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Your daily bulletin of Taiwan news, courtesy of ICRT.
Taiwan has edged into sixth place in the Asian Games overall medals table and now has 13 gold, 14 silver and 20 bronze medals.
Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) won gold in the badminton women's singles final after beating India's Pusarla Sindhu in a match that lasted 34 minutes. The win was the first ever badminton gold medal for Taiwan at the Asian Games.
Chou Tien-chen (周天成) took silver in the final of the men's singles badminton event, after losing to Indonesia's Jonatan Christie. Meanwhile, Chen Kui-ru (陳奎儒) won a silver in the men's 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.39 seconds.
The men's table tennis team won a bronze medal after losing to China 1-3 in the semifinals, and Chan Hao-cheng took bronze in the men's kurash under-66 kilogram class.
Chen Yi-hsuan, Lin Ming-ching, and Chen Li-ju beat Iran to win bronze in the women's archery compound team event. In baseball, Taiwan beat Indonesia 15-0, setting up a game against China tomorrow in Jakarta.
The Taiwanese exchange student accused of threatening to carry out a mass shooting at his high school in the U.S. city of Philadelphia has pleaded guilty to a federal firearms charge.
Sun An-tso (孫安佐) had previously pleaded guilty to charges of making terrorist threats and was sentenced from four to 23 months in prison. He entered the firearms plea during an arraignment hearing and the court scheduled his sentencing for December 11.
The court could sentence Sun to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to US$250,000 (NT$7.68 million) on the charges of possessing ammunition while being in the U-S on a nonimmigrant visa.
However, Sun's attorney Robert Keller has asked that the date be moved forward once the pre-sentencing report is finished. Keller also says Sun has agreed to be deported and he hopes to show up for the sentencing hearing with a plane ticket.
Read Next: OPINION: Sun An-tso’s School Shooting Threat Is No Joke
Agricultural losses caused by flooding in parts of the south since August 23 are now estimated to have surpassed NT$655 million (US$21.3 million).
According to the Council of Agriculture, Chiayi County has been the hardest hit by the torrential rain, reporting NT$432 million (US$14.1 million) in agricultural losses. Tainan has so far suffered the second highest losses of NT$142 million (US4.6 million). Major agricultural losses are also being reported in Yunlin, Kaohsiung and Pingtung County.
Officials say the fisheries sector has sustained the heaviest losses of NT$330 million (US$10.7 million). Livestock losses are estimated at NT$194 million (US$6.3 million)
The Council of Agriculture says some 4,700 hectares of active farmland have been damaged. Peanuts are the worst hit crop, as 1,139 hectares of peanut fields have been flooded.
American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Brent Christensen (酈英傑) says the U.S. and Taiwan can be close partners in the Indo-Pacific Strategy in terms of infrastructure, energy and the digital economy.
Speaking at a smart cities symposium in Taipei, Christensen said the U.S. wants to work with Taiwan to meet its energy needs and is seeking to partner with the island in regards transitioning to a innovation-based economy.
According to the AIT director, the U.S. wants to help Taiwan with its Forward-Looking Infrastructure Development Program in terms of bilateral cooperation. Christensen also praised Taiwan for leading the way in the development of sustainable smart city and circular economy technologies.
The seminar was organized by AIT and attended by local and international experts.
Read More: US Defense Act Angers China, Reaffirms Status Quo for Taiwan
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) says she hopes Taiwan and Japan can work together to tackle issues related to extreme weather.
Speaking during a meeting with a visiting delegation of Japanese parliamentarians, Tsai said the two countries should work together to tackle climate change, as both have been hit by similar weather related disasters in recent weeks.
The Presidential Office says Tsai also warned the Japanese delegation about China's intensifying efforts to pressure Taiwan, saying Beijing's moves are undermining the cross-strait status quo and threaten peace and prosperity in East Asia.
According to Tsai, her administration will continue efforts to maintain the status quo and will not give in to China's pressure.
Taiwan's defense budget has been relatively stagnant over the last 20 years and its military modernization program still remains an issue that has not been tackled, according to Japan's annual defense review.
According to the white paper, China's military spending has exceeded that of Taiwan's by as much as 15 times and the military balance in the Taiwan Strait is tilting toward Beijing.
The report, which outlines security concerns about China's expanding military might, says that despite the size of China's armed forces, a full-scale amphibious landing assault on Taiwan is still highly unfeasible.
However, the report warns that China has been strengthening its amphibious fleet in recent years to boost its landing capabilities, and its overall escalation of activities is cause for security concerns both in the region and globally.
An anti-gay marriage group has submitted a referendum petition to the Central Election Commission as it seeks to block the legalization of same-sex unions.
According to the Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance, it has collected more than 670,000 signatures in support of its calls for a referendum that will he held to coincide with November's local elections.
