Taiwan News: Super Typhoon Mangkhut Nears, KMT Mulls 'Comfort Women' Bill

Taiwan News: Super Typhoon Mangkhut Nears, KMT Mulls 'Comfort Women' Bill
Credit: Reuters / TPG
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The Central Weather Bureau says the affects of Super Typhoon Mangkhut are likely to be felt by Friday, as the storm moves closer to Taiwan.

Mangkhut, upgraded yesterday to a Super Typhoon, is now a Category 4 storm and is expected to be upgraded to a Category 5 by tomorrow. The weather bureau says if Mangkhut continues on its current path its outer rim will threaten Hualien, Taitung and the Hengchun Peninsula.

The storm, which has a radius of 250 kilometers, is currently located some 1,900 kilometers east-southeast of Eluanbi at the island's southern most tip and is moving in a westerly direction at 22 kilometers an hour. It is packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 190 kilometers an hour, with gusts of up to 234 kilometers an hour.

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Mangkhut is currently forecast to pass south of Taiwan through the Bashi Channel on Saturday and Sunday. However, the weather bureau says the storm could still veer in a more northerly direction in the coming 24 hours and make landfall in Taiwan.

Forecasters say they will have a better idea of the storm's movements tomorrow.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said government policy on the history of "comfort women" remains unchanged and it will continue to urge Japan to face up to the issue.

However, ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also hopes the matter will not hinder Taiwan-Japan relations from moving forward.

The statement comes as the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) is seeking to draft a bill making it illegal to discriminate against a former comfort woman, family members of a former comfort woman, or a comfort women memorial. The KMT bill states that anyone found guilty of such discrimination would be subject to one year in prison.

That bill was proposed after a Japanese national was caught on camera appearing to kick a comfort women memorial in Tainan.

Taiwan's top envoy to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said he will lodge a formal complaint about the incident if the man is found to have actually kicked the statue.

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Police in Kaohsiung are continuing to investigate the death of a 47-year-old man whose body was found in a freezer Monday evening.

According to law enforcement authorities, the body had been in the freezer in the family home for more than three months.

Initial reports about the killing had claimed the man's eldest son stabbed him to death while he was trying to protect his mother during an argument. However, police now say that at least two other people were present when the incident occurred and new evidence suggests it was related to dispute over a family inheritance.

There have also been allegations that dead man had a long record of domestic violence against his wife and four children.

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Greenpeace Taiwan says a review of plans to build a new coal-fired power plant in New Taipei's Ruifang District show it would result in the deaths of over 500 people over a 15-year period due to worsening air pollution.

According to the Greenpeace health risk assessment, 576 people would die of heart disease, lung cancer, chronic pulmonary disease or strokes between 2025 and 2040 due to increased exposure to fine particulate matter.

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Credit: Eric Deng / Wikicommons
New Taipei's coal-fired Linkou Power Plant. Greenpeace says another coal-fired plant will lead to premature deaths.

Greenpeace says the related deaths would not only be seen in New Taipei and Keelung, but also in Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli and Taichung.

The government last month said it will continue to hold talks with residents of Ruifang District about plans to build the power plant.

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A four-day national security exercise simulating various emergency scenarios has wrapped-up in Taipei.

The drill included protection of the country's key infrastructure, and President Tsai was at the Yuanshan Command Center to oversee the final day.

According to the National Security Council, the drill included the simulation of a crisis that forced the president, vice president and important ministers to be escorted by security personnel to the command post.

Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (林鶴明) said the drill also tested how the core functions and operations of the government will continue in the event of a military crisis.

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Three Taiwanese nationals have been arrested in the Philippines on suspicion of smuggling drugs and chemical ingredients.

The three were among a group of four people detained following a joint operation with Taiwanese authorities.

Philippine police discovered the drugs and chemicals used in the production of amphetamines on a fishing boat in a village some 138-kilometers east of Manila.

Three men and one woman were arrested. Two of the three Taiwanese suspects are from Pingtung, while the woman is a Filipina.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has accused the Taiwan-based Bamboo Union gang of being a major source of illegal drugs smuggled into the Philippines.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Read More: Rights Groups Urge Taiwan to Suspend Deadly Philippines Drug Deportations

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Health authorities in Tainan have confirmed the city's first case of indigenous dengue fever this year.

