Heavy rain from a tropical depression is continuing to batter the center and south of Taiwan and has already claimed the lives of two people, while another is in critical condition.

All three were driving scooters on Zili Road in Kaohsiung's Sanmin District when scaffolding fell from a construction site.

The Kaohsiung fire department said the scaffolding was likely ripped down due to strong winds and heavy rain.

A 34-year-old man who was riding a scooter with his 59-year-old mother were declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital, while a 45-year-old woman remains in critical condition.

The Kaohsiung City government has ordered the construction company to suspend work at the site.

Looking ahead, the Central Weather Bureau has issued extremely torrential rain alerts for Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung and Pingtung, while torrential rain alerts are in affect for Nantou, Changhua and Penghu.

Extremely heavy rain advisories have been issued for Taitung, Taichung and Miaoli, and heavy rain warnings are in affect in Hualien, Yilan, Hsinchu, Taoyuan and New Taipei.

All schools and offices are closed today in Taichung, Nantou, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan and Kaohsiung, and flooding is being reported in areas of Tainan, Chiayi, Yunlin and Pingtung.

Some of the hardest hit areas have seen over 12 centimeters of rainfall recorded since midnight, while Kaohsiung and Nantou have experienced over 8 centimeters in the same period.

The weather bureau said the tropical depression will continue moving in a northerly direction along the west coast today before heading into the Taiwan Strait, though the rain is forecast to continue affecting much of Taiwan into next week.


Taiwan has rebounded to eighth place in the Asian Games' overall medals table after winning two gold, three silver and one bronze on Thursday.

Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳), who carried the flag for the Taiwan team at the opening ceremony of the games in Indonesia, won gold in the women's 58-kilogram weightlifting event, after completing a 105-kilogram lift and a 130-kilogram knee and jerk to finish with a combined lift of 235-kilograms.

Gymnast Lee Chih-kai (李智凱) spun his way to gold in the pommel horse final with a score of 15.400, while Tang Chia-hung (唐嘉鴻) claimed silver in the floor exercise event with 14.425 points.

Huang Yi-ting (黃義婷) won silver in women's sculls event and Chen Wei-han (陳瑋涵) took silver in the women's single canoe event.

And the women's kabaddi team lost to India 14-27 in the semi-final, but still won a bronze medal, as there was no third place match -- marking Taiwan's first ever podium finish in the sport.

The women's softball team beat the Philippines 6-3 to advance to the final against Japan.

And in tennis, Latisha Zhan and her sister Zhan Hao-qing have advanced to the women's doubles semifinals, where they will face a pairing from Kazakhstan today.


Police in New Taipei are reportedly seeking "two foreigners" in connection to the murder earlier this week of a Canadian national.

According to law enforcement authorities, they believe two suspects killed and dismembered 43-year-old Ryan Sanjay Ramgahan after recovering two machetes from Zhongzheng Park.

Police say the machetes had traces of blood on them and they also found sunglasses, a mobile phone, shoes and other items at the scene.

Those items are still being tested by forensics experts.

Reports say one female and one male suspect are being sought by police as part of the investigation.

Police also said they know the victim withdrew NT$100,000 (US$3,242) from an ATM in the days before he was killed, but that money has not yet been found.



Credit: Reuters / TPG

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen (L) shakes hands with her Honduran counterpart Juan Orlando Hernandez during a visit to the Presidential House in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Jan. 9, 2017.

Ambassadors from Honduras and Nicaragua are reaffirming their respective governments' commitment to maintaining diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The statements come days after El Salvador announced it was severing ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing, and they follow similar a similar statement of support from the foreign minister of eSwatini, the only remaining country in Africa to recognize Taipei rather than Beijing.

San Salvador's switch, which follows similar moves by Latin American neighbors Costa Rica in 2007 and Panama last summer, has led to concerns that more Central America allies could seek to establish formal ties with China on the back of promises of massive financial assistance and investment.

However, Honduras' ambassador to Taiwan said his government's stance has not changed and it will continue to maintain official ties with Taiwan, as bilateral exchanges remain stable and both sides will continue to work together.

Nicaragua's ambassador to Taiwan says his country has always supported Taiwan in the international arena and will continue to be a firm ally of the island.

However, Guatemala's embassy in Taiwan has not commented on the issue - and released a statement saying it will consult with the government in Guatemala before making a public comment on the issue next week.


American institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen said Thursday that Washington relies on Taiwan to promote regional peace and stability and will continue to support the country as it expands its significant global contributions.

Speaking during a meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office, Christensen also said that China's unilateral efforts to alter the status quo are unhelpful and undermine the framework that has enabled peace and stability in the region for decades

Christensen also reiterated the White House's recent response to El Salvador's severing ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing, saying that the U.S. is deeply disappointed by the decision.

According to the AIT director, El Salvador's acceptance of China's interference in its domestic politics is of great concern to the U.S. and has resulted in a reassessment of the relationship between Washington and San Salvador.

Christensen assumed office earlier this month.