The Happiness of the Next Generation Alliance claims that reforms paving the way for same sex marriage will jeopardize "family values" and "the collapse of the family system will deal a huge blow to society."
The group is seeking to remove same-sex education from the school curriculums and to redefine the civil code's definition of marriage as solely being between a man and a woman.
Read More: OPINION: Same-Sex Marriage Quagmire Tests Taiwan’s Progressive Bona Fides
Organizers of a petition for a referendum on whether the island should use the name "Taiwan" instead of "Chinese Taipei" at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics say they have collected over 360,000 signatures.
According to the petition's organizers, they expect to have more than 400,000 signatures by the end of this week. The petition will be delivered to the Central Election Commission on September 3.
Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 name referendum say they are hoping the commission can validate the signatures in time for the issue to be put to the vote alongside November's 24 local elections.
Beijing is demanding Ikea refer to Taiwan as being part of China on its packaging.
The Swedish furniture giant is the latest foreign company to face such demands, after Japanese retailer Muji was fined in May for using packaging that listed Taiwan as a country
The latest demand by Beijing comes after the state tabloid Global Times claimed Ikea had violated the 'one China' principle by treating Taiwan as a country on its packaging.
Chinese internet users have been quick to condemn Ikea, posting images of product packaging on Weibo and demanding the company change Taiwan's designation.
Thailand's top envoy to Taiwan said costs for visa applications will rise, as his office is outsourcing visa applications to a private company.
However, the envoy said the private company will be able to provide better services at its visa application center and that will help improve security at the Thai representative office here in Taipei. He said the Thailand Trade and Economic Office Taipei currently handles 2,800 visa applications per day, which office staff are unable to cope with.
The visa-application price hike will take effect on October 1. It will mean that tour group visa applications will have to be made to the visa application center, for an additional cost NT$470 (US$15.31) per application.
Taiwan has given visa-free entry to Thai nationals for two years.
Uber is outlining its plans for further expansion in Taiwan, with company Chief Operating Officer Barney Harford saying it will seek to work with the government on several projects.
According to Harford, Uber's Taiwan plan covers self-driving technology, artificial intelligence and an integrated platform for public transportation.
Speaking at the "Smart Cities" forum in Taipei, Harford said Uber is committed to doubling its commitment to Taiwan and will work with both government agencies and the private sector.
Twelve Indonesian sailors have been rescued from a cargo ship off Kaohsiung.
The "Jin Hua" has been stranded off Kaohsiung's coastline for nearly a week after a tropical depression began to dump rain and brought strong winds to the area.
The National Rescue Command Center says it was forced to evacuate the ship's crew Tuesday after strong wind and heavy seas began to pound the vessel. The crew had earlier requested assistance from the Maritime Affairs Center.
Authorities say they don't known when the crew will be able to return to the ship.
Environmental groups Greenpeace and the Society of Wilderness say over 14,000 tons of marine debris has accumulated along Taiwan's coastline this year.
The statement comes after the groups carried out an unprecedented inspection on coastline marine litter.
Greenpeace and the Society of Wilderness launched the investigation in July and it was the first of its kind in Taiwan that sought to measure the degree of marine litter pollution along the coastline.
The Society of Wilderness says 121 monitoring stations were set up along Taiwan's 1,210-kilometer coastline and each station in charge of litter-monitoring for a 100-meter stretch.
The dirtiest location was the Provincial Highway No. 2 section in New Taipei's Ruifang District while the second-dirtiest location was the Haomeiliao Wetland in Chiayi County's Budai Township.
Environmental groups says the most commonly seen marine debris during the inspection was plastic bottles, followed by expanded foam plastics and discarded fishing gear.
Twelve Taiwanese shipping companies have been praised by the United States for their assistance on the high seas in rescue missions.
According to the AIT, the shipping companies received the awards from the U.S. Coast Guard's Automated Mutual Assistance Vessel Rescue (Amver) ship safety and rescue program.
AIT says 35 vessels owned by the 12 shipping companies voluntarily participated in the program in 2017.
U.S. officials have thanked Taiwan's Maritime and Port Bureau for encouraging more Taiwanese companies to join the Amver program, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
The publisher of the Michelin Guide Taipei says it will launch the first ever GastroMonth in Taipei this November. The event will feature specially created cuisine to celebrate the food culture in Taiwan.
According to the publisher, some 19 Michelin-starred and Plate restaurants will join the event, including the 3-star Cantonese restaurant Le Palais and the 2-star Japanese eatery RyuGin.
The Michelin Guide Taipei was published for the first time in March this year.
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This news bulletin was provided courtesy of International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT), Taiwan’s leading English-language broadcaster.
Editor: Nick Aspinwall (@Nick1Aspinwall)
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