Taiwan News: Lai Forms Flood Recovery Task Force, Taiwan 1-0 China in Baseball

Taiwan News: Lai Forms Flood Recovery Task Force, Taiwan 1-0 China in Baseball
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Taiwan's Asian Games team is continuing to boost its medals tally but has slipped back to seventh place in the overall medals table, with 14 gold, 17 silver, and 24 bronze medals.

Yu Kai-wen and Cheng Chu-ling won gold in the mixed doubles soft tennis final in Jakarta Thursday - after beating South Korea 5-3.

In baseball, Taiwan beat China 1-0 in the men's super round Thursday evening. Taiwan's starting pitcher Wu Sheng-feng (吳昇峰) allowed only four hits in 5.2 innings.

It was the first time Taiwan's baseball team has faced China at the current Asian Games. The win Taiwan means goes into today's final super round game against Japan with four wins out of four games so far in Jakarta.

Huang Ting-ying (黃亭茵) took bronze in the women's track cycling 3000 meter individual pursuit finals. Yang Xian-ci took bronze in the women's kurash under-78-kilogram division, while Lien Zhen-ling won bronze in women's Judo 57-kilogram event.

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The Cabinet has formed a special task force to oversee recovery and reconstruction measures in flood-hit areas of central and southern Taiwan.

The task force will be co-headed by National Development Council Minister Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) and Public Construction Commission Minister Wu Tze-cheng (吳澤成).

According to Cabinet spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka, it is being tasked with ensuring that residents of the worst affected areas can resume normal life as soon as possible.

Premier William Lai (賴清德) is also requesting the Central Weather Bureau improve its early warning system for extreme weather events and has asked the Ministry of Economic Affairs to convene a national conference on flood management to review existing flood control methods.

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Photo Credit: Facebook/爆料公社

Read More: Taiwan's Great Deluge of 2018: Anger, Finger-Pointing and Helplessness

Accumulated rainfall over the past week has overwhelmed the capacity of flood defense system in the south, which were built to withstand rainfall of between 25 and 30 centimeters in a 24 hour period.

However, accumulated rainfall on August 23 and 24 exceeded 90 centimeters in Chiayi and Tainan and was greater than 80 centimeters in Kaohsiung and Pingtung.

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China Airlines and EVA Airways pilots have withdrawn their plans to take strike action next month after the carriers agreed to meet the some of their demands over a one-year period during a fourth round of negotiations held yesterday.

According to the Taoyuan Pilots Union, the airlines have agreed to address the main issues such as pilots' pay, rest hours and contract terms.

Union officials say if the airlines don't reverse those decisions and work productively toward the September 2019 deadline, there will be no risk of a pilot strike over the next 12 months.

The union says if all of the issues are resolved by next September, the pilots' union will not be allowed to stage a strike for another three years, a deal which is in line with the terms of the Collective Agreement Act.

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Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) is leading Taiwan's delegation to the U.S. to attend two memorial services for Senator John McCain on behalf of the government in Washington D.C.

Su will be joined by Taiwan's top envoy to the U.S., Stanley Kao (高碩泰), at both services.

Su will attend the lying-in-state ceremony and a national memorial service set to take place at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The delegation is scheduled to return to Taipei on September 3.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has expressed her deepest sympathy and condolences to the McCain family. She tweeted that "McCain will be remembered as a friend and a fighter who never backed down from his beliefs and forever strived for a more peaceful and prosperous world." Tsai also said that his death is "a great loss of an important friend of Taiwan" in the U.S.

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The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) says Taiwanese nationals who apply for China's new residence permit will not have their household registration automatically revoked.

However, council officials are warning the government could impose certain restrictions on the citizenship rights of people who do choose to apply for China's new residence permits being given to residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan

The new residence permits will begin being issued tomorrow and Beijing says they will make it more convenient for people from the three areas to live, work and study in China.

According to MAC Deputy Minister (邱垂正), his office is currently in talks over whether Taiwanese in possession of a Chinese residence permit should be required to declare that status and be denied the right to hold certain positions in public office.

Chiu is also warning Taiwanese nationals of the dangers of getting the new Chinese permit, saying such risks include being subject to tax on their worldwide income should China pass proposed amendments to its Income Tax Law.

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The Taichung branch of High Court has awarded a settlement to a man wrongfully convicted of killing police officer.

Cheng Hsing-tse (鄭性澤) spent more than a decade on death row for the 2002 shooting of police officer Su Hsien-pi (蘇憲丕) at a KTV in Taichung.

The court has awarded him NT$17.288 million (US$562,850) in compensation for the wrongful conviction and incarceration.

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Photo Credit: 鄭性澤平反大隊

Read More: OPINION: Money Will Not Placate Taiwan's Wrongfully Convicted

Cheng has always denied any involvement in the killing. He was finally acquitted in October last year by the High Court after new evidence was introduced.