President Tsai has released a recorded statement to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombardment of Kinmen Island by Chinese forces, saying her administration is committed to safeguarding Taiwan.

In a video on her Facebook page, Tsai expressed gratitude on behalf of the Taiwan people to the front-line troops serving on Kinmen and other military personnel during China's artillery bombardment that started on Aug. 23, 1958, and led to the deaths of more than 500 people over the course of 44 days.

"When we remember the '823 bombardment' 60 years later, we will not forget the spirit of solidarity," Tsai said on her Facebook page.

According to Tsai, the world saw the Taiwan people, regardless of their ethnicity, as united and fully committed to protecting the country during the bombardment and the mission is to preserve Taiwan's free and democratic lifestyle.



Credit: AP / TPG

Paraguay's President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez, right, receives his Taiwan counterpart Tsai Ing-wen, at his home in Asuncion, Paraguay, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018.

Over half of the respondents to a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) survey believe President Tsai's recent visit to Paraguay and Belize and her stopovers in the United States were beneficial.

According to DPP Secretary-General Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) , the poll showed that 54.2 percent of respondents felt Tsai's visit was beneficial to Taiwan's relationship with the diplomatic allies as well as the U.S., while 36.8 percent felt it did not help.

Hsu said Tsai's trip showed that she had consolidated foreign relations, which led the public to feel a certain level of satisfaction amid China's ongoing suppression of Taiwan.


Kuomintang (KMT) Taipei city councilor candidate Lin Kuan-hsun (林冠勳) is facing possible charges of hit-and-run, public endangerment and drunk driving.

His assistant, Wang Pang-chun (王邦竣), is facing possible charges of falsifying documents.

Police said Thursday that Lin's car was involved in a minor accident with a scooter on Dinzhou Road and it fled the scene. The incident was reported to the police by the scooter owner.

Lin's assistant initially told police he was driving the vehicle, but that statement was later contradicted by the KMT city councilor candidate himself who admitted he was driving when the accident occured.

However, that admission only came after the scooter driver identified Lin by his clothing as having been the driver.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office has released both Lin and Wang on bail.

Several KMT members are now calling for Lin to withdraw his candidacy - with the party's Taipei mayoral candidate Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) saying there is zero tolerance for drunk driving.


Premier William Lai (賴清德) has said the government remains committed to its goal of making Taiwan nuclear power free by 2025 and there is no need for the public to be concerned about possible power shortages.

According to Lai, the government will do its best to meet electricity demand, improve air quality and increase the use of green energy by 2025 as it phases out nuclear power.

Under the government's energy transition plan, 20 percent of power will be supplied by green energy by 2025, 30 percent by coal-fired power plants, and 50 percent by liquefied natural gas-fired generators.

Lai said nuclear plants currently generate about 12 to 15 percent of the island's total energy supply and phasing that out by 2025 will not be so significant as to put the industrial sector at risk of a power shortages.

Lai is also dismissing concern over possibly higher electricity rates as a result of more renewable energy sources, saying that any increases will be minimal and will not significantly affect production industries.


The Pilots Union Taoyuan is urging EVA Airways to come up with concrete solutions by next Monday in response to its members' demands for better working conditions.

The call comes after the union held an internal meeting at which the pilots voiced their growing impatience at the slow progress of the negotiations with the airline.

EVA Air management and the union have held three rounds of negotiations so far, but have failed to reach any agreement on demands for a better pay structure and work hours.

The third meeting was held Wednesday and the union said it was cut short because EVA Air was not adequately prepared to discuss the demands at the top of the pilots' agenda.

The next round of talks is slated for next Monday.

The Pilots Union Taoyuan has said its members could opt to take strike action next month if their demands are not met.


Premier Lai said Thursday that the government is taking action in a bid to gain participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, despite China's obstruction efforts.

Lai said Taiwan is eligible to join the trade bloc due to its being a member of the World Trade Organization and Taiwan's economic development record shows it should be able to contribute to the new regional trade group, which formed in May 2017 following U.S. President Donald Trump decision to withdraw the United States from the original TPP agreement.

According to Lai, the government is actively seek the support of the 11 existing signatories and is aware that although China is not one of them, it will still try to influence the member countries to block Taiwan's participation.

Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam all signed the deal in March during a ceremony in Chile.

The signatories agreed in July to start a second round of accession talks next year, when the trade deal is due to take effect.

Taiwan's government has said it is pushing hard for inclusion in those talks.


The Coast Guard Administration is dismissing claims by Vietnam that a recent live-fire exercise on Taiping Island in the Spratly Island chain endangered shipping.

According to the administration, the live-fire drill was conducted Wednesday and Thursday and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave neighboring countries advanced notice of the drill.

The statement comes after Vietnam's foreign ministry said it "resolutely opposes" Taiwan's live-fire drills conducted in the area because it violates Vietnamese sovereignty, threatens navigation and aviation security, as well as safety in the region.

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

Editor: David Green (@DavidPeterGreen)

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