vaccines.

African swine fever can survive in frozen pork for up to three years and in refrigerated pork for 100 days.

The customs and the Coast Guard administrations have been asked to step up checks on all imported pork products and screening will be increased at airports and harbors.

China's agriculture ministry issued a second-level warning over the disease last Friday.

The Cabinet is set to begin discussions this Thursday on proposals for new laws to regulate cryptocurrencies.

The meeting comes as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is calling for virtually currency guidelines ahead of an inspection later this year by the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering. The government has long been concerned that cryptocurrencies could be used for money laundering purposes.

Former Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) previously called for cryptocurrency regulations to be in place by November.


Photo Credit: Depositphotos

The Cabinet will begin discussing potential new cryptocurrency regulations on Thursday.

Officials say some of the issues up for discussion this week include whether digital currencies should be regulated under the Money Laundering Control Act, and which ministry should be responsible for cryptocurrency regulations.

The Taichung District Court has sentenced a 48-year old man to life in prison for murdering his brother before chopping off his hands and stealing his identity.

Prosecutors say the defendant was involved in multiple lawsuits after his company went bankrupt and confessed to the murder in an attempt to avoid jail and defraud an insurance company. The murder occurred in June of last year.

The defendant initially denied any involvement in the killing. However, he broke down and confessed to the murder when faced by his brother's wife in court.

A new medical evacuation service has begun operating from Kinmen to Taiwan proper, cutting travel time to around 50-minutes.

County Magistrate Chen Fu-hai (陳福海) said the new jet will help improve healthcare on the outlying island.

The aircraft has been configured for medical emergencies and has room for family members as well as medical staff.

The service is being provided by Executive Aviation Taiwan Corporation, which already operates three other medical charter flights. The company has signed a four-year contract to operate the medical evacuation service with the Kinmen County government.

The Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation will be formally launched tomorrow with the goal of helping to advance the government regional policy.

The foundation says the date of the ceremony was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which was founded on August 8, 1967.

The Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation was established in May with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Officials said it will be tasked with advancing the government's New Southbound Policy and facilitating more inclusive ties between Taiwan and the rest of Asia.

One of the foundation's major responsibilities will be to help organize the annual Yushan Forum, which comprises of academics and representatives of think tanks and civic groups here in Taiwan.

A Canadian national who has lived in Taiwan for more than half a century has been awarded the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy in recognition of his contributions to the island.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) awarded 79-year-old Pierre Loisel the medal for helping advance information and communication technology and for playing a role in establishing Canada's de facto embassy here.

Loisel came to Taiwan in 1964. He helped in the launch of the Chinese computer interface and assisted computer giant Hewlett-Packard in setting up its Taiwan office.

Loisel also facilitated the establishment of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei in 1986 to serve as Canada's de facto embassy after Ottawa switched recognition to Beijing in 1970.

Loisel turned to organic farming and kitchen waste recycling after he retired.

A Changhua County-based neurologist is warning of the dangers of playing video games, saying that sustained gaming without a break to sleep may cause primary generalized epilepsy.


Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Proceed with caution.

The warning by Yeh Zong-xun (葉宗勳), the head of the neurology department at Yuan Sheng Hospital, comes after he treated a junior high school student who, according to his father, showed symptoms of an epileptic seizure.

According to Yeh, the boy fell unconscious with muscle twitching shortly after he got out of bed and left his room one morning after playing computer games on a mobile phone the night before.

Yeh says the lack of sleep led to the onset of idiopathic epilepsy, a form of epilepsy characterized by generalized seizures with no apparent cause.

The Ministry of Labor has welcomed the WorldSkills Competition flag to Taichung, saying the inclusion of Taiwan in the relay recognizes the island's importance at the world's largest vocational skills competition.

Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun (許銘春) said in addition to showcasing Taiwan on the international stage, it also encourages local competition.

The national competition event, which is being held at several locations in Taichung, runs until August 10.

The WorldSkills International currently has 79 member countries and is held every two years in different parts of the world. Taiwan is currently a member under the name Chinese Taipei.

The international leg of the WorldSkills Flag Relay started on March 12 in Madrid and traveled to several countries including South Korea and Japan before arriving in Taiwan.

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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.

TNL Editor: Nick Aspinwall