The settlement is the third-highest ever awarded for wrongful conviction.

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President Tsai Ing-wen is thanking a visiting delegation from the United States for their support of Taiwan, saying their presence in Taipei symbolizes the strong ties between the two countries.

Speaking at an Indo-Pacific region forum, Tsai said Taiwan will work with the U.S. government and other like-minded countries to help promote peace and prosperity in the region.

The U.S. delegation included Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, retired Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander at NATO James Stavridis, and former deputy national security adviser Nadia Schadlow.

The 2018 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue was organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and brought together experts and academics to discuss regional economic and security challenges.

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Economics Minister Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) says the government will continue to take measures to have Taiwan removed from U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum exports to America.

The statement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump signed proclamations allowing relief from quotas on steel from South Korea, Brazil and Argentina and on aluminum from Argentina.

However, Taiwan remains on the tariffs list.

According to the economics minister, the government will continue to negotiate with Washington on the issue, even though some of the affected Taiwan companies have already shifted their exports to European and Southeast Asian markets.

The Foreign Trade Bureau says Taiwan's steel and aluminum exports to the U.S. fell 23.88 percent during the January-July period, while shipments to the rest of the world grew 6.67 percent.

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The American Institute in Taiwan says security arrangements at its new office compound in Taipei's Neihu District will remain the same as at the current site.

The statement comes after the South China Morning Post reported that the U.S. has confirmed it will send American security personnel to its de facto embassy in Taiwan when its new premises opens next month.

AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour says a small number of American personnel detailed, along with a larger number of locally hired employees, will provide security for the new office building, in cooperation with local authorities.

Former AIT Director Kin Moy repeatedly told local media that there was already a small number of U.S. personnel at the current office on Xinyi Road and that the institute doesn't make political statements with its security.

Moy left Taiwan last month and his statement came amid speculation the U.S. could deploy U.S. Marines to guard the new Neihu facility.

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Minister Without Portfolio Chang Ching-sen (張景森) says the Cabinet will review visa free policies for a number of countries covered by the New Southbound Policy.

According to Chang, the review will be take place during a meeting later today, at which Cabinet officials will also be discuss whether to offer visa-free treatment to more countries and related issues including crime prevention.

The government introduced visa-free treatment for Thai and Bruneian nationals on a trial basis in August 2016 and extended it last year to July 31, 2018, while the visa-free trial program for the Philippines began on November 1 last year and ran through July 31.

The government has since further extended those visa-free privileges for a further year until July 31, 2019.

Chang says there have been notable increases in the number of visitors from Thailand, Brunei and the Philippines since the visa-free treatment was granted.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it will continue to push for visa-free travel to Thailand.

According to the Department of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, the government is constantly working on how to achieve more convenient travel to Thailand.

Officials say they are in contact with Thai authorities as they seek "more favorable treatment."

The statements come after Thailand's representative office in Taiwan was forced to reverse a decision earlier this week to hike the cost of visa applications for ROC passport holders.

Taiwan's tourism industry and the public had been critical of the decision to increase visa processing costs - arguing the Thai government was raising visa fees as the Taiwan government is implementing a two-year visa-free program for Thai nationals.

Several local tourism operators had also threatened to boycott travel to Thailand.

The Tourism Bureau says 532,787 ROC passport holders traveled to Thailand last year.

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The Supreme Court has upheld a High Court ruling and sentenced Justin Lee (李宗瑞) to 39 years and two months in prison on charges of sexually assaulting nine women and filming the rapes.

Lee had been sentenced to 30 years in prison by the High Court in 2014.

The assaults occurred between 2009 and 2011. Lee was found guilty of raping nine women and filming sex acts with 17 others without their consent by the Taipei District Court in September of 2013.

The video recordings of the assaults emerged in 2012 when they were leaked online.

Lee has been in detention since August of 2012. The latest ruling cannot be appealed.

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The government says it is seeking to restrict the amount of trash shipped to Taiwan from other countries.

Officials say there has been a marked increase in the amount of waste being sent to Taiwan after China banned other countries from sending trash there for disposal earlier this year.

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Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG

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According to the Environmental Protection Administration, regulations are now in place to ban the import of certain categories of waste and there are plans to further tighten rules on the types of garbage that can be imported for recycling purposes.

The administration says it hopes the new measures will be put in place by October. After that individuals caught importing illegal waste will face a fine of up to NT$10 million (US$325,472).

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Local pop star A-mei has recorded a duet with Italian pop tenor and crossover artist Andrea Bocelli entitled "If Only."

Bocelli's music production team decided to invite A-mei to sing the duet after hearing her music online and contacting her music production company.

The song will be featured on Bocelli's new album, which is set for release on October 26.

A-mei's music production company says the tune will be available on digital music services from next month, before the official launch.

Bocelli has previously recorded duets with Sarah Brightman and Celine Dion.

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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