The patient is a 78-year-old woman who lives in the South District and she remains hospitalized with dengue virus type 4.

According to the Tainan Department of Health, 13 cases of imported dengue fever infection have been reported in the city so far this year and it is taking preventive measures such as disinfection and cleaning up of vector-breeding sites.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says a total of five new indigenous dengue fever cases have been confirmed islandwide over the past week, including three in Taichung, one in New Taipei and the one in Tainan.

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The CDC has confirmed the first cluster of imported typhoid fever cases this year is urging the public to pay attention to food sanitation when traveling overseas.

The patients are a new immigrant mother and her eldest son who visited Indonesia in August. The father and youngest son, who traveled to the same area, have not been infected.

According to the CDC, the two patients dined mostly at home during their time in Indonesia, and ate only home-grown vegetables.

Health officials say they were probably exposed to poor sanitation and hygiene, which led to their contracting the bacterial infection.

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The government says ionizing mattresses manufactured by two local companies are being removed from sale due to concerns about radiation levels.

The move comes after South Korea ordered mattresses manufactured by the Daijin Bed Company to be removed from store shelves there in May.

The South Korean company does not export its ionizing mattresses to Taiwan, but two of its Taiwan-based manufacturers recently failed radiation safety tests.

Officials say tests found that mattresses manufactured by Bottony Biotech and Zanyi International Enterprises showed radiation levels that exceeded the legal limit.

The two companies now have two weeks to file a report with the Consumer Protection Committee explaining why radiation levels in the materials used to make the ionizing mattresses failed the tests.

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EVA Airways will resume flights to Osaka this Friday.

The airlines says it will operate one round-trip flight per day until September 20 now that Kansai International Airport has resumed partial services. However, the carrier says it is still waiting on further notice from the airport in regards when it can resume its regular schedule of daily flights.

Eva_Air_Boeing_747-400;_B-16405@HKG;04_0
Credit: Aero Icarus / Flickr
An EVA Air Boeing 747-400. EVA's 747 fleet was retired in August 2017.

China Airlines and Tigerair Taiwan have not yet received permission from the airport to resume flights, but China Airlines has said that its flights to Osaka are likely to remain suspended until tomorrow.

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Aviation representatives from 16 countries will attend an international conference on flight safety in Taipei next week.

According to the Aviation Safety Council, some 40 air accident investigators will participate in the annual Accident Investigator Recorder meeting. This year's meeting will focus on marine salvage, damaged recorder processing and new investigation technologies.

The Accident Investigator Recorder was established in 2003 by the aviation safety bodies from Taiwan, the U-S, Canada, France and Australia. Taiwan last hosted the conference in 2008.

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Taiwan and Poland have held their 8th economic consultation forum and signed a memorandum of understanding to forge closer economic ties.

The forum was presided over by Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) and Poland's Deputy Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology.

Kung said the agreement means Taiwan and Poland will have a platform to help companies better understanding the other's market in order to boost opportunities for cooperation.

According to Kung, the issues discussed at the forum included smart city development, renewable energy development, smart manufacturing and the circular economy.

Most of the Taiwanese firms currently investing in Poland are in the electronics, information/communications and auto industries.

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A survey by the US-based ManpowerGroup shows that some 80 percent of the island's employers have raised wages this year.

According to the human resources advisory firm, most firms also have a positive view of the current business climate and outlook.

ManpowerGroup says 79 percent of the 1,039 enterprises polled indicated they have raised wages by an average of 3.2 percent.

Read More: ANALYSIS: Taiwan Is Better than Selfish Bosses and Their Heartless Wage Threats

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Hon Hai Precision, better known globally as Foxconn, is refusing to comment on reports saying it is planning to build two new assembly plants in the U.S. as the company looks to avoid the impact of Washington's trade war with China.

According to the media reports, Hon Hai is aiming to set up two new plants in Indianapolis and Houston to assemble products for Apple.

Reports says Hon Hai plans to convert an Apple maintenance center in Houston into an assembly plant.

Hon Hai already has a manufacturing hold in the U.S., with plants in seven states.

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Credit: Reuters / TPG
Read Next: OPINION: Will the US-China Trade War Really Spur Taiwan's Companies to Leave China?

